Chinchillas as Pets

If you were to ask a pet chinchilla owner if chinchillas make good pets, you'll probably get an earful of all the care and maintenance they require. Only after getting through a laundry list of items will the owner respond with, “Yes, we think chinchillas are great!” Admittedly, we're the same way.

Responsible pet owners want to make sure that you're truly ready for the responsibility of caring for a chinchilla. Not because we don't want you to have one, but because we care so much about them that we want all chinchillas to live in perfect homes. We've already presented our list of reasons why not to have a chinchilla, so now we're going to get in to the more positive aspects.

  • First off, they're really cute combining the features of a rabbit (body), mouse (ears), and squirrel (tail).
  • Their fur is the softest thing you'll probably ever touch.
  • They're fun to watch when let loose from their cage as they'll run, hop, and bounce off of the walls.
  • Once your chinchillas trust you, they will be happy to run over to you and crawl on your legs, arms, and even in to your shirt.
  • They don't need to be taken outside like a dog.
  • They don't need a huge area to live in like a cat and dog.
  • They don't bark when you leave the house, chirp early in the morning, or scratch at your bedroom door at night.
  • They don't smell (although the cage can if you don't clean it often).
  • Chinchillas are generally healthy animals that usually don't need vet visits.

Can you think of any other items we missed? Feel free to mention them below.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (14 votes, average: 4.21 out of 5)


  1. if you want to get a chinchilla I definitely recommend them make sure to do your research on chinchillas and if you don't have quite some money I spent $500 on my animal toys and cage also make sure to NOT BUY ANY PLASTIC ITEMS IN THE CAGE IT IS TOXIC TO CHINCHILLAS IF THEY EAT IT AND IF THEY DON'T EAT IT THEY CAN STILL DEVELOPE THE HABIT OVERNIGHT but still chinchillas are a good pet for working parents and some older kids

  2. if you want to get a chinchilla I definitely recommend them make sure to do your research on chinchillas and if you don't have quite some money I spent $500 on my animal toys and cage also make sure to NOT BUY ANY PLASTIC ITEMS IN THE CAGE IT IS TOXIC TO CHINCHILLAS IF THEY EAT IT AND IF THEY DON'T EAT IT THEY CAN STILL DEVELOPE THE HABIT OVERNIGHT but still chinchillas are a good pet for working parents and some older kids

  3. I live in Tampa fl do you think I should get a chinchilla because my dog is dying ??and I can either get a chinchilla or another dog
    Please help me

    • This may be the opposite to your opinion, but whenever my pet dies I wait a while (a few months) to mourn him so I don't forget him straight away. But if you don't want to wait I think you could mix it up a bit with a chinchilla. :)

      My condolences for your dog.

  4. I need help I want a all white chinchilla but I have a fish six dogs and four cats I want one that's easy to get to I live in Thorton Colorado I need the price between free to 25$ please help me I have been searching for months but can't get one that's in that price range I need the supplies concluded along to I'm on a low budget

    • White chinchillas are usually the most expensive. Mostly because they are the rarest. Try looking at chinchilla rescues, there are a lot of them that need homes. You probably won't find any white ones but i cant assure you of that. You definitely won't find a cage for $25. But you can try to do some research and make your own cage. Chinchilla supplies aren't that expensive. You will need a water bottle, food bowl, safe chinchilla wood chew toys, hammock or ledge, wooden house to sleep in, A lot of hay, safe chinchilla food ( I recommend the bran Oxbow), dust bath or container, dust (no sand), fleece covering for the bottom of your cage, and those are just the basics, you could also get a wheel for your chinchilla to exercise. i know it sounds like a lot but chinchillas are high maintenance pets and need a lot of time and care. I hope you find a chinchilla to your likings. Good luck!

    • IF YOU CANT AFFORD A VET VISIT FOR AN EXOTICE ANIMAL, DONT BUY IT!!! A proper cage costs around $ 200-300 dollars. It sounds like you already have alot of pets so why put a chinchilla through all that stress. If you cant affort more than $25 dollars for everything, DONT GET THE ANIMAL. THINK ABOUT ITS WELL BEING. DONT BE SELFISH AND BUY AN ANIMAL JUST BECAUSE ITS CUTE!!!!!!!!

      You should never EVER own a chincilla. Odds are you will either neglect it or one of your animals will harm it. You have clearly never researched anything about Chincillas or else youd know this.

      Call me a bitch, whatever, i dont care about you, i care about the innocent chincilla that you could possibly be killing.

      • I believe animals are best placed in a loving home. If tabby would love one, I suggesting finding a used or free cage on Craigslist, and then searching for a rescue. They are healthy with few vet appointments, it most SPCAs will see them… just make sure you put a couple hundred away before bringing the pet home, just in case it gets sick. You may have to do it over time… but if you feel you can love the animal this much and you want to work this hard for it, i think that pet would be lucky and you can make it work. If it’s a rescue, you are clearly a better option. Good luck!

    • Hi!

      I have a white chin and black. My initial cost with 3 tier cage, all supplies and chin was close to $1000. So a $25 budget is not realistic even if it is a rescue. I would also assume a rescue chin will need a lot of care and it seems like you have your hands full already! Chin's are a long commitment they are not like a hamster or gerbil. They can live 15+ years, so if you are thinking rescue you have to consider going away to school or relocation that might not be pet friendly. This would be unfair to the rescue chin that may find himself in a rescue situation again.

  5. I have been living in a house with two dogs, and I have had it with caring for them, and cleaning up behind them, not to mention I'm allergic to them. I will soon be moving in to my own place and was considering a pet that requires less maintenance. I have narrowed it down to either a rabbit because ihad one before and they're sweet and easy to care for, and recently started looking in to a chinchilla have also seen a chinchilla rabbit, not really sure about that but still considering it. I live in Detroit and want to know where I should consider looking to purchase one. I saw online there are breeders but they have like farms with hundreds, and dont want to shop there because I dont want the risk of buying a sick or traumatized chin. And I'm guessing that buying one online is out of the question.........please help!

    • Try looking at local Chinchilla rescues. There are so many chinchillas that need homes and sweet caring families. I adopted my chinchilla because someone was about ready to give it to the pound.

    • Hi Danielle, If you are looking for a pet that is not high maintenance then you may want to rethink getting a chinchilla. They have very specific needs that can cause illness or death if not met. Plus they can be expensive to feed and house. If your chin develops teeth issues that is an ongoing expense because they'll have to be filed on a regular basis. Exotic vets are usually more expensive than average vets, plus chins require a certain temp/humidity. This can also be expensive if you live in a hot humid climate because you'll need to run an AC constantly.

      Hope you find a good pet for you. :)

      • Lol! Just spent $600 at the vet last month on my chin! Correct HUGE Commitment! Not even close to a rabbit? Research research research!

    • Pets are not disposable. You shouldn’t just decide you are done caring for them. That’s a horrible thing to do. You shouldn’t have another pet of any kind if you are just done caring for your dogs.

  6. I've been looking at chinchillas for years, and just a few weeks ago I got not one but two chinchillas for free. Both are females and came with a cage, dust bath, two bags of food, treats, and two big rolling balls. They are getting used to me enough now to climb out onto my arms when I reach in the cage. They'll climb into the rolling balls if I open the door on their own and they absolutely love it! I love chinchillas and would love to have some chinchilla babies, the only thing holding me back from getting a male chinchilla is the hair rings. Other then that I absolutely adore my two little chinchillas.

  7. I have 2 chinchillas named Andy and Snowball. They are both male as well and best friends.

  8. chinchillas are great! Im 13 years old and my 16 year old brother bought a chinchilla 2 months ago. Its a girl her name is dusty. Around 5:00 pm she gets so much energy. she runs and jumps on the walls runs on our shoes and us she also jumps on things that are tall like her big cage the bed. she loves it when you rub under her chin.

  9. We've had our chinchilla for 3 years now. We, at first, dubbed 'her' Scrat (Ice Age reference). Come to find out, 'she' was a boy! So he was renamed Dave Ninjilla Chinchizzle, and he goes by Dave. Ninjilla is because we once found him in a closed drawer, and he also used to (as a youngling) escape his cage, drink out of the sink (even though he had plunty of water), and then return to his cage. Chinchizzle because he is just that darn cool :)

    He is also our engagement chinchilla, as instead of a ring, my husband and I bought him toegether. Much better than a ring, hehe!

  10. My daughter has just purchased two female Chins and she has all the requirements they need. They were doing great until one day she found them hiding behind the washing machine..and they wont come out...?????

    I think it may be that the house she has just rented had owners with several cats and maybe they can sense this.

    We are having to travel down south now ASAP to try and get them out.

    • My chinchilla did this with my refridgerator, he found a nook where he coudl hide, the only way to get him out was to move he fridge to the side and bribe him out with food. The bad thing is he discovered the "wire" of the fridge and chewed it to pieces and the wire was too close that I could not replace it. Ended getting another smaller fridge way on top of a shelf and the wires above the ground. They really like small dark places and the seek comfort in it.

    • Since chinchilla's love their dust bath,,,when mine have escaped i have put the dust bath house close and lured them that way. But i sympathise with you, they are really hard to catch when they get out

  11. not true about vet trips.if you have a chinchilla who doesn't chew everything in sight,vet trips are a part of life.their teeth grow through-out their lives.which means teeth-shaving,which can be costly.also,it might be fruitful to ensure that there is chinchilla specialist in your area,especially if you live in a rural area.i had to drive 60miles each way to ensure my chinchillas health.was worth the drive though,best pet & friend i ever had!

    • did you give your chinchilla some hay and things to chew on? most chinchillas dont need to go to the vet unless its an emergency. if theres nothing to chew on then the teeth will grow, which will cost you more money than if you just bought it some wood and hay to keep the teeth in check. the only thing i can think of that a chinchilla would need their teeth trimmed like you mentioned is if the chinchilla had malo, which is when the teeth grow wrong so the teeth need to be trimmed when needed. eventually the chinchilla will die from it. if that is what was wrong with you baby im sorry you had to go through that. its supposed to be horrible.

      • Even if you give things for a chinchilla to chew on, their teeth may grow and need to be shaved down. This goes along the same line as even if you exercise and eat right, you could still have a heart attack in your 30s.

        Whenever you buy a pet, well before actually, you should know where the closest vet is, if they have emergency hours, and if you can afford things like surgery or the emergency fees. You should also do as much research BEFORE you buy an animal so that you know what you're doing. You don't wait until your child is born before you read birthing books.

        There are some pets that have no health issues and are going to be healthy their whole lives, and never have to go to the vet hospital, but there are some that get sick and are sick from day 1. Also, even if you buy a pet from a breeder, you should take into account how old the animal is. If the animal is already 3 years old and you are "adopting" from a breeder, there is a good chance that this animal was used as a breeder and could have a lot of metabolic issues at the time of adoption or later.

        Also, just because the person at the pet store does not know the entire health history of the animal, it does not make it their fault if an animal is sick. I have grown up in a pet store (I am 25 years old now), and sometimes, even if someone gives you the info of an animal that has been bred, they are only human and can be lied to by the breeder

        Just because someone works at the pet store, doesn't mean they are a veterinarian or biologist that studies animals. Thank you for your time.

  12. you guys are amazing. so much information thankyou so much i just got myself a chinchilla her name is kiwi born 4/30/10 =] well shes not home yet shes with my breeder in newyork near me so ill pick her up in july but thankyou so much for the information.

  13. Hello,
    I'm all ready to get a chinchilla this weekend but i still have a few questions and i hope someone can answer them...

    1. my dog sleeps with me at night in my room (the same room the chinchilla will be sleeping in ) is it ok for my dog and chinchilla to be together?
    2. Also is it alright to put hay at the bottom of the cage for bedding?
    3. Are female chinchillas more social then a male chinchilla or the other way around or.. are they both pretty social? i know it depends on the way they were raised though too...
    4. And would it be better to let the chinchilla run around my very large room or would it be better to let it run around the pretty small bathroom?

    if anyone can answer my questions it would be great thanks lots,

    melly :)

    • Hi Melly,

      1.) Having ur dog in the same room shouldn't be a problem. My two kitten Mickey and Mallory are very curious of my chinchilla Nacho but he too Is also curios of them. Just make sure that the dog can't swat at/ or hurt ur chin.
      2.) Actual bedding is best as chinchillas eat a lot of hay. I put a pile in Nacho's cage almost daily. He eats it right up. The bedding is inexpensive and comes in a couple of different colors. :)
      3.) I've had two male chinchillas who turned out to be very social. Get a young one whichever sex and handle it a lot. I think that makes all the difference. Treats help too :) but not to many.
      4.) I block off my kitchen and let Nacho run around a couple hours about 4 nights a week at least. My list chinchilla had run off the house and chewed on the drywall, there was to much for him to get in to and he died one night. I think he choked on drywall. :( anyway, Nacho doesn't get in to anything in the kitchen, has no chords to chew and loves bouncing off walls, and the front door. I miss Nugget who was very friendly, but Nacho goes back to his cage on his own when I go to the kitchen to out him away and is more social then my last.

      Hope that helps and enjoy ur new pet! They are absolutely the funnest!


      • Hi Nicky, Sorry to hear about your chinchilla dying after eating drywall. Most forums I've read really emphasize not letting a chin run around unsupervised. It's best to be in the room with them when they run so you can avoid things like untimely deaths by chewing on things.

    • I will try my best to answer your questions.

      1) Do you plan to put your chinchilla in a cage or let it run free? You may want to see how the chinchilla and dog act together prior to letting them loose in a room overnight. The dog could very possibly kill your chin. Chinchillas are also quite timid at times. You wouldn't want it frightened by the dog's bark or growl. Since you mentioned a cage in question 2, I think it would be fine to have them in the same room... as long as the dog doesn't knock the cage over or bark and growl constantly at the chin.

      2) You could use Timothy Hay or something like that... the chinchilla will lay in it & munch on it.

      3) I've had both male & female chinchillas... they are both pretty social. I basically depends on how they were raised.... You'd probably be better off getting a young chinchilla or one that is used to being handled if you want him/her to be social. I will add that males are a lot dirtier than females.

      4) I think you should let your chinchilla run around any room but the bathroom or kitchen. They can't get wet. A bathroom or kitchen could be disastrous. Just make sure all of your cords (TV, DVD, Cable, stereo, phone charger, etc) are covered where she can't chew them. She is a rodent & she will chew things.

      I hope this helps. Good luck with your new chin!!

    • i got a chinchilla like 2 weeks ago and i think there great my two dogs come in my room all the time and he doesnt care the person at the pet store said that males are more social a small room would be better you shouldn't put hay in the cage because they eat the hay and might be eating to much if you have questions you can ask the people at the pet store

    • Hey Mellonie! I'm not sure why nobody mentioned this, but you do know that chinchillas are NOCTURNAL? Meaning that they will be AWAKE AT NIGHT, & VERY ACTIVE! You probably won't get much (or any) sleep if you keep the cage in your room. I had to keep my chinchilla boy in the same room, overnight, once=couldn't sleep at all for all the noises, running & bouncing he did. I found that paper pet bedding (I buy fragrance & color free "Fresh Natural", by All Living Things brand) works great for my two boys: no artificial color, or fragrance to mess with them or stick in the fur, RECYCLED, & it's very absorbent to keep them dry, plus it's not expansive. I always keep a lot of hay(a designated "hay corner") for them to eat, & they love to bury things in it, just make sure it's dry & clean. Remember to give them DUST baths regularly. I highly recommend an exercise wheel=my guys LOVE to run in theirs. As for having your dog in the same room, just supervise their initial contact & go from there. If the dog is not attacking, or trying to eat your chinch, then it shouldn't be a problem. I once had a dog that would come & get me if her "charge" was wandering outside the room which he was supposed to stay in! The more you handle & interact with your chinchilla, the more social they'll become regardless of gender. I started by adopting one male chinchilla, & even though I've spent a lot of time with my pet, I think he is much happier now that we've adopted a second boy, to keep him company. Anyhow, I hope this helps? Best of luck with your new friend!

  14. Hi again, What usually happens if you go away for a weekend or longer, do you take the chinchilla with you or put him up &if so with who?

    • You do not have to take them with you. We have 2 chinchillas (they live better in pairs) and we leave them home for weekends all the time. As long as they have food and water ( possibly some sticks to chew on for their teeth) they should be fine. A weekend is fine, but any longer than say 4 or 5 days, i would just possibly have a neighbor or friend or family memeber check up on them make sure they are doing fine, for their safty and your peace of mind.

  15. How do chinchillas do in the northeast mod. temp winter 75-80 ?

    • 75-80 Is not safe for chinchillas. They will easily overheat. 72 degrees Farenheit or lower is best to make sure they dont get heat stroke.

  16. I read that chinchillas do not like extreme temperatures- cold or hot. Whatever is comfortable to you, should be comfortable to him. I just wouldn't suggest putting him right around a vent that blows heat or cold air right on him.

    • I've moved into Sr. housing and lacking in floor space and just moving in here I find it can be pretty cool. I try to keep it around 70 deg. I really want
      a pet but cannot have a small dog sooo.?

  17. well im really interested in getting achinchilla but im still trying to figure out how does the dust bath work? do you just put a bowl of dust in their cage and just allow them to shake around in it? or do you rub the dust on them as if bathing a real child? and where would i find the dust bath at the store?

    • You can find chinchilla dust bath in pet stores that carry the chinchilla food. Usually the larger chain stores carry everything you need. They also have dust bath houses. You simply pour dust bath into the house, and the chinchilla will get in and roll around. Virgil will literally flip all over the place, around and around, until she's covered in it. You can get scented dust bath too! (I love the vanilla bean!! It smells just like a capuccino!) :) Some people just put it in a box if they don't want to purchase the plastic bath house.

    • You can buy an enclosure for the dust bath and it goes right into the cage.It is kind of like us going into a shower.The chinchilla will go into the enclosure after you have put some dust in it and the chinchilla will kind of bath in for awhile.You can buy the chinchilla dust at a pet store...special dust.They love it, rolling around in it and everything.

    • I have a big bowl that I used to use for making salads and popcorn and things that I now use for our chinchillas dust bath. We pick everything up off the bathroom floor and any surfaces the chinchilla can reach and put the bowl with dust in the middle of the room. He loves to run around and bounce off the walls and it is easy to sweep up any dust he spills out of the bowl afterward.

  18. i live in the uk and have a white chinchilla i just want to know when are chinchillas happy when its warm, cold or doesn't it really matter he is one year old and i want him to be happy ?

    • Chinchilla's can handle colder tempertures better than we can because of their thick coats. On the other hand they should not be kept in a enviroment that gets 80F or hotter. You can tell when they are getting overheated because their ears turn red.

  19. i used to never know what a chinchilla was, until last year i really wanted a pet because i've never had one of my own, i was only aloud to have a small, cage critter. at first i wanted a bunny, so i looked up info about bunnies and then i found out what a chinchilla looked like, then i HAD to have one. cute furry and playful. i was so excited! i looked up everything i could know about them. i noticed that there was allot i needed to do in order to make sure my chinchilla was a healthy one. i told my grandmother about it and she thought it was the cutest thing ever. so for my birthday (last year) she said i can have a chinchilla that i've been talking about for like two months. he's light gray and super friendly. at first he was very shy, but we grew pretty close. i've had him for a year now, and i love him. he's very silly. he tries to do little flips against the wall. its really really funny. i love him!!!

  20. i have a chinchilla named midnight and she is a black velvet. she is the most softest,most playful,and the most cutest thing in the
    world. i have had her for almost a year and she is a amazing creature. i looked online for some reasearch about them and i found out some interesting stuff. first of all they are playful,curious,and smart. also did you know that they are thirty times softer
    than human hair.also they can jump up to five feet.bugs cant get in there fur because there fur is so thick.

  21. I just got an 8 month old chinchilla from a friend of mine who also owns a 'ma and pa' pet store. Every time I would visit him and purchase feeder fish and pellets for my turtles, I would eyeball this chinchilla. I'd go visit him and talk to him, sometimes holding him. After much research and contemplation (we're talking almost 6 months now) I went in just one week ago and decided I wanted to take him home this time.
    In just one week I am so much happier, not to mention calmer, with him in my own.
    I named him Spicolli as he is so calm and relaxed, and watching him makes me think of Spicolli (Fast Times at Ridgemont High). He lays there on my chest with his eyes closed, his little head resting on me.
    He also is very tolerant of the fact that my 3.5 year old is constantly running over to pet and kiss him.
    I'm so happy I bought Spicolli, but can't help but wonder why I waited so long.

  22. Rachel, I have to say that your comment is my favorite by far that I've read on this site. I've often found myself sad for the chinchillas that belong to some of these people! Prior to getting Virgil, I bought several books and researched the net thoroughly to be certain my chinchilla would have the very best care she could get. Unfortunately, some people really don't understand the simplicity of caring for them or the importance of the "rules" to follow. They are amazing pets! I've never had a pet that I loved more than Virgil. She's the best! I'm really glad that you and your husband have such an awesome pet too! Congrats on your new baby!!
    PS- I LOVE NINJILLA!!! That's hilarious! I cannot tell you how many times I have called Virgil my Lil Ninja! haha That's awesome!

  23. My husband and I, to celebrate our engagement, bought a chinchilla 2 years ago. We named him Dave Chinchizzle. (An ode to his parents, their names were Chinchi and Chilli). Right now he is housed in a dog kennel cage (pretty big, but no shelving (I bought him some parrot perches, a bathhouse, an igloo, and fanagled him a shelf out of a smallish piece of lumber) or catch tray at the bottom) but we are looking into getting him some new real estate.

    Among his favorite treats are cherries, grapes, blueberries, apple slices, roasted almonds, every once in a while we give him a tortilla chip, salted , and ritz crackers. We have also found that instead of room temp fruit, he REALLY likes it frozen! I figure it also is a good temp thing for him, but he scarfs down frozen fruit, and leaves the non-frozen stuff. We give him one piece of frozen fruit (unless its blueberries, we give him three of those, cause they are tiny), one almond, and only every once in a while a cracker or chip. On top of that we make sure that he has plenty of hay, pellets, water, a salt block, and lots of nibbles for his teeth (wood, and one of those critter chews made of alfalfa, which I have also turned into a shelf for him - a critter log attached upside down to the top of the cage near his food shelf makes an excellent hidey hole).

    We spend about 15 quality minutes with him a day, every day. Its hard to find time to spend more - we both just finished college, we have a 5 month old baby, we are moving soon, etc. But Dave is AWESOME and likes to be petted on the head and neck, about half the time, he lets me stroke him down his back, and KNOWS what that big container means - bath time! My hubby also nicknamed him Ninjilla - we once found him escaped from his a closed drawer...

    I have to say, he is probably one of the best pets I have EVER had. We love the fact we are going to have him for a long time. He is also great entertainment, and my small nephew (3 years old) enjoys watching him, and feeding him his daily treat.

    • that was supposed to be salted roasted almonds, heh

  24. My boyfriend and I just recently took in a chinchilla that wasn't cared for the greatest...He is just the sweetest thing you could ask for...I went and got him the dust bath, timothy hay, and food he'll actually eat (the food they had he didn't like), treats and most recently raisins...He likes the raisins and really seems to like the timothy hay...He's in our bedroom by the computer desk so everytime we sit down at the computer he climbs up on his hut and wants attention so I usually take him out and hold him while I'm on here...They are the greatest pet to have...Now that I have one I want more...

    • The only thing that you need to worry about is the fact that all chinchillas are diabetic. It's not the kind that we are concerned about, they don't need daily shots, but that is why they have created specific treats and food combinations for them. That is probably why the chinchilla didn't enjoy the food it was given before.

      • I do believe that you are incorrect and need to be brought up. All Chinchilla's are not diabetic and diabetes is as dangerous for chinchillas as for humans. I could not find one story on Google to back up you statement Amanda so please give me your source. I also asked a pet store who owns chins.

  25. Hello. Our hospital has a chinchilla that has not been doing so good lately. We've been researching, and reading and trying to find help. She does eat, but not a lot. She never takes treats from our hands any more. Her fur is looking almost oily, and there are several places with tuffs hanging out. She has a bald spot around one of her eyes from rubbing it. She has lots a ton of weight, and her eyes seem sunken. Her head is almost always cocked to the right. She is very skiddish now. Changes in her lifestyle; 5 months ago we moved her location, stared trying to make sure her bedding was changed every couple of weeks, and lots of treats. Please help

    • If that hospital isn't equipped or educated enough to do more than use this chinchilla as a lab rat, you should move her to a place that has more knowledge. Have you given her a dust bath? You should have someone check her teeth to be sure they are growing properly or not too long. That can cause problems in their sinuses and eyes. Offer her fresh water daily to drink. And get her to someone that has experience with chinchillas or exotic animals.

    • You should be careful about how many treats you give your chinchilla. They have very sensitive digestive tracts and shouldn't be eating more than 2 raisons a day. Try to cut back on the amount of treats that you give her, hope it works.

  26. I think my Chin smiles at me. He did this to me when i met him. He lived in a horsestable, he was looked after but not cared for. I offerd to take him whith me after i thought he smiled at me. Chins have several facial expressions and i love to communicate whit him 'pulling faces'.
    Give it a try its fun, true or not...

  27. My boyfriend and I just bought a chinchilla from a pet store, we brought him home and I know that it will take time for him to adapt to his new environment but how long will this last? It seems that he is barking a lot is that normal? When will he start making sounds that lets us know that he is happy? We bought him all of the necessities and also got him cubes of timothy hay, how often should we give this to him? I have also heard that we could give him raisins. I have read that you could give them 2 a day but somethings say 2 a week which is true? We already gave him 2 and he seems to like them but we are scared to give him too many. We also don't know when we could let him out of his cage. We thought of letting him out and watching him while he was in a small bathroom but we thought it might be too soon. We would also like to take him out and give him his dust bath but we don't want to take him out if it may put to much stress on him, how long should we wait to do this? About how long do you think he will start trusting us? We have only had him a couple of days.

  28. Do chinchillas Have to go to the vet?

  29. they can have cut up apple and carrots, right?how often do you need to clean the cages?the cage that we got for the chinchilla is kind of rusted on the outside and kind of dangerous,it was an outdoor cage I think.what other kind of cage can they be live in that does not take up a lot of room, it is by do you tell male from female..stupid question huh?

    • Hey Deborah- They can have a little cut up apples, but you don't want to give them enough to make their poop mushy. You should also be sure to give them plenty of the dry pellets. Timothy hay is really good for them also. I have 2 chinchillas that absolutely love papaya as an afternoon snack and one that loves dandelion treats as her afternoon snack. Most love raisins, but none of mine are big on raisins. Mine love pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and almonds, but be careful because nuts and seeds are very fatty.
      I would suggest using another cage that isn't rusted as your chinchillas will chew on the cage when they want a snack and attention... and sometimes just to chew on something. Rust could not possibly be good for them. They have a very fussy digestive tract- when they eat something that doesn't belong. Because they do not drink very much water, they are easily dehydrated. You don't want them to get diarrhea. I also do not suggest getting a plastic cage because as I said, they'll chew on it and they can swallow the plastic pieces. The cage should be tall because chinchillas love to climb and jump, but it doesn't necessarily have to be very wide. If you don't have very much room for a chinchillas cage, you probably don't have very much room for a chin.
      I had Virgil, my first chinchilla for over a year before I found out that "he" was a "she". If you've never seen a male chin, then you can easily confuse a female for a male.... But since I've actually seen male chins, I know Virgil is a girl.

  30. I might get a chinchilla but I'm afraid that it won't like me or my other pets (3 cats 1 dog). The chinchilla is being given by a friend and I know it's compatible with dogs. And I read online a special technique to get them to cooperate with cats but what if it doesn't like me? Will it refuse to let me pick it up or will it get stressed out by the change of enviorment or will it hate me because I'm not his original owner? HELP!!!!!

    • It may take a while for her/him to adapt. Maybe even months to a year but I promise you as long as you keep her/him in a cage and let the cats hang out in the same room as your pet they will grow use to your new sweet lil baby. Dogs on the other hand like to chase them so beware more of your dog when he/she get excited with your chinchilla. My cat loves my chinchilla! My dog does to but she get too excited and I have to seperatethe two. Becareful not to have any doors open when you let them out of the cage they are FAST! My friend lost theirs by not closing the doors.

  31. i have 5 chinchillas and their so cute! Buttons, my newest one is about 8 weeks old and i just got him a few days ago but he still loves playing with me and he cuddles with me. i named him buttons because he's cute as a button. Patches and Yuki are wild and crazy! patches even looks kinda crazy too but in a cute way. he's a mosaic with huge black rims around his eyes. Gucci and Whiskey each oddly have cute lil eyebrows! i love them all.

  32. I had my chinchi for jsut about a year now. I got him when he was fairly young, he was about a month and a half, a little ball of hair that missed his mum and hid in my hands and hoodie for shelter. Now he is slightly big to roll around in my hoodie but he loves going for walks in the park sitting on my chest in my hoodie, poking his head out full time to observe the craiziness. Chinchins are awesome, exept for one thing in my case, the constant humping of my hand if he doesn't see me for more then 4 hours (when he finally does) and leaving his liquids all over it. He has a humping toy, a fake fur hat that is gray and fluffy so I guess he found his soulmate, poor guy. Another cool thing about chinchins s that they are the only rodent and is going to start crying in the middle of the night because he wants a belly rub (or a chinchilla rub I guess, mine loves to have hus belly rubbed too). They are truly great and deserve all the high maintenence butt pain that he gives me. Just don't let them free in your room, they will get under your bed and chew on everything stored theere and poop.
    My chinchilla also likes playing wiht my other animals - I have beta fish and he just lovs going up to the tank and getting them riled up and then jumping on the tank lid. He is a bully spoiled kid. It's not nice, but funny.

  33. I have had Nugget for a little over a month now. He is awesome! He bounces off walls, my movie shelves and loves running up and down the stairs. He's hilarious to watch. I give him triscuits, raisins, and dehydrated banana chips and he loves them all. Last night he jumped on the couch and into my lap (first time ever), right up into my face looking for treats because I hadn't given him anything yet. We were lucky to get one that did not take much coaxing for trust. He's very comfortable here and has a 3 tier cage. I think he's even starting to ask to come out now. He stands in the same spot sniffing, can't wait til he starts making noise to get my attention but I do think he's now asking for things in his own way. He loves being rubbed on his chinchilla and acts like a cat when he is, turning his head into your finger when you rub him in just the rub spot.

  34. I just got a chinchilla... I LOOOOVVE it! His name is Brutus. Aparently we got really lucky... He is cuddly, friendly, calm, and not timid at all. It is like everything I have read so far on these little critters is the total opposite of what I have ... Or maybe I just got lucky and got a very awesome Chin. Either way... I am going to really enjoy this adorable addition to our family:-)

  35. My ChiChi won't allow me to take her out of her cage.. When attempting to she stands on her hind legs and urinates on me. How do I get her comfortable eenough to allow me to let her run around?

    • What you wanna do is gain the trust of your chinchilla which can only be done over a period of time. What I did was just open the cage everyday I came home and pet her kinda like you would a cat but a lot more gentle and do this slowly making sure that the chinchilla will accept your hand. Do this as a routine so the chinchilla gets used to it. And what I did was even if she didn't come to me at first I would give her a treat usually Timothy hay that way she associated me coming home and opening the cage to pet her with getting a treat. Eventually she started to stand on my hand and now when I pet her she lifts up her chinchilla and loves it. Its the funniest thing and about getting her out of the cage I have my cage kinda low to the ground so I chinchilla proof the room and open the cage and just sit and wait I did this everyday for about a month and she would slowly peak out but never all the way and now I leave the cage door open sit on the bed and she practically jumps out of the cage as soon as I open it. Patience and routine is the key with any chinchilla if your trying to make them trust you.

    • Wow I* have herd so much about a chinchilla I really want won when I grow up but for now I think I will just read about them....=D well best of luck with your chin

  36. I am pregnant. Can petting or cleaning my chinchillas cage cause harm to my pregnancy? Thanks.

    • It's highly unlikely, just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after you do such tasks.

  37. Hi,
    We have a chinchilla and she is lovely, we haven't had her for long and although I think she is getting used to us i'd like to "reward" her for good behaviour. I've read so many articles on feeding chinchillas and they are all different. Please can you give us some ideas, some say no raisins or nuts others say 1 raisin a day is fine.

    We are in South Africa and chinchillas are not very common here, therefore niether is any info.

  38. Hello my name is Vivian and I own a Chinchilla named 'Chewey' as he chews just about everything. One night he got out of his old cage, got on my boyfriends dresser, took his wallet and brought it back into his cage and chewed it to pieces. Yum! He is just absolutely adorable. He LOVES to eat and take dust baths. He gets along with my dog as my dog is very gentle and just lets Chewey climb all over him. He is grey and white and has spotted ears which I think is the coolest thing ever. My previous Chinchilla 'Wilson' whom died from my old roomates dog ripping its cage apart and killing him, didnt have spotted ears and LOVED to cuddle. I would lay in bed with him and he would sleep in my neck and when I would hold him I would put my hand over his face and he woud fall asleep. He loved going in my shirt and sleeping and would fall asleep when I sang to him. I found this odd for a rodent, but totally cute. Chewey, whom I have now, does NOT like to be held. He will sit still for like .2 seconds and then he trys everything to escape. Is there anything I can do to get him to like being held? Or is it just his personality to be "free"?

  39. Jenny,

    Some people have had luck keeping chinchillas with other pets, however you're unlikely to know the combination won't work until after your chinchilla has been hurt or killed. We advise against the idea.

  40. I am looking to buy a chinchilla but I have a very important question to ask: how do they get along with dogs and cats? I have a cat at my moms house and a dog at my dads. I would most likely be keeping it at my moms house in my room where the cat never goes, but when i would take it out, then it might be a problem, so i don't want to get one and have it be a problem with my families existing pet. My mom is also not very hip with the whole idea of having a 'rat' in her house. If you can, please send me some things that would persuade her. it would be very much appritiated:) Thanks!!!

  41. Hi! I live in Central America, and have in my back yard a guinea pig. Do you think a chinchilla will do well loose in my back yard also? Althow I live in a nice weather, in the winter it is a little chilly.


  42. A few months ago a friend called me to ask if I wanted to adopt an elementary school's 1st grade classroom pet chinchilla. He (at least I think it's a dude) was generically named "ChiChi" so I changed his name to "Virgil" or "Verg" for short. I knew a little about chinchillas before I adopted Verg, but in the 4 days from my "yes" to me actually getting custody I studied everything I could to prepare myself. I schooled my children (9, 7, and 6) and my boyfriend on all the info I found. Virgil is the perfect pet because he's so cool! He doesn't require a lot of daytime attention, so I don't feel bad for going to working and leaving him alone all day. In fact, I think he appreciates it! He does recognize our voices and he loves it when we sing to him. (Especially our 'Like a Virgil'- spin off of Madonna's Like a Virgin...) He loves me and my boyfriend very much, but he isn't too thrilled with the kids. (I hoped that he would be cool with the kids since he was a 1st grade classroom pet, but I guess that REALLY made him hate kids....) When Brian talks to him, he comes up to the cage and stands on his hind legs and just tries so hard to get close to him. Verg isn't quite as happy to see me as he is Brian, but when I open the cage door, he almost always runs straight to it like some kamaze morphed rabbit-squirrel-mouse. He doesn't like to be held as in restrained to a certain spot... even to my chest or lap. He leaves his "raisins" (as my kids call it) everywhere. But if I let him loose in the room, he LOVES to dart over us and eventually climb in our lap on his own terms. I'm the only person in the house that he's bitten. But he's never bit me hard enough to draw blood. He doesn't like change. I found that out last week when I purchased his new cage. He had a 3 story home, but I got a steal at the pet store and purchased a larger 3 story. I eased Virgil into his new home with all of his old toys and his dust bath -his main comfort spot- and sat back to see how he'd react. (I even added some of his 'used' bedding to the new bedding so he'd have the same scent.) He ended up biting me about 30 times that night. I ended up opening the top of his new cage and connecting his old cage with his new cage. Now he's ballin' in a 6 story mansion! :)
    Virgil K. Stinkmeyer has brought more happiness and laughs to my household than the entire Kevin Smith movie collection! I felt the need to share that with the world... now I feel better!

  43. I never thought about having a chinchilla until one that my sister rescued appeared on my dryer on night. Even being dead set against another pet (I already had two dogs), I fell in love with her. They are quite intelligent and develop their own personalities.

    Due to their skittish natures (especially mine, who was mistreated as a baby), I have also found chinchillas to be fabulous for relaxation. I let her out every night and then try to attract and interact with her. They force you to calm down (or they hide).

    I must also thank the authors of this site, others like it, and the many chinchilla books out there. I really had no idea what I was getting into at first, but chinchillas are fantastic and because of all the others willing to share information on them I was able to learn quickly.

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    We're try to stay out of family discussions about who will take care of pets in the home. Sorry and good luck!

  45. I've always wanted a chinchilla. But sadly my dad thinks 'there a pain' and I can't take care of it. Any ideas on how to convince my dad that they are not "a pain"?

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    It depends on your definition of play time. You don't necessarily need to "play" with them for any length of time. However, it's good to let them out of their cage every night to run around in a larger space.

  47. I was wondering, how much play time do chinchillas require?

    • They should run around for about half an hour everyday

  48. Avatar photo


    Chinchillas do sleep during the day so a quiet house is best. They will not need attention during this time.

    As for chinchilla-proofing a room, the best way is to remove all of the furniture. They will climb and jump on to everything. With the room empty, you can protect the walls and baseboards with thin sheets of wood. Just make sure the wood can't slide or fall and cause harm

  49. Oh and I forgot to do you chinchilla-proof a room? Like to make sure that it doesnt ruin any furniture? I was thinking of keeping it in my sister's room...she lives at college now, but there's still furniture and stuff in the room. What should I do?

  50. Hi, I'm considering getting a chinchilla, but I have a few questions;

    I assumed since they are nocturnal and my family and I are busy for most of the day it would be good since it would be sleeping and therefore not be lonely/get this true?

    And speaking of loneliness, should you get 2 chinchillas to keep each other company? (That would seem lik alot of extra work.)

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    It sounds like you would do better with a guinea pig. They don't need nearly as much room and are more likely to deal better with constant handling. They're also a lot quieter.

  52. I have a 7 year old boy who would like a pet (and I really want one too) but between him and his dad, they are allergic to all "mammals"- cats, dogs, rats, hamsters, ect. It sounds like a chinchilla would be perfect-I had a rat as a child-BUT, we have a 4 year old boy and a 1 year old. Are they going to be too upseting for an animal like this? All three kids are really great kids, but they're still kids. I would be primarily resposible for a pets care. We also have a pretty small house and bedrooms don't sound like a good place, ideas? Thanks so much, I really appreciate any feedback I can get!

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    It's hard to say for sure. A lot will depend on your chinchilla's disposition i.e. generally trustful or skittish of people? Our chinchillas are a little more "shy" when we return from trips of even just a week. The trust comes back quickly though.

  54. Hello, I am considering getting a chinchilla, but I have a question. If my chinchilla "trusts" me after a good amoutn of time but then I leave for college, would the chinchilla still trust me when I came home for visits?

  55. I've recently just bought my first chinchilla he's a silver mosaic called Ollie.They are great pets I've had him just over a week now and he's settled in fabulously, he dozes alot through the day then wakes up at about 6 in the evening. I let him out to run around the flat for a good 3 hours, he's already started approaching me and my boyfriend and loves to play although we've been handling him quite alot he hasn't once yet bitten either of us. As a new Chin owner your website is very informative, thank you.

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    We have an article on chinchilla sounds.

  57. I was wondering, you know that chinchilla make nosies, but what does each noise mean? I tried some different websites, but there all different.... so I am not really sure about what noises mean what.


  58. Sometimes they'll nibble your fingers if you stick your hand in the cage. Most of the time it's because chinchillas think your fingers are treats (they have bad vision). Also, chinchillas will gently nibble you if they feel comfortable around you. This is what's called "grooming" which they do to other chinchillas with which they're familiar. Nibbling does not break the skin but feels more like a light pricking or scratching sensation.

  59. Avatar photo


    Generally speaking chinchillas don't bite. However, on the rare occasion they do, it is unlikely they will break through the skin.

  60. do chinchillas bite?

  61. My wife is 5 months pregnant. We are looking into getting a chinchilla. However, I just wanted to ask and make sure that chinchillas are safe for her to be around while she is pregnant and that they will be ok around our babies.


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    Chinchillas are pretty skittish to begin with. It is likely they will be jumpy around strangers. They may even be jumpy around you.

    And yes, chinchillas will try to crawl through tight spaces. They seem to enjoy it. They're also good at pulling at things to widen spaces so they can fit through them.

  63. One more question I forgot! My bedroom doors have cracks underneath, so if I let the chinchilla out to play, do they try to run into weird crevices?

    Thanks again so much! I really appreciate it!


    • They definitely would. Mine is always trying to escape from my room, so I put towels or blankets under the little openings that my chinchilla usually tries to escape from. You have to make sure to watch them though, because they always try to pull out the towels from underneath the doors.

  64. I'm adopting an adorable baby chinchilla who is barely 2 months old. Seeing as how I will be the primary caretaker, does this mean he will become clingy to me and be snooty to others? I had that problem when I had a bird who I took care of from a very young age. Didn't take well to others. Thanks for helping!


  65. hey im 14 and im thinking of getting a chinchilla... ive been begging my parents for a year and they still havent budged what can i do to convince them?

  66. Thanks for all your help. I just need to know if it's normal for a chinchilla (mine's around 4 months old) to sleep through part of the night even during the times it's supposed to be active. Thanks again.

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    Chinchillas can be coaxed to come out and play even during the day. Sometimes we give them a dust bath in the morning before proceeding to clean their cage and they don't seem to care that it's daytime. We've also seen our chinchillas eat their pellets during the day.

  68. Hello there,
    First and foremost, I wanted to thank you for your prompt response to my question regarding the appropriate room temperature for a chin. Being a first-time owner, I have another question on a different topic - sleep patterns.

    I noticed that although my chinchilla is active mostly at night, he rests on and off during the night. On one occasion, I gently prodded him to come out of his cage and play which he did, hopping about energetically. My question is - do chinchillas sleep for 8 straight hours or does it vary?

    Thanks once again for all your help.

  69. I'm seriously considering getting a chinchilla, mostly because they're EXTREMLEY CUTE. I just wanted to say that my friend has three chinchillas, two of which get along perfectly, and while playing with them for what seemed like hours, I discovered that they're the perfect pet for me! Your site, Chinchilla Planet, has informed me with extra information needed for caring for them, thank you so much!

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    Check out our dust bath article.

  71. I was thinking about getting a chinchilla, but I'm not sure how the whole dust, dirt, sand bath thing works? Can anyone give me an answer?

  72. Because of their dense fur they are great for people with allergies, i am allergic to many animals but have not been affected by my new chinchilla at all!

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    Sorry, we haven't come across any breeders in Washington State. We can't imagine there not being any. If you do come across one, please let us know so we update our chinchilla breeder list. Good luck!

  74. I'm considering getting a chinchilla but am having a hard time finding a breeder in Washington State around the Seattle area. I would like to get a baby that has been handled of course. I've only been able to find them at PetCo and I will NOT buy one there as I don't think they are very well taken care of and not handled enough. I would consider adopting one from a rescue.
    If you have any info about breeders or rescues/havens in Washington please let me know.

    I also would like to know if chinchillas and rabbits would be good companions? Could they live together if they get along?

    Thanks a lot.

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    Hi Debra,

    A fan and cold plate are insufficient to adequately cool a chinchilla in a warm room. If a room is 80 degrees, it'll still be 80 degrees no matter how high you turn up the fan.

  76. I just got a chinchilla for christmas and I too have a cold house. My concern is the summer when the house gets too hot. I have a cold plate and wonder if that would be sufficient. I was thinking leave a small fan to circulate the air around the cage.

  77. I thought that polar bears had the densest fur on the planet... Wow, that is great to know, because I was considering a chinchilla, but I was afraid it may get too cold because my house is very old and its heating isn't that great.

  78. They have incredibly dense fur (the densest on the planet actually), so they have no problem living in cold houses.

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