How Difficult Are Chinchillas to Take Care of?

How Difficult Are Chinchillas to Take Care of

If you are interested in getting a chinchilla but you think that it will be too much work, you’ll need to get the facts. 

Most people have a lot of misconceptions about what it’s actually like to care for these animals. This article will help you make an informed decision.

A Simple and Cheap Diet

One of the reasons that chinchillas are easy to care for is that they have a simple diet that consists of fairly inexpensive food. These animals should be given mostly hay, as well as specially formulated pellets. That’s it. You can also give them the occasional fruit and vegetables.

The timothy hay that these animals eat is very easy to find, and you can get six month’s worth for less than $20. If you take the time to look around online, you should be able to find some pretty incredible deals. While chinchillas have a very sensitive digestive system, they do not require a complex or expensive diet.

Cleanliness and Grooming

Chinchillas are exceptionally clean creatures, even when compared to rabbits and hamsters. These animals rarely smell, and even their feces have no discernable odor.

You will have to give your chinchilla a dust bath once or twice every week, but it’s not that big of a deal. They will love rolling around in the dust, so it sort of doubles as playtime and physical activity for them.

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You won’t have to deal with constantly brushing or grooming your chinchilla. These animals do a pretty good job of keeping themselves clean. This makes them very easy to care for overall.

A Friendly Temperament

The friendly and easygoing temperament of chinchillas makes them easy to handle and care for. These animals are very even-tempered, and they rarely lash out at their owners. In fact, it doesn’t take very long at all to establish a loyal and trusting bond with them.

A chinchilla is a great pet if you have small children in the house, as they are very gentle and can be handled without the fear of getting bitten. It is, however, important that you teach your kids how to properly pick up and handle them.

You’ll quickly that these chinchillas are also very playful and entertaining. These are definitely two qualities that make for an excellent pet.

chinchilla sleeping on the brest

Medical Care

If you are good about caring for your chinchilla on a daily basis, you probably won’t have to worry about taking them to the vet. Most people who own one of these animals can go years without ever having to do this. Chinchillas are particularly prone to many diseases or health issues. The biggest problem with these pets is usually their teeth.

When you compare chinchillas to dogs or cats, they are very inexpensive in terms of medical care. You also won’t have to deal with the inconvenience of having to take time out of your day to schedule appointments to see the vet, which is nice.

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Sleep Schedule

The crepuscular nature of the chinchilla means that it sleeps throughout most of the daylight hours. These animals are most active in the early morning and at dusk. If you maintain normal hours like most people, this means that you won’t even be home or awake when these animals are active much of the time.

A lot of people like to spend time with their chinchillas on the weekend, as they don’t get to interact with them very much during the week. From 9 to 5, you won’t have to worry about having to do anything for these animals. This makes them one of the easiest pets in the world to care for.


Chinchillas can be trained to urinate inside of a litter box in their cage. This is a clear indication of their intelligence, and it makes keeping their cage clean even easier.

You should be able to find a litter box for your chinchilla in any of your local pet supply stores, as well as online. While you might not be able to teach them many tricks, being able to use a litter box is a great thing all around.

Challenges of Owning a Chinchilla

While there are a lot of things about chinchillas that make them easy to care for, they do come with a number of challenges that you’ll need to consider.

chinchilla orange background

1. Time Outside of the Cage

You will need to devote at least half an hour each day to letting your chinchilla play and run around outside of its cage. This can be a bit challenging for those who have a busy schedule, but it’s not too bad.

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2. Temperature Requirements

Chinchillas can overheat easily, and they don’t do very well in extreme cold temperatures. You will need to keep the area your pet’s cage is in between 60 and 70 degrees at all times. In order to make this a bit easier, you should try giving your pet its own room.

3. A Long Term Commitment

You will need to keep in mind that the average chinchilla lifespan is between 15 and 20 years. This means that you should be ready to take care of them every day for a very long time.


  • The chinchilla diet is simple and consists mostly of hay and pellets, which are fairly inexpensive.
  • Chinchillas are pretty good about keeping themselves clean, and they rarely emit a noticeable odor.
  • The only grooming these animals require is a dust bath once or twice each week.
  • These animals have a very friendly temperament that makes them perfect for adults and kids.
  • You shouldn’t have to worry about taking your chinchilla to the vet very often, as these animals are not prone to sickness or disease.
  • The crepuscular nature of these animals means that you won’t have to worry about seeing to their needs between the mid-morning and afternoon hours of the day.
  • Chinchillas can be trained to urinate in a litter box in their cage.
  • The average chinchilla lifespan is 15 to 20 years, so you’ll need to be ready to make a big long term commitment.