Do Chinchillas Make Good Pets?

If you’re looking for an alternative pet to the standard dog or cat, and considering something more in the exotic realm, chinchillas are one of the options. When considering a chinchilla as a pet, there are several factors to consider. Below, a Saint Lucie County veterinarian gives you the pros and cons of chinchilla ownership.


  • Personality – Chinchillas have lively dispositions. They like to explore and are busy by nature. While it may take a while to win the trust of your chinchilla, eventually you can form a friendly bond with the animal.
  • Soft – Chinchilla’s fur is among the softest fur found anywhere in the animal kingdom.
  • Cage Dwellers – Chinchillas will want to spend most of their time in their cage. If you’re busy through the day or live in a small apartment, a chinchilla might be a good choice versus a pet like a dog who needs to be out and about a lot. Ask your Saint Lucie County vet for advice on the proper cage for your chinchilla.
  • Cute – Chinchillas are just downright cute. Soft, cuddly, rabbit-like creatures, they are simply fun to look at and watch.


  • Sleep Patterns – Chinchillas will sleep most of the day and then be most active at dawn and dusk. If your chinchilla is in the bedroom, he may keep you up at night unless you are a heavy sleeper.
  • Temperature Requirements – Since these animals cannot sweat, they need to be in a temperature-controlled environment at all times. Air conditioning is a necessity for chinchilla owners. Consult your Saint Lucie County veterinarian for information on specific temperature needs.
  • Dust Baths – Chinchillas need to take a dust bath—in a specially-formulated dust product—a few times a week to keep their coats healthy. This can be messy, and some owners might have allergic reactions.
  • Expensive – Chinchillas cost far more than small rodents like hamsters or gerbils. Their cage, food, dust, wheels, etc. will run the cost up even more. Your Saint Lucie County vet can provide general price ranges for the animal and the items it will require.

In addition, chinchillas will live anywhere from 15 – 20 years, assuming they’re kept in good health. This can either be a pro or a con, depending on whether or not you’re committed—and want to make such a commitment—for that period of time. Generally speaking, chinchillas don’t make great pets for young children. The care, time investment, and handling needs aren’t suited for kids. Ask your Saint Lucie County vet if he or she thinks a chinchilla may be a good pet for you and your family structure. For the right person, a chinchilla can make a wonderful, loving pet that will provide years of happiness and companionship.

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