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with kids
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Grooming Needs
Size: Medium
Lifespan: Long (12 to 15+ years)
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If you're looking for a furry friend for your kids, chinchillas, or "chins", are probably not the best option. While they are definitely cute and soft (they are said to have the softest fur you can find), chinchillas are fragile and can be jumpy, and most don't like to be picked up or cuddled. This can inevitably disappoint a child who wants to interact with his or her new pet. Don't get a chin if you (and your children) need to sleep through the night. Although owners report that some chins are more vocal than others, these nocturnal creatures usually make their presence known, whether it's with a scream, a squeak, a bark, or a "meep." Chins are nearly impossible to litter box train, and won't be shy about frequently using you, or the floor, as one instead. Chinchillas are also very sensitive to heat, so they may be a better pet for those who live in a cooler climate. And consider whether a chinchilla's 10 to 20 year life span fits in with your family's lifestyle, as you need to be willing to commit for the long term. Many owners aren't aware of this time commitment, along with the money and energy that goes into caring for a chin, and they have to give their furry friend up for adoption.

General Care

It's critical to feed your chinchilla correctly--one wrong piece of food could be very harmful to the herbivore's extremely sensitive digestive system. Food only needs to be refilled once or twice a day, but the kind that you supply makes all the difference. You should give them fresh water (filtered or bottled), pellets (try Mazuri or Tradition brands) and timothy or alfalfa hay, along with treats (a raisin or a small piece of dried fruit), sparingly. Chinchillas should not be fed lettuce or fresh veggies. Also, make sure they have a spacious, multiple level cage, are let out to play at least once a day, and are given a dust bath once or twice a week.

For more information about chinchilla ownership and care, check out

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