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post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone!

Okay, so, after hearing and seeing about chinchillas, I have it in my mind to get one. I think they're adorable! But I wanted to get some advice, suggestions, etc.

Just to give a little history... We're a HUGE animal family. My dad says no more furry animals because of the vet bills, but I read online that if taken care of properly, chinchillas rarely need to see a vet. I'm a student, and I don't think I'll be working much or at all this year because my grades seem to go downhill if I do. So, I'd be able to take care of them.

Those of you who have or have had chinchillas: Are they good pets? How hard are they to take care of? What do I need, what should I do, what are the costs, etc. I need all the information I can get.

OH! And I know you can take them out to play... do they randomly poop on the floor? Will they get along with Bella or do I need to separate them?

Thanks so much!
post #2 of 5
Congratulations! Chinchillas are a lot of fun. And, I'm really glad you're doing the research before hand.

Let me start by saying, though, chins are not cheap pets. They don't cost a fortune, but they do need their supplies, as I'll detail below.

Though by no means am I an expert, I have had 6 chins over all. Some I "inherited" through my boyfriend, and one was born to us by a very sneaky rendevous of two of ours. So I've had a pretty wide range of experience!

Chinchillas are like most other pets. As you said, if taken care of properly, they seldom need to see a vet. However, like all pets, they can have other things than sickness. For example, my first (and favorite, shh!!), Sarah, was never healthy. She was small and epileptic. She died young, at only about 8 years old, and had to see the vet quite a few times near the end. The good news is, all our other chins have never really had to see the vet! We took them down just to check them out, but they didn't have to.

To answer your questions:

Yes, chinchillas make great pets, if that's what you like. Cage animals are of course different than a cat, but as an animal family, I'm sure you know that! They are pretty easy to take care of. They need attention, so they're not one you can put in a cage and forget. They need food always, they are grazers, so their dish being empty isn't good. It's not bad, they can go awhile without food, but they shouldn't go too long. They love their treats! They need regular dust baths (the coolest thing ever to watch!!), and they must have plenty of things to chew on. Without a dust bath, their coats get greasy, and that can make them sick. Without things to chew on, their teeth will keep growing and can grow back in to their mouth and make it so they can't eat, and can even grow in to their brains. But trust me, you give them stuff to chew on, and you have nothing to worry about!

So, the supplies you will need. A large cage- they need room to run and jump. A wheel (solid, no spokes to get caught in!) or a saucer for them to run in is GREAT and loved by all chins. Bedding, NOT CEDAR. Places for them to hide- you can buy these from a pet store, or make some. Mine have heavy duty PVC pipes (among other things!) to play in! Cardboard is great, because they can hide in it and chew it! Though cardboard is not thick enough to wear down their teeth, and they do need wood to chew on. They do best with Timothy Hay supplements to their diet. Raisins are a great treat for them, but you only need max a few a day, and one every few days is good, too, so they won't cost too much. You'll also need dust bath for them, and of course food and water dishes- I recommend glass water bottle and heavy duty PVC food dish that attaches to the cage. Those are both investments you'll never regret!!

So, the costs are pretty much all of the above. Most are costs are recurring, because chins will chew and destroy everything over time. Dust bath, food, and chew toys need to be bought most frequently, and bedding depending on if you buy small bags or huge ones. Followed by cage acessory replacements, like ledges and huts.

Chins LOVE their freedom! I have a picture on here somewhere of "chin kingdom" that we had set up for ours, so they had freedom almost every day for a few hours. Let's see if I can find it...

So they just had free run of that entire room, and each others' cages. Yes, they do poop randomly on floor. Always fun. But, most "potty train" themselves when it comes to pee, and they tend to only pee in the back bottom corners of their cages, which is nice.

Of course, I can't say how Bella will be with the chins, though my Evie is pretty good at ignoring them. Most chins will basically ignore a cat if the chin is in their cage and the cat is not close to them. However, during freedom, each chin is different. Sarah was fine with all my big pets- she'd walk on their heads, in fact! Fed pretty much ignored them. Toku either ignores them or attacks them, depending on her mood. Nigel would always attack!

Whew, ok, I think that answers your questions. I know there are other people on here who know lots, too, so hopefully you'll hear from more than just me!

But, if you should ever have questions, I'd be happy to help you out, so feel free to PM me anytime!
post #3 of 5
My Sister has a Chin and it cost her 200. Everything BelongsToEvie said is right. You need to make sure they stay cool on Hot Days. They have nice soft fur also. My Sister has a Dog,Chin and Cat.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for all of that!

I want to get one... this lady is selling two of them and all of their stuff for 150. they're silver and look gorgeous. I just don't want to overwhelm the people in my household. I'm getting a boa this weekend, and then to bring up chinchillas? It's kinda crazy... But I SO want one. I think I just need to wait, urgh, as much as I don't want to. Maybe next spring or summer, once I have more money for myself. They're just so cute, and seem like interesting little creatures.
post #5 of 5
He he, yeah, I'm a chinchilla nut. Sorry, once I get started I don't stop! I guess 'cause I'm still learning about cats I can't help as much, so I make up for not being so helpful with cats when someone asks about chins!

It's probably a very wise choice to not get one yet. No reason to get a bunch of new animals at once! That'll be really costly.

If / when you do get one, you know where to find me if you have more questions!
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