Now that you know a lot about chinchillas, you feel ready to get your own pet chinchilla.
But where is the best place to get a healthy, happy chinchilla?
As a whole, you can get a pet chinchilla in the local pet store, you can adopt a chinchilla at a rescue center, you can look around if someone has to give away a pet chinchilla and is looking for a new home for the pet, or you can go to a respected breeder.
In the following, you will find some pros and cons of the different options.
The Pet Store
- Easily available
- You can check out the chinchillas in the store without any commitment
- Good pet stores will also give you all the information you need
- Chinchillas might be stressed or even sick
- Chinchillas might not be in the best conditions
- Chinchillas might come from mass-breeding facilities and wholesalers that are not very animal friendly
The most obvious place to get a chinchilla is probably the pet store. Not every pet store has chinchillas, but chinchillas have become quite popular, therefore you might be lucky.
Keep in mind that pet stores are not necessarily the best option, because the animals are being displayed for the customers during opening hours at all times. Chinchillas, as you already know, are nocturnal and might be stressed out by all the noises while they are trying to sleep.
It’s important to say that not all pet stores are the same. Some are a lot more animal friendly than others, so go check out the pet stores and look at the animals first. Do they have enough places to hide if they don’t want to be displayed? Does everything look clean and hygienic in the enclosures? Do the chinchillas look healthy and relaxed?
If you see dirty cages, animals lying around in a lethargic way with no place to hide, if chinchillas are pacing around frantically, or behaving in an abnormal way such as jumping against the cage or chewing on each other’s fur, you should definitively not get your chinchilla in such a place.
Chinchillas, like all other living creatures, have the right to live in a species-appropriate way, and buying chinchillas from a pet store that does not treat the animals right, might help that individual animal to get a better life, but it encourages the industry behind this pet store and leads to more animals suffering under unsuitable conditions.
The Specialist Breeder
- Chinchillas are usually in very good health conditions
- Chinchillas might already be tame
- Breeder personally cares for the well-being of the chins
- A breeder might stay in touch with you and answer questions
- There might be no breeder in your local area
Another option is to look for a respected breeder. This is probably the best option because breeders usually know a lot about their animals and make sure that they are living in good conditions.
Breeders also tend to handle the young which makes it easier to tame them because they are already used to being handled by humans. If you can find a local breeder, you should definitively check that option out, because chances are high that you will receive happy and healthy chinchillas.
I personally experienced that breeders take a lot more time to explain what the new pets need, how to care for them, and also ask back if everything is already set up and if you need any more information. Breeders also sometimes keep in touch and you get to ask questions if you are unsure about a certain situation.
The Rescue Center
- You do good, giving a chinchilla a better life
- Chinchilla might already be tame
- Chinchilla might be in bad mental conditions
- Chinchilla might be older than you want or know
- Chinchilla might have health issues or behavioral problems you don’t know about
You can also go to a rescue center and see if they have chinchillas that are looking for a new home. These chinchillas are usually not babies anymore and are often tamer than chinchillas from the pet store. But you don’t know what these chinchillas have experienced in their lives. Maybe they were abandoned at some point and had to live under bad conditions, maybe they were treated in a way that lead to some behavioral issues. You simply don’t know how the chinchilla from a rescue center will behave.
But if you have the chance to learn more about an individual chinchilla and maybe even get to interact with that cute furball, you might already get a good idea of whether you two make a good team or not.
Private Animal Trade
- You give a chinchilla a new home which might have ended in a rescue center
- Chinchilla might already be tame
- The previous owner can tell you everything about this particular chinchilla
- You can stay in touch with the previous owner and ask questions
- Chinchilla might be older than you want (or know)
- Chinchilla might have any behavioral problems or health issues
One last option is to check out local ads for chinchillas. Maybe someone cannot take care of his or her pet chinchilla anymore and needs to find a new home for the chin.
The pros and cons are very similar to adopting a chinchilla from a rescue center, but a previous owner might be able to tell you more about his or her pet and you can get a better picture of the chinchilla.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂