Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where are you located?
We are located in Wolcott, Indiana. Wolcott is about 30 minutes north of Lafayette, IN, and about 2 hours south of downtown Chicago. We are a couple miles off Exit 201 on I-65 in northwest Indiana.
What animals do you take in at your rescue?
We take in primarily chinchillas, but also other small animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, mice, hedgehogs, and similar animals. We *can* occasionally take in other animals that we are familiar with the care for, such as smaller snakes, geckos, frogs / toads, and chameleons.
As we own / breed Shetland sheepdogs / shelties, we have occasionally taken in a sheltie when someone can no longer care for it. Check with us if you have somehow found us regarding this.
Are there certain animals that you never take in? Under no circumstances? Why?
Yes -- for small animals, we do not take in ferrets or hamsters. Ferrets are predators and could potentially kill / eat our chinchillas and other small animals. Hamsters, let's be honest, are typically fur-with-fangs (people keep the nice ones, and want to surrender the bitey, not-at-all-adoptable ones).
We also do not take in dogs / puppies (unless shelties... see previous question) or cats / kittens. We simply don't have the room to house larger animals that are not caged animals.
I live far away, but want to bring home a chinchilla. Do you ship?
We used to ship animals years ago on the airlines, which was the quickest and easiest way to get them far away. Unfortunately, the cost of this has spiraled to become unaffordable for the average person ($500+ per animal). Even for people willing to pay that, unfortunately, there are now new requirements as far as paperwork / health certificates (much more effort on our part), and we no longer have our team member with us who used to build the IATA-regulation-carriers.
So where does that leave us? Driving / delivery / ground transport! We welcome people to come to our farm (appointment necessary!) to meet the furballs and pick out one to take home. We have had people drive upwards of 14 hours to come get an animal... and some people who would prefer not to drive 30 minutes...both are fine, only YOU know what you are comfortable with.
Don't want to drive yourself? There is always delivery / ground transport! We only offer delivery on chinchillas / supply orders of $500 or more. On those orders, delivery is $1 per mile, roundtrip. So, if the trip is 200 miles each way, delivery is $400. While I'm sure this sounds like a lot of money, keep in mind, a 400 mile roundtrip is about an 8 hours, and most often, yours will be the only delivery... then we turn around and go home.
Another option can be ground transport. Unfortunately, ground transport isn't typically much cheaper -- think $200 minimum for a couple hours drive -- though often it's possible to get the chinchilla further away using ground transport. Ground transport companies / people often do larger routes, with multiple animals / stops, so they are able to offer their services at a lower cost. We have used ground transport to get chinchillas to states such as Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan, and more! Sometimes we are able to suggest a company for ground transport, if some of the larger ones are running routes. Setting up / paying for ground transport is the responsibility of the buyer. Companies that have been used in the past for ground transport are citizenshipper, ushippets, KD's farm transport, and more.
Do you have baby chinchillas for sale? Adults? Where can I find the chinchillas listed?
We do! We typically have chinchillas available in a variety of ages, colors, and fur types (standard, locken (curly), and RPA (angora -- longhair).
We have a master list of available chinchillas which you can view here (also lists upcoming) -- https://nwichinchillas.com/available-pets-master
As well as individual pages where you can see what is available --
As well as pages for when we have other furballs (such as guinea pigs, rabbits, etc) available --
I want the youngest baby possible, so I can bond with it from an early age. At what age do you wean babies, and how soon after that are they available?
We wean our baby chinchillas (kits) around 8 weeks of age, provided that they are an appropriate size to separate from their mother (if they are small, they may remain with mom for extra time). At weaning, all chinchilla babies have a cage card written up with their color, sex, parents' info, birthdate, weaning date, and current weight at weaning. Please note, we do not let baby chinchillas leave prior to them reaching 300 grams. This is done for the health and wellness of the chinchilla -- we want to be sure that they are eating and drinking on their own, and are as well-adjusted as they can be, before leaving to go to a new home. An old rancher used to word it as "they should have some meat on their bones," and this has really stuck with us over the years. Some breeders will send kits home on the day of weaning, as the babies are smaller, cuter, rounder, and frankly... easier to sell. We'd personally rather wait a bit to ensure they're doing well before sending them to a new home. This means -- sometimes they may be 8 weeks and available... other times they may be 10-12 weeks and available. If you're reading this and are curious about the youngest stuff that we may have available, feel free to reach out -- we may have ones that we haven't listed yet that might be what you're looking for.
I'm looking for a very specific chinchilla -- is this something you can help with?
Yes! We typically have a variety of chinchillas here and available, and if we don't have what you're looking for, we can often refer you to someone else who might!
Your listings are great for personality descriptions! But they DON'T say "this chinchilla doesn't bite." Do they typically bite?
The simple answer is, not typically. When people think of a "bite," they often think of a hard, often blood-drawing chomp that tends to really hurt. Chinchillas like to do what we call "taste-testing," where they will nibble on you to check if you are edible. This is very similar to a little pinch -- it's not typically hard enough to hurt, and it definitely doesn't draw blood. When they taste you and learn that you are not, in fact, edible, that's usually the end of it.
Realistically... chinchillas have teeth, and mouths, and anything with a mouth / teeth can bite (including you!). Any of them could potentially bite, if they were scared, cornered, or whatnot. However, they are prey animals (not predators), so their immediate reaction to something they are afraid of is typically to back off.
We always recommend that people do not put their fingers right in front of a chinchilla's mouth (especially if that person has just eaten fast food or something salty) -- we often see people doing this so the chinchilla can "sniff" them... which chinchillas actually do not do (they're not dogs).
I've seen some other listings for chinchillas that say "good with children" or "good with other pets" -- how come you don't (typically) put that in your ads? I want a chinchilla that's good with kids / pets.
The simple answer -- often, we simply don't know.
The flushed out version -- it depends on the kids / other pets.
Let me explain. Some kids have grown up around animals. Others seem to have a natural knack for handling small squirmy things in a very calm, gentle way. Then, there's others that are terrified of anything that moves. Others want to squeeze tighter, the more the animal moves. Do you see the difference? For kids, specifically, so much depends on their behavior and their comfort level around the chinchillas.
We OFTEN have people tell us, "the chinchilla sits so nicely in your arms, but is more squirmy with me." As I write this, we're nearing 20 years of owning / breeding chinchillas. At this point, I'm really not concerned about them biting me, jumping out of my arms, or anything else. There's a level of confidence and comfort in holding an animal that comes with time... and the chinchillas can sense it. Likewise, they can also sense when someone is nervous and is concerned about them jumping, or the person is concerned that they will drop the chinchilla. That anxiety can transfer over to the chinchilla, and so, they will tend to be more squirmy. On the other hand, a kid who is able to calmly hold the chinchilla in their arms will not likely have the same chinchilla going bonkers in their hands. The good news -- all of this can be worked on! Good handling skills are very much something that can be practiced, and practice makes perfect! The more we all handle our chinchillas, the more comfortable that we will get with them, and likewise, the more comfortable they will get with us!
As far as other animals go -- it depends on the animal. Most often, chinchillas are fine with other animals... while they are in their cage. We would not recommend chinchillas running loose in the house while there is also a loose cat / dog / rabbit / whatever. However, if the pet dog is knocking over the cage trying to get to the chinchilla... that would be a different story.
Can my child provide all the care, without me having to do anything?
Theoretically yes, depending also on the age of the child. We do recommend that an adult double check that the care efforts are being performed. Chinchillas are relatively easy to care for -- clean the cage once a week, feed and water daily (as needed), dust bath 1-2x a week, and keep the air conditioning on...and really that's it! However, with chinchillas having restricted diets and being unable to eat certain foods, there is always the possibility of an un-supervised child feeding the chinchilla something that they should not have. It also could be easy for a young child to simply forget that the chinchilla needs to be fed and watered... or get "too busy" playing on their tablet, to remember to clean the cage once a week. For this reason, chinchillas are often best as family pets, where everyone can chip into the care and ensure the chinchilla is being cared for as it should be.
Does my chinchilla need a buddy?
Simple answer -- no.
More complicated answer -- do you want the chinchilla to have a buddy?
Chinchillas get anthropomorphized all the time, and we hear endless amounts of people say, "the chinchilla is lonely." For awhile, I actually asked people what the chinchilla was doing that made them say that -- no one could give me an answer. The reality is -- while chinchillas can feel basic emotions, feeling lonely is likely beyond their scope of emotions -- and even if they did, they would not be able to tell us.
We often liken chinchillas to being like cats -- independent, and perfectly fine on their own. Chinchillas can live happily on their own, and do not *need* a friend, the way some animals like sugar gliders absolutely *need* a buddy. That said, chinchillas living with another chinchilla are often more active, and some people say this means they are happier. Are they? Only the chinchilla knows! Many chinchillas DO do well with another chinchilla cagemate (same-sex), and having a buddy does allow them to have another of their own species to interact with. However, a buddy is not a necessity for these furballs.
Should I get a male or female chinchilla? Does sex matter as far as having a pet?
Some websites suggest that males are more friendly, females are more independent, females are more sassy... all this can be true! Or it may not be. I've met unfriendly males, snuggly females... you get the idea. In our experiences, ANY chinchilla can be friendly or not, independent or not, snuggly or not. Being male or female doesn't seem to influence this very much.
Do chinchillas need to go to the vet?
Only when they are sick. Chinchillas do not need shots, vaccines, de-wormings, or regular check-ups at a veterinarian. Going to the vet can be quite stressful for a chinchilla, as they are in a different environment, often with many predator animals present. It's never a bad idea to know what vets around you will see chinchillas, should this be needed in the future.
What is the process to bring home a chinchilla?
We ask that all potential new homes read over our chinchilla care packet, you can find that here --> https://nwichinchillas.com/chinchilla-care
For our rescue chinchillas -- the ones typically with names and that have "adoption fee" at the bottom -- we ask that an adoption form gets completed, you can find that here --> https://nwichinchillas.com/adoption-form
For non-rescues, people are welcome to also fill out an adoption form, though it is not required. If you find a non-rescue chinchilla that you like and would like to bring home, reach out, and we can set up an appointment for you to come by and officially make the furball a part of your family.
Do I have to be in-state to bring a chinchilla home? Do you adopt out-of-state?
We adopt / sell to everywhere! It doesn't matter if you're next door, 30 minutes away, or across the country -- everyone is welcome to come take home a chinchilla. If you're farther away, that just means more time will be involved figuring out how the chinchilla will end up getting from us to you (see the question about transport, above).
Are chinchillas really hypoallergenic?
Moreso than a cat or dog... but no. Just like all animals that have fur, chinchillas do have dander, and people's allergies and asthma can be affected by this. While there's not as many people who are allergic to chinchillas (compared to being allergic to dogs or cats), people definitely can be allergic to the chinchillas themselves. More likely, it's possible to be allergic to the dust, hay, and bedding that the chinchillas use. Luckily, many of these things have alternatives that can be used in the case of allergies or asthma. Want to know more? Ask us!
Can chinchillas eat fruits and veggies? Why or why not?
Chinchillas cannot have either fruits or veggies.
Veggies have a high moisture content. As a chinchilla's diet should be dry (pellets and hay), with the exception being the water that they drink, the high moisture content of the veggies can be too much for their bodies to process, which can lead to them developing bloat. Bloat can be a life-threatening condition.
Fruits have the same issue as veggies, but let's take it one step further -- fruits contain high levels of natural sugars. While chinchillas can process some low level sugar in their diet, their digestive system is not set up to handle large amounts of sugar, as is found in fruit. These large amounts of sugar can contribute to health problems such as diabetes.
Please note -- it doesn't matter whether the veggies / fruit are fresh or dried -- NEITHER are safe for chinchillas.