If you ask any chinchilla lover if chinchillas make good pets, most likely the answer will be yes.  I may be a little biased, but I think my chinchillas are excellent pets and here is why:

There are a few conditions you should consider when choosing a chinchilla for a pet:

82 Responses

    1. I would suggest researching all you can about them and show that you can be responsible. Why do they think it’s a bad idea?

      1. They can be entertaining to watch but I wouldn’t count on them playing with you. Sometimes I am used as springboard during playtime and lately one of my boys has been more into sniffing my hands for treats but they don’t do tricks or play fetch.

        For cost estimates, see my article How Much Does A Chinchilla Cost?

      2. My 10 year old daughter really wanted a hamster (this was before we got two chinchillas). In order to earn the hamster she had to write a research paper; it needed to include, the cost of everything (cage, bedding, food, cost of the hamster), how to care for the hamster, how often to feed it, how often to clean the cage, what to feed it, what it can not eat, general facts about hamsters, what types of germs do they carry, what is the best type of hamster to get, etc. She also had to keep her room clean for 6 months, and had to save up the money to buy the hamster, the cage, and all necessary supplies. She put in a lot of time, effort, saved her money, and really proved that she was responsible enough to take care of a hamster.

    2. I’m probably getting one for my birthday, and the way I’m starting to convince them is saying that I’ve done tons of research. (And I have.)

    3. try telling them how easy it is to take care of one, also, my parents consider getting a female over a male chinchilla.

    4. Hi Devin,

      I probably shouldn’t be telling you this but, if you want a chinchilla you gotta go big first. Once, I convinced my family I wanted to get this rescue elephant, I found an add and everything. Anyway, it worked and they totally freaked out..so later when I asked for something more ‘reasonable’ they were relieved. The trick is you want to go big, but still be able to be believable. You gotta work up to elephant. So, maybe ask for a pony or a motorcycle. Good luck!

  1. My mom thinks they look like a big rat, please tell me the difference between these cuddly adorable animals and a rat!

    1. They are sooooooooo cute my mom says she hates them and I want one sooooooooo bad . When I go to college I’m soooooo getting one.?

  2. I wanted a Chinchilla for my birthday…but my mom would let me adopt a hamster not a chinchilla…she says it was too big…Pls help I really want it

  3. Hi, I’m planning to surprise my younger brother (age:12) with a Chinchilla for his birthday. He has owned other animals such as hamsters, a guinea pig, dogs, cats and is surprisingly very responsible over his pets. So I think he is able to handle a Chinchilla now but I’m still not sure about the necessary needs of one yet. Do we need some toys? A special type of bed? More than one? Special food? Just anything like that… I really don’t know much.

    1. Hi Karissa, it is nice of you to want to surprise your brother but if he has not expressed an interest in chinchillas I think you should ask him about it first to make sure he is prepared to properly care for one and the costs associated with care. Yes chinchillas need toys to chew on, a hide house, many people like to get a wheel. One of the most important considerations with chinchillas is temperature, so you need to have air conditioning that you use in the warmer months. Try reading these articles, hopefully they’ll help you out with all your questions:
      Into to Pet Chinchilla Care
      Costs of Chinchillas
      Frequently Asked Chinchilla Questions
      Chinchilla Food

      1. I also wanted to let you know that chinchillas live 10-20 years so it is a long term commitment. You may want to think about where your brother will be in the future and what will happen to the chinchilla then. If he goes to college or moves out, most dorms do not allow pets and it can be difficult to find apartments/roommates that allow pets. Just something else to consider.

    2. Please do not surprise your brother with a pet. Chinchillas are a big responsibility, and they live up to 20 years. By the time the chinchilla passed away, your brother will be 32. Do you know if he really wants this animal? Chinchillas need a 5 ft tall 3 ft wide cage. The cage that I have is a critter nation cage, which was 250 dollars. Chinchillas need at least 2 wooden hideouts, and you have to replenish their toys about once every week or two because their teeth never stop growing. I recommend buying their toys from AZ chins. If you are going to buy your brother a chinchilla, you will need to get two because they need to be in pairs. The average chinchilla costs 150 dollars, and if you get two you will be spending 300. You have to make sure that your brother is on board with this idea because if he doesn’t want the chinchilla ( because he didn’t ask for one ) then what will happen to it? Make sure that he wants one, and if you are still going to surprise him with a chinchilla, please, do the research. Also, chinchillas need to have dust baths twice a week and they cannot bathe in sand. I recommend blue cloud dust. Also, you should feed your chinchilla 2 tablespoons of oxbow pellets a day, and around 2 handfuls oxbow hay.

    1. They would be fine living in the same house but I do not advise letting them out together. You would just need to make sure that the cats and dog do not bother the chinchilla. Get a sturdy cage with good locks and 1/2″ spacing such as the critter nation so that paws cannot fit through, chinchilla tails will not stick out, and no one is escaping or breaking into the cage. I would get a tall cage and putting it somewhere to prevent the cats from sitting on top or else cover the top so that the chins will not have “predators” above them that is important. Same for the dog, if it is a terrier or dog that chases squirrels and rodents then better to keep it away from the chins so they don’t get stressed.

    2. I have a chinchilla, a dog and 4 cats. After 5 years together the dog basically ignores my chin. The cats show interest but Obie ( my chin) likes the kitties. To begin with I never had any other animal around when exercising Obie but now they’re all out together but never without supervision. Chinchillas, just like any other animals, are individuals. This means that some will get along and some won’t. If your animals hover around the cage this will stress the chinchilla.

    3. I think that the chinchilla would be ok, but it depends on your cats’ personality. If you think that the cats would try and attack or kill your chinchilla than make sure that the chinchilla stays in a room where your cats and dog won’t be allowed in. Also, I would recommend getting 2 chinchillas, because they like to live in pairs. I think that you should try to keep your cats and dog away from the chinchilla because chinchillas are prey animals and that could stress them out.

  4. My parents also don’t like the idea of a chinchilla. I’m not sure if a letter will cut it. My dad thinks they’re big ugly rodents. I think they’re adorable. Mybe in a letter should I include some visual aids?

      1. Thank you so much Sara! I told my mom about the idea and she loved it! Giving her facts and showing how cute they were really sold it!

        1. It is pretty hard to resist adorable chinchilla photos! I have to stay away from chins for sale ads otherwise I will get myself in trouble. 🙂

        2. Hi I love the idea of owning a chinchilla, they are adorable! My parents just don’t agree with me, I ask them to find information about them, but it is not working. I want to know, do they need a lot of attention or would they be ok if I could only give them attention after school. Also, do chinchillas bond with their owners? I want a pet that I care for and cares for me too.

    1. Hi! I think that you should show him some cute chinchilla photos. Chinchillas are really amazing animals, each with their own unique personality. Show him some videos of chinchillas rolling in dust, that is always cute. Also, if you do end up getting a chinchilla I recommend getting 2 because they should live in pairs. Another thing is that if your dad still isn’t on board with the idea that you should get a chinchilla, you probably shouldn’t get one because if they get sick and they need to be taken to the vet he might not want to pay for a vet bill.
      I hope you convince him!

    1. Hi Dylan! There are some that may never really bond with you and there are others that will instantly bond with you. I’ve known friendly chins that lived at a ranch and had never or very rarely been touched by a human before and not so friendly chins from breeders and vise versa. Your chinchilla’s personality does not depend much from where he comes from. A breeder or rescue will be better able to tell you about the personalities though than the pet store. I had one chin that just wanted to run, run, run, and couldn’t have cared less about me and another that was always interested in me and was a lap chin, but most fall somewhere in the middle. With time, you can make progress with most but how far they come will depend on where they start.

  5. I have wanted a chinchilla for years and I have finally got the big room!!! My gran and mum love the idea but dad thinks its cruel to keep an animal in a cage. What do I do?

    1. Hi Gina, maybe you could show your dad a large cage you could keep the chinchilla in. Perhaps he is envisioning a tiny cage and if he sees the animal has room to run and jump he’ll come around. Good luck!

    1. Hi Alex, there is not really anything you can do if your parents do not approve. You could show them you’ve learned about them and show you are responsible enough to care for a chinchilla and maybe they’ll change their minds but you must respect their decision.

  6. Hi
    I was thinking about getting a pet. But, I’m at school all day and both my parents work. I would get home at 3:00, so I couldn’t get a pet that needs a lot of attention, like a dog.

    So could I get a chinchilla if a would be gone most of the day?
    After I got home I would let it out of the cage and interact with it. But would that be ok?

    1. A chinchilla would be great for your schedule. They mostly sleep during the day and become more active in the evening.

  7. I’m trying to show how responsible I am but my mom thinks it’s a bad idea and too much money and my dad thinks doesn’t want one how can I convince them?

  8. Hi, Sarah.

    My boyfriend and I are getting a Chinchilla, possibly two in case we are gone for longer than a couple of hours so each has company.

    I’ve been doing research for the past three months because I want to be sure what I’m getting into.

    He works while I stay at home and I sleep through the day most of the time and am awake through the nights, and he sleeps like a rock through the night. We occasionally go on a two day trip maybe twice a year, leave in the morning on say a Friday and come back on a Saturday night, for example. We have a Chihuahua, female, who I’ve had for eleven years.

    We have air conditioning that we can full blast throughout the home at any moment of will and the house will turn cold in minutes during hot, summer days. We have already arranged our home to fit the cage in the link. Is the cage in the link alright for a Chinchilla? Should it be bigger, made of different materials, smaller?

    I’ve committed eleven years to my spoiled rotten Chihuahua and fifteen years to a Pit Bull before she passed away last year, so committing to an animal isn’t a problem. Neither of us are allergic to Chinchillas, their hay, or the dust because we’ve both been around them more than three times to see how they handle.

    Money isn’t a problem and the poop isn’t either, everything costs money and poops.

    I may get a job if my medical needs lighten and both he and myself can be gone for eight hours a day, or for him ten hours a day. Would time be a problem, would leaving my dog and the Chinchilla alone be a problem? I mean, the dog sleeps most of the time, but it’s still a possibility.

    Please write back as soon as possible with answers because we would like to know if this is a hit or miss.

    Thank you.

    1. Chinchillas are most active in the evening and early mornings but can adapt somewhat to your schedule. So long as you have some time to interact with them and they are able to have some playtime out of the cage, they will be okay. How they get along with your dog just depends on your dog. I had a terrier in the past who loves to chase/hunt animals so they could not be in the same room. I have a lab/beagle mix who got bit by the chinchilla once and now is scared of them. He will scour the floor around the cage and my boy Chub will come to the front to try to attack him.

      The cage you linked to would be fine with some modifications. I would remove the ramps (they don’t need them and they take up space). The plastic will most likely get chewed up so you may need to cover it with fleece or replace with wooden shelves but may depend on your chin and how hard the plastic is. For the price, you may want to consider the Ferret Nation or Critter Nation cages. They are the most popular cage recently though they will need some modification as well-mainly they need either fleece floor covers or a metal floor pan; however they have extremely large doors (essentially the entire front) which will be very handy for catching a new chin. Quality cages makes nice cages that will not need modifications.

  9. Can chinchilla poop cause flies? I didn’t do much research and had bad experiences with trying to pick up my chinchilla. Now I cannot get him out the cage to even clean it. Help?!

    1. If not cleaned for a long time, I guess it could. But I would be more concerned about the effects it has on the chinchilla living in the cage. They can get infected feet or respiratory diseases from having a dirty cage.

  10. First I am a very social person in school with clubs and sports I don’t get home until like 6 and will the chin start to feel unloved in any way and also should I get a male or female and could I Brush the chins hair with a soft brush and not a comb and any information for a new chin owner like any basic things I should now

    1. Chins mostly sleep during the day and are awake during the evening so your schedule sounds perfect. Male or female does not matter. Females can spray urine a lot better than males but that does not mean all females will spray. If you get a chinchilla from the pet store, lots of times they can be mis sexed. I just had someone send me pictures of their “female” who is indeed a male. Most pet owners do not need to comb a chinchilla. If you want to, you can but need a specialty chinchilla comb and there is a video on my Facebook page that shows how to properly comb.

  11. I have never had a pet is this a good pet to start with, because I cant have a dog and cat and I am in 6th grade

    1. I think chinchillas are good pets however they do have specific needs listed above. They are also a 10-20 year commitment so you should think about your future. If you plan to go to college or move after high school, it can be hard to take them with you. Will you want to rehome them after having them so long? Do you have a family member who would care for them at that time? Just something to think about. If you are not sure, then maybe a shorter lived animal is better for you to start with.

  12. hi,
    I’ve seen chinchillas and the vet (i have a parrot so its one of the exotic vets) and at Petco and have wanted one ever since. my mom said i would have to do some research first before committing to get one, cause i have allergies and asthma so i was wondering what you thought on the matter on if it would be a good idea to get one or not.

    1. Hi Leigh,
      Unfortunately I think it will be hard for you to have a chinchilla with their hay and dust. Depending on your allergies you may be able to find hay that doesn’t bother you and you could put a mask on over your nose and mouth while they dust, but no matter how much you try to keep the dust contained it still ends up everywhere! The chinchillas will shake kind of like a wet dog and dust just flies out of their fur. The dust is really not good to inhale even if you do not have allergies or asthma. I wish I had better news for you but I’ve seen many chinchillas re-homed because of allergies and or asthma.

  13. Hey Sarah, I have two chins that are about 15. I want to be able to give them treats, but I have been getting mixed messages on what I can and can’t feed them. What are good treats for them and how often can they be given?

    1. I do not feed sugary treats – no raisins, no dried fruit, no biscuits with molasses
      What I do feed are rose hips, hibiscus flowers, things like that, sometimes alfalfa cubes or even little chew sticks they think are treats

  14. Hi Sara I’m wonder which pet I should get ( I have two fish at the moment but want something more )! I either want a couple of Guinea pigs ( 2-4) or some rats ( a lot I love rattys )or a hamster or two and lastly a couple of chins ! I have done TONS of research on each pets needs and I don’t know witch one I have talked to my parents and they don’t seem to happy with the idea of another pet ( I am in 6 grade ) I usually get home at 5 I don’t know what to get I will do more research!
    Please write back soon thank you !- Viktor

    1. I don’t know much about the other types of pets but please consider the long lifespan of chinchillas. I would say the shorter life span pets may be a better option because you don’t know what like has in store for you after highschool. college, move, work? It can be hard to take your chinchilla with you if you move. Chins can live 10-20+ years; that’s a long time commitment!

    1. No, but since they live a long time 10-20+ years it is a good idea to think about where you will be in life in the future. If you are young, will you go to college? Will you move? How much will you work? Will you have time to care for and bond with your chinchilla? Who will take care of your chinchilla or will you have to rehome him if you move and can’t take him with you? Things to think about.

  15. Hey!
    I have wanted a chinchilla for years and finally my mum might say yes. I am eleven years old, and I am starting to think that a pet that lives for ten years might be too much. I would be twenty-one by then, with college and stuff. What do you think?

    1. I think it’s very good of you to consider this. 10 years is really the lower end for their lifespan. The oldest one I believe lived to be 29! My boys are 12 and looking good. They really do live a long time with good care taking and it can be hard to find a place to live with them if you go to college or move for a job. Plus will you be able to devote time to bonding with one for that long? You could always look for an older one, either a retired breeder or rescue perhaps.

  16. Hi! I’m 10 years old and my Guinea pig passed away this year. I really miss him and wanted to replace him with something different. The only major thing that my parents had a problem with is that my Guinea pig smelled really bad even though I cleaned his cage every Saturday. So I’ve done a lot of research and really want a chinchilla. Here are some questions I have.

    1. Is there a way I can get a chinchilla that is less expensive?
    2. Do they smell?
    3. How could I convince my parents to let me buy one?

    1. Hi Ella, sorry to hear about your guinea pig 🙁
      1. Look at rescues or breeders. Standard grey color are usually a good bit cheaper than the pet stores.
      2. Not much. Many people say the chinchilla itself doesn’t smell but I know females had a smell sometimes, not unpleasant but still an odor. The litter can smell if not changed often enough. Different litters can work better than others.
      3. Some people have written letters or done presentations about all the research they’ve done on chinchillas. Remember that chinchillas have a MUCH longer lifespan than guinea pigs, 10-20+ years. This is something to consider when you are young, where will you be after you finnish school? Are you going to college, moving for a job, etc. It can be hard to find places to live that will accept your chinchilla and will you have time to devote to giving your chinchilla attention?

  17. I want to buy a chinchilla and i have to wait two more months until i get my baby girl
    Any advice for a soon to be mom?

  18. Do chinchillas need a vet? I might be getting a chin for my bday, and I’m just wondering if there are any vet fees and stuff.

    1. Yes it’s always a good idea to have a knowledgable chin vet available. I took my chins when they were new for a checkup just to make sure they looked healthy and to get a feel for the vet. I’ve taken them on occasion for checkups as they age to make sure there teeth are healthy and also for some minor concerns/illnesses. Fees can vary greatly from $40-$100+ per visit depending on routine checkup or emergency appt plus and meds or tests. The most important thing is to find a good “regular” vet and also know where you can go in an emergency as things seem to happen when the vet is closed. Some vets are much more knowledgable than others – some “small animal vets” may be familiar with rabbits or guinea pigs but not had much chin experience. Chinchillas do not require vaccines like other pets.

  19. I really want a chinchilla but I don’t know how to convince my parents. I know exactly what cage, food, bedding, food and water bowl, dust bath house, dust for the dust bath, exercise wheel, chew toys, pet carrier, and hideaway I want to get. I have enough money saved up to buy the amount it costs. I have gotten a hamster in the past, which I kept in my room, but the bedding made me cough. Will the chinchilla bedding make me cough if I kept it in my room or should I keep it out of my room. If I have to keep it out of my room no worries because I have a spot for it outside of my room as well as inside. I just don’t know a ton about chinchillas. I know they have to be kept in a climate between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, that they need to have a dust bath every 1-2 days, that you should clean the cage every week, that you give them fresh water every day, that you give them fresh food every day, that you give them plenty of hay, and that you need to let them play outside of their cage for at least 30 minutes every day so they can exercise. But what else? What kind of diseases can they get? Do they even need bedding or could they just have hay? Is there any key piece of information that I’m missing? Tell me everything you know about caring for, cleaning, housing, and anything else about chinchillas. Thank you so much, Sara.

    1. Chinchilla bedding is similar to hamster bedding. There are various types so you may be able to find one that doesn’t make you cough. You could also look into fleece liners. I do not use them but many other chinchilla owners do. Common illness/injuries are malocclusion, bloat, gi stasis, ringworm, and heatstroke. Misaligned teeth can be costly in vet bills, stasis is very difficult to get over, heatstroke is deadly.

  20. Hi!,
    I’m wondering if I should get a chinchilla for my bday, I’m 13 and was wondering when I go to college do you have any suggestions on where I would relocate/keep my chinchilla?

  21. I have owned dogs,fish, guinea pigs, hamsters, and much more, but ever since I saw a chinchilla my heart was ultimately captured. I am in 6th grade and both me and my parents have TONS of concerns about owning one as a pet. I ask you to please answer my questions.

    1: I have to get ready and go to school from 6:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M, and then I am involved In many other things, so I am only really always home at 6:00 P.M. Will my dear chin be ok with this?

    2: I am only in 6th grade, so I don’t always have a lot of money, but I would be very willing to save up for a chin. The problem is that my parents are not so sure. They think that all that money could be more useful if I saved it. Do you have any ways I could convince them that this means a lot to me, and that the money will be very well spent if I use it to buy a chin?

    3: will chins ( not all, I know that you can not guarantee for every one) bond with me? I am always in love with my pets, they are amazing. I just want to know if they will love me too.

    4: Are chins good with other pets? I have a lab pup and I don’t want them hurting each other. Also, do they bite? I want to know if they are good pets near small children.

    5: When they fling their droppings, is it a big mess? When I had a guinea pig it was terrible, and is it easy to clean it up?

    6: please just tell me what your over all feelings for chinchilla pets. Do you love them? Are they decent? Do they make the best pets in the world?

    Thank you for making these interesting and amazing websites. Please answer me as soon as possible.

    1. 1. That is fine. Chinchillas are crespecular – they sleep most of the day are most active in the evening and early morning.

      2. Can’t help you there.

      3. They won’t “miss you” like a dog would. They won’t really care if you are there or not. Maybe let you scratch or pet them, hop on you during playtime or crawl on you; but you are more a fun toy than a friend.

      4. Yes they CAN bite. I’ve had one draw blood. One bit my lab mix when he got to close to the cage. It’s been 10 years and the dog has not forgotten; and runs from the chins now. They should not be allowed out together. Whether your dog cares or bothers the chinchilla depends on your dog.

      They are fine around small kids but small kids are not good around chinchillas. Chinchillas have very fragile ribs and don’t like to sit still. Young children are usually not good at being gentle and tend to grab; if they went to grab the chin; they could crush his ribs.

      5. Droppings are hard so yes they are easy to clean but they end up EVERYWHERE! Females can spray urine at you! OR the walls.

      6. I LOVE MY CHINCHILLAS! They make great pets but you need to have realistic expectations. Some chins no matter how much time you spend with them might never even acknowledge your existence. With time and work, most will let you give scratches. Rarely will you find a “lap” chinchilla. Since you are young and chinchillas live a long time (mine are 13) you should consider what will happen to them when you finnish school. It can be difficult to find apartments/landlords that allow pets; if you go to college dorms won’t allow them. Chinchillas can live up into their 20s so they are a much longer term commitment than guinea pigs, hamsters, and sometimes even dogs.

  22. I want a kitten but we have 3 dogs and my mom and dad think it’s to much and I said what about a chincilla? They are considering it but idk if it’s the pet for me?

    1. You’ll also need to consider where your chinchilla’s cage will be and what type of dogs you have and their temperament. When I got my first chinchilla, I had a terrier who hunted rodents so it was very stressful for the chinchilla (and wound the dog up) if he got in my bedroom where the cage was on the floor. It was much better for all once I moved the cage high up on top a table. Now I have a lab mix who got bit once 10 years ago and has never forgotten so he is actually scared of them but usually pays them no attention.

  23. i want a chinchilla and my parents love them but i have a cat and my parents think my cat will eat it. how do i prevent my cat eating a chinchilla?

    1. You would need a cage with very small wire spacing so the cat can’t reach it the cage. While I’m sure many cat owners also have chinchillas, it would be stressful for the chinchilla to have a predator always around. If you can keep the cat out of the room or your cat doesn’t care then it’s not much of an issue.

  24. I wanted to get a chinchilla, but I don’t think I can look after one for 20 years. Does the relationship between me and the chinchilla and its behaviour in general have a negative effect if I get one that has had a previous owner? Will it be stressed for the rest of its life if it’s surroundings have suddenly changed and the people it has had a relationship with and trusted in has suddenly disappeared and been replaced with a stranger? Or once it has understood that their environment is safe and I show I am no threat will it eventually warm up a little and stop feeling pressured?

    1. Nope each one is individual in how it will bond. It’s a great idea to get an older one that needs a new home. There are rescues that would be able to tell you the different temperaments of available chinchillas.

  25. Hi my name is Iris. My husband and I have 1 year old chinchilla. We just brought home a 6 week old chinchilla. They are both males. Our older chinchilla is normally super affectionate and loving. We introduced them in a neutral place. At first our older male was just curious about him and was fairly gentle.

    When we had them together the second time Bob, our older chinchilla. Was pretty aggressive.

    The 3rd time he pulled bit a lot of his fur out and was not nice at all… Very aggressive. We have Bob on the top level and baby on the bottom level of their house. I am afraid the adult will really hurt the baby. What should we do?? Keep slowly trying in neutral areas?? Please help! Thank you!!

    1. Hi Iris, yes I would keep the introductions to neutral territory for a while. If Bob is really going after your little one, I would wait until the younger chinchilla has grown some and is closer in physical size. Also I had issues with my boys that were previously paired up for a few months when one hit about a year old so I separated and then successfully paired them up again a few months later. I believe a year is around the puberty stage and so that may be influencing BOb’s behavior. Good luck!

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