Oh boy, what trouble am I getting myself into. It's almost 6 am and I still haven't gone to sleep.
I was asked to do a post about Choosing your chinchilla... which could easily be a book with 1 single subject but i'll try my best to make it short, sweet and simple... Bare with me.
Choosing a chinchilla depends greatly on what your intentions are.
Do you want to breed?
If you want to breed you should really be in contact with 1-3 breeders, talking about breeding plans and goals with your herd, looking at animals that will help you grow and start your herd off on the right foot.
- Keep in mind, there's a million other IMPORTANT things to consider about breeding BEFORE you start. It's not just about buying pedigreed animals though that's in the basic first steps.
Do you want a rescue?
If you're a "Adopt don't shop" person, then you'll want to contact your local rescues, shelters, and breeders in search of a rescue. Most chinchilla rescues are PACKED with chins waiting for furever homes. Breeders often accept rescues or surrenders and rehome them to pet-only homes.
If you don't have a preference on age or where the animal comes from, here's a few things to consider.
- Avoid online yard-sales or ads on Craigslist; More often than not they're Back Yard Breeders selling off their latest litter for a quick buck. These animals may be cheap but that's a trap... these animals often end up costing hundreds or thousands in medical expenses due to genetic traits passed down through their parents - a result of poor breeding. Yes... every animal deserves a loving home but paying a byb is supporting and funding the abuse.
- Consider all ages. Sure, a Kit looks cute, but they're only little for a few weeks and they go through developmental stages. A kit that once was friendly and seemed to like you may mature into a adult that is shy, skittish and hates to be handled. Owing a chinchilla as a kit does not give you any advantages with bonding, training or socialization, It's a wild card.
Adult chinchillas or retired breeders already have their personalities, so you know what you're getting.
- Consider a "damaged" chinchilla too. Chinchillas with amputations, missing eyes, nerve damage, fur chewed, or disfigurements can still make wonderful pets. Often these are the animals abandoned by owners who can't foot the medical bill to stabilize them or breeders who don't want the burden.
So if you want a chinchilla, determine what your needs are. What your intentions are. Then go from there. A reputable breeder should be willing to help you.
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