Look for the following things before
buying a chinchilla:
should be bright and curious in attitude, and not lethargic. This can be hard to judge in a sleepy
chinchilla, but generally chinchillas should wake up and be inquisitive about what is happening when
people pay attention to them.
chinchilla's coat should be well groomed, and very thick, fluffy, and shiny. There should be no clumping
or mats and no bare patches. Also check for soiling (faeces or wet fur) around the rear end, as this may
indicate a problem with diarrhoea. The skin should be free of scratches or sores.
eyes, nose and ears should be clean and free from discharge. Check the fur around the eyes and nose for
signs of wetness, staining or crusts.
to get a look at the teeth, they should not be overgrown and should be well-aligned. It's normal for
the teeth to be yellow-orange, especially as chinchillas get older. Also check for wet or matted fur on
the chin (overgrown or misaligned teeth can cause drooling).
the chinchilla's breathing, which should be quiet and not laboured, with no wheezing, clicking or
the chinchillas move around - they should have no signs of lameness, stiffness, or reluctance to move
around. Their tails should be held high and they should be quite active -- chinchillas are normally very
quick and are able to jump well.
at the chinchilla's surroundings. The cage should be clean, with access to fresh food, hay, and water,
and not overcrowded. chinchillas kept under good conditions will be less stressed and have less exposure
how the chinchillas reacts to people -- most will be skittish at first but ideally try to pick a
chinchilla that is curious and will approach your hand in the cage, at least for a quick sniff. A
chinchilla that hasn't been handled much will probably not want to be held, but try to find one that
isn't panicky, or that tries to spray you or rears up and growls at you. Chinchillas that make aggressive
moves are just fearful, and most likely can be tamed, but will require more patience before you will be
able to handle them.
possible to keep more than one chinchilla together, especially if you adopt a young same sex pair (litter
mates are a good choice, or chinchillas that have been raised together from a very young age). Try to
find out the age of the chinchillas, and adopt chinchillas that is as young as possible (they are usually
ready to be adopted by about 3 months old).
you go to a breeder, you may have a better chance of finding a young chinchilla that is used to handling.
You also have a better chance of finding chinchillas bred for temperament and health. All breeders are
not equal, though, so ask breeders about how they handle and care for their chinchillas and their
you go to a pet store, and any of the chinchillas at the store seem ill (even if they are not in the same
cage as a chinchilla you want), do not adopt from that store (if an illness is contagious, your
chinchilla may be next and there may be possible heartbreak ahead).
sure the males and females are separated. Familiarize yourself with the differences between males and
females, and if a store doesn't separate them or seems unsure about the gender of the chinchillas, move
on. It is best to avoid the possibility of surprise litters, especially in very young chinchillas. They
can become sexually mature as early as 4 months (8 months is more common), but getting pregnant this
young would be very unhealthy for a chinchilla.
hough you may not be able to handle a potential pet chinchilla, you should be allowed to at least put your hand in
the chinchillas cage to try to assess temperament.
Other Pages on
Chinchilla Care: Chinchilla Info Chinchilla breeds Chinchilla behaviour Feeding Chinchilla Training Grooming Healthcare Chinchilla
Safety Supplies Pet Sitter Pregnant
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