I remember the first time I saw little Smoky in the store. He was so insanely cute and fluffy! As soon as I got my furry buddy, all my friends wanted one too! But are children ready to have a pet chinchilla?
Here are a few questions to ask:
1. Will the child be disappointed that they can’t carry the chinchilla? Honestly, this is the most important question in my mind. I’ve heard of many people who are getting a chinchilla just so they can carry one, which isn’t a good idea. Chinchillas (probably about 90% of them I guess) despise being carried. Smoky doesn’t even let us pet him with two hands. So if the child ,or even adult wants a chinchilla to carry than that’s a sign that a chinchilla isn’t the right pet for them.
2. Will the child be patient and gentle around them? I can see may children coming home with a chinchilla, plopping then in the cage, and sitting right there, staring at the chinchilla and laughing, giggling, poking their fingers in the cage… which is unacceptable behavior. Instead of trying to pet the chillie and yelling, read a book by his/her cage.
3. Does the child have pet experience? Before having a chinchilla, the child should have pet experience with at least a low maintenance pet like guinea pig, tortoise, or dog. I treated my orchid as a pet (Betty my beautiful orchid) and misted her many times a day, brought her outside to sunbathe, and I felt like I wanted to care for an actual pet. My tortoises don’t really need me, so Smoky was a perfect little pet for me to care for!
4. Will the child pay for the chinchilla’s supplies? Chinchillas are exotic animals that need a big cage and other costly things. The good cages range from $80-300 (less if your lucky), and the pellets and hay may be $40, dust probably $15, water bottle $10…. the kid might have that money if they save, but chinchillas cost about $150. If they aren’t going to pay for the supplies, than you are.
5. Are they responsible? Do they do all their chores already? Get good enough grades? Feed the dog or cat every morning and water the plants? If they aren’t responsible enough to do this or simply be too busy for a pet and daily playtime (they may have sports), than maybe get another pet.
Thank you for reading the above and I hope you know if your child, or if you are the child, is ready to have the chinchilla.