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NWI Chinchilla Rescue

If you are wanting to surrender your chinchilla or other small animal to our rescue, please contact us to inquire about whether we currently have space at the rescue. This changes often, depending on adoptions, so please contact for a current status. Thank you!


Here at NWI, we do chinchilla and small/exotic animal rescue.  We take in chinchillas, small animals, and small exotics, ensure that they are healthy and socialized over a period of 14+ days, and adopt them out to approved homes.


On this page, you will find info regarding the chinchilla, small animal, and small exotic rescuing that we do.


All rescues are listed on our various "Available Chinchillas" pages.  The rescue chins are clearly noted as rescues in their descriptions.

We thank everyone who has made a donation to the rescue, regardless of the amount!  Every bit helps!  Your generosity helps out the rescue more than you know.  We acknowledge all donations on our Donations page. 

In A Nutshell...

  • NWI Chinchilla Rescue was founded in 2003 as a non-profit, no-kill, chinchilla rescue.  Since then, the rescue has expanded to include other small animals, small exotics, as well as the occasional reptile / amphibian.

  • Our average yearly cost runs approximately $65,000 (for 2022).  This fluctuates, depending on how many (and what type of) animals are at the rescue, what health conditions they may / may not have, and what the extent of their care needs are.  The money to pay this cost comes from adoption fees, the sales of our supplies / accessories, and of course, money that we designate from the sale of our breeding / show chinchillas.

  • As of mid 2016, we have re-homed over 500 chinchillas, 91 rats, 50 guinea pigs, 28 rabbits, 7 hamsters, 6 degus, 5 gerbils, 2 prairie dogs, and 1 pigeon. In addition, we've helped numerous people re-home their chinchillas and other animals as well, through our courtesy listings.

  • We use 1,500-2,000 pounds of chinchilla food and 200 pounds of hay per month.

  • While we do have a few foster homes, we care for the majority of the rescue / available chinchillas here at our location. 

Want to Know More?

We often have people ask about what we do and the process our rescues go through. To find out, read on.


We take in, rescue, and accept surrenders of many small animals.  While we are primarily a chinchilla rescue, we are open to a variety of small animals, including rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, prairie dogs, gerbils, degus, as well as other small animals and other small exotics.  We have even taken in small reptiles such as snakes, geckos, and more!  The two species of small animals that we do not take in, under any circumstances, are hamsters and ferrets.  We also cannot take in any dogs or cats.  However, if contacted by someone wanting to surrender a hamster/ferret/dog/cat, we are more than happy to list the pet on our website as a courtesy listing, to try to help find the animal a forever home!


For the animals that we can take in, we are able to accommodate most needs.  We have cages large and small to accommodate everything from single animals to groups of animals.  We are able to accommodate animals with a variety of special needs.  Further, we have experience with most small animal health conditions and can treat and medicate animals with a variety of health problems.

Once an animal comes to the rescue, they are put under a mandatory 14+ day evaluation period and quarantine.  During that time, they are kept separate from, and have no interaction with, our other animals.  They are also evaluated during that time period.  Their eating, drinking, pooing, peeing, and other habits are monitored to check if they are healthy.  Further, they are weighed on a gram scale when they first come to the rescue.   This gives us a baseline for their weight.  After their initial weigh in, they are weighed at the middle and end of each month.  By weighing them often, we can spot and quickly react to a drop in weight which could signify a health problem.

Rescues are typically switched over to a healthier food/diet, such as Mazuri Chin Chow or Hubbard Life Chinchilla (Tradition), which are the two chinchilla feeds that we use for our own chinchillas.  Guinea pigs are switched over to Oxbow Cavy Cuisine or Mazuri Guinea Pig Diet.  Rabbits are switched over to MannaPro Pro.

If an animal at the rescue exhibits signs of a health problem, they are taken to the vet.  Before any animal is made adoptable, we make sure that, first and foremost, they are healthy.   We would not want to adopt out an unhealthy animal.

In addition to monitoring the animal while they are here, we also work with them.  We strive to make all the animals as used to humans and as handleable as possible.

Once the animal is through their quarantine and evaluation period, if they are living alone, they may be introduced to a same-sex member of their species, if one is at the rescue.  This is also the point where they can go into a group playtime with other animals of the same species.

During the entire time the animal is at the rescue, they are cared for as we would care for our pets.  They are given large cages to romp in, hammocks to sleep in, wheels to run on, umpteen chew toys to help wear down their teeth, and even a playpen to play in.  We let the rescues out in the playpen as often as possible, and they just love going in there and exploring.

Typically, rescues are not here for long periods of time.  The average rescue or pair spends 2-3 months at the rescue.   We have had chins stay at the rescue for years due to medical or behavioral problems that take time to correct, though that is not typical. The longest we have ever kept a rescue was four years -- this was due to medical concerns (see Fuzzy's story).

We are a no-kill rescue.  In the event we have an animal here that does not get adopted for a long length of time, this is no matter.  They are welcome to stay here as long as it takes for them to find a forever home.  In the event an animal comes in that is unadoptable, that animal will live out its life at the rescue.

Once evaluated and "ready to go," we make every effort to find homes for these animals in order to give them a second chance at a happy, healthy, long life as pets.  Everything is done in the best interest of the rescues.  All animals that come into the rescue are cared for as we would our pets - they deserve no less.


When someone expresses interest in adopting one of our rescues, that person is required to read our species-specific care packet.  Once they have looked that over, they are required to fill out our adoption form.  This adoption form asks species-specific questions about the care of the type of animal that the person wants to adopt.  It inquires about the brand of food to be fed, the type and size of cage the animal will be kept in, the items contained in the cage, and more.  The adoption form ends with the potential adopter having to agree that if they can no longer care for the animal, that it will be returned to the rescue.  This ensures that if the animal does have to go to yet another home, we will be able to adequately screen that home and ensure that that home is a good one for the quality of life of the animal.

How We Started Out

One of our most involved rescue chinchillas was a standard grey male named Fuzzy, who came to us in 2005.  While we did rescue work for two years before Fuzzy came to us, Fuzzy really was the driving force behind what started NWI Chinchilla Rescue.

Fuzzy really touched our lives in many ways.  He gave us a crash course into the world of chinchilla medical care, including our first experiences at hand-feeding and dealing with impaction and possible stasis.   Our rescue bank account is named after him - we affectionately call it "the Fuzzy Fund."

To learn more about Fuzzy, please visit "Fuzzy's Story."


If you would like to surrender your chinchilla, small animal, or small exotic to us, please contact us at – alternatively you can text or call (219) 789-0026 and speak with us (please leave a message if no answer).  We have a “no foul” surrender policy –- we will take almost any animal that we have the knowledge and ability to care for -- all that we ask is that you inform us of why the animal is being surrendered (especially if for behavioral or health reasons) and inform us of any known health problems the animal may have.  We will not contact animal control or attempt to press any animal abuse charges against people dropping off their animals at the rescue.  However, we may share the story of how the animal came to the rescue with potential adopters, if asked.


Unfortunately, we are not able to take in ferrets or hamsters into the rescue.  We also cannot take in cats or dogs.  We take in small, caged animals only. 

We prefer to receive rescues with their equipment (cage, food, toys, etc).  This lessens the stress on the animal as it comes to a new environment, though retains its usual surroundings. 


Please note that we do not pay for rescues.  You will not find a reputable rescue that does, so please do not contact us asking us to "buy" your chinchillas or other small animals.  Our intention is to take in animals that need to be re-homed immediately and care for them until they can find a loving forever home, not help anyone re-coup their expenses.  We will undoubtedly have expenses for your animal while it is here, so while we understand the concept of not completely losing out on what has been spent -- we are not going to buy your pet.

Please note, we do have a $40 surrender fee (due in cash at time of surrender).  This surrender fee may be waived for people able to bring a live-able cage with their surrendered animal (at our discretion). 


 When put up for adoption, all known health issues (past or present) are disclosed. Behavioral issues, as well as whether the rescue has (in the past, we make no guarantee for the future) gotten along with cagemates, are disclosed.


Rescues are only adopted out to approved homes.  Potential homes are required to read our care packet as well as fill out our adoption form. No rescues are adopted out without a completed adoption form - no exceptions.  All rescues are sent to their new homes with approximately 2 pounds of food, a baggie of chews/treats, and a printed out version of our care packet. Included items vary with the type/breed of rescue (for example, larger animals such as rabbits may come with more food).  Unless stated in their written description, our animals do not come with a cage.

Adoption Fees

We charge adoption fees for our rescue animals.  Charging an adoption fee helps ensure that the person adopting the animal can adequately care for the animal.  Animals need food, water, bedding, chew toys, and so on – these are not free.  An adoption fee helps ensure that the new home will be able to provide for the animal into the foreseeable future.  In addition, adoption fees also keep our rescue running!  Some rescues require several hundred dollars (or more!) of vet care, and the adoption fees keep us on top of these bills.

Adoption fees depend on the type of animal as well.  More common, easier to care for pets will have lower adoption fees than more exotic animals.  For example, rats will have lower adoption fees than chinchillas.   If the animal comes with included items or accessories (other than the typical food and chews), the adoption fee will typically reflect this.

Adoption fees for chinchillas typically range from $75 on up (for seniors), though our standard adoption fee is $125-250 for an adult rescue chinchilla.  If you cannot afford the adoption fee, you will not be able to afford even one visit to the vet.

Want to Help Us Out? Volunteer or Donate!

We often have people ask if they can help out the rescue in one way or another.  "Do we need anything?"  We appreciate any and all donations, no matter how small!  We rely on money made from adoption fees, supply sales, and donations in order to keep the rescue running.  All money made from adoption fees and supply sales are put into our "Fuzzy Fund" rescue bank account.  This bank account is used to pay for the expenses related to our rescue chinchillas - including food, housing, medical care, and daily living requirements such as toys and chews.  Donations are always appreciated.


Think your donation would be too small?  Think again -- even the smallest donation can make a difference.  Even something so simple as one hanging toy or toy parts will bring joy to a chinchilla in need.


To make a monetary donation, you can click on the PayPal donation option at the bottom of this page.  Feel free to specify if you would like your donation used in a specific way or towards a specific chinchilla.


We also appreciate any pet-related items (or other items) donated.  Feel free to donate whatever you want - we may be able to use it!  If we are unable to use the items donated, they may be sold, with the profits going directly into the Fuzzy Fund.


Feel free to donate "used" items - we will be "using" them here, so there is no need for items to be new.  Just about everything can be cleaned and sterilized!

For a list of donations that we have received, please visit our Donations page!

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Thank you!


We and the chins would like to give a very heartfelt "thank you" to all those who have made donations to help us continue our efforts to care for chinchillas and other small animals in need. We appreciate everything you've all done!

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