Sorry, I don't have one or know much about them for that matter. There was a time that I wanted one myself. The only bit of info that I got was that their nails are really sharp, and the guy used gloves to hand one to me. I know this didn't help, so hopefully someone else will come along. They're pretty cute animals :)
The Chinchilla is a native of the Andes region of South America, where it lives in the wild. In the early part of the 20th Century, skins of this animal were shipped into Europe and the United States by the bale. Chile alone shipped over 435,000 pelts in 1899. This mass-trapping nearly lead to its extinction. To save the breed, Mathias F. Chapman, a United States mining engineer, in 1923 caught eleven animals and shipped them to the United States. These animals became the foundation stock for Chinchilla farming in America. Today, this industry is worldwide and there are several thousand ranchers and more than one million Chinchillas. These animals are being raised for fur, for sale as breeding stock and for use as pets. Small and inquisitive, their easy care and simple feeding make them an ideal family member. Chinchillas are nocturnal (active at night), herbivores (planting eating animal), clean, practically odorless, do not support fleas or other pests and require little housing area. Adults weigh 18 to 30 ounces or more and can live up to 20 years of age. The fur of this animal is incredibly soft and plush. Microscopic examination of an individual hair follicle reveals that it is composed of 80 to 100 hairs. The original fur color of the Chinchilla in the wild was mottled yellow-gray. Through selective breeding, the standard color has been developed into an attractive and appealing blue-gray. Other colors such as Ebony, Silver, Black Velvet, Sapphire, Beige, White and Afro-Violet have emerged as mutations of the original standard color. Animals should be housed in clean cages with a wire bottom or solid tray bottom with shavings. The cages should be provided with a flat piece of pine wood for comfort on the wire bottom and to prevent excessive growth of front teeth (cedar and redwood are poisonous to the Chinchilla). Shavings should be white pine to reduce fur staining and should be changed weekly. Feeders should be mounted on the side of the cage to prevent contamination from soiled shavings. A room with good circulation, temperatures below 80 degrees and free of sudden changes below 60 degrees is important. Depending on the humidity, the animal needs a dust bath in special ground lava rock, ideally every day, but at least three times a week. Dust baths help prevent matting and aid in removal of dead fur. Clean water should be in the cage at all times. Wash water bottle at least three times per week with soap and water and sterilize in the dishwasher once a week. The Chinchilla diet is simple. The animal should be fed Chinchilla pellets ONLY at the rate of two tablespoons daily or 1/3 cup for an adult. Ideally, the pellets should be supplemented with loose hay or hay cubes. Minimize such goodies as fresh fruit and vegetables, as the natural balance of the digestive system can be disturbed. Small pieces of fruit and vegetables can be fed 2-3 times a week. DO NOT FEED cabbage, corn or lettuce, these vegetables cause gas and ultimately death. Feed alfalfa or Bermuda hay that has NOT been sprayed with insecticides. Chinchillas are hardy and rarely get sick. Most health problems can be avoided with proper diet and clean, adequate housing. When a problem arises, it is usually intestinal in nature. Some signs of illness are listlessness, refusal to eat, watery eyes, and loose or no droppings. Other diseases include respiratory infections such as pneumonia, middle ear infections, bloat, mastitis and uterine infections. Some of these ailments are difficult to identify and diagnose, and veterinary advise should then be sought.
Long post, I know...but there's a lot of information. You can also go to Google and type in chinchillas and get a world of information. That's where I got this because I honestly didn't know how to describe everything better! I've had chinchillas before and I think they are tons of fun...though the dust can get a little irritating for allergies. I used a sweater box with a vent in the lid for mine so that I wouldn't end up with the dust all over the place. Hope this helps and if you get one.....take pictures!!!!
Chinchillas are really cute and rare! And have the softest fur in the world (i think) and take baths in dust! lol thats about all I know about them, If you get one, let us know so we can see the pics :-D
When I was in HS my friend Rachel had one. It was not very friendly and as soon as we would put her on the floor she'd run under the bed or behind the dressers. It was really hard to get her out, too. I don't know if they're all like that or not though, it was the only one I'd ever met. I also know she had to take 'baths' in dust. A big bowl of dust...Rachel would put her in the dust bowl and she'd spin around...
Watching them take a dust bath is just so funny. I had a couple when I was younger. I made them this huge cage myself and they would run up and down the cage all night long. Noisey, but sure fun to watch. Mine were friendly. You could take them out and pet them and they would just sit there. Of course, too much petting isn't real good for their fur.
I think Shaunna's reply covered them very well. I do agree that watching them bathe in the "sand" is the funniest sight ever! LOL!
My dad actually brought back a male and female from the Andies Mountain when he was hiking there. They found him and wouldn't let him out of their sight,so,he arranged for them to come home with him.....course,it was near impossible to get them out of his backpack through-out his hike,lol! They camped with him and everything!
Another bit of info about them-They are like humans in the sense that it isn't often that they will have twins,but,they can go into labor at will.....no planning a baby this way like with dogs,lol! My dads had I believe three or four sets of twins!!!! She never had a singleton,ever! My mom had to dropper feed them because Shalah(I believe that was her name...his was Andy,after the Andies Mountain in which they came from)couldn't seem to keep them fed well and alive long by herself. My parents were actually the only ones on the Gulf Coast at the time with them. Now you can buy them at the pet store in the mall because of the "fad" years back and greedy people who had them shipped in for profit from breeding them.
My dad gave them their own room for a while there. They loved it! It was funny. He let them loose in the room and shut the door...he heard a loud thump and went to see what happened. Andy ran across his head as he opened the door because they were running around very fast and were no longer on the floor,lol! They were literally climbing the walls running in circles,chasing eachother around. It's a day he never forgot,lol! So,if you have a room with nothing in it,or can have one built for them,they would love the exercise,hehe :) Just don't open the door and stick your head in if you hear a comotion in there!
Actually "twins" in chins aren't rare at all. They have between 1-4 babies sometimes more depending on the size of the female, they come in a large variety of colors and there are show, pet, and breeding quality animals just like in dogs. They even hold huge chinchilla shows where awards are given out, but i'm not sure about championship titles, i can't remember... Oh and they don't go into labor "at will", they are actually pregnant for the average of 111 days, no lie 111 days! So the mating can be dated and the delivery date well predicted!
***Edited By: Lovebug on 10/4/2005 9:27:54 AM*** Reason: had to add soemthing