Chinchillas are very active during the evening and like lots of space to jump, climb and run. They like to sleep the majority of the day in a cool, well-ventilated area, they must always be housed indoors. A dust bath must be provided for chinchillas to bath in daily to keep their coat in good condition.

Chinchillas are clean, quiet, odourless and attractive rodents that have been bred and farmed for their soft dense fur. They are quite shy and are more appropriate as pets for adults and older children. Typically chinchillas can live for 10-20 years.

Chinchillas need plenty of places to hide within their environment if they get scared. Chinchillas like toys made of wood, rope and cardboard to play with and chew and without sufficient stimulation can get very bored and develop behavioural problems. As with most rodents, Chinchillas’ teeth grow constantly, so they need to eat lots of hay, which is abrasive, to help wear their teeth down and to keep their digestive systems functioning properly. They can also be fed dry pellets. Because chinchillas have an unusual digestive system, food is passed through the gut and special droppings, called caecotrophs, are produced. Chinchillas eat these caecotrophs, allowing the food to be reingested.

They are very sociable animals (in the wild they live in colonies of more than 100 individuals) and need to be housed with at least one other friendly chinchilla. However, they must have separate sleeping areas and adequate space to get away from each other if required.