If you are in the beginning phase of planning and research about the journey of adopting a chinchilla, you are in the right place. I was in your shoes not too long ago. It’s intimidating in the beginning, to say the least. The internet makes owning a chinchilla feel relatively scary. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as you may think. In fact, it’s incredible owning a chinchilla. However, this likely doesn’t eliminate all the fear you may have. A question I’m asked frequently relates to caring for your chinchilla. Are chinchillas hard to take care of? After owning a chinchilla, going through the process and becoming more educated on the topic, here is what I can tell you.
So, are chinchillas hard to take care of? No, chinchillas are not hard to take care of. Chinchillas are easy to take care of. Chinchilla’s require a clean cage, food that consists of chinchilla pellets and hay and a room that’s kept at the correct temperatures. Additionally, chinchillas need social interaction at least once per day. These tasks are not complicated and owning a chinchilla is not difficult compared to other common pets.
If you are anything like me, this likely doesn’t relax you or remove all anxiety about your upcoming adoption. I’m going to be entirely straightforward with you in this post.
My intentions are to give you 11 reasons why owning a chinchilla is very easy and a few reasons why individuals may state that owning a chinchilla is difficult.
Ultimately, I’ll let you be the judge and jury and make the decision based on the facts from a chinchilla owner. Let’s dive into the details.
Is Caring for A Chinchilla Difficult?
Again, coming from me, who has now owned my first chinchilla for quite some time, I would say no, not at all. Owning a chinchilla is extremely easy. I have a yellow lab as well, and in comparison, I would say my 1-year old female chinchilla is by far easier to care for.
Chinchillas are much more straightforward than owners and individuals give them credit for. They don’t require much except for love and the everyday items all pets need to survive. If you don’t believe me, let me prove it. Let’s move into the 11 reasons why chinchillas are incredibly simple to take care of.
11 Reasons That Make Taking Care of a Chinchilla Incredibly Easy
#1-Chinchillas Are Cheap and Easy to Feed
Chinchilla food cost next to nothing. I offer my chinchilla fresh timothy hay and pellets formulated for chinchillas. I purchase my pellets from the breeder I adopted my chinchilla from. It cost roughly 15 dollars and last me 3-6 months depending on how many bags I purchase.
As far as the timothy hay, you merely place it in a hay feeder on the side of your chinchilla cage, and they do the rest. You can purchase this on Amazon for extraordinarily cheap, and 2 bags of timothy hay last me roughly 2-3 months.
This is including the fact that I remove hay that’s more than 2 days old from the feeder and place a few handfuls of fresh hay in the feeder. Super easy and super cheap to care for chinchillas from this angle.
#2-Chinchillas Remain Clean, Odorless and Shed Less Than Other Common Pets
Chinchillas are incredibly unique in this aspect. Chinchillas do not smell. Completely odorless. If your chinchilla is emitting an odor, it’s likely due to an illness. If you provide them a dust bath 2-3 times per week, your chinchilla will be as clean as a whistle. Seriously, it’s spectacular.
Not to mention watching a chinchilla take a dust bath is loads of fun. Especially if you have never seen it before.
Additionally, compared to a dog or cat, you won’t even notice any shedding taking place. My chinchilla is kept in an unfinished area of my basement. After a few months, I can see dander on the boards in the ceiling above her cage and around the cage near the base.
Besides that, you don’t have chinchilla fur floating all around the house as other pets will cause. The only time you should even notice much if any chinchilla fur would be during play time and if you mishandle a chinchilla.
This may cause a fur-slip which is where a chinchilla will release a clump of their fur out of fear and as a defense mechanism.
#3-They Are Friendly and Loving Small Pets
This may not be an exact reason that raising chinchillas is an easy task, but it sure goes a long way in my book. My chinchilla is a sweetheart. She took a week or so to warm up after adoption, but she’s quickly adapting and becoming more social and loving than I anticipated.
She climbs all over me, sits on my head and even nibbles my ear from time to time. Chinchillas are extremely friendly and loving if you adopt them from the correct places. In most circumstances, I recommend not adopting a chinchilla from a pet store such as Petco or Pet Smart.
However, this doesn’t mean a chinchilla from these establishments will make your job any more difficult. Sometimes you can get a great, social chinchilla from a pet store, but I prefer a chinchilla that’s been socialized and well broke in to being around people and other chinchillas.
This one part that’s easy about owning a chinchilla in addition to being extremely rewarding.
#4-They Can Be Left Alone in A Separate Room
Don’t take this to an extreme. You shouldn’t necessarily be leaving your chinchilla for days or weeks at a time. However, chinchillas are awake at odd times and sleep most of the daylight hours. This means it’s usually best to keep them in a separate room from you.
If you don’t, they can wake you up bouncing around and jumping or even making some familiar chinchilla noises such as barking.
I see this as an advantage and not a disadvantage. I also work next to my chinchilla every day. One side of her cage is about 12 inches away from one side of my work desk in my basement. I like the idea that they aren’t jumping on your company or barking at visitors.
They are very easy to control in this fashion, and if you spend time with them each day, they are somewhat out of sight and out of mind. I’m not encouraging locking your chinchilla away in a closet but compared to other animals, I see this as something positive and something that makes owning a chinchilla as easy as 1,2,3.
#5-Chinchillas Are Very Cheap to Care For
If this isn’t a huge positive of owning a chinchilla, I’m not sure what is. Chinchillas are extremely cheap to care for. I’m sure a significant constraint individuals have when opting to purchase a pet comes down to price and price only.
A chinchilla is going to be the most expensive on day 1 due to the cage you purchase and purchasing the actual chinchilla that you choose. Outside of that, you are looking at maybe 10-20 dollars per month.
My numbers may be slightly above this, but overall, it shouldn’t be much more than this. I go a little crazy trying new toys and new things to do to interact with my chinchilla. Part of this is purely because I enjoy making YouTube videos for all my readers and subscribers, so I need to mix it up from time to time.
If it weren’t for this, I’d be in that 10.00-20.00 range as well. Timothy hay, pellets, and other essential chinchilla care items cost next to nothing. This is where chinchillas have a considerable advantage compared to owning otter animals.
#6-Chinchillas Don’t Typically Need Regular Visits from a Vet
I have not experienced a vet visit yet outside of the initial checkup. This wasn’t very expensive either. Chinchillas can get sick. It’s possible. In most cases, it’s going to be an issue with your chinchillas’ teeth or something such as a respiratory infection.
However, this shouldn’t happen often. Not dragging an animal into a vet or paying vet bills regularly is a big advantage and a welcomed break compared to other pets such as my dog. My dog has cost me more money than I can count since owning him for the past 6 years.
Another point in the chinchilla wins column as one of the easiest pets to own.
#7-Chinchillas Sleep a Majority of The Day
I’m going to admit that this can be a considerable advantage but also can be considered a downfall. It’s not necessarily the time of the day that they sleep that I can dislike at times. It’s the fact that during a lunch break or random weekend days, I’ll be in the mood to get her out to run around.
While I know for a fact she will come out on command, I typically let her rest. We have a structured routine that we prefer to stick too. However, for people looking for a pet that’s easy to care for in this sense, chinchillas are perfect.
A chinchilla will not need anything from you during the hours of about 9-5. They are sleeping a majority of the day and most active once in the early morning and once in the late evening. For my chinchilla, this is usually at 5am-7am and 7pm-9pm. This has allowed me to pick one or the other each day for play time.
I’m an early riser and usually, up around 4 am. The ability to pick and choose and have an easy calendar makes owning a chinchilla very easy to care for in my book.
Don’t be disappointed; however, if some of the time, your chinchilla is in the mood to sleep at the same time you are wanting to play with them or show them off to your friends.
#8-It is Possible to Potty Train a Chinchilla
I would tell you this is super easy, but I would be telling you a lie. Well, technically I suppose the process itself is straightforward, but it does require patience. Chinchillas can be potty trained to urinate in a litter box inside of their cage.
Considering a chinchilla’s poop requires less than 3 minutes total to clean up, and you can potty train your chinchilla to urinate in a litter box places them into an elite level of animals that are easy to take care of.
I’m currently underway with this process. I must simply continue having a small amount of urine-soaked shavings in the litter box, so she picks up the scents. It was rough in the beginning maintaining belief that it would work, but it’s slowly starting to take.
Not all small animals can be trained in this fashion. Considering a chinchilla can without a ton of additional effort, I’d say makes them one of the easiest animals to take care of. Plain and simple.
#9-Chinchilla Poop Has No Odor and Cleans Incredibly Easily
You have to love when an animal can poop more than 250 times in one day without one ounce of odor being emitted. Chinchilla’s poop does not smell. Let me repeat this. Chinchilla poop DOES NOT smell.
It’s hard little nuggets that can be swept up, vacuumed or grabbed/ wiped with a paper towel. It’s incredibly easy to clean and one of the most significant benefits of owning a chinchilla. Do I enjoy that they poop about every step they take? I suppose not, and fewer poop nuggets may be ideal.
However, at the end of the day, the fact she can spend her entire day pooping and I smell nothing, and I clean it up in about 2 minutes makes for a strong case as to why chinchillas are extremely easy to care for. Not difficult at all.
#10-Chinchillas Don’t Require Much Space in Your Home
Chinchillas do not require hardly any space in your home. A chinchilla cage should be about 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet. This takes up roughly the amount of space a medium size dresser would take up. Chinchillas also need about an hour a day out of the cage.
Unless you are like me finding smart things to do for this blog or for my YouTube channel. Chinchillas also don’t have 500 items to store away. Most chinchilla cages such as my suggestion of the Critter Nation 2 Level cage comes with an undercarriage for storing your bedding, additional food, and other chinchilla cage items.
The fact that I can own a loving and desirable pet with it taking up about 6 square feet in my home makes this a big positive in my book. It’s also a reason I believe caring for chinchillas is not hard at all. They are out of sight and out mind unless you choose to be near them or have them out for play time.
In a chinchilla proofed safe room of course.
#11-Chinchillas Don’t Need to Potty Outside
I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes the new pet owner feeling begins to wear off after 5 plus years. I couldn’t wait to adopt my lab when he was a puppy. I drove over 3 hours to purchase him. I did the same with my chinchilla.
Nothing seemed like a chore or task at the beginning with my dog. Nowadays, with a 2-year-old kid, me being 6 years older, simple things such as letting the dog out to roam in the -20-degree winter days can be frustrating.
I’m not advocating being lazy or unethical with your pets. I’m merely stating the obvious. You don’t have to walk a chinchilla or take them outside to use the restroom. In fact, while we are on the topic let’s point out to never to allow your chinchilla outside if you want them to live and stay around.
Chinchillas will run away and are likely to be killed relatively quickly if they get away. Anyways, the fact that they don’t require a walk around the neighborhood, being let outside in cold temps or bark in my ear at 5:00 am for a full food bowl makes them a great pet to care for in my book.
Some of you who don’t own other pets may be thrown off by this reason making my top 11 reasons, but it’s a big one to me, and I’m sure the dog owners or pet owners will understand that the fact that chinchillas don’t need these things make them an easy to pet to own. Hands down 100%.
5 Caveats That Can Make Raising a Chinchilla More Complex and Difficult
As promised, I didn’t want this blog post to seem one-sided. I’ve advocated up to this point how easy chinchillas can be to care for. I’m sticking to my story 100% and believe they are not difficult at all to take care of. However, I’m not going to lie and say a few things are not challenging or need to be disclaimed to someone potentially considering adopting a chinchilla in the next few days.
Let’s cover 5 downfalls or a few small details that could make current chinchilla owners argue against me that chinchillas could be challenging to take care of. I feel that you have this information will give you 100% all the information needed to cover this topic in depth and provide the answer you came for.
Let’s dive into the details and get it out of the way.
#1-Chinchillas Require Time Out of Their Cage
Although chinchillas are very easy to care for, they do require time out of their cage. Should be daily. If you miss a day every now and then, everything will be fine. However, you should not plan on adopting a chinchilla without the intentions of getting them out daily for 30-60 minutes.
This is a crucial time for your chinchilla to run around, play and take much need dust baths that allow your chinchilla’s fur to remain healthy. If this is something you are not looking for, one could argue that a chinchilla is more challenging to handle. Overall, I don’t see this as a burden and enjoy every day interacting with my chinchillas.
It’s an excellent form of stress relief for me and a good laugh most days.
#2-Chinchillas Require Lower Home Temperatures
Chinchillas require a different temperature to survive compared to other animals. Chinchillas cannot sweat and have the densest fur for any land animal in the world. This alone can throw people for a loop. This isn’t difficult, but if you don’t have a home with A/C, you may struggle to care for your chinchilla or adequately potentially kill your chinchilla.
A chinchilla needs to be in a room that’s 60-70 F with low humidity levels.
#3-Chinchillas Have Fragile Small Bodies
This could be another potential reason why individuals would state that chinchillas are hard to care for in some situations, but I disagree. I still believe they are chinchillas are extremely easy to care for. However, you need to be careful. Especially if you have small children.
Chinchillas have the rib cage about the size of toothpicks and tiny bones. You shouldn’t be roughhousing a chinchilla or allowing a small child to mishandle them or accidental step on them. This again is not a tough task, but it’s something you need to know before adopting a chinchilla.
#4-Chinchillas Can Run, Climb and Fit in Small Spaces
Chinchillas need a safe room to play in. You can even purchase a tent-like structure from Amazon to have a safe chinchilla room to interact with your chinchilla in. Chinchillas in a room with plenty of hiding spots may find a way to hide or run away.
It can take time to find your chinchilla in this situation because they don’t just come right out of hiding unless they are trained to respond to their name or noise such as tapping on their dust bath. You can also use safe chinchilla treats to lure them back out.
Again, this isn’t difficult but could be considered annoying and something you should know before adopting.
#5-Chinchillas Live for 15 + Years
This should make you happy. Not upset. Chinchillas live for a very long time. Especially under great care from you as the owner. However, 15 years or more is a big commitment, so some could argue this makes caring for a chinchilla a more significant responsibility than one may believe.
I see this as additional time to bond and have my chinchilla as part of my family, but I think you get the point.
If you are thinking of purchasing a chinchilla, you need to know that they live for this long duration and to be ethical in a manner that requires you not giving up your chinchilla in a few years purely because you get bored or lose interest. Commit to the long haul or don’t get a chinchilla in the first place.
In Summary, Chinchillas Are Very Easy to Care for Compared to Other House Pets.
So, let’s recap. Are chinchillas hard to take care of? Absolutely not! They are one of the easiest pets to own. In addition to being easy to care for, chinchillas are cheap to own and have no odor and cause little to no mess or fuss. In my opinion, if you are looking for the perfect pet for you and the family, a chinchilla is 100% the way to go.
You can’t go wrong, and they are loving and social creatures.
Give it a chance, and I highly doubt you will ever regret it. As always, I appreciate you reading. See you next time.
What’s your take on owning chinchillas? Do you believe chinchillas are hard to take care of? If you do, why do you think this? If you think chinchillas are easy to care for, leave a comment below.