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Choosing A Pet Chinchilla

April 01, 2023

Are you considering adopting a chinchilla? These tiny balls of fur are very cute and charming. They’re also much more personable than people realize! That said, it’s important to make an informed decision when adopting an animal, even—and perhaps especially—with an exotic pet. Unless you’re very experienced and willing to rehabilitate a sick pet, you’ll want to choose a healthy one. A Covington, GA veterinarian offers some advice on choosing a chinchilla below.


Chinchillas are known for having very soft fur. In fact, they were named after the Chincha Indians, who wore chinchilla fur in ceremonial dress. The chinchillas that you will find here in the States are descended from the few that were captured and brought here as pets. You can tell quite a bit about an animal simply by looking at the condition of its coat. Your potential pal should have soft, clean fur. It shouldn’t look dead, dull, or patchy.

Body Condition

You’ll also want to look at the chinchilla’s overall body appearance. Their eyes should be clear and bright, and should not look red or watery. Any type of discharge from the eyes, ears, or nose is a warning sign. You’ll also want to look at the mouth and teeth. Swelling and drooling can both indicate dental problems, as can clearly uneven or overgrown choppers. Other red flags include labored breathing, listlessness, diarrhea, and lesions.


Chinchillas naturally tend to be very sociable with their own kind and timid with humans. It’s fine—and actually normal—for them to be a bit shy. However, if the chinchilla seems extremely scared and/or tries to get away, they may not have been socialized, handled, and/or cared for properly. In many cases, time, love, and TLC will help a nervous furball feel more comfortable. However, if you choose an anxious chinchilla, you’ll need to be extra gentle and patient. 


If you’re buying from a breeder, it’s a good idea to ask about policies. For instance, if the chinchilla you adopt turns out to be sick, do they offer refunds or replacements? We also recommend having your vet inspect the little guy as soon as possible. Finally, before adopting any animal, do plenty of research, and make sure you are ready to commit. Ask your vet for care advice.


Do you have questions about chinchilla care? Contact us, your Covington, GA animal clinic, anytime. 


Posted in Exotic Care

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