Chinchillas are quick, perky little animals. If you have never met the acquaintance of one, they have a personality similar to a park squirrel.
Obviously adorable, Chinchillas have many characteristics that make them great pets. However, they are not suited for everyone, especially not for children because they are small and fragile and if they are squeezed too tight – they will bite. Many find them preferable to all other rodents because of their lack of unpleasant smell and unusually long life spans.
What Are Their Good Qualities?
Their good qualities include a beautiful soft lush fur, an inquisitive, boisterous nature and no objectionable noises. They are very low-maintenance pets.
What Are Their Not-So-Good Qualities?
On the down side, chinchillas are somewhat high-strung, and they have relatively short attention spans. They also do not tolerate hot weather or high humidity well.
Where Do These Animals Come From?
Chinchillas originated in the Andes Mountains of South America where they inhabit crevices in the rocks. Chinchillas come in a variety of colors. The most common color is silvery gray; but the also come in white, beige, ebony and sapphire (super-violet) color.
What Are Some Characteristics Of Chinchillas?
Adult female chinchillas weight about a pound-and-a-half and are a bit bigger than males. Chinchillas can live 12 to 20 years – an exceptionally long life span for a rodent. They also have an exceptionally long pregnancy, 111 days. So babies pop out ready-to-go like their distant cousins, the guinea pigs. Chinchillas will not thrive above 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.8C) or in humidity over 40%.
Buying A Chinchilla
Unfortunately, pet stores are in business to make a profit – not to provide you with a friendly, healthy pet. Pet shops are the worst place to obtain a chinchilla. If you have not yet obtained your pet, go to a reputable breeder such as those that are members of The Chinchilla Club and ask the breeder for the phone number of satisfied clients in your area.
Chinchilla personalities are determined during their first month of age. They need to be handled and petted frequently after they are born or they will grow up skittish and aggressive. An ideal age to purchase your chinchilla is 10 weeks of age.
If possible, check both the parents and the youngster for problems before you become attached to a Chinchilla. Be cautious of watery or pasty eyes, drooling (tooth alignment problems), wool pulling or missing areas of fur. Buying directly from a breeder who willingly supplies satisfied contacts who have purchased her animals is a good idea. Most of the problem animals are purchased through pet stores. Common problems in pet store purchased chinchillas are wool pulling due to boredom and stress and malocclusion due to improper diet and genetics. Aggression is a problem in animals not socialized to people at a young enough age.
The Recycler.com has many animals available to browse, including these baby chinchillas! (so cute!)
Click HERE for the link to their page!
Also, if you still aren’t sure these are the right pet for you, watch this video for some extra information about chinchilla ownership: