Blog

March 22, 2019

The 411 on Chinchillas and Chinchilla Care

In honor of National Chinchilla Day, we thought that we’d answer the top four questions asked on Google about chinchilla pet parentship and care! These soft and adorable animals make wonderful pets, but their husbandry differs greatly from that of fellow exotics such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils. Let’s learn more about chinchillas!

Are you on Instagram? Follow Oxbow and tag a photo of your chin!

Are Chinchillas a Good Pet to Have?

Absolutely! Chinchillas are energetic, curious, and intelligent animals. They may have a little too much energy to interact well with young children, but they are very friendly and can be perfect pets. Socializing chinchillas to human interaction at an early age is instrumental in making them happy and interactive.

Typically, chinchillas are most active at dawn and dusk (also knows as being crepuscular), which tends to fit in well with pet parent schedules. They do require proper amounts of exercise, enrichment and space to expend energy and stay healthy. Potential pet parents should strongly consider play yards and multi-level cages if possible to provide mental and physical stimulation.

How much money is a chinchilla?

The cost to purchase or adopt a chinchilla can vary greatly depending on their age, your location, and a variety of other factors. Typically, chinchillas can range from $75-$300 depending on where you adopt them from.

Before adopting or purchasing these adorable animals, please remember that chinchillas will need to see a veterinarian (preferably one that specializes in exotic mammals) at least once every year, plus the cost of food, enriching toys, hay-based accessories, dust for their baths, a large habitat and more.

Why can you not get a chinchilla wet?

Chinchillas have very dense fur and naturally oily skin. Due to this, water can wreak havoc on these small pets as their coats can take a long period of time to dry. In certain situations,  this can lead to fungal and bacterial infection as well respiratory disease and other issues.  There are some occasions though where bathing a specific area of chinchilla may be warranted - such as when urine or feces becomes matted in their coats, but caution should be taken.

Chinchillas should routinely have access to dust baths, instead. We at Oxbow offer a great Poof! Dust Bath that is made just for chins! Use Poof! [http://oxbowanimalhealth.com/our-products/accessories/poof-chinchilla-dust-bath] to bathe your chinchilla 2-4 times per week to remove excess oil and dirt as well as ensure the softness and healthy condition of his fur. For bathing, use an appropriate dust bath house or stable container which cannot be tipped over. Remove dust bath house from cage after 3-5 minutes to avoid soiling and over-exposure to dust. If dust is soiled, remove and replace. Use 1 inch of dust in the bath house or container for best results. 

Do chinchillas cuddle with you?

Much like other prey species and all animals, each chinchilla is unique and will interact with humans in unique ways. While they can certainly be pet and stroked – and who doesn’t want to pet all of that soft fur! – chinchillas are often naturally independent and high-energy. They do not tend to snuggle with their humans like dogs or other species. They will, however, with time and positive interaction, form strong bonds with their owners and enjoy and seek interaction. Much like humans, some individual chins are more extroverted while others can tend to be introverted.

Learn more about chinchillas

What signs should I look for when deciding to take my chinchilla to the vet?

How can I find a qualified exotics vet for my chinchilla?

Download Oxbow’s Free Chinchilla Care Guide to learn more about nutrition, behavior, and care.

Learn more about the NOLA Chinchilla Rescue.