Are Chinchillas Legal In California?

Chinchillas in California

California is known as one of the states which are very strict with many different types of legal standings. They are known for requiring more permits for buildings, pets, activities and so forth. They also require more licenses for businesses, vehicles, household pets and even some careers.

California also has many laws on the books when it pertains to household pets and other animals. Owning a pet is one of life’s greatest joys. Those joys are easier to have when the laws of California are followed when it comes to pets.

California Laws

Chinchillas in California

As stated, California keeps laws simple, yet strict when it comes to animals. There are some main laws that everyone should be aware of when considering obtaining a pet in California. The top ten laws are as follows.

  1. Pet stores may only sell pets that have been rescued. This means that cats, dogs and rabbits must come from shelters or be rescued by the ASPCA, the Humane Society or other known Rescues. This was done to help eliminate the ‘puppy mills’ or illegal breeders.
  2. All dogs must have proof of the Rabies Vaccine.
  3. Dogs must be licensed.
  4. Before adoption, the rescuer or Society must have the animal spayed or neutered.
  5. Proof of Spay or Neuter must be given upon adoption.
  6. Reduced fees for animal licenses with proof of the Spay or Neuter surgery.
  7. It is illegal to abandon any animal in California.
  8. Animal fighting is illegal in California.
  9. There are certain responsibilities that breeders must follow.
  10. The law has changed and pets are dealt with under custody laws during a divorce.

Illegal Pets

Chinchillas in California

California also has a list of animals that are illegal to own within their state. There are quite a few animals that are considered illegal to own when you live in California. Those include, but are not limited to:

  • Gerbils
  • Monkeys
  • Ferrets
  • Hedgehogs
  • Squirrels
  • Alligators
  • Penguins, plus many others.
  • Legal Pets

The list can go on a long time for pets that are allowed to be in California. Chinchillas, although part of the rodent family, are legal to have as pets in California. A chinchilla is also similar to a squirrel, however, the chinchilla is a sturdier animal, more robust.

The chinchilla is part of the same group family as a gerbil. However, Gerbils cannot be kept as pets in California.


Chinchillas in California

The domesticated Chinchilla is legal to own in California. The state of California does not demand that the owners of Chinchillas have a permit or a license. Where can a domesticated Chinchilla be found in California? There are actually a few legal breeders that operate in California. You can find those locations searching the internet or through a phone book.

There are also Chinchilla Rescues also. These can be found in the same manner as the breeders. Pet stores do sell Chinchillas, but, it is unsure how they came to have the Chinchillas. Another possible location to find Chinchillas, that would be on sites such as Craig’s List.

A Chinchilla can cost some money, but for those who love these cute and super soft animals, the price is worth it. There are added costs that will come along with the adoption or purchase of the Chinchilla. You will need to purchase a cage, food dish, water bottle, toys and wheels. A Chinchilla also likes treats. You will need some sort of filler to put in the cage to soak up urine and faeces also.

About The Chinchilla

Chinchillas in California

All this sounds pretty simple, however, one caveat does exist as to owning a Chinchilla. A Chinchilla may not be owned if said Chinchilla has been caught in the wild. The purchased or adopted Chinchilla must be a domesticated animal.

A Chinchilla is known to be a clean, very low odour animal who is friendly and fun. One important fact about Chinchillas, they do not sweat, so they can become overheated quickly.

Any location that has a temperature higher than 80* is considered to be too warm for the Chinchilla. Since the Chinchilla does not sweat, the manner in which you tell the Chinchilla is too warm is that their ears will be a bright red colour. This is how the Chinchilla releases body heat. However, since they do heat so quickly they can die of heatstroke very quickly.

The room in which the Chinchilla is kept in should be kept at a temp to prevent the Chinchilla from overheating. At the same time, too cold of temps are just as bad for a Chinchilla as too hot would be. They should not be kept in a location that is below 59*.

Chinchilla Information

Chinchillas in California

The Chinchilla can live from 10 to 20 years. As stated, they are clean animals, have no odour, or are so little you cannot smell them. The rodent is a very athletic creature, so much so that a small cage is not going to be good for your pet. They need lots of room to run, play and have fun. They are very sociable animals

The Chinchilla must be mainly on a high fibre diet. Their digestive system is very unique as when they eat, the food moves through the digestive tract and is then defecated. These little faeces are then eaten by the Chinchilla. The drops of faeces are then eaten and absorbed once again.

As with many rodents, Chinchillas are nocturnal animals. This means you will not see them active very often during the day. You will, however, know they are awake all night.

Toys are a much-needed item for the Chinchilla. They love Activity wheels. Pet Stores will have a variety of toys that your Chinchilla will play with. Chinchillas have not been kept as pets for that long of a period. Gerbils and hamsters have been kept as pets for a much longer time. This means that we are still learning about ways to care for a Chinchilla.

The Chinchilla is most closely related to the Guinea Pig. A Chin will more closely resemble a rabbit, however, the ears are much shorter and rounder. With large black eyes and a bushy tail, they are spectacular to look at. The fur is very dense and extremely soft. A Chinchilla, (Chin) has only 4 toes on each foot, with sharp claws on each foot. Each of those claws is surrounded by stiff bristles.

A Chin will make its home by burrowing tunnels underground. They may also make a nest in a crevice they find in rocks. When in the wild, the chinchilla lives in herds. In general, the herd is roughly 100 Chinchillas total.

The female Chinchilla is the aggressor, during the mating time and also towards other females. Between male and female, the female is the dominant party in the relationship. For a Chin, once they mate, it is for life. They will stay with that partner the rest of their days, for the most part. The female in other words is monogamous. The male Chinchilla is known to have many mates throughout his life.

This is true for the male Chinchilla as far as being domesticated. The male will be paired up with multiple females on purpose. The purpose of this is to populate many Chinchillas so that they will be able to sell more. The mating season in the Northern Hemisphere is from November to May, in the Southern Hemisphere the mating season will run from May to November

Once a female Chinchilla is pregnant, she will carry the babies for up to 111 days. She will deliver anywhere from 1 to 6 babies. They can, however, have two litters per year. In a group the babies are called a litter, singly each one is a kit.

The baby will nurse from its mother for 8 weeks. When they turn 8 months old, they are ready to have their own litters. The average life span runs from 8 to 10 years, some Chinchillas will live for up to 20 years.

Fun Facts

Chinchillas in California
  • A Chinchilla can jump up to 5 feet in the area.
  • The Chinchillas’ teeth will continually grow.
  • The Chinchillas fur is actually 30 times softer than the human hair.
  • A Chinchilla benefits from Dust Baths. This helps to remove the oil and moisture from the fur.
  • The Chinchilla will digest its food twice, once as normal food and the second time as little pebbles of faeces.
  • The red blood cells of a Chinchilla hold more oxygen than other rodents. This is due to their normally high altitude.
  • Fur Slip is when a Chinchilla releases a clump of fur on purpose. This is most often done when there is a predator. Doing so will give the predator a clump of fur rather than a meal for the night.
  • A Chinchilla will communicate with other Chinchillas through various sounds. These include barking, squeaking, chirping and grunting.
  • Chinchillas are fun little critters, they are sociable and athletic. They are legal to own in California and you are not required to have a license or permit to own one.

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Our website does not constitute medical advice for pets, for medical advice for a pet please consult a licensed veterinarian.