The best tips for buying a chinchilla are to adopt an abandoned but well-handed chinchilla, check the animal’s health, and know the responsibility required to care for a nocturnal rodent. Abandoned chinchillas are generally well cared for by people who will take the animal back if the adopter can no longer keep it. In addition, checking the animal’s health is particularly important if buying from a pet store or breeder, because occasionally the animal's health is not placed above profit. Lastly, chinchillas are not as low maintenance as some people think, so new owners should learn about the rodent’s nocturnality, feeding requirements, and sensitivity to temperature.
Chinchillas are frequently abandoned by owners who underestimated the time, expense, and likability of the rodent. Due to this, there are likely hundreds or thousands of chinchillas available at local rescue homes. Buying a chinchilla from a rescue usually results in the acquisition of a healthy, well-socialized pet because its foster parents aim to rehabilitate and house chinchillas rather than breed them for profit. The fees associated with adopting are often higher than purchasing the animal from a pet store or breeder, but adopters have knowledgeable people to ask questions and can usually return the animal should they no longer be capable of caring for it. In addition, chinchilla rescues typically give adopters a care package consisting of food, hay, and books.
If buying a chinchilla from a pet store or breeder is more desirable than going through a pet rescue, a person should avoid breeders with an excessive amount of chinchillas. A rule of thumb is calculating whether or not the breeder could comfortably attend to each animal for at least one hour per day. Unless taking care of chinchillas is all that breeder does, he or she is probably neglecting anything more than a dozen chinchillas.
A chinchilla's health should be top priority to have the happiest pet and avoid expensive vet bills in the future. Animals with watery eyes, dull fur, or other signs of illness should be avoided, as well as chinchillas in the same cage as the sick one. In addition, signs of genetic deformities could mean the animal is inbred, which may lead to expensive problems in the long-term. A crooked head, thinning fur, and very small chinchillas might be the product of generations of inbreeding.
It is important to know what buying a chinchilla means long-term. The animals require routine veterinary visits and special food, just like dogs and cats. Chinchillas also need exercise, but they are rodents first and lovable pets second, so they will chew on anything that looks interesting, including walls, handbags, and computer cables. Many people are also allergic to chinchilla food, which is hay.