My friend has had a few of them for years. I wouldn't call them "starter" pets, so I don't know if you have a lot of experience with exotic pets or not, but anyway...they're cute, but they aren't particularly cuddly or lovable. They smell kind of bad (like most rodents do) and the cages require a lot of upkeep. It can also be difficult to find a vet who knows how to treat them. They will breed like crazy if you don't spay them. I have no idea how old your kids are, but my friend's son accidentally stepped on one of theirs a few months ago, crushing it, but it didn't die right away. He was pretty traumatized, as the whole family was. The chinchillas are kind of sneaky like that--her son is a very kind and responsible 12 year old, so it wasn't like he was being careless. I guess that's a whole lot of negative. The positives that I see are that they are kind of playful and the kids enjoy handling them.
at 7:44 PM on Jan. 26, 2011