Are Chinchillas Good Pets? Do Chinchillas Cuddle With Children?

Christian Mba
Oct 19, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Oct 27, 2021
Light chinchilla on white background

Clean, quiet, attractive, and odorless rodents, wild chinchillas are native to South America.

Chinchillas are good family pets who are slightly larger in size and more robust than ground squirrels. These charming, small rodents, who are known as chinchillas, are native to the Andes Mountains in South America. 

Chinchillas are curious, affectionate, and social animals who can bond closely with the people that they live with. Chinchillas become very happy when they are held close and when someone cuddles with them.

Technically, chinchillas are rodents, but they are still cuddly and beautiful animals. These rodents are known as exotic pets who are sold at exotic pet shows.

Additionally, their cost depends on the breeder and the chinchilla's coloring. According to National Geographic, it is illegal to kill, hunt, and catch Chinchillas as they are wild and considered to be endangered species.

Chinchillas have some features which make them unique from other pets. In this article, you will learn about various fascinating chinchilla facts which will make you fall in love with them.

After learning if chinchillas make good pets, you may also want to read other related fun facts on why do chinchillas take dust baths and are chinchillas nocturnal?

Do chinchillas cuddle with you?

Chinchillas are at their happiest when they are held close and cuddled by someone. These small rodents are very friendly and lovable creatures who like to have fun with the humans that own them. 

Yes, pet chinchillas cuddle with you, but they might take some time to get to know you and be familiar with you. Sometimes, it might take weeks for your pet chinchillas to trust you and to know you well enough to allow you to pick them up.

Once this wait is over, you will see the best results in your chinchilla.

The soft, velvety coats of pet chinchillas make them very attractive to touch, stroke and cuddle.

Being patient is the key to gaining the trust of your chinchilla. If you keep visiting your chinchilla at the same time every day, it might be easy for your chinchilla to consider you as their owner and become more familiar with you.

The cuddly nature of a chinchilla depends on its past upbringing, on the socialization of your chinchilla, and on the way you treat your chinchilla and build a bond and trust with it. Exceptions are everywhere!

While most well-socialized chinchillas enjoy cuddling and hugging, there might be a few chinchillas who dislike the way you cuddle them.

Don’t be disappointed by this, as it is always possible to have a cuddly chinchilla if you take care of and feed your pet properly. During the initial stage of getting your chinchilla home, it might show love and affection towards you.

However, during this time they do not like to be held and handled in some situations. This happens because, in the first few weeks, your chinchilla is still trying to get familiar with its new environment.

Once your chinchilla is happy with the way you are handling it, they will be active and playful from a young age.

Most chinchillas bond closely with their owners and become quite tame. Apart from this, chinchillas are a fan of having fun and exploring in their own time instead of being held and stroked all the time.

Ethics Of Having A Pet Chinchilla

Are you wondering if chinchillas make good pets? The answer is yes; chinchillas make good pets. If you own a chinchilla as your pet then you are held responsible for it. It does not matter whether you are keeping a chinchilla temporarily or permanently. You are required to care for your chinchilla properly under the Animal Welfare Act.

It is not cruel to keep chinchillas as pets as long as you give them proper care, a large habitat, and the ability to socialize with family members or with other pet chinchillas. The best care and a safe environment is required for raising any pet and the same goes for a chinchilla.

There is no doubt that chinchillas deserve love and care just like other animals.

Chinchillas continue to be bred domestically as pets even though they are known to be an endangered species.

When considering the ethics of having a chinchilla as a pet, remember that it is 100% safe and possible to keep a chinchilla as a pet if you can give them proper care. It is not considered cruel to keep a chinchilla as a pet.

Apart from this, the ethics also suggest providing a perfect habitat and environment. You must not neglect the social needs of your chinchillas and keep in mind that you provide a safe and proper environment for your chinchilla.

Apart from providing a good chinchilla enclosure, you must also take care of the socialization of your pet chinchilla.

What living conditions do chinchilla need?

Various factors must be kept in mind when you are deciding to keep a chinchilla as a pet. Proper research along with a knowledge of animal welfare is required to properly take care of any pet.

It is important to know about the habits, physical features, and nature of chinchillas before adopting one so that you can keep it healthy and happy.

Chinchillas are rodents with thick, soft, and luxurious fur which protects them from the elements, but the situation might change in captivity where their fur makes them somewhat susceptible to overheating. This factor is very important when you are deciding the place to keep chinchillas in your house.

An area of the house which is quiet and cool will tend to be better for a chinchilla.

Chinchillas are usually kept in large cages. Being a very active, agile, and acrobatic pet, chinchillas can face a problem when they are kept in a smaller size cage.

The best choice for a chinchilla is a tall case with a minimum floor space of around 24 x 24 in (60 x 60 cm). Shelves and ladders in tall cages serve as a cherry on the top for your chinchilla.

Additionally, 4 × 4 × 3 ft (1.22 × 1.22 × 0.91 m) is the minimum enclosure for a single chinchilla. Galvanized wire is not at all suggested for the cage due to the presence of zinc in it.

Wooden flooring is recommended instead of wire flooring for chinchillas' cages as the wire can be hard for chinchillas' feet.

It is suggested to avoid cedar shavings and hardwood shavings. The cage should have ample space for their playtime.

How To Clean A Chinchilla

Even though chinchillas are naturally-clean, odorless rodents, they also require some care when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness.

The density of chinchilla fur does not allow you to do regular water bathing on them just like you usually do on your other pets like cats and dogs. Fur cleaning is done 2-3 times a week using a method called dust cleaning.

If your chinchilla lived in a naturally dry environment, then it would dry and clean itself to remove oil and dirt from its furs by taking dust baths.

If your chinchilla is not present in a naturally dry environment, you can put your chinchilla in a box along with an inch of chinchilla dust and let him have at it.

You can also use an open container for this dust bathing method. Just remember that your box, or the open container that you are using.

must be bigger than the size of your chinchilla so that it can roll around easily. Leave the rest of the process to your chinchilla.

It should naturally know how to use a dust bath. This bathing method helps the chinchilla to remain fresh and soft.

Exercising And Training Chinchillas

As mentioned above, chinchillas are relatively active and friendly pets who can jump up to six ft. Additionally, chinchillas get as big as 9-15 in (23-38 cm). A few cage essentials can be used as a means of exercise and training for chinchillas.

The average age of these animals is 15 years in captivity, but they can live for as long as 20 years. These crepuscular animals are typically active during dawn and dusk, rather than day or night.

The ideal toy for a chinchilla is something that is not made of plastic so that your chinchilla cannot chew and destroy it. For example, a glass water bottle is not made up of plastic and it cannot be a barrier to the wire mesh which will ensure the safety of your chinchilla.

Wire is the best cage material, as chinchillas can chew on plastic easily.

Good chew toys like blocks of wood and tree branches can also be provided to a chinchilla in their cage. A chinchilla block is a good source of keeping your chinchilla's teeth trim.

It is important to know that the toys which have small or plastic parts can be dangerous for your chinchilla.

Once your chinchilla reaches a fairly young age, wheels can be a good toy to provide excellent exercise and keep them healthy. A solid running surface and an open side are recommended for the wheeled toy.

Caring For Your Chinchilla

Chinchilla's enclosures should also be provided with a nest box that is made up of wood.

Though the cage you choose for your chinchilla matters, you are still advised to move your chinchilla out of the cage for some time under your supervision. The cage should be kept somewhere where human activities will not stress out the pet.

The area must be quiet, clean, and a cool temperature for a chinchilla. Chinchillas must be kept away from high humidity and temperatures.

If you want to create a cool environment for your chinchilla without having an air conditioner, then use ice cubes by putting them in the cage or drape a damp towel over the chinchilla’s cage. Line the bottom of the cage with thick wood shavings, to take care of their feet.

Other than that, you will have to take good care of their cage and keep children away while you are cleaning the cage. Place a dust bath in the cage as it is required for these animals to keep their fur clean.

Make sure you regularly replace the dust bath. You must feed them only 1-2 spoons of pellet food per day.

They need to eat lots of hay, which is abrasive, to help wear their teeth down. These animals are active at night and love a good quality sleep in their space during the day.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for are chinchillas good pets then why not take a look at what do chinchillas eat, or chinchilla facts.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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