Chinchillas are rodents.
And most people expect them to be similar to other rodents as pets.
But they’re not. Not at all.
That doesn’t mean that both chinchillas and other types of rodents aren’t good pets. It just means they’re different.
And they tend to appeal to different people.
Keep reading for 8 reasons chinchillas make great pets. But we’ll also give you some reasons they may not be right for you.
That way you should be able to decide for yourself if the chinchilla would be a good pet for you.
- 1 Do Chinchillas Make Good Pets?
- 2 Chinchillas Make Good Pets For Most People
- 3 8 Reasons Chinchillas Make Good Pets
- 3.1 #1: Chinchillas Make Great Pets Because They Are Clean
- 3.2 #2: Chinchillas Are Extremely Cheap Pets
- 3.3 #3: Chinchillas Require Minimal Attention
- 3.4 #4: Chinchillas Love You Back And Show Affection
- 3.5 #5: Chinchillas Handle Most Grooming Needs On Their Own
- 3.6 #6: Chinchillas Do Things Other Pets Can’t
- 3.7 #7: Chinchillas Are Not Aggressive
- 3.8 #8: You Can Have Multiple Chinchillas (Or Become A Breeder)
- 3.9 Reasons A Chinchilla May Not Be The Pet For You
- 3.10 Chinchillas Also Make Good Pets For Children
- 4 Chinchillas Are Good Pets: Final Thoughts
Do Chinchillas Make Good Pets?
Chinchillas make great pets for a patient owner who takes the time to make sure the chinchilla is properly socialized from a young age. A non-socialized chinchilla can often be skittish and anti-social. But a social chin makes for an affectionate and friendly family pet.
But chinchillas are not for everyone. The rest of this post will look at both sides of the fence: when chinchillas make for great pets, and when they may not be the pet for you.
By the end of this post, you will hopefully either know that a chinchilla is not right for you, or you will be itching to go adopt yours immediately.
😕Adopting and caring for a new chinchilla can be intimidating and confusing. But it does not have to be.
Be sure to check out my full digital eBook “Avoiding Critical Mistakes: Ultimate Chinchilla Care eBook” to get the best advice, tips, and tricks and supply recommendations to make adopting and caring for a chinchilla much more comfortable and easier to understand.
You can learn more about this eBook offer using the link directly below.
Learn more here:👉 Avoiding Critical Mistakes: Ultimate Chinchilla Care eBook Offer
Chinchillas Make Good Pets For Most People
First, I want to start with a video I created that breaks down if chinchillas are the pet for you and if chinchillas make good pets in general.
Here is that video for you (I recommend returning to the post to finish the rest of it, because there are a lot of details not in the video).
In all honesty, after raising my chinchilla for the past 5 years, I could make my list advocating for chinchillas as great pets longer than you would want to read.
Instead of doing that, I am going to try and keep things simple and start with 8 reasons why I believe chinchillas make such good pets.
However, I am not going to pretend that situations do not exist where a chinchilla may not be the best pet for you or your family.
While chinchillas certainly have the ability to be extremely social pets, times also present themselves when you have a chinchilla that is more reserved and timid.
Depending on you and your preferences, this could be a major downfall.
My point is simple.
Chinchillas do make great pets for a variety of reasons. And a majority of the time, it is in the owner’s control to socialize a chinchilla to make for an excellent pet.
However, it is impossible to please everyone, so I’ll list out the reasons why chinchillas can be great family pets, but also and why sometimes it does not work out in this fashion.
Also, I’ll mention this word of caution again. The chinchilla is in the rodent family, which leads many to believe that they are like owning any other rodent. But nothing could be further from the truth.
The rest of this post will detail why.
8 Reasons Chinchillas Make Good Pets
As I wrote above, there are far more than 8 good reasons chinchillas make for great pets, but I didn’t want this article to get out of hand, so I narrowed it down to the 8 biggest.
#1: Chinchillas Make Great Pets Because They Are Clean
I love this about my chinchilla. These little rodents are clean, and I kid you not, they have almost no odor at all. Not even the poop.
That’s right, you read this correctly. Chinchillas do not smell!
Assuming you allow your chinchilla to take dust baths regularly, you probably will never pick up an odor from your chinchilla at all.
When a chinchilla does smell, it is likely to be the cause of an illness.
The exception is chinchilla pee. Their urine is a bit different and will begin to smell after a while.
My chinchilla cage is lined with fleece and it needs to be washed on a weekly basis, otherwise urine may cause an odor eventually.
If it’s been a week and you haven’t cleaned the cage, the pee that soaks the fleece or bedding can put off a slight odor.
In all honesty, it’s nothing compared to the odors put off by other animals odors. It is definitely not nearly as bad you would think.
To give you an idea, I work in my office from home for my full-time career. I sit roughly 3 feet from my chinchilla all day long. I’m also extremely OCD and a naturally clean person.
Now, also keep in mind that I take 5 minutes per day to clean my chinchilla’s cage and keep up with it very diligently.
Nonetheless, if I did get one day behind, I would not be worried in the slightest about the odor becoming overpowering to where I wouldn’t want to be in the same room.
I actually have a video of me cleaning my chinchilla cage just to show how easy and clean these furry animals really are. You can see that here.
I do not know about you but a chinchilla being a clean pet and not producing an odor is surely a reason that they make for good pets.
Who feels like owning a pet that is causing a stink in the home consistently? Not me, I can assure you of that.
#2: Chinchillas Are Extremely Cheap Pets
Owning a chinchilla is exceptionally cheap, which is another strong reason that chinchillas make for great pets.
When I say cheap, I mean cheap!
The most expensive day of owning a chinchilla is on day one. Or a few days before you buy your chinchilla. That is due to all of the accessories that you need to get. But the biggest expenses are the cage and the animal itself. By far.
Here’s a detailed look into the day 1 cost of owning or adopting a chinchilla:
- 1 Chinchilla: $150-$300, depending on color, sex, age and the breeder you buy from
- 1 Chinchilla Cage: $150-$350, depending on quality and size
- Bedding (Shavings): $6-$10 for roughly 45 days’ worth (use fleece liners to eliminate this cost)
- Food Pellets and Hay: $40 for a 6-month supply
- Water Bottle: $5-$35, depending on material and quality
- Nest Box: $10-25, depending on size and quality
- Toys, Treats, and Misc. Accessories: $10-$15
- Hay Cubes: $40 for a 6-month supply
So, yes, in the beginning, it’s possible you could spend anywhere from $250 to $600. More, if you wanted to. It depends on how crazy you get and especially, how nice of a cage you purchase for your chinchilla.
Overall, you likely just got roughly 6 months’ worth of goods and supplies for your chinchilla.
You’re also not going to be purchasing the actual chinchilla again, nor the cage, after the initial purchase, so you have now shifted to monthly expenses only.
And on an ongoing basis, you are probably looking at $15-$20 dollars per month max, for the supplies needed to care for a chinchilla in a great and ethical manner.
It doesn’t get much cheaper than that for owning a pet, which is clearly a reason in my book as to why chinchillas make for great pets.
Heck, my 100 yellow lab I’ve owned for 6 years costs me roughly $65.00 dollars per month just on the food. That’s not including any extras or additional items I may splurge on from time to time.
So, let’s do a quick recap. Why are chinchillas good pets?
They are about as cheap as it gets when it comes to friendly, loving pets the entire family can enjoy!
#3: Chinchillas Require Minimal Attention
I see conflicting information on this topic all the time as well. People act as if you need hours upon hours to care for a chinchilla ethically and lovingly, which is just not true.
My chinchilla comes out at the same time every single night. 8:00 pm. I afford her 1 hour out of the cage to play, if she wants to. She makes it very apparent when she wants to go back.
The basement that we are currently in is not very chinchilla safe now, so I purchased a large-sized playpen (getting ready to move her upstairs in the next week).
If you do not have a chinchilla proofed room for your chinchilla, I highly encourage you to consider a playpen for your chinchilla.
I own and use the first playpen listed in the article I linked to two sentences back.
I use it all the time to interact with my chin. And when she is done for the day, she simply goes to the part of the playpen that leads right back into her cage, and I let her back into the cage.
Easy as 1,2,3.
Additionally, cleaning her cage only takes me roughly 10 minutes a few times per week. Keep in mind that I keep it relatively clean all the time, by cleaning up noticeable poop and other issues in the cage every day.
This makes cleaning the cage on a full scale fast and easy when it comes to that time.
Outside of cleaning the cage, refilling food, checking for safety-related issues within the cage, and devoting playtime to your chinchilla daily, there is really nothing to it.
#4: Chinchillas Love You Back And Show Affection
I’m sure I might get some kickback for this comment, but it’s 100% true. When I first got my chinchilla home, she was scared and timid and didn’t want to do much of anything.
After just a short week, she was sitting on my head, my shoulders, nibbling my fingers, my ear from time to time (creepy), and cuddling up in my lap and just hanging out.
She’s now even friendly and cuddly with my four-year-old son who can act somewhat out of control around her.
The fact that she can remain calm and sit on a crazy four-year old’s lap, shows that these rodents do grow to love you and recognize you as the owner.
In the mornings if she’s sleeping, and she hears me come into the room, she will greet me standing on her back legs with two paws up, eager to say hello.
They show just as much love and affection as any other animal like a cat, dog, rabbit, or whatever else you choose to adopt as pets.
While we will discuss the possibility that you may get a less-friendly chinchilla, I am a firm believer that any chinchilla can be socialized with some effort and become a great pet. If you pet a chinchilla where it likes, it will love being touched.
Whether you are the type of owner that wants to put in this work is up to you, but it is not fair to bash a chinchilla and claim they are not a good pet, purely because you do not want to take the time to build a bond with yours.
All other pets require time to become loving and trusting as well, so a chinchilla is no different in this regard.
#5: Chinchillas Handle Most Grooming Needs On Their Own
How about the fact that chinchillas don’t shed much. Yes, they do shed some, but is minimal compared to other pets.
Not only that, but for the most part, a chinchilla will self-groom. You don’t have to go out and get a $500 Dyson Animal vacuum to keep up with the amount of hair coming off your chinchilla.
Anyone who has owned a pet that sheds in massive amounts can agree that this is a huge bonus. Shedding is a big reason why people often don’t opt to adopt a pet in the first place.
Outside of a few grooming and hygiene needs, like a dust baths, your chinchilla requires very little in this category. By the way, you can learn how to give a chinchilla a dust bath here.
You don’t even need to spend the time brushing a chinchilla, like you would need to with other animals.
Due to the little attention that a chinchilla needs in this category compared to many other common pets, I certainly believe they deserve another point in the “great pets” column.
#6: Chinchillas Do Things Other Pets Can’t
I haven’t owned every pet possible, but I do know that some of the things that my chinchilla can do are awesome, to say the least.
These little rodents can jump over 5 feet in the air (be careful with this, a chinchilla will run away or hide if given a chance). They can climb, double hop, and do all sorts of cool movements.
It’s entertaining to watch and it is always a blast to interact with my chinchilla. It is also great with younger kids, if you can keep them calm enough or teach them to play nice to avoid scaring your chinchilla.
Maybe it’s because I’ve had a lot of dogs in the past and nothing else, but interacting with my chinchilla is something I look forward to every day.
I honestly never know what trick she has up her sleeve for the day, which makes it that much more fun each day when it comes time for playtime.
#7: Chinchillas Are Not Aggressive
Again, there may be some people reading who have had a negative experience or two with a chinchilla bite, but in general, I can’t imagine chinchillas not being friendly, loving creatures.
My son has provoked, prodded, and annoyed my 5-year old female chinchilla and she’s never nipped or gotten aggressive with any of us.
Now, I’m sure that maybe we lucked out and just got a very well behaved and sociable chinchilla, but I think you get the point.
When you adopt a chinchilla, you shouldn’t fear a chinchilla attack or your pet inflicting any type of harm upon you.
I believe you would have to push your chinchilla beyond an uncomfortable or scared point to reach the point where it might get aggressive with you.
#8: You Can Have Multiple Chinchillas (Or Become A Breeder)
I don’t know the specifics of what all is required to become a breeder but if this is something that interests you, chinchillas make it fairly easy.
A male and female chinchilla together will surely create baby chinchillas.
What is even more exciting about this are all of the colors and mutations that chinchillas can reproduce.
My chinchilla breeders began as an owner of a single chin, too, and they have now been running the rescue successfully for over 10 years and clearly breed some fantastic chinchillas.
The fact that, in most circumstances, they can bond and interact with other chinchillas adds another positive to my book for a reason chinchillas make great pets.
Who doesn’t like the ability to add more pets to the family, if the situation calls for it?
Reasons A Chinchilla May Not Be The Pet For You
So, I think it is clear that I believe chinchillas make for good pets.
However, I understand that it is certainly possible that a chinchilla may not be the best fit for you.
This typically happens when you adopt a chinchilla and you do not know the previous history, and it was not socialized from a young age.
When this is the case, it can become even more difficult to gain the affection and trust of your chinchilla in the future.
This by no means makes them a bad pet but it can certainly make things more challenging if this is the case.
This is one of the primary reasons I always recommend adopting a chinchilla from a breeder instead of using a local PetSmart or Petco.
Again, adopting a chinchilla from a local PetSmart or Petco does not mean that they are bad pets but it is harder to know their history.
You also do not know how well they have been cared for, do not have the opportunity to meet the parent chinchillas, and have no clue how much socialization they have undergone.
Overall, I 100% believe that chinchillas make for good pets but yes, I will be the first to admit that sometimes you will have your work cut out for you.
Stick with a breeder and it is much more likely that you will not encounter this issue.
Chinchillas Also Make Good Pets For Children
Yes, chinchillas make good pets for children, but there are a few things you need to consider. Follow that link for more on that.
With the proper precautions, chinchillas make good pets for all ages. This could be your 11-year old or this may be a child that is even younger.
For children, I recommend only adopting a chinchilla if you are going to actively participate in the care, to teach your child the correct methods.
Chinchillas Are Good Pets: Final Thoughts
Chinchillas make for good pets. Case closed in my book.
To recap, I want to point out that adopting a chinchilla and letting them get acclimated does take a week or two and sometimes longer.
Some chinchilla owners report that it can even take months.
This generally depends on the rescue, breeder, or pet store from which you adopted your chinchilla.
If your chinchilla came from a loving rescue, breeder, or situation in general, and has been brought up to be social, loving, and friendly, this process should happen relatively quickly for you.
Sure, they do sleep a lot during the day, but in my book, this makes them easier to care for.
It takes patience and letting your kids be around them day after day if you are considering adopting a chinchilla for a younger child.
Teach your child to respect your chinchilla’s boundaries.
Over time, the bond will be built.
They will love you back, and chinchillas absolutely make fantastic pets, and I highly recommend adopting one if you are currently debating it.
Chili and I certainly wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla if you do decide to adopt in the near future and we are certain you will also come to believe that chinchillas make for great pets.
What’s your experience with owning a chinchilla?
Do you have any further reasons chinchillas make for good pets?
Any reasons why you believe a chinchilla may not make a good pet?
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 today. Thanks again and we will see you next time!
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