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Is a chinchilla a good pet?

(19 Posts)
Megandavids Fri 14-Dec-12 14:18:43

One of my kids is asking if they can have a chinchilla as a pet they look cute enough but don't really know much about them. any one got any advice?

Nigglenaggle Fri 14-Dec-12 20:13:00

They have a potential maximum lifespan of 20 years, so you need to make really sure that you want one as well as your DC!! They can be good pets and are a good size, but depends on DC - while they tolerate gentle handling well they can be a bit skittish. They have reasonably simple needs but do do some research as they are quite different to other pets. They dont handle heat and humidity well. The smell is relatively pleasant, to my nose anyway!

TheMarshwiggle Fri 14-Dec-12 20:19:31

We had one when I was young. He was lovely but not the easiest pet - nibbled furniture, wires etc. It was a job to 'chinchilla proof' the room before we let him out to play. He also hated being held so was difficult to catch, but he would come over and let you stroke him - the most gorgeous fur! Good for allergy sufferers as their hair doesn't seem to be a trigger

Megandavids Mon 17-Dec-12 10:48:19

Thanks for the advice nice to get some different peoples views on it. I think we are going to go ahead with it (smile)

Curlybrunette Tue 01-Jan-13 22:00:38

I've had chinchillas and if I'm honest I don't think they are a good pet for a child. All ours have been really skittish and would hop up to let us stroke them but for a really short period of time.
They really are chewers, will chew anything they can get hold of. We have a big downstairs cloakroom (well quite big for a cloakroom anyway!) and I used to let them play in there for a bit but I wouldn't have been able to let them free in the lounge.
Their fur is beautifully soft, not like any other fur I've felt and although it doesn't have any allergic risks with it, it comes out really easily so you end up with fine fur floating through the air.

I don't think I've sold them very well here! They really are beautiful creatures, but for children I think guinea pigs would be better (or I've heard rats are great pets, very tame and affectionate, though I've never had one myself).


Beaverfeaver Wed 02-Jan-13 09:52:32

We had two growing up and I didn't like them. Couldn't really handle them, they bit people and through things and were hard to catch again if left out.

jessjessjess Wed 02-Jan-13 10:08:21

They are absolutely not children's pets. I had several rescued chins that were abandoned by people who thought they looked cute. They are skittish, take weeks or even months to tame and chew everything. Lovely pets for patient adults - not kids. And they are crepuscular (twilight animals) so they will wake up at bedtime!

If tamed with patience they won't bite, and will be nice to handle, but kids don't have that patience. Please OP just get a hamster or something like that.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Wed 02-Jan-13 10:13:39

Have you checked out degus? I've been looking into them and they sound good pets. Not had one yet but I've been put under pressure by DD too. If I have to relent, I think that's what I'll go with. Just finished my research yet grin

Peggotty Wed 02-Jan-13 10:16:55

Most children lose interest in ANY pets within a few weeks/months. If YOU want chinchillas ( best in pairs) and are prepared to do all the work and have them potentially for years and years then go for it!

lurcherlover Wed 02-Jan-13 10:25:27

Degus aren't very cuddly either, which is what most children want from a pet. Personally I would go for rats, every time. They genuinely love people and love being carried, cuddled etc (they love to sit on your shoulder and stroke your hair!) they are v intelligent (there's a reason why scientists use them in maze experiments) and will learn their names and can be taught tricks. They (sadly) only live 2-3 years, but at least it's not a 20-year commitment. They must be kept in single-sex pairs or small groups, and they need a big cage, but they are quite easy to look after and you get so much back from them (unlike hamsters, which can be grumpy and bitey). Make sure you get them from a proper breeder not pets at home though, where they come from factory farms and aren't socialised. If you don't like the thought of rats, guinea-pigs are the next best bet - but honestly rats are amazing!

Peggotty Wed 02-Jan-13 10:29:25

Totally agree about rats, lovely quirky affectionate little pets! But again only if you are prepared to put in the work!

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Wed 02-Jan-13 10:36:56

Rats r great!!! But what about a cat? adult cats they just sleep, can use a tray, come and go as they please. U can go to
Work all day with out worrying really and they r not that much trouble if u need to go away for a weekend. They cope just fine with a friend/neighbour popping in once or twice a day to feed them and empty tray?

mincepiethighs Wed 02-Jan-13 11:07:40

No, they're not good pets for children at all.

A friend at university had one. It was a complete pain in the backside. It slept all day then raced around it's cage all night. If we let it out of it's cage it was impossible to catch and used to try to gnaw everything (i.e. doors, skirting boards, wires, electrical leads, etc.). I love animals but hated the bloody thing.

You will regret it...

GrumpySod Wed 02-Jan-13 12:38:01

Fancy mice are good for kids, they only live about 18 months & are cute & few people find them yucky. Live in small colonies & don't mind if they don't get out. Worst I can say is they tend to poo on hands but it's tiny poo & hands are easily washed.

PipkinsPal Tue 19-Feb-13 18:04:33

A work colleague had a chinchilla which used to make whooooo whoooo noises and masterbate. It quickly found another home as she was fed up with her kids bringing friends home to watch it.

Yoghurty Tue 19-Feb-13 18:25:31

I had a chin as a pet when I was younger- my mum knew a breeder and I pestered her for months to let me have one.

He was gorgeous and never bit or scratched but we could never properly tame him and he was so skittish that he would jump out of our hands and we'd lose him in the living room for hours!

As other people have said, G-pigs or rats are much better ideas. I loved my rats, so tame and my boy would sit on my shoulder as I walked around.

Summer115 Mon 08-Apr-13 02:27:10

It is so helpful for all people. I wonder this question too. Thanks.

mouses Wed 10-Apr-13 12:31:39

never had one, but dont think they are great 1st pets for kids. they sound hard to tame and handle and your child will soon loose interest - possibly leaving you to an unwanted chinchilla.

id say guinea's or rats, rats not everyones taste. but they are so tame and love being handled. id have a few if i wasnt allergic to them :-(

mistlethrush Wed 10-Apr-13 12:36:47

I have one - she's 16 now - and not a good pet for children. The mate we had with her was better - at least he didn't mind being held gently and settled down, but she just wants to move all the time and isn't happy just sitting on your hand. She doesn't like being stroked, although she will happily take a treat from you (ie she is tame, just doesn't like petting). Even the male was happier streaking around the room at high knots rather than being held and stroked.

Rats or guinea pigs would be much better for children.

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