You kids are going to love having a chinchilla.
But will your chinchilla love having your kids around?
It is a small and delicate rodent. It is all too easy for a child to accidentally injure a chinchilla.
On top of that, these furry little creatures have some pretty specific requirements.
Can children handle that?
Keep reading to learn if chinchillas are good pets for kids, plus everything else you need to know about the subject of chinchillas and children.
- 1 Are Chinchillas Good Pets For Kids?
- 2 Chinchillas Good With Children: Final Thoughts
Are Chinchillas Good Pets For Kids?
Yes, chinchillas are good pets for children. But you need to teach your kids how to handle a chinchilla properly and how to interact with one.
They also need to build a bond with your new chinchilla slowly. It you ensure those things are true, a chinchilla can be a great pet for your kids.
So, how do you go about raising a chinchilla correctly, and keeping your kid and your new chinchilla safe?
Well, that’s what this post will cover.
We’re going to break down and debunk some common myths about chinchillas with kids, and explain how a chinchilla and your kids (of any age) can co-exist.
But before we get to that, I should mention that I’m torn on this subject. I know what other websites will tell you.
They will explain how chinchillas do not generally make great pets for kids, because of their unique needs and their need to be handled with care.
Those things are true. But I still disagree with the conclusion that this makes them bad pets for kids.
Chinchillas can make great pets for your children. As long as you educate them on how to deal with and handle these rodents.
The primary reason many people don’t think chinchillas are suitable for a child is how fragile these pets are.
You may have heard that a chinchilla’s rib cage floats. Is this true? Do chinchillas have floating rib cages? They have 4 floating ribs, but the rest do not float. However all are delicate and can easily fracture.
But if you make sure your child knows this and knows how to handle a chinchilla, and you give the chinchilla time to get used to your kids, you won’t have issues.
I adopted my chinchilla when my son was 18 months old. He’s a mad man and runs around with a lot of energy.
Sure, in the beginning, this scared my chinchilla bit, but my son is now almost 4. My chinchilla and son now interact with each other. Their bond has been formed and is solid.
Don’t worry if you’re unsure how to make this happen for your own family.
I’m going to walk you through it. You’re going to learn exactly how to make sure your kids and your chinchilla get along splendidly.
The first step is to have a good understanding of chinchilla behavior and temperament.
Understanding Chinchilla Behavior And Temperament
The next most important thing to understand when it comes to having your kids co-exist with chinchillas successfully is how a chinchilla tends to behave.
For starters, be sure to read my full guide on chinchilla behavior, which you can see here.
Chinchillas are naturally timid and shy during the first weeks of arriving home. During this period, it’s imperative not to overstimulate them.
In all reality, they don’t even need to be out of the cage during this period. Simply allow them to get used to the smells, noises, and even your voice during these initial weeks.
Once you have completed this step, the next best thing you do is to allow your chinchilla out for playtime. Chinchillas love this time out of their cage.
What I did with my kid was ensured that I had a very controlled space to do this in.
Instead of stressing over having the perfect proofed room for your kid, and your chinchilla, I recommend purchasing a large pop animal play tent.
I’ve been using one for 3 years, even though I also have a chinchilla proofed room.
It’s a great way to monitor your kids during interactions and it allows your chinchilla to interact with you closely.
This helps build trust faster.
Just ensure that you instruct your children how to handle the chinchilla properly.
The pop-up animal play tent will make this even easier to accomplish, because of the space you will be working with.
It’s large enough to be comfortable for all of you, but still enclosed enough to allow for proper technique teaching and to keep an eye on your children while they interact with your chinchilla.
This post covers the best animal play tents I’ve found. I’ve been using the one by Jespet for 3 years. I love it.
Trust me, it’s an investment you won’t regret making for the benefits it can provide new chinchilla owners.
If you need further information on this topic, be sure to read my post about how to encourage your chinchilla to enjoy being held here.
It’s also the topic we are going to cover next.
Teach Proper Handling And Best Practices
We ended the last section by mentioning that you need to make sure your children know proper handling techniques.
The best thing to do with your kids is to instruct them to allow your chinchilla to come to them.
Trust me, it will only take a day or two before your chinchilla is jumping in your child’s lap, allowing you kid to pet it and loving every second of it.
That’s how it was for me, at least. My chinchilla has never decided to bite me, my kid, or anyone else.
Even through the initial rough handling days and the learning curve. I think all the talk that chinchillas are not good with younger kids should be to put rest personally.
I think the children simply need to learn to remain relatively calm (as in not screaming or throwing things) when interacting with a chinchilla, and you won’t have many, if any, issues.
Keep in mind again, this is the opinion of someone who has been there and done that.
Ensure your kid doesn’t grab your chinchilla in a forceful manner. Ensure you allow the bond to grow naturally. Ensure your child knows how to properly handle a chinchilla and how and where chinchillas like to be pet.
Do this and I can assure you, it’s much easier than you believe having your kids interact with your chinchillas on a daily basis.
Treats And How To Offer Them Effectively
Another area of concern that comes into play are treats. It’s always tempting to give treats to our furry friends, but with chinchillas, it’s important not to overdo it.
This is even more difficult for a child to understand, so plan accordingly. Give your children a set number of treats they can offer your chinchilla during playtime.
If you aren’t sure which treats are the best for chinchillas, start by reading my post here. It will guide you towards the best treats you can offer without risking any illness for your chinchilla.
This ,again, is one of those concerns that if you keep an eye on it, you don’t have anything to stress over.
Monitor And Correct Social Interactions
We have already touched on this, but I wanted to cover the calmness factor one more time. Especially during those first initial weeks when you have your chinchilla home.
Ensure that your children understand that being patient with interactions is best during these weeks.
Your chinchilla won’t bite or get aggressive due to wild behavior, but it may scare them. It is just a small rodent, after all.
The calmer your kids can remain during those initial weeks, the faster the bond and trust can be established, which is what we will cover next.
Build The Bond Slowly With Family
Last on my list of critical information to keep in mind is to take it slowly. Sometimes chinchillas need a few weeks to get used to their environment and new owners.
If your chinchilla is more reserved and shyer during these weeks, there is no need to force the interaction.
Simply allow your chinchilla to come to you. It won’t be long until it is jumping on you, enjoys being held, and enjoys being interacted with.
Chinchillas are social creatures and love to jump and play. Trust me, it will all work out just fine.
Chinchillas Good With Children: Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, I’m a firm believer that chinchillas can make excellent family pets for families with children.
It does take more supervision and you’ll have to teach your kids the right way to handle chinchillas.
But with a bit of effort and oversight, it’s 100% feasible to have your children and a new pet chinchilla co-exist.
I do it every day and have been doing it for the past 3 years. I even survived the “terrible 2’s” with my son and my chinchilla, which leads me to 100% believe you can do the same.
Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming adoption and journey.
Share your thoughts.
What’s your opinion about chinchillas being good pets for families with children?
Have you raised chinchillas with young children in the home?
What further advice can you provide the readers?
Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below. As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading, and we will see you next time.