A shoppers experience…things to know before you set out to pick up your Chinchilla

Shopping for ChinchillasChinchillas are rodents that originally come from the Andes Mountains in South America. These are larger than ground squirrels, and are named after the Chincha people who are residents of the Andes. Originally used for clothing and accessories because of their fur, they are now becoming common pets.

Sheryl Goldstein, mother to Charlie is one of the people who are coming to love chinchillas as pets. Her son wanted a pet chinchilla for years, but she only gave him one two years ago. Now, both of them love Choncho, which is already 2 years old. She is just one of the New Yorkers who are discovering the delight of having a chinchilla for a pet.

Petco is one of the pet stores that sell chinchillas, and it has been selling these animals for almost 20 years already. The general manager, Steve Crall says that in a month’s time, there are about two chinchillas sold, and the numbers are increasing. He claims that chinchillas are very gentle animals and are sociable, bonding easily with their owners.

Chinchillas were first imported in the United States in 1923 from the Andes to be used in making coats because of their fur. In the 1960s, they were made as pets. As to this date, they are now legal in the city. Websites for chinchillas are getting very common, with Chins & Hedgies having memberships of over 3,000. A specialty-practice category that is for small exotic animals was set by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2008 as a support for the chinchillas.

The lifespan of chinchillas is expected at 20 years, going more if well taken care of. They can cost around $130 at Petco, and for top-quality specimens from breeders, they can go as high as $200 to $600. Proper care should be given to them as they are sensitive to heat, and are prone to heatstroke.

Chinchilla facts on pregnancy and giving birth


Chinchillas are sturdy but particular animals. When breeding, it is important to have a firm understanding on how their reproduction works. Chinchillas vary from one another, so it is wise to temper information to your specific situation.

The estrus cycle of a chinchilla, the time in which is can get pregnant, is 28 days. They go into heat for 2 days during the cycle. The chances of conception seem to be greater during winter and spring, but they can become pregnant every month. Their breeding activity will slow considerable during summer and fall and this will occur even in a controlled environment where seasonal changes have little to no impact.

Chinchillas have the longest gestation period of any rodent – 111 days exactly. Pregnancy is difficult to detect during the first 3 months and are extremely susceptible to stress during this period. Sufficient stress can cause the chinchilla to terminate its pregnancy.

During gestation, chinchillas can display a wide array of behavior. Normally affectionate chinchillas may become irritable and territorial, defending themselves by spraying urine. Shy chinchillas may become more energetic or even affectionate. At this stage it is important to identify any changes in behavior and accommodate accordingly.

Chinchillas normally have a small litter, predominately giving birth to twins. Because of the long gestation period, babies are born fully furred and with open eyes.

The female will produce after birth for each of her babies. The babies usually nibble of the placenta, which is rich in protein, but it should be removed from the cage as soon as possible. Chinchillas have a very sensitive digestive system and are vegetarian. Proteins can cause severe impaction and digestive problems.

Females will go into heat 72 hours after giving birth and will mate with the male again if he is readily available. They are able to do so without complication. Though birth is a physically demanding process, the female is capable of handling it. Newborns are at risk of trampling if in the same cage.

The mother will begin producing milk after birth, which will require a substantial amount of minerals, fats, and proteins from the body. It is important to make sure she is well nourished during this period so that she can produce quality milk and properly feed her babies.

These are basic guidelines to help you understand the process of chinchilla pregnancy. Each case is unique but this is a good foundation to build upon.