So, you are thinking about adopting a new family pet? I’m assuming you are also looking for the most loveable, sociable and easy to care for pet out of the many that you can choose? Well, I can tell you that I currently own a chinchilla and absolutely have zero regrets about the decision. However, I do often see in Facebook groups, forums and other communities, a question that arises frequently. Do chinchillas make good pets? After owning a chinchilla, learning the ropes and even teaching my 2-year-old son how to bond and interact with my chinchilla, here is what I can tell you.
So, do chinchillas make good pets? Yes, chinchillas make great pets. Chinchillas are easy to maintain, low cost, low maintenance and can be taught to be extremely sociable and loving pets. Additionally, chinchillas can be great pets if your kids are old enough to handle them correctly and with care.
I do however understand that some evidence online points the other direction or could argue my statement that chinchillas are great with kids or great pets if you have kids in the household. I know that this point needs some in-depth elaboration and some further pointers to be laid out.
My goal in this post is to do just that.
Explain to you the good side of chinchillas and why they can make an excellent family pet. By the end of this post, hopefully, I’ve swayed to you or convinced you that purchasing a chinchilla is 100% worth it, but I guess we will find that out at the end of the post.
Let’s dive into the details and be sure to ask any questions at the end of the post in the comment box at the bottom of the page.
So, Why Do Chinchillas Make Good Pets? What’s Sets Them Apart?
In all honesty, after owning my own chinchilla, I could make this list longer than you would want to read advocating on why chinchillas make great pets, so I’m going to attempt to narrow it down to some easy to digest categories that further my point and strengthen my case.
First and foremost. A chinchilla is in the rodent family so one would believe that they are like adopting or owning any other rodent which couldn’t be further from the truth. Chinchillas are cheap, clean, friendly and loveable creatures. Let’s break down just these categories to get started.
Chinchillas Make Great Pets Because They Are Clean.
This was a massive bonus for me during preliminary research on which pet to adopt. Chinchillas 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!
If you don’t believe me, start by reading my post about chinchillas’ odors. You can see that here. It will guide you through what exactly will cause an odor from a chinchilla and when you will never even notice they are around due to odor.
The poop from a chinchilla doesn’t smell. The body of the chinchilla doesn’t smell! Assuming you allow your chinchilla to take dust baths regularly, you probably will never pick up an odor from your chinchilla at all.
Except For Chinchilla Pee. Chinchilla Pee Does Have A Slight Odor.
Chinchilla urine is a bit different. The bottom of my chinchilla cage is lined with shavings as most people probably do as well for their chinchilla’s cage.
If it’s been a few days and you haven’t cleaned the cage, the pee that soaks the shavings and bedding can put off a slight odor but, in all honesty, it’s nothing compared to other animals’ odors or 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.
Of course, you can choose not to believe me, but in case I am being 100% up front with you (which I am), why would I want to work next to a smelly cage all day long?
Now, also keep in mind that I take the 5 minutes per day to clean my chinchillas cage and keep up with it very diligently, but 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 me chinchilla cage just to show how you easy and clean these furry animals really are. You can see that here.
As far as the poop. No odor at all. Even when I have her out for playtime, and she poops near me, on me, on my head (kidding, well sort of), no odor emits from the chinchilla poop.
It’s just hard nuggets that you simply either vacuum up or dispose of in a garbage bag when you are done with playtime.
Chinchillas Are Extremely Cheap. Except For Day 1
Owning a chinchilla is exceptionally cheap. I mean cheap! Except for the initial purchase can be relatively costly depending on your budget but nothing dramatically out of line with the price you pay for any new pet that you choose to adopt and bring home.
Here’s a detailed look into the day 1 cost of owning or adopting a chinchilla.
1 Chinchilla- $150.00-250.00- Depending on Color, Sex, Age and The Rescue You Choose
1 Chinchilla Cage- $100-250.00- Depending on Quality, Extra Play Items, and Mobility
Bedding (Shavings)- $6-10.00 For Roughly 45 Days’ Supply
Food- Pellets and Hay- $40.00 For 6 Month Supply
Water Bottle- $3-5 dollars
Hide Out Box- $5.00 dollars
Toys, Treats, and Misc. Accessories- $10-15.00 dollars
Hay Cubes- $10.00- 6 Month Supply
So, yes, in the beginning, it’s possible you spend anywhere from $225.00-500.00 depending on how crazy you get and nice of a cage you purchase for your chinchilla but overall, you likely just got roughly 6 months’ worth of goods.
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 only expenses. If this is the case, you are probably looking at $5-10 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.
Hell, even my 100 lb. yellow lab I’ve owned for 6 years cost me roughly 65 dollars per month just on the food, and that’s not including any extras or additional items I may splurge on from time to time.
So, let’s recap. Why are chinchillas’ great pets? They are cheap!
Why Else Do Chinchillas Make Great Pets? They Are Low Maintenance!
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 would like to, but 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 in the next few weeks). When my chinchilla 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 but keep in mind that I keep it relatively clean daily 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 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 else to it.
Let’s also be real with each other for a minute. There have been days where I just don’t have time to get her out for long every day so if you miss a day or some days here and there, it’s not the end of the world.
Chinchillas Make Great Pets Because They Love You Back!
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 timid and didn’t want to do much of anything. After just a short week, she sits on my head, shoulders, nibbles my fingers, my ear from time to time (creepy) and will cuddle up in my lap and just hang out.
She’s even friendly and cuddly with me two-year-old son who can act somewhat out of control around her. The fact that she can remain calm, sit on a two-year old’s lap and my own, shows that they 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 with two paws up and standing on her back legs eager to say hello. They show just as much love and affection as any other animal such as a cat, dog, rabbit or whatever else you choose to adopt as pets.
More Reasons Chinchilla’s Make Fantastic Pets
How about the fact that chinchillas don’t shed much? Yes, sorry to inform you. Chinchillas do shed some, and you can notice the dust collect above the cage where they are kept. However, compared to a dog or another pet, the shedding is minimal.
You don’t have to go out and get a $500.00 Dyson Animal vacuum to keep up with the amount of hair coming off your chinchilla.
For anyone who has owned a pet that sheds in massive amounts can respect and agree that this is a huge bonus and a key deterrent or reason why people often don’t opt to adopt a pet in the first place. You don’t even need to spend the time brushing a chinchilla like you would need to with other animals.
Chinchillas Are Great Because They Do Things Other Animals 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. They 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 or interact with chinchillas. Especially with the 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’m used to just all the dogs, I’ve had in the past 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.
Chinchillas Are Not Aggressive. Another Great Reason to Adopt
Again, I’m sure that we may have people reading who have had a negative experience or two with a chinchilla bite, but in general, I can’t imagine a chinchilla not being a friendly loving creature. My son has provoked, prodded and annoyed my 1-year old female chinchilla and she’s never nipped or gotten aggressive with any of us. Not once.
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 have a fear of a chinchilla attack or any form of harm being inflicted upon you from your pet.
You would have to push them beyond an uncomfortable or scared point to reach the point where this would happen if I had to guess.
If this ever does happen, I will surely change and update this post to reflect just that, but for now, I’m sticking with my story because my chinchilla has never given me any reason to believe she would bite me, scratch me or harm anyone in my family that interacts with her.
Chinchillas Are Great Because You Can Multiple, Or Become a Breeder
I don’t know the exact specifics of what’s all required to perform this, but if you are the kind of person that likes this ability, chinchillas can undoubtedly offer this to you. A male and female chinchilla together will surely create baby chinchillas.
That’s how my rescue began, and they have been running the rescue for over 10 years successfully 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 chinchilla make great pets.
Who doesn’t like the ability to add more pets to our family if the situation calls for it?
Putting It All Together. Give It A Try. Chinchillas Make Wonderful Pets
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. From what I hear this is likely based on the rescue where you adopted your chinchilla from.
If your chinchilla came from a loving rescue 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, and yes, small children may frighten them.
It takes patience and letting your kids be around them. Let them break in and respect your chinchillas’ boundaries. Over time, the bond will be built, they will love you back, and chinchillas absolutely make fantastic pets, and I highly recommend pulling the trigger and adopting one if you are currently debating it.
What’s your experience with owning a chinchilla? Do you agree with me or have any key points to add about why chinchillas make fantastic pets? Do you advise all the readers to adopt a chinchilla as well? Leave your story and comments below, I’d love to hear from you and hear all your thoughts.
See you next time.