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Adopting a Chinchilla

Adopting a Chinchilla 1

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Who is the Chinchilla?

The chinchilla is a charming small rodent resembling a living plush toy. Over the past decade, chinchillas have become increasingly popular as pets in French households. Considered as NACs (New Pets), these furry companions can be true friends. However, it is important to understand the specific needs associated with this animal before adopting a chinchilla. Let’s explore together the world of chinchillas and their requirements.

What is a Chinchilla?

Originally from the Andes Mountains, the chinchilla belongs to the Chinchillidae family. Renowned for its beautiful bluish-gray fur, the chinchilla was historically bred for its meat and fur. In the past, chinchilla fur was a symbol of wealth among the upper classes. It has only been in the past decade that this small animal has become one of the favorite pets of Westerners.

Specifically, the domestic chinchilla is the result of crossbreeding between the Lanigera and Brevicaudate chinchilla species. Measuring about 12 inches in length without the tail and weighing around 1.8 pounds, these small animals can come in various colors, depending on the species. You will surely fall in love with their large round eyes that exude innocence, as well as the softness and lightness of their fur.

Is the Chinchilla Suitable for Children?

Despite its resemblance to a living plush toy, the chinchilla does not appreciate excessive cuddling. It is rather independent by nature and not particularly affectionate. On the contrary, its timid character makes it relatively challenging to tame. If it feels threatened, a chinchilla may even bite. It requires a lot of patience and gentleness to teach it about family life.

Therefore, adopting a chinchilla might disappoint children. Moreover, they could disturb the tranquility of the small animal. It is advisable to avoid placing a chinchilla in the presence of young children. Chinchillas are more suitable as pets for adults and teenagers, starting from the age of 14. If you want to adopt a pet suitable for children, it is better to opt for a guinea pig, for example!

Adopting a Chinchilla: A Long-Term Commitment

While many rodents have a short lifespan, this is not the case for chinchillas. They can easily live up to 10 years, with some rare individuals reaching the age of 20. Adopting a chinchilla, therefore, entails a long-term commitment.

Before adopting a chinchilla, ask yourself if you are capable of taking care of it for all those years. Remember that an animal is a sentient and conscious being. You are fully responsible for its well-being. Therefore, it is crucial not to make an impulsive decision!

Adopting a Chinchilla

Preparing for Your Chinchilla’s Arrival

Choosing the Cage

For the well-being of your chinchilla, it needs to have a spacious cage. At a minimum, the cage should be at least 13.3 feet in length and 1.6 feet in width. However, if you have the opportunity, feel free to exceed these measurements. The larger the cage, the more the chinchilla can thrive. Being naturally curious, chinchillas love to explore every corner of their environment.

Chinchillas enjoy climbing, so you can opt for a multi-level cage. This will allow your pet to exercise a bit every day! Additionally, don’t hesitate to provide numerous fun accessories in its habitat.

Be aware that chinchillas can be escape artists! To avoid waking up to an empty cage one morning, make sure to choose a complex locking system. These intelligent and observant animals can quickly learn how to open their enclosure if you are not vigilant.

The cage should be placed in a well-lit room without drafts, at an average temperature of around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, avoid overly busy or noisy areas as chinchillas tend to be timid and can become stressed by their environment.

Lastly, for the chinchilla’s health and well-being, its cage should be regularly cleaned. It is necessary to change the bedding at least once a week or more frequently if there is an unpleasant odor.

Adopting a Chinchilla

What Does a Chinchilla Eat?

Chinchillas are herbivores. Their diet mainly consists of dry vegetation, such as hay, which they can eat freely. However, it is important to choose high-quality hay and avoid dusty, damp, or moldy hay.

There are also specially formulated pellets available for chinchillas. These pellets should contain 15-18% protein, 15-18% fiber, and 2-5% fat. Pellets should not be left out continuously. They should be given once a day, approximately 0.7-1.1 ounces for an adult chinchilla.

Very occasionally, a chinchilla can enjoy a treat like a piece of fruit or a vegetable. However, caution must be exercised as chinchillas have difficulty digesting fresh foods. Fresh treats should only be given on rare occasions. It is best to opt for rosebuds or dandelion roots as treats for your little companion.

mahatma gandhi portrait

- Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

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