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Thinking about getting a chinchilla...

Anyone have one? Do they stink? Do they destroy houses? Can you have small children around them?

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Asked by Bugzmomma at 12:03 PM on Mar. 31, 2011 in Pets

Level 21 (10,170 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • I've only ever had ferrets and guinea pigs, but I know they have a generally good temperament. And they're cute, so that's a plus. lol

    Answer by lovingmy4babies at 12:20 PM on Mar. 31, 2011

  • They're rodents. They stink. They escape and hide. And young kids like to squeeze them, which will either hurt them or cause them to bite, or both, so you can't really let kids handle them without close adult supervision.
    They require a pretty good deal of maintenance, cleaning, and attention. And they WILL breed if you don't do something about it. My understanding is that they really need to have at least one other chinchilla or they feel isolated and lonely.
    Not really an easy "beginner" type of pet.

    Answer by vicesix at 12:35 PM on Mar. 31, 2011

  • @ vicesix

    well shit.

    Comment by Bugzmomma (original poster) at 1:45 PM on Mar. 31, 2011

  • Chinchillas do best in pairs of 1 male and 1 female, but you can have them fixed. They DO NOT smell at all, and their maintenance is pretty simple. They clean themselves with a dust bath. If you put a litter box with about 1/2 an inch of the dust ( sold in pet stores) in it, you can give them the box 1 or 2 times a day. They really enjoy it, and if they have it all day they will make a big, dusty mess :) They can be litter box trained, but it isn't very effective. If you use wood shavings or another kind of bedding, you only have to change it about once a week. Their poo doesn't smell hardly at all, unless they have diarrhea, which almost never happens unless they are sick. The male's pee smells stronger than the females, but if you change the litter as needed you won't even notice. They are very sweet tempered, but do require lots of petting and love to stay friendly. Hope this helps :) P.S. I've had chinchillas. Love them :)

    Answer by alphamom26 at 2:19 PM on Mar. 31, 2011

  • I'm glad that alphamom26 has non-stinky chinchillas...perhaps it's all a matter of personal opinion, but everyone I know that has them has a vaguely rodent-y smell in their home even though they complain that they're constantly cleaning.
    Currently, my dearest friend has a few of them, which she's had for years...they love them, but she does lament that they are a lot of upkeep. About a year ago, her son accidentally stepped on one of them and broke it's back, but it didn't die immediately...her son was completely traumatized by it. I just think that chinchillas may not be the best pet for everyone and that all of the potential negatives should be examined too so that you don't end up neglecting or having to get rid of them because they aren't a good fit for your family, KWIM?
    That being said, they ARE cute :-)

    Answer by vicesix at 2:34 PM on Mar. 31, 2011

  • Just do your research first, because rodents aren't necessarily low maintenance pets. Chinchillas do better in pairs, they need a decent sized cage, dust baths, food and water. If you don't mind cleaning out a cage, that isn't a big deal. If you hate cleaning out cages, it will drive you mad over the years! They are rodents and will act like rodents... rodents are prey animals. They startle easily and are fast. They will dart if startled and I wouldn't recommend young kids walk around in an area where they are loose (we have guinea pigs and during free time we seal them with baby gates in an area and the kids are not allowed inside. They don't look terribly graceful, but those little buggers can run and change direction on a dime!) Kids can handle them, but very carefully and with supervision- they are delicate and a small child could easily hurt them without meaning to.

    Answer by Freela at 7:36 PM on Mar. 31, 2011

  • Con't. All rodents need to chew- their teeth grow continuously and they need to gnaw to wear them down. You can give them wood chews and other toys to meet this need in their cages in the hopes that they don't chew up your belongings during free play. My experience with other rodents is that it varies with the individual. Two of our guinea pigs have been very kind to the house- the third quite literally chewed up all my doorframes as high as she could stand!
    I really like rodents and small animals- over the years I've had mice, rats, hedgehogs, and guinea pigs, and via my cousin I've been around ferrets and chinchillas. I consider them well worth the work!
    My last thought... find an exotic pet vet as soon as you get them- check out rates and get recommendations. It can be really hard to find a vet who knows exotics and a vet who isn't experienced can literally kill your pet trying to help them.

    Answer by Freela at 7:40 PM on Mar. 31, 2011

  • I had chinchillas for 14 years and they did not stink, well, maybe when it was time to change their cage and then it was really the cage that stank not the chinnys.

    They are not good for little kids though, they startle easily, are nocturnal and are pretty fragile creatures.

    Answer by EBee12 at 11:21 AM on Apr. 5, 2011

  • I don't think they stink, but they are "dusty" and messy. Not the best with youngsters.

    Answer by salexander at 12:16 PM on Apr. 5, 2011

  • I had a pair of sisters and they are a lot of work especially if you have kids. If they get stressed too much they can develop a liver problem that gives them a hump. Exotics are nice, I had a trio of sugar gliders for years, but with kids in the pictures especially young ones, you often don't have the time to give them all that they need.

    Answer by Fairierose81 at 12:37 PM on Apr. 7, 2011

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