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Are Chinchillas Good Pets?

Last Updated: 03.04.20


In case you have been thinking for a while to get a new pet, and you would like a chinchilla, you have probably started reading various articles on the matter, including about accessories, such as chinchilla cages. Also, finding out more about supplies for chinchillas will help you get an idea about the costs of owning such a pet.

Although they are sold in many pet shops nationwide, many people do not know too much about chinchillas. In this article, we will try to cover as much information about these cute creatures, including why they might not be the right pet for you.


Crepuscular nature

The scientific community recognizes the chinchilla as a crepuscular rodent. This means that they are most active at dawn and dusk. Do not confuse this with nocturnal animals. Some other commonly known crepuscular creatures include cats, dogs, mice, spotted hyenas, moose, rats, deer, rabbits, or guinea pigs.



Keeping a chinchilla as a pet

Chinchillas are bred for their pelts, but in addition to this, they are also bred to be kept as pets. If you are a rodent fan, this one can make a great pet. In their natural habitat, these animals are very active and spend their days jumping and running.

Therefore, if you keep one in captivity, it is extremely important to provide him or her with an adequate amount of exercise to stay healthy.


Dental care

For a domesticated chinchilla, exercise is not the only regular requirement. These cute rodents also require periodic dental care. Just like in the case of other rodents, chinchillas’ teeth grow throughout their entire lifetime.

The problem is that if they are refused the ability to constantly chew in order to grind down their teeth, they will grow to a point that the animal is no longer capable of feeding itself. The natural chewing behavior of a chinchilla allows the animal to wear down its teeth.

In the case of domesticated chinchillas, you can still make this behavior possible by providing chewing toys, pumice stones, or sticks, which all help wear down their teeth. It is important to know that these toys must not contain phenols, resins, or oils, as they can be toxic. Some examples of safe woods include willow wood, apple tree wood, birch wood, and kiln-dried pine.



Chinchillas are used to the South American climate of the Andes Mountains, so it is essential to provide similar conditions to a domesticated one as well. These cute creatures are not able to sweat, so it is crucial that they’re not exposed to very high temperatures. Chinchillas prefer environments under 80 Fahrenheit degrees.

Any higher than that will cause overheating and even death by heat stroke. If you decide to keep one as a pet, it is recommended to constantly check the color of the ears; they turn red in case of overheating.

This is explained by the animal’s natural method of cooling itself by routing blood to their ears where it can be cooled. So, when you see the ears beginning to get red, it is a sign that your pet is too warm.



When deciding to get a chinchilla for a pet, it is important to consider its natural grooming habits that it uses to clean its fur. In the wild, these rodents roll in dust which is made from pumice. This is a naturally created dust which comes from volcanic rock that provides the small rodent the ability to clean its fur by rolling in it.

The dust sticks to the fur and absorbs oil and dirt which would otherwise remain stuck in the fur. Due to the fact that the chinchilla fur is so thick, it would be impossible to bathe in water as it would not dry which would, in turn, promote fungus and rot.

In order to maintain their fur healthy, these animals require dirt baths a couple of times a week. In case your pet somehow becomes wet, it is crucial to towel him or her dry immediately. You can also use a no heat hair dryer, but the main thing is to get the chinchilla dry as quickly as possible.



This is an aspect that is generally mentioned in regards to the chinchilla. This rodent is believed to be hypoallergenic because its fur is so thick and there is a significant reduction of loose dander.

It is also notable that the fur is naturally resistant to fleas and other types of parasites. Not all people with severe allergies agree with this concept though.



Is a chinchilla the pet for you?

A wild chinchilla should never be kept as a pet, as it is not bred with the intention and temperament of being held in captivity. Any attempt to keep a wild chinchilla as a pet can not only result in a very unhappy friend, but also in injuries since he or she can become aggressive in defending itself.

Domestic chinchillas, on the other hand, are bred to be kept in captivity and do not have the aggressive tendencies of their wild relatives. Although the domesticated pet is not as aggressive as the wild one, it still does not make the perfect companion for everyone as he or she will bite if cornered.


Not smelly or noisy

In families with small children, a chinchilla might not be the best option for a pet. Kids are likely to cause the bite instinct by handling the small rodent too roughly. Still, they do make the ideal pets for many people.

If you are looking for a rodent pet that does not generate a notable smell and does not have a short lifespan, this can be a great option for you. Moreover, these pets are particularly low maintenance, and they are not noisy. A domesticated chinchilla can be also boisterous and curious by nature which makes him or her quite a friendly and interactive pet.

If you decide to get a chinchilla as a pet, you should do some prior research. These rodents can make good pets, but not for everyone.




Irina Ionescu

As a long-term learner and animal lover, Irina helps her readers find the best products and accessories for their pets, as well as the latest training techniques, tips & tricks on how to handle animals.

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