Chinchillas are so fluffy, soft, and cute that it may be hard to believe they belong to the rodent family! Chinchillas originally lived in the Andes Mountains in South America, before being bred as a popular pet. Many pet stores, including national chains, carry chinchillas in stores.
Before deciding to adopt a chinchilla into your family you should learn about the species and their special needs. This post will cover some basic information about chinchillas and I will be posting about the chinchilla diet, habitat, and potential health concerns. I will link these additional posts once they are ready!
Chinchillas live to be 9-15 years old, on average. There have been many instances of chinchillas living to be 20 years old or more. As with any pet, you should commit to your chinchilla for the duration of his life.
Chinchillas are nocturnal animals, meaning they are primarily awake and active at night, and asleep during the day. Chinchillas keep this schedule year-long and they do not hibernate during the winter months.
Personality and Physical Traits
- Quiet and shy animals
- Fast and agile animals that like to climb and jump
- Grow to 12 inches on average
- Herbivore – meaning they are vegetarians
- Enjoy being cuddled and held by humans
- Since chinchillas are part of the rodent family, their teeth grow continuously throughout their lives.
- Chinchillas also require daily dust baths, which I will talk more about in the habitat post!
- Chinchillas breed from November to April/May and babies are born with their eyes open and a full coat of fur
Chinchillas make a great pet for a calm family, due to their quiet and cuddly nature. A home with children or other pets may not be the best fit for a chinchilla, although each animal is unique. If you have questions about whether a chinchilla will be a good fit in your home you can ask a veterinarian for advice!
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!