Chinchillas, Children & Schools

We do not recommend chinchillas for children under 14 yrs. Even most, but not all teens do not keep their chins once they graduate high school. Chinchillas are really best suited for adults in a home environment. Chinchillas can live to be 20+ years old, so they are a big commitment! They are extremely intelligent, but also very hyper. They are not cuddle or lap animals, so the expectations of what a person wants and what the chinchilla is comfortable doing can be two totally different things. Children tend to be more active, as are chinchillas and the two together can be overwhelming. Chinchillas are very delicate under all that fur and can easily be injured if not handled properly. Chinchillas are nocturnal which means they sleep all day and are up playing and making noise all night. Also, many, many children and adults develop allergies to them or the essential items they need such as dust baths, hay and wood shavings.

They like routine, so if you are away from home a lot, this will not be the best animal companion for you. They do not do well in a hectic/loud household. Chinchillas are very emotional animals. They can be affected very easily by their environment. When they get stressed, they will retreat to hide or may start to chew their fur. If you or your family has a lot of other commitments or interests; long work hours, school, sports activities, going out with friends/family often, traveling/vacation, or do not have the time or energy to commit at least one hour (hopefully more) a day to spend with a chinchilla, then please do not consider bringing one into your home. Look beyond the cuteness and realize they have very special needs that have to be followed regardless of your schedule.

This also means chinchillas should not be kept in a classroom of any kind or age group. Considering they are nocturnal and are very sensitive to such a hectic environment, a classroom is not an appropriate place for a chinchilla and we do not endorse it. By trying to force a chinchilla to change their biological and instinctual time clock to be awake during the day, you will take a toll on their physical and emotional health. Keeping a chinchilla in a dorm or any other college atmosphere, even off campus, is really not the place for a chinchilla. These places are much too stressful for a chinchilla. So please consider the chinchilla and his physical as well as emotional health before bringing him into an environment such as one of these.