Pros & Cons of Chinchilla as a Pet

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Among domesticated rodents, chinchillas are unique. They are larger than most rats, hamsters and gerbils, and have lifespans far longer than other rodent species.

Chinchillas are also considered an “exotic” pet, owing to their rarity in the wild and the fact that many pet stores can only get chinchillas from reputable breeders.

As with any pet, owning a chinchilla is an investment of both time and money. So whether you’ve been planning to adopt one of your own, or if you know someone who’s interested in raising a chinchilla, here are some things you need to know before deciding to adopt.

Pro: Chinchillas Are Low-Maintenance

Like other domestic rodents, chinchillas are fairly low maintenance. Once you set up their enclosure, all they really need is regular food and water.

Chinchillas primarily eat hay, as it contains a lot of fiber. They should be given fresh hay at least once a day, and hay-based pellets can be given for them to chew on.

A chinchilla’s enclosure should be cleaned once every week. Chinchillas aren’t particularly messy, so cleaning should be fairly easy.

Con: Chinchillas Can Be Bad For Allergies

Chinchillas themselves aren’t likely to cause an allergic reaction. They produce very little in the way of dander, so they’re mostly hypoallergenic.

However, the hay that they eat may cause a reaction in people who have hay or grass allergies.

Hays and grasses make up nearly 90% of a chinchilla’s diet, and because of how sensitive their stomachs are, they can’t eat much else. So if you have an allergy to hay or grass, then owning a chinchilla might not be suitable for you.

Pro: Chinchillas Are Very Social

Unlike other rodents, who might prefer living a solitary lifestyle, chinchillas are naturally sociable creatures. In the wild, chinchillas will form herds as a means of protection from predators.

It’s recommended to adopt at least 2 chinchillas, so they can form a proper social bond. This enhanced social interaction will likely extend their life expectancy and improve their long-term mental health.

With humans, chinchillas can become very devoted to their owners with proper care. They are fairly docile and love to cuddle, so if your chinchilla is constantly snuggling up to you, that means you’re probably doing a good job as an owner.

Con: Chinchillas Can’t Be Around Other Pets

Chinchillas love each other’s company, and they can grow attached to a human that they trust. But if you already own another pet, then adopting a chinchilla is out of the question.

In the wild, cats and dogs instinctively prey on chinchillas. So a domesticated chinchilla will automatically recognize a dog or cat as a predator and be stressed out.

Rabbits and other rodents, like rats or hamsters, also irritate chinchillas. Because they all fill a similar niche in nature, a domestic chinchilla might view these other animals as rivals for food or territory.

Chinchillas only get along with other chinchillas. Any other animals will stress them out, and lead to a poor pet experience.

Pro: Chinchillas Love to Play

Chinchillas love to play, so it’s important to give them the proper toys and entertainment.

Wooden chew toys are a chinchilla’s favorite type of toy. The wood gives them something to gnaw on, which files down their constantly growing teeth.

Tunnels and exercise wheels are two classic toys for domestic rodents, and chinchillas enjoy them just as much. They also enjoy climbing, so giving them objects to climb on is also a way to entertain them.

The best thing about playing with your chinchilla is that you get to see more of their personality. Every chinchilla is unique, so playtime is a great way to get to know them!

Con: Chinchillas Are Nocturnal

By nature, most rodents are more active at night than they are in the daytime.

Chinchillas are no exception.

If you’re a light sleeper, or you just so happen to sleep near a chinchilla enclosure, you’ll likely be kept awake by the sounds of them eating, playing, and moving about.

This also means that during the daytime, a pet chinchilla will be more likely to take a nap somewhere than they are to play with you.


Ultimately, the decision on adopting a chinchilla is up to you. As with every other kind of pet, chinchillas have their own advantages and downsides to take into consideration.

So, the next time you consider adopting a chinchilla, keep this list in mind.

It will help you make an informed decision on whether or not a chinchilla is right for you.

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