Thought of having a Chinchilla? Read this first!

What is a Chinchilla?

Chinchilla belongs to the family of rodent. A chinchilla has been defined as a furry animal with wiry tail.

What make them extremely loveable are their big eyes, round ears, thick and silky fur, and not forgetting their persistent and undying curiosity. These qualities make them really cute and charming.

However, because of their beautiful fur, chinchillas are also being breed by the fur industry.There are different types of Chinchillas, namely Lanigera, Costina and Brevicaulda.

Most chinchillas come from Lanigera. The other types come about due to the effort of breeders and natural mutations. Some said that Costina and Brevicaulda are Lanigera that adapted to different altitudes.

Lanigera: It has straight, blunt nose with medium size ears and long tail.

Brevicaulda: It is larger and more chunky than Lanigera. It has blunt nose with short round ears and tail.

Costina: This is smaller and slimmer than Lanigera. It has a narrow and rat-like nose with bigger ears and longer tail.

Where do Chinchillas originate from ?

I used to think they are from China! I was absolutely wrong. HAHA!

Chinchillas are -believe it or not-natives of the South America. Its habitat is the western slope of the Andes region, comprising of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. According to the South American Indian tribes, chinchilla means “Little Chinta” in their language.

Chinchillas are mainly found in the rocky places of the Andes (fissures in rocks and cave), up to an altitude of 16,500 feet above sea level. The environment in the Andes is very harsh; passing clouds and wind drastically change the temperature.

Chinchillas find fissures in rocks and caves to sleep during daytime. They keep out of the sun in the day because it is too hot, and they venture out by evening when it is much cooler. In addition, humidity is very low, chinchillas satisfy their water need by drinking morning dews and condensation on rocks.

What do i need to know as a potential Chinchillas owner?

Chinchillas have adapted very well to their environment — their thick fur prevent water and heat loss. The only way heat escape from the animal is radiating through its ears.

In the wild, chinchillas live in social colonies. Such an arrangement serve to protect themselves against their predators such as owls, hawks, foxes, other confronts animal, etc. Being a nocturnal creature, its eye sights are not well developed. Instead, they also form mental maps of their environment — remembering the fastest route to safety when prey upon. The whiskers play the role of the eyes in helping them navigate through cracks and fissures.

Chinchillas eat roots, barks, certain cactus, berries from shrubs, grass, hay, etc. in their natural habitat. They keep themselves clean by bathing with fine sands and/or volcanic ash in that area. Chinchillas are very clean and friendly animals. They are not prone to mites or fleas due to the fact they have soft and dense fur.They chew on their own nails so you need not trim their nails like other pets. They can be pee pan trained. They bath by rolling in chinchilla dust (dust bath). In Singapore, due to the high humidity levels, it is advised that you dust bath them daily and brush them once every 2 weeks.

They only require full grooming (water baths) once in 3 months. They can be carried on your shoulder. If they jump down from a height, they can break fall like a cat. The character of every chinchilla is different. Some can be very gentle and slow but others can be fast and adventurous. They are very quiet pets and make excellent pets. They are not greedy for food.

Each chin only consume roughly 1–2 soup spoonful of pellets plus a handful of timothy hay a day, hay is however, free flow and can be topped up if finished. Average monthly maintenance cost for a chin is $20. Main thing to note when keeping a chin is temperature. They can get heat stroke easily. Those that we are selling have already adapted to the local climate. They can withstand up to 30oC. A chinchilla’s stamina is not very good, so do not let them out for a run for too long a time.

So when you first bring a Chin home..

Let it out for at most 5 min then let it rest in its cage for at least 15 min. You can do it as many times as you like. Subsequent week, you can increase the timing by 5 min per week. Limit the max outing time to 30 min just in case it may need to pee. Chins do not breed very fast. Their gestation period is 111 days. Average litter size is 2 babies. Babies are born with fur and mostly with eyes open. They wean at between 10 to 12 weeks. Prices of Chins varies from $500 to $3000(sgd) depending on their colour. The cheapest being standard grey because it is the most common colour.

Chinchillas are all fun & adorable for sure, no doubt. So as much as i encourage pet ownership, i am however gonna to say this adamantly — Every pet you bring home is gonna be your full responsibility. It’s part of our family. Like a marriage, through sickness & in health, we shall accompany our pet through its lifetime.

So, are you now intrigued to join the Chin-owner community?

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Jose He 何德伟

Jose He 何德伟

Venture Partner | Founder | Trainer

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