how did you decide to have chinchillas?

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Chinmin

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I'm curious, how did you decide to have chinchillas as pets? Were you young and just really liked them, or did you get them after becoming an adult? Did you know that you may or may not be able to hold them? Please tell me.:)
 
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I had all kinds of rodents growing up, pretty much everything you can get from a pet store (mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils), so when chinchillas started being sold in the pet stores we bought our first one since it was something new we never had before, and unlike other rodents they can live a long life. Unfortunately we didn't really know much about them, other then they were a rodent that have very soft fur and were bred for the fur industry, and they required a different diet then the other rodents I had. We did try to research on them though, and did our best with the limited information at the time, this was in the early '90s so when the internet was just becoming a thing (I don't think we even had the internet when I first got them), so at first it was mostly info from the pet stores, books, and talking to the couple breeders we knew in person.
 
When I was growing up, I always loved chinchillas, but I could never afford one. When I got older, I was just looking on Facebook and saw an add for a chinchilla needing a new home. I started doing more and more research up until meeting that chin, deciding that I could indeed provide a good home for them.
There were 2, but unfortunately one had passed away from eating plastic before we had gotten them. The one who did survive, Lenny, is still with me today and he is doing so well.
 
I always preferred animals to people and got my first job cleaning cages in the early 90s at a local pet store. That was where I met Friskers, my first chinchilla. As Amethyst said, the care information simply wasn't available at the time, so Friskers lived an unfortunately short life, full of all the foods he shouldn't eat. Nearly a decade later when the internet was fully formed, I learned more about chinchilla care, realized I did a disservice to the species, and wanted to redeem myself. I adopted Boji in 2007, and 15 years later, he's still with me along with 3 other exceptionally spoiled chinchillas.
 
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