Owning A Pet Chinchilla [13 Pros and 9 Cons Explained]

Anytime you are considering adopting a new pet, you have some considerations you need to make to determine which pet may be best for you.

Deciding to adopt a new chinchilla is no different and understanding the pros and cons of owning a chinchilla is imperative for you to understand before the adoption in order to give you a clear picture in addition to allowing you to provide the most ethical and best care possible for your new pet.

Luckily for you, that’s what I intend to break down for you in this post here today.

I want to display all the unique and positive characteristics of the chinchilla, but I also want to put their cons and negative behaviors on full display.

Transparency is what it’s all about, and that’s what I intend to deliver.

Additionally, for those of you who don’t know this about me already, I’ve owned a chinchilla for nearly 2 years now and am speaking from experience.

Lastly, to make your life easy, I’ve created easy to navigate links directly below that will allow you to skip to any specific section of this post that you desire to learn more about.

owning-chinchillas-pros-cons

Here is what I intend on covering in today’s informative and brief 3-minute post:

As stated previously, if you want to jump around or have limited time to hear my rambles feel free to use the links above to skip to any specific section of this post that you desire to learn more about.

Otherwise, if you have those few minutes to spare, buckle up, and enjoy my quick list of all of the pros and cons you can expect to encounter after you adopt your first chinchilla.

Here is what you need to know.

Owning A Pet Chinchilla

First, before diving into deep, let me start with the most pertinent information and a few facts that you should know.

Chinchillas make for great pets in about every way possible.

In my opinion, they are one of the best rodents you can adopt.

Even compared to other popular options such as ferrets and rabbits.

They are unique in their own way and possess several desirable characteristics.

However, this doesn’t come up without the need to understand the potential cons and drawbacks of owning a chinchilla as well.

Research, especially in the beginning, no matter which pet you intend on desiring is imperative.

It helps you provide the care needed and to understand what you can expect after the adoption.

With that being said, let’s illustrate the most positive behavioral traits you can expect when owning a chinchilla, in addition to honestly displaying some of the negatives you can expect.

Let’s dive into those details now.

The Pros of Owning a Chinchilla

It was tough for me to narrow down my list of positives and the pros of owning a chinchilla to this small of a list.

Nonetheless, I’ve been able to bundle everything together into the 13 most desired traits and pros you expect.

Here they are.

#1- One the Cleanest Pets You Can Own

Okay, let’s not get to carried away. Yes, you have some work on your end when you own a chinchilla, but overall, these are very clean pets to own.

For the most part, outside of the necessary dust bath needed 2-3 times per week and regular cage cleanings, chinchillas, take care of themselves.

They don’t require any regular bath with water you may encounter with other pets and also self-groom outside of the dust baths.

They are soft, and outside of pooping small odorless pellets a few hundred times per day, these guys are about as clean as it gets.

It’s a unique perk and something that makes owning a chinchilla desirable, in my opinion.

#2- Chinchillas Shed Minimally

For anyone with allergies to pets, this is a huge plus. Chinchillas produce very minimal shedding and dander.

Overall, they are incredibly beneficial in this manner. Typically shedding will take place the most twice per year, but even during these times, it’s minimal compared to any other pet.

For any pet I’d want to own, the less they shed, the better. Period.

#3- Chinchillas Are Cheap to Own and Low Maintenance

Sure, you have some expenses to worry about in the beginning.

Items such as finding an awesome chinchilla cage or adding accessories will cost a few dollars in the early stages, but after these costs are eliminated, chinchillas are very cheap to own moving forward.

Clearly, this makes life a tad bit easier.

You have some re-occurring expenses, such as providing an adequate diet that includes timothy hay and pellets, but overall, the cost is minimal.

Pro-Tip- Considering switching to a cage such as the Critter Nation (Link to Amazon) or Ferret Nation.

These allow for easy upgrades to Fleece liners, which will reduce your monthly need to purchase other forms of the desired chinchilla bedding, such as aspen shavings.

I specifically use these Piggy Bed Spread Fleece Liners (Link to Amazon) and couldn’t be happier with them.

All you need to do is wash them in cold water and your good to go. No additional cost and no extra hassle.

For some quick resources on the items listed, you can view my other blog posts directly below.

For more information about the best chinchilla bedding, you can view my post here.

To learn more about the ideal and best hay for chinchillas, you can view my post here.

I also have a post here about choosing the best chinchilla toys.

Here’s a link to my blog post discussing the best chinchilla accessories.

And lastly, you can read my review about the Critter Nation 2 Cage here.

#4- Chinchillas Are Energetic and Entertaining

Perhaps the most beneficial part of owning a chinchilla is purely how entertaining and energetic chinchillas can be.

Especially when they are happy and socializing during a time out of their cage.

They will come right up to you, enjoy being pet, being brushed, and even sit on your head.

Not to mention how much fun they have jumping and climbing on just about everything they can reach.

It’s entertaining to watch, and they find a way to surprise you just about every day.

It’s by far one of my favorite parts of owning a chinchilla and can tell you that my 3-year-old son agrees and has a blast with our chinchilla as well.

#5- Chinchillas Are Incredibly Easy to Care For

I think anyone who has owned a chinchilla would agree with this statement for the most part.

Chinchillas are one of the easiest pets to care for.

Outside of ensuring you provide a clean and loving environment in addition to the correct foods/diet, chinchillas don’t need much else.

Seriously.

Get your accessories needed to allow the items to play inside of the cage, keep their cage clean and socially interact with them when time permits.

Outside of this, a chinchilla can remain inside of their cage the other hours of the day, and it should be stress-free for you.

If you don’t have dangerous items inside of the cage that they should not have such as plastics or other hazardous items to chew on, your basically free to do what you need to do, and they will take care of themselves.

It’s awesome.

If you have had a long day and just want to let your chin out for a few minutes for a dust bath and return them back to their cage, that’s perfectly fine, and your job will be done for the day.

Not to mention that a dust bath isn’t even necessary every day.

Only a few times per week.

Compared to other animals, a chinchilla is by far one of the most straightforward pets to care for while still bringing plenty of entertainment and joy.

That’s been the scenario for me anyways.

#6-Chinchillas Have Long Life Spans

Who doesn’t get excited about the fact that once you adopt a chinchilla, you can likely count on a bond and friendship that can last the next 15-20 years?

Compared to other rodents, chinchillas have one of the longest life spans.

A positive, in my opinion, for sure.

#7- Chinchillas Are Very Intelligent

This may not seem like an immediate benefit.

It’s something cool nonetheless.

Chinchillas are smart rodents.

My chinchilla can recognize her name, urinate in her litter pan, and even has a good understanding of when it’s time to come out and play and when it’s not.

Pretty cool if you ask me.

#8- Chinchillas Show Affection and Develop Heavy Bonds

If you want a pet that could care less about interacting with you than you should likely choose something other than a chinchilla.

With chinchillas, they absolutely need that interaction, and they desire the interaction.

Chinchillas are affectionate once they have warmed up to you and are social creatures in general.

All of this, in my opinion, points towards a clear advantage and perk that chinchillas offer as pets.

#9-Chinchillas Love to Be Around You and Other Chinchillas

This is somewhat like #8 on this list, but not entirely.

The point I’m trying to illustrate with this pro is that chinchillas love to be around other chinchillas in addition to having a chance to interact with you.

Certain precautions should be considered if you are housing male and female chinchillas together.

This is different compared to other rodents who are perfectly content being alone in a cage for the duration of their life.

Owning a pet that grows close to you and ultimately loves your attention and presence is what it’s all about!

#10- Chinchillas Find A Way to Bring A Smile to Your Face

This may tie into some of the other pros on this list but need to be mentioned.

Chinchillas simply use their unique personality traits and characteristics to bring a smile to your face.

They are continually doing something new or crazy that makes it nearly impossible not to smile at.

It’s hard to explain unless you own one, but trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

#11- Chinchillas Are Soft and Adorable

Who doesn’t want one of the softest pets on the earth? Not to mention, they are just more physically appealing pets compared to other options on the list.

Sure, owning a rabbit could be comparable, and both are attractive options.

However, comparing a chinchilla to another option such as a ferret is a no brainer.

At least in my opinion.

#12- You Don’t Have to Walk a Chinchilla

The only reason I placed this on the list is that I also own two dogs.

I’m not saying that walking them isn’t enjoyable and that I hate it from every angle, but when it’s 10 degrees outside, it sure would be nice not to have this chore on my daily list of things that need to be completed.

With chinchillas, clearly, you don’t have this task to complete.

Chinchillas don’t need to be walked, and from the standpoint of owning an animal that is just pure low maintenance, it doesn’t get much better than owning a chinchilla.

Period.

#13- Chinchillas Can Remain in Separate Rooms from You

Some of you may like this and some may dislike this.

I personally like this and don’t prefer to wake up in the middle of the night due my chinchilla jumping around her cage and acting crazy.

Chinchillas can 100% remain in a separate room from you.

In fact, I recommend it.

Now that we have all the desirable and awesome characteristics of chinchillas discussed and out of the way let’s move on and discuss some of the drawbacks, you may experience owning a chinchilla.

The Negatives and Cons of Owning Chinchilla

This list way relatively tricky to put together. Clearly, I’m an advocate of owning and adopting chinchillas, which is undoubtedly one reason it was difficult, but at the same time, I wanted to ensure I painted a full and honest picture for all the readers.

Here are the negatives you can expect owning a chinchilla.

#1- Chinchillas Require Ideal and Specific Temperatures

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is something you need to prepare for after adopting a new chinchilla.

Chinchillas need to remain at temperatures suitable for them. It can’t be too hot, or you take the chance of overheating and can’t be too cold either.

Humidity levels also need to be kept in check.

It’s not difficult, and something such as a climate-controlled home or apartment will do the job just fine.

If need be, purchase a de-humidifier to help battle humidity levels depending on where you live.

#2- Chinchillas Need the Ability to Grind Their Teeth Constantly

Chinchillas have teeth that never stop growing. Without the ability to properly grind their teeth, you run the risk of health issues arising due to overgrown teeth.

This does mean that you will need to continue purchase chew toys that are safe for the chinchilla to promote this.

Again, this isn’t even necessarily a bad thing, but one more additional item that needs to be checked off the list when you do ultimately decide to adopt a chinchilla.

#3- Chinchillas Are Often Awake at Non-Ideal Times

This again, is not a bad thing. It just means that you likely shouldn’t keep your chinchilla in your bedroom.

Well, unless you want to be awake at odd hours of the night or at the crack of dawn.

Chinchillas tend to be most active at dusk and dawn, although this may vary some based-on lighting in the location where you keep your chinchilla.

Nonetheless, ensure you have a room separate from where you sleep at ideal temperatures, and you will have nothing to worry about from this standpoint.

#4- The Initial Cost to Adopting a Chinchilla Is More Than Other Rodents

Again, refer to my pros when it comes to cost.

It’s a cheap pet to own, but if there is a time where it requires a few extra dollars, it’s at the initial adoption.

This is because you have to purchase the proper size cage at the beginning and all of the accessories.

The good news is that once these are purchased, those costs disappear for life for the most part.

In most situations, you should only need to purchase one reliable chinchilla cage.

They don’t do damage to cages in a fashion that would ever require a new one.

Just ensure that you attempt to avoid cages with wire bottoms due to comfort and potential injury hazards.

Trust me, I know the feeling of shelling out cash the day you adopt a pet, but when it comes to chinchillas, it doesn’t get much cheaper to provide the best care and hygiene for a chinchilla after these initial costs are in the past and done and over with.

#5- Some Chinchillas Don’t Prefer to Be Over-Handled or Cuddled

This is likely the first real con on this list. The others are more of items to complete or fair warnings.

However, this con can frustrate some chinchilla owners in the beginning.

Some chinchillas simply don’t become as cuddly as other chinchillas will become.

It’s just the way it is with this pet, but in all reality, it’s like this with nearly any pet you could choose to adopt.

The first recommendation I have for you is to read my post that discusses how to get your chinchilla to enjoy being held that you can view here.

Outside of that, remain patient and respect the signals your chinchilla is giving you.

Typically, once trust is formed, this won’t be an issue for you, but it can certainly take some time, depending on your chinchilla’s upbringing and history.

Hang in there and keep working at the relationship, and likely this won’t end up being an issue for you.

#6- Chinchillas Can Take Time to Form a Bond

We just talked about this in the last con listed.

Some chinchillas simply take more time than others to form a bond.

Most chinchilla owners agree that this is due to the socialization the chinchilla your adopting has experienced before coming into your home.

Of course, other theories are also offered for this.

Nonetheless, I spend enough time in social media groups and other forums to know that this is true and, in some cases, you just really need to work at it and remain patient.

Some chinchillas just like to show their initial emotions in a stubborn way.

Don’t worry; however, this will pass.

#7- Chinchillas Require a Relatively Strict Diet

Another item that made this list that in all reality, isn’t even a big deal.

However, it does need to be understood.

Chinchillas have sensitive stomachs and offering up the wrong diet or too much of certain treats can cause issues.

Ensure that your chinchilla diet remains timothy hey, pellets or hay cubes primarily.

Yes, chinchillas can eat some fruits and other items in moderation and small quantities, but for the most part, you need to be mindful of a chinchilla’s diet and be sure you are providing the best possible food for your chinchilla to remain happy and healthy.

#8- Chinchillas Are Less Understood and Not as Common as Other Rodents

What do I mean by this?

Well, I simply mean that when you own a chinchilla, and you have friends and family over, they are likely more confused and will have a lot of questions about your new furry friend.

This honestly kinds of shocks me due to how popular this pet is becoming.

Nonetheless, non-chinchilla owners are almost fascinated by this pet but don’t know much about them.

This also makes finding a reliable backup sitter for your new pet more difficult if you have plans to leave for long durations of time.

It’s not necessarily a problem but something to keep in mind heading into your adoption.

#9- Chinchillas Are Escape Artist and Know How to Hide

No, my friends, don’t worry.

Your chinchilla is not going to escape the cage or even attempt unless you leave a door wide open on it.

However, during playtime, you need to have proofed rooms.

This means ensuring that wires are covered so they can’t chew them and that you are not giving access to the entire house.

At least in the beginning.

Once you have more control of your chinchilla, you can certainly expand the play area.

However, in the beginning, chinchillas are naturally more timid, scared, and prone to run into clever hiding spaces.

Use a bathroom at the beginning of something such as the Pop-up animal play tent that I used for years and still use to this day if need be.

You can see that option here (Link to Amazon).

If you can keep tabs on your chinchilla while they are out and about, you are in good shape and have nothing to worry about.

Other Considerations to Keep in Mind with Chinchillas

Outside of what we have discussed with the pros and cons of owning chinchillas above, I highly recommend just to ensure that you educate yourself before and during the process.

Read other posts I have on this site. Be active in online communities.

All these things help you to understand what’s best for your new pet and ultimately will allow you to provide the best care possible.

Outside of these recommendations, I simply instruct you to have fun and enjoy these pets.

They are fantastic in many ways, and I’m sure you will agree after deciding to adopt one of your own.

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it, my friends. I certainly did my best to display and advertise all the pros and cons you can expect when it comes to owning a chinchilla.

In my opinion, the pros dramatically outweigh the cons, and the disadvantages are nowhere near a good reason not to adopt a chinchilla.

Plenty of reputable breeders in your area have great selections of different mutations and colors for chinchillas.

If you are currently on the fence about adopting a new chin, I highly encourage it and don’t think you will ever be disappointed.

That choice is ultimately in your hands.

I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla if you do ultimately decide that they are the pet for you.

Share Your Thoughts and Concerns

What have I left off this list of pros and cons when it comes to owning a chinchilla?

What do you believe needs added for the readers to understand the positives and drawbacks they will experience adopting a chinchilla?

Be sure to share these thoughts, concerns, and stories by dropping a comment below.

As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading.

Thanks again, and we will see you next time.

Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 1 year old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know.

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