Chinchillas are of the rodent family although they don't seem like it. If you've never had a chinchilla before you may want to consider one as a pet.
Also known as "chins" they have incredible velvety fir, and they resemble a chubby squirrel with Mickey mouse type ears. They are nocturnal, although they do get up and play alot during the day. Chins are very smart and playful, and I'm told can be trained. They are also very clean, so their cage area doesn't tend to stink as many other types of caged animals can.
I got my first pair of chinchillas, as adults, a proven breeding pair. They were nice enough but they never really did bond with us. We ended up having 3 litters total. They usually have 1-3 babies (also known as kits), and their pregnancy is 111 days (about 4 months), which is a very long gestation period for an animal that size.
The babies are born really advanced for newborns. They are open eyed, fully furred and running around nearly within minutes of birth. They can also eat adult food nearly from that first day, although the majority of their diet is from nursing.
One of the funnest parts of being a chin owner is bath day. Take a bowl and put chinchilla dust in it. They dive in, roll, kick, swirl and is a delight to everyone who watches! They eat pelleted chinchilla food and should be given a raisin a day.
We kept one of the babies from this pair, and she was the best pet we ever owned. We handled her from day one and she bonded to us very well. She was playful, sweet, never bit and had a cute little quiet bark. Tons of personality as well!
Chins are a more playful active type pet, versus a sit down lap animal. I would recommend getting a baby if you decide to get a chinchilla. They usually run about $100. in the US for a pet, but that price can vary a lot.
Chins are great as pets also because they don't have nails or claws, but little soft pads on their feet so you don't get scratched. They usually are not good animals for small children however as a young child can accidentally hurt them easily.
Chin's average life span is about 10-15 years, because of this be sure you're ready for that type of commitment. They need to live indoors. Standard gray is the most common color but there are other rare colors available as well, although you'll usually pay more for those.
When we were finding good homes for the babies, most people who were interested had never seen or been around chins before. The ones who did know something about them all had this in common; they either had owned one previously or knew someone close who did, which speaks very well of chins as pets.
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