How to Know if a Chinchilla is the Best Pet for You

Are you thinking of adding a pet chinchilla to the family? With the right owner and the proper care, these exotic animals thrive as pets and make incredible lifelong companions. However, chinchillas are sensitive creatures with particular needs, so be sure you're ready to take on the specifics of owning a chinchilla before bringing one home. To make things simple, we laid out five things to consider before making the big decision. 

5 facts to consider before adopting a chinchilla

1. How long do chinchillas live?

Chinchillas are no short-term responsibility. In fact, they have the longest life expectancy of any pet rodent and can live well into their twenties. This means you'll have plenty of time to build a special bond and establish a strong relationship with your little buddy. However, it takes more than friendship to keep chinchillas happy and healthy. Committing to a chinchilla means providing 20+ years of suitable housing, wholesome meals, stimulating socialization, and so much more. It's also important to remember that upholding all your pet's needs is not only an emotional obligation but a financial one too. Like most other pets, chinchillas cost more than their adoption fee, so if your monthly budget doesn't allow for extra expenses at the moment, you may need to reconsider adopting a furry friend.
Chinchilla looking all cute on ball.

2. Chinchilla Care - Handling & Temperament

Chinchillas are intelligent, curious animals and make excellent pets for adults. Though they can also be wonderful additions to larger families, these animals require attentive and respectful owners. While children can be great helpers, they should never be made responsible for a chinchilla's wellbeing or even be left alone with them. Kids are often excitable and overeager with their affection, which can cause your chinchilla to lash out in fear or stress. Although loving animals, most chinchillas have a low tolerance for rough handling and prefer to show affection in ways that do not include cuddling or being picked up. If you want to gain a chinchilla's trust, it's important to remain calm and consistent in your interactions. Unlike more outgoing animals such as dogs, it may take some time for your pet to show interest in you and adjust to its new environment. With time, however, your chinchilla will eventually settle into its new life and stick by your side for years to come.
woman holding a chinchilla. does she love him? Of course!

3. How much space do chinchillas need?

Chinchillas are native to the rocky terrain of the Andes Mountains, which means your pet is partial to enclosures with tons of room to climb and explore. Vertical height is especially important for your new chin. Despite their small size, chinchillas can become distressed in cramped quarters, so if your home cannot accommodate an adequately sized cage, a chinchilla might not be the best pet for you right now. While cage sizing recommendations vary, there must be enough space to provide a diverse environment with platforms, ramps, perches, and hideouts. These unique critters typically live in herds, which means you may want to consider adopting more than one chinchilla at a time. Though not required, a cagemate ensures your pet never gets too bored or lonely. If you opt for more than one chinchilla, be sure you can increase the size of your pets' enclosure accordingly.Chinchilla perched with nowhere to run.

4. Maintaining a Healthy Menu for Your Chinchilla

Chinchillas may be complex animals, but their diets are actually quite simple. So, if you're looking for a pet with easy mealtimes that don't take much thought or planning, a chinchilla is probably a good match for you. Due to their plant-based diet and sensitive digestive systems, a chinchilla's menu should contain only a few high-quality ingredients. Chinchillas do best on a high-fiber, low-fat diet consisting of timothy hay, pellets, and plenty of water. Andy's packaged premium hay is a surefire way to make these meals even easier while ensuring your pet receives all their essential vitamins and nutrients.
Gray chinchilla looking through window, waiting patiently for mom or dad to show up

5. Does Your Schedule Work With Theirs?

Chinchillas are an excellent option for people who spend a lot of time out of the house during the day. Because of their nocturnal sleep pattern, chinchillas rest during the day and are most active from dusk to dawn. Therefore, while you're out and about, they'll be quietly sleeping the day away. Then, by the time you're home and ready to play, so are they. However, because they are most energetic and vocal at night, it's best to keep their cage in a room far from where you sleep if possible. So, if you're looking for a social, pocket-sized friend to keep you company after a long day and you're willing to take things slow and provide the best care possible, a chinchilla sounds like the right pet for you.

Through Andy’s social media, Molly brings her heart for high-quality hay and an authentic passion to create a real community that celebrates everyday people and their pets.

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