• Chinchillas can make wonderful companions for both children and adults.
  • Chinchillas are originally native to South America and are medium-sized rodents long valued for their extremely soft and thick fur.
  • Most owners purchase chinchillas through pet stores or breeders, but regardless of where you buy your chinchilla, make sure you ask questions.
    • You’ll want to inquire about previous owners, behavior issues, the animal’s current living situation, and obtain the most complete health history possible.
  • If they are young, they will most likely be scared and back away initially. Over time, they will usually accept your touch.
  • Healthy chinchillas are shy, but when in comfortable surroundings, are quite active. They should have a thick coat of fur with no bare patches. Their eyes should be bright with no redness or drainage and there should be no evidence of diarrhea in their habitat.
  • Chinchillas eat specialized pellets; these are a good base diet for them.
  • In addition, good quality hay (timothy, orchard grass and prairie grass) is extremely important to a chinchilla’s digestive tract.  A pellet-only diet does not provide enough fiber for chinchillas. 
  • Chinchillas need a cage that is safe and secure. A plastic bottom cage is best, as wire can irritate chinchillas’ feet. Good options for bedding include shredded or pelleted paper products, and aspen or pine shavings.  Avoid cedar shavings.
  • The cage should also be multi-level.  They need multiple hiding areas, so they can escape when they feel threatened.
  • A non-leaking water bottle and a food bowl completes the set-up.
  • Temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, particularly combined with high humidity, are extremely dangerous to chinchillas (they come from cool desert-like conditions in the mountains of Peru).
  • Like many animals, chinchillas have a grooming regimen, and it comes in the form of a dust bath. Help your chinchilla keep up its routine by filling a container about two-inches deep with chinchilla dust, available at pet stores.
  • Chinchillas are fun as pairs, because it allows them to interact with one another, especially when pet parents don’t have time to give their chin their undivided attention.
  • Chinchillas rarely bite, but there is always a risk depending upon the personality and temperament. By nature, chins are very quick-moving and are not often recommended for children under eight years old. 
  • The proper way to hold a chin is to scoop it up with one hand underneath its body and use the other hand to support the hind legs.