10 Reason to Get a Pet Chinchilla this Christmas

It’s that time of year...again. We wrack our brains about the best gift ideas for everyone on the list—for mom and dad, for grandma and not least of all, for our kids. If your children have been begging for a puppy or kitten for more years than you can remember, you may want to think about getting them a slightly more exotic pet.

Here are just 10 of the many reasons to get a pet chinchilla:

1. They are ever-so-soft. Chinchillas have thick, lush fur that is incredibly fun to pet. Most chinchillas love to be held and they crave affection.

2. Chinchillas can learn their own name and other tricks. With patience, you can teach your chinchilla to jump through a hoop or (more importantly) use a litterbox. Since chinchillas are energetic and have short attention spans, it may take awhile until the behavior sticks, but perseverance will pay off!

3. Your chinchilla will get to know you. Unlike some other small mammal pets, chinchillas know and connect with their owners. While your pet chinchilla may (or may not) come when you call her, she will be happy to see you when you pick her up for a petting session!

4. They don’t require a lot of space. Chinchillas can be very happy in an apartment building or small home, as long as your provide them with a large enough cage. They can wander around freely with your supervision and then be kept in a cage while you are out and about. Since pet chinchillas don’t require a lot of space, they are a great fit even if your home is small and you don’t have a yard..

5. Chinchillas don’t eat meat! If you’re looking for a vegetarian pet and don’t want to have to give out cat or dog food that’s filled with low-grade meat products, your chinchilla will be happy to oblige. Chinchillas are herbivores who like to eat alfalfa, hay and vegetables. Learn more about what chinchillas eat.

6. Chinchillas are relatively low-maintenance. Unlike a dog, which needs to be walked 2-3 times a day, your chinchilla won’t require hours of care each day. That being said, there is still a significant commitment involved. Chinchillas need to have their cages cleaned regularly and we recommend giving them dust baths at least 2-3 times a week.

7. Chinchillas have an average lifespan of 10 years, but can live to the ripe old age of 20. For many families, this is an ideal lifespan. Unlike turtles which can live for 100 years in captivity, your pet chinchilla will be around for awhile, but not forever.

8. Chinchillas make great pets for teens and preteens. If you want to help your teenager learn responsibility, it may be hopeless, but a chinchilla may be a good choice. They are lower maintenance than many other pets but do still require care. Note: We do not recommend chinchillas for families with babies or toddlers.

9. Chinchillas are quiet. Want a pet without the whimpering, barking or incessant meowing of a hungry cat? Look no further.

10. There are lots of reputable chinchilla breeders! A good breeder will even be able to tell you the personality of a baby chinchilla’s parents. Feel free to contact us and we can help you find a good chinchilla breeder on Long Island or New York City. (We don’t recommend buying a chinchilla from a pet store.)

A few Notes about Owning a Pet Chinchilla

Before you get your new pet chinchilla, be sure to check out our post full of tips about what to do before you take home any exotic pet. Also, if you are worried you won’t know how to care for your baby chinchilla, just bookmark or print out our chinchilla care guide to find out everything you need to know about caring for a chinchilla. And don’t forget to take any new pet to the veterinarian for a complete physical.

Long Island Birds & Exotic Vet Clinic is a specialty chinchilla veterinarian.

Schedule a visit or call 516-482-1101.

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