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:
- Unlike my dog, chinchillas are relatively low maintenance. They do not require vaccinations, trips to the groomer, or demand tons of attention (although they do love it).
- They are usually quiet.
- With a properly cleaned cage, they do not smell.
- They are curious and friendly and will interact with you.
- They are entertaining to watch.
There are a few conditions you should consider when choosing a chinchilla for a pet:
- Most importantly, chinchillas REQUIRE air-conditioning if the temperature EVER gets above 75F. If you don’t have central heat, you will need a window or portable ac for the warmer months. Chinchillas do not sweat so fans have no effect on them. Cold tiles are not a substitute for ac.
- Chinchilla ownership is a long-term commitment. Average lifespan of chinchillas is 10-20 years. The oldest chinchilla I’ve heard of, lived to be 29.
- Chinchillas can be messy. They poop all the time and somehow no matter what you do, poos will end up on the floor surrounding the cage. Fortunately, the droppings are easy to sweep or vacuum but the floor will never stay clean for long. They can also make a mess of the hay in the cage.
- Chinchillas must be given dust to roll around in to keep their coat nice. Some people are allergic to the dust and those with asthma should be very careful.
- They need to eat hay so once again this may be of concern to allergy sufferers.
- Usually chinchillas do not require regular vet visits however if you do need to take your chinchilla to the vet, it can be expensive. You should expect to pay no less than $50 for a normal visit and $100 for emergency. It could be a lot more depending where you live. Also, you may have to drive a bit to get to a qualified chinchilla vet as not all vets are knowledgeable or even treat chinchillas.