Few people consider rodents cute, but one member of the rodent family is known by many as the cutest of all pets. The chinchillas, originally from South America, have thick and luxurious fur that some people claim is the softest in the world.
One of the most startling chinchilla facts is that this lovely soft fur almost caused the downfall of this attractive small animal as the chinchillas were hunted to the brink of extinction in the early 1900s to provide the then-fashionable fur coats. As it took at least 80 unfortunate chinchillas to make just one coat, their numbers quickly became dangerously low.
To ensure the survival of the species, eleven chinchillas were brought to America to be bred. Even this trip was precarious as one of the chinchillas did not survive the trip – but, perhaps as a good omen, another chinchilla was born during the trip so the quota of eleven arrived safely on American shores. Thus an interesting chinchilla fact is this small group became the ancestors of all chinchillas bred in the United States.
Like many of the rodent family, chinchillas are most active at night, and need quiet, calm surroundings that will allow them to sleep during the day, perhaps making them an ideal pet for working couples.
According to chinchilla facts, chinchillas also tend to be easily stressed by noise or mishandling. Nonetheless, a well cared for chinchilla will live several years longer in captivity than the 8 to 10 years lifespan in the wild. It’s not uncommon for chinchillas to life past 20 years in captivity when well cared for.
Although chinchillas are all alike in cuddly appeal, their temperaments vary greatly, from affectionate and social, mischievous and intelligent, to aloof and indifferent. Other chinchilla facts reveal that these temperaments usually reflect the lifelong personality of the pet, but owners can shape the attitude of their pet by spending plenty of time with their chinchilla to earn its trust.
For example, while most chinchillas do not relish being cuddled and held, careful handling will help build trust with the animal. Always use two hands, supporting the back legs with one hand while lifting the front legs with the other. Hold the chinchilla against the body to add to its feeling of security. Chinchilla facts caution that the need for deliberately careful handling means that chinchillas are not ideal pets for small children, who may try to cuddle them.
Also, another important chinchilla fact is that chinchillas may not be suitable for those who suffer allergies from dust or animal fur, although current chinchilla facts suggests that some people with allergies find these animals more easily tolerated that other pets.
Even with a reluctance to be cuddled, chinchillas make an entertaining pet, active and busy, taking vigorous dust baths, romping around, and re-arranging their homes, while sometimes giving a squeal or odd-sounding bark. Another chinchilla fact is that chinchillas also enjoy chewing – in fact, it is important to provide non-toxic wooden sticks or chew toys to maintain the health of the chinchilla’s rodent teeth, and to prevent the chinchilla from chewing the bars of his cage.
There is much to discover about chinchillas besides these basic chinchilla facts. These easy to care for pets reward their owners’ time and patience with their amusing antics and individual personalities, giving much more satisfaction as a pet than as a fur garment!