Chinchillas can make excellent pets. They are not a common pet, though. You will not find a lot of people around who can tell you what to look for. If you are considering getting a chinchilla, you need to keep these pointers in mind.
1. Do not buy – adopt
Chinchillas tend to be expensive. There is no reason to pay for your chinchilla, though. If you go to an animal shelter, you will find plenty of individuals hoping to be picked.
2. The 12-week rule
The younger you get a chinchilla, the more likely it is to learn to get along with humans. The older a chinchilla is, the less likely it is to learn to trust humans. You should never get a chinchilla that’s a day older than 12 weeks. This is how long it takes to wean a baby chinchilla.
3. Buy the equipment first
The moment you bring your new chinchilla home, you will need somewhere safe to put them. You will need to buy all the equipment necessary first – the cage, the exercise equipment and so on.
You should also chinchilla-proof your home before you get your new pets home. Chinchillas are very active creatures. They can quickly get into danger if they are let around a house that is not made safe.
4. You need to learn how to evaluate a chinchilla
When you begin looking at chinchillas, your first job should be to look for signs of health. You need an animal that is plump and not bony. A good-sized animal is usually far healthier than a thin one.
A look at the eyes should give you a reasonable picture of the state of that a chinchilla is in, too. Healthy chinchillas have clear, dry eyes. If you see discharge, it could be a sign of trouble. A clean underside and bright teeth with a yellow or orange hue are another good sign.
5. Evaluate every part of the chinchilla
Healthy chinchillas have a dry nose and dry ears. You should make sure that the ears are completely odorless, too.
The genital and anal regions should be completely clean.
6. What is the exact quality of the fur?
Healthy chinchillas have a very thick coat – so thick that can be difficult to see down to the skin when you part the hair. You could try blowing right into the fur. It should not part enough to show skin. Chinchillas with long hair tend to be better than ones with short hair.
7. You should look up the pedigree of the chinchillas you consider
Even if you are not interested in breeding the chinchilla that you buy, looking up pedigree information can help you find a healthier individual. The very fact that a store keeps pedigree information is a good sign.
It can tell you that the store owner cares about how he sources his stocks. If a store owner seems to speak intelligently about the best breed to buy, you should probably follow his advice.
8. Should you get a male chinchilla or a female one?
You can easily choose either gender. It can make no real difference to its suitability as a pet. If you plan to get two or more chinchillas, though, you should probably get male individuals. Male chinchillas tend to be calmer, friendlier and less territorial.
While females can be just as friendly with humans as males, they can be domineering and aggressive with other chinchillas. You should probably play safe and buy males, rather than females.
9. Chinchillas do not usually like to be held or petted
Since you are looking for a chinchilla to raise as a pet, it is important to look for the one that is already comfortable being treated in this way. Chinchillas can take time to get used to a new person. They do not allow themselves to be petted by strangers.
How do you find out if the chinchilla you are getting is friendly and pettable? You should ask the pet store owner to pick up a few and see how the animal reacts. You will know that it is a friendly creature if it seems comfortable with being held by the pet store owner.
10. Should you get one or two?
Single chinchillas can quickly go into depression. These creatures tend to live together in groups out in the wild. You should probably get two male chinchillas and put them together in the same enclosure. While getting two females can work, too, territorial disputes are not unheard of.
A chinchilla is a very long-lived pet. A good, healthy chinchilla should live more than 15 years. While it can be wonderful to share a decade or two with your little pet, you do need to make sure that you are ready for the commitment needed.