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Currently Available Chinchillas
Chinchillas are rodents native to the Andes Mountains in South America. These cute little animals have very dense and soft fur. Their fur is so coveted that, these species have been hunted almost into extinction for their fur. The fur trade in chinchillas is now largely relegated to Chinchilla farms. Because they are so soft and furry, and due to their shy demeanor, chinchillas have become popular as an exotic pet. As an exotic animal, pet owners need specialized knowledge in order to properly care for them.
When budgeting the cost of a chinchilla as a pet, you have to account for the cage and other additional costs associated with owning a chinchilla. A standard chinchilla cage will cost about $200. However, chinchillas need a great deal of exercise, and a simple cage will not be enough. Unless you feel comfortable with allowing your chinchilla to roam your home, with the possibility that it might chew on your furniture and carpeting, you will probably need more than just a standard cage to keep your chin happy and healthy. Multi-level chinchilla cages cost $250+, and should include basic necessities like a water bottle, feeder, shelves, exercise wheel, and a hiding place. Chins are nocturnal animals and will need shelter to hide in during the day. They also need exercise, and an exercise wheel should cost about $100 in addition to the price when evaluating the cost of a chinchilla. A dust bath house is also required.
Chinchilla Vet Costs
When considering chinchilla cost, remember that you will need to transport your chinchilla to the vet when necessary. These are relatively inexpensive visits at about $50. Chins can be neutered, but this procedure can be risky as the animals can have a fatal reaction to the anesthetic. Chinchillas can live 15 to 20 years or more as pets, if they are well taken care of. To prevent problems with their teeth, provide your chin with proper chew toys, such as kiln dried pine shelving or hides, apple wood sticks, and pumice chews. Their rodent teeth do not stop growing. Unless they can wear them down by chewing, their teeth can become overgrown and present serious problems. Chins are intelligent animals and need exercise and interaction to stay happy. Stressed or bored chinchillas can develop a host of serious health problems including fur chewing. To find a qualified veterinary doctor, refer to one of the several internet chinchilla clubs as they have lists of veterinarians around the country who know how properly to care for chinchillas. You will need to find a vet who specializes in exotics.
In the wild, they live in colonies or herds. They do not sweat, and can become overheated very easily and develop heat stroke. The telling sign of an overheated chinchilla is bright red ears, as they dissipate heat from their body through blood vessels in their ears. They require temperatures of no more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They also do not do well in the exercise balls some people use for hamsters because there is no way for the heat to escape. Because their fur is so dense, they do not bathe in water. These animals cannot dry themselves properly when wet, and can develop fur rot. Therefore, they take dust baths instead in volcanic dust native to the Andes Mountains. Chinchillas are still farmed for their fur, and it can take 150 of these small animals to make one coat. There are several online groups dedicated to teaching people more about chinchillas.
Should I Get A Chinchilla?
There is a lot to be considered before purchasing one of these wonderful animals or adopting from a rescue group. Any rescue organization will explain all of this to you before deciding whether to allow you to adopt from them. First, chinchillas are a long term commitment. This is not like buying a goldfish, as chins will live upwards of 17 years. For this reason, rescue groups do not like adopting the animals out as pets for children without a commitment from the parent for long term care. They can bite, and will nip if mishandled. This is another reason they are not recommended for children. They are active and social creatures, and they are nocturnal. This means that they will be moving and communicating while you are asleep. Because they are heat sensitive, they are not recommended for people in hot climates. Chins are not lap pets. Although they are soft and look cuddly, they prefer to be moving and interactive. They can also be messy with hay and small dry poops scattered around. Know what you are getting into before you purchase your pet, and make sure you are committed to giving this animal the care and attention it is going to need for many years before you even begin to consider chinchilla cost as being a factor in determining whether you might make the purchase or not.