For at least two years, my boys (Liam, 9 and Ollie, 6) have been clamoring for a pet chinchilla. While perusing craigslist a few days before Ollie’s birthday, I ran across a listing for a 18-month-old chinchilla that came with a cage and all accessories (including a dust bather!) for a mere $75. Better yet, he was living less than one mile from my house. I had to teach that night so I dispatched my wife to check him out as a possible birthday present for Ollie. She brought the boys with so of course they insisted on getting Ripley (the Chinchilla). I arrived home from class to find Ripley and his large cage sitting in our dinning room. I don’t think Ripley liked me because he’d make a high pitched noise any time a wandered near his cage. I equated it with cat hissing.
Around 7:00 a.m. the next morning, I was awoken by screaming and wailing. It seems Laim took Ripley out of his cage to hold him. Ripley promptly jumped out of Liam’s arms and scampered under our couch. My wife lifted the couch in an effort to capture Ripley, but as she was lifting Ripley apparently attempted to scamper through the space between the back edge of the couch and the floor which was quickly shrinking as my wife lifted. Unfortunately for us all, Ripley was crushed and died instantly. Elapsed time from his arrival at our house until his death: 11 hours.
We decided that a chinchilla is not the best choice for a pet. As a replacement, we went with a dog, in part because he’s too big to scamper under the couch. Anyone in the market for a chinchilla cage? It comes with a dust bather!