Pet of the Week: The Cheeky Chinchilla

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When considering which pet to have, most people go down the traditional route of a dog, cat or a hamster. People don’t often consider keeping exotic animals like the chinchilla (or as my family call them, the rabbit-squirrel, hybrid things) as pets. But they’re such lovely and fun pets to have and here’s why:

 

  1. They’re so unbelievably fluffy.

They’re essentially living balls of fur. 50-80 strands of fur can grow from one follicle, compare this to a human follicle, which only grows 2-3, it’s easy to see why they have the softest fur in the world.  However there is a downside to their cloud-like fur as because of its softness and density they were once hunted to near extinction, for clothing. You might want to stroke them all day, but unfortunately chinchilla’s aren’t particularly cuddly. But often they’ll let you give them a chin or rump scratch when they’re feeling sleepy.

 

  1. They love to jump.

A chinchilla is a speedy little creature, using its strange wiry tale and knobbly paws to quickly turn corners and help them to bounce off the walls. They may only be small, but chinchillas have the capacity to jump as high as six feet. Due to their breeding in mountainous areas, they’re spectacular climbers, which makes for an interesting Christmas when the tree goes up.

 

  1. They’re Intelligent.

They’re no Pudsey the dog from ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, but chinchillas are very intelligent. They can learn their name and can be taught some tricks if you bribe them with some raisins. But more often than not, chinchillas use their intelligence for mischief to their owners detriment. They are the ultimate escape artists and if an area is out of bounds they’ll find a way to get there.

 

  1. They can live for 12 years

We all know the heartbreak of a hamster that goes too soon. The longer we have with our pets, the better. Unless you get the Cujo of the chinchilla world, then you’re stuck with it for a decade.

Chinchillas are underrated as pets. It’s important to remember though, that chinchillas are part of the rodent family and will chew through anything, whether this is the dry wall or your new leather shoes. For this reason, they might not be the ideal pets to sneak into your student accommodation, not if you want your deposit back anyway.  But they’re animals that you can really love and bond with. Plus, they’re nocturnal so make great study companions as you pull an all-nighter finishing an essay.