It occurred to me yesterday, after quite a longtime follower on Instagram mentioned that she had no idea I owned two chinchillas as well as two cats, that I haven't posted about them for absolutely yonks. Since starting this blog I've been meaning to do a dedicated chinnie post, but have never got round to it - until now! A lot of these photos are quite old, so I do apologise for the poor quality.
Prepare yourselves for some ridiculous amounts of cuteness!...
The first chinchilla to come into my life, was Raisin. Hannes had had him since he was born and he was the sweetest little furbaby. So gentle and funny - a real character.
He'd been on his own for most of his life, after being bullied by other members of his family, but chinchillas are social creatures, so we decided to adopt another to keep him company, and started to keep a look out.
By sheer chance, our local shelter had two females come in - a mum and daughter - so we went to visit them and instantly decided to bring them home. After a long, slow and nerve wracking introduction process over several weeks, they became friends.
Sadly, not long after this, Raisin became very sick. He bounced back well, but was never quite the same and, a few months later was very poorly again and passed away. It was heartbreaking and I miss him so much.
So that leaves the two girls - Rosie Rocket is grey and she is mum to Popcorn Poppet. They are wonderfully cute and bring a lot of joy, but they are nowhere near as tame as Raisin was, which makes me miss him even more. But they are delightful and so funny to watch.
A few chintastic facts for you:
- Chinchillas live in groups, headed by a female (right on!)
- They live in mountainous regions and have incredibly dense fur to keep them warm.
- They need a cool environment otherwise they overheat and can die.
- You must never get a chinchilla wet - their fur is so dense that it can't dry out, leaving it to go mouldy and giving them pneumonia.
- Chinchillas are considered exotic pets and need specialised care. Taking them on as pets should not be taken lightly - they can live for twenty years.
- After running around for a while, they meet up and 'kiss' noses, to exchange scent, info and to reassure one another.
- When annoyed or warning others, they bark - it sounds a bit like a squeaky toy and is unlike anything I've ever heard!
- They bounce off surfaces to create a visual map of their surroundings and, once they've mapped an area, they can zoom around it at high speed, despite having relatively poor eyesight.
- Chinnies 'test' things out with their teeth, which are constantly growing and need to be ground down by chewing on plenty of chinnie-safe wood and hay.
- As they can't get wet, they clean themselves by having sand or dust baths. It's so funny to watch!
- They poop little pellets, pretty much constantly.
- Like bunnies, when they are happy or excited, chinchillas do 'binkies', also know as popcorning, which is where they suddenly spring into the air with a twitch, BOING!
Have you got any unusual pets?
If you're considering getting a new pet, always try to adopt from a rescue shelter - do not buy from pet shops/websites/classifieds.
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