Should I Get My Child A Chinchilla Or A Rabbit?

When thinking of adding a pet to our family we wanted to know which pet we should get. During my research I discovered which was best with children. If you find yourself where I was this will help you in your decision.

Should I get my child a chinchilla?Chinchillas are not considered good pets for children. Chinchillas are actually very delicate and can be seriously injured easily. They are skittish and do not like to be held and petted. Chinchillas do not care for cuddling. 

Children are generally loud, move fast, and scare chinchillas. Chinchillas have very long teeth and do bite, especially when scared, hurt, or stressed. There may be exceptions to this but overall I would steer clear of getting a chinchilla for a child’s pet.

Are chinchillas better than rabbits?

These two animals, although both small and furry are very different:

Average Height4-7 inches5-15 Inches
Average Weight1 ½ lbs.- 4 lb. 4 lb.- 16 lb.
Exercise1- 2 hours a day 3 + hours a day
Good with KidsNot good for little children Yes good with most everyone
Good with other petsYes, some small pets Yes, non-aggressive pets
Life Span15 -20+ years8 – 15 years
Trainablerequires a lot of work  Yes, more easily
Groomingyes but very little + dust baths   Yes, more brushing needed
Easily InjuredFrail bodies can easily be injured.        Can be injured but hardier 
TemperamentAre skittish and scare easily. Are generally easygoing.
CarryingDoes not like to be held or cuddledLikes to be held and petted
Nose ToleranceDoesn’t generally mind noisesDoesn’t generally mind noises
Sleeping PatternsSleeps most of the day. Is awake during the day

These two animals, although both small and furry are very different:

Both can bite and their bites can hurt and draw blood. When you have kids in the house the rabbit is clearly the better choice. However, the chinchilla is a great pet but is best when with adults.

Costs Chinchilla Vs Rabbit

Chinchilla (Range $100-$350)Rabbit ($5-$100)
Food$10-$15 per month$0-40
Toys and chews$15-$50 per year$15-35 per year
Bedding$25-$150 per year$25-150 per year
Dust Bath$0-$40 $0
Dust$30-$50 per year$0
Hammock$10-25 $0

The initial setup cost will be higher for a chinchilla than for the rabbit. The yearly cost is about the same. Vets for the rabbit are a bit cheaper and easier to find. These are only estimated costs and can be higher or lower depending on your habits, location, and what you choose to use.

Cage size Chinchilla vs Rabbit

Chinchilla Cages: should be the largest you can get. However, the minimum size should be 24 inches by 24 inches for the floor size. And if it has a wire floor then you need to cover it for your chinchilla’s feet. 

The height should be at least 3 feet and have several shelves and ladders for your chinchilla to jump and climb on. This is necessary for the well-being of your chinchilla.

Rabbit Cages:  As the size of rabbits vary more than with chinchillas you will want to know how big your rabbit will get. Small rabbits under 8 lbs. Can do with a cage that is at least 24 x 36 inches. For larger rabbits, you will need to go with 30 x 36 inches or larger, like the condo cages with 2 levels that have a ramp from one level to the other. Rabbits should not be left on a wire floor as this can damage their feet.

Chinchilla cages are taller with more levels while rabbits need more floor space. Both need to get out of their cages for playtime and to get exercise.

Now I will get into some of the things that make them similar and different in the day-to-day things like training and care. It can be amazing just how much alike they are and yet how different at the same time.

Training Chinchilla vs Rabbit

Both of them can be trained. However, the rabbit appears to be easier to train and will learn more tricks than the chinchilla. You train both of them in the same manner, using treats as a reward for doing what you are asking of them. The reward method is continued till you are sure that they know what you are expecting.

Then you stop giving the treat every time and cut back on it slowly till you no longer have to give the treat for them to perform the task. You can still give them the treat as a reward sometimes just to reinforce the trick. But they shouldn’t get it every time. 

It will take a lot of patience and time. Never work on more than one trick at a time. Moving on to another task only once the first is completed. Or if you find the pet doesn’t get what you are expecting or just won’t do it, you can quit that one and move on and come back to that one in the future.

Chinchillas and Rabbits can both be potty trained. Both of them will pick a corner of the cage that they will return to repeatedly for urinating. Get a glass or non-rusting metal pan large enough for the chinchilla to be comfortable in. You do not want to use plastic, as they will chew on them.

Place a small amount of soiled bedding in the pan and add some fresh. Place this in the corner your pet has chosen to use. They may decide to use a different corner so you can either change the corner you have the pan in or use multiple pans.

It usually takes just a couple of weeks and the pet will have it down and you can go to using just one pan that they pick, in the area that they prefer it to be. This will make it much easier to keep their cage clean and them from getting urine in their fur.

Care and Maintenance

Both require fresh water, hay, and pellets. They both require a clean cage, the cage should be completely scrubbed down at least once a week. This is including all items in the cage, dishes, toys, ledges, ladders, exercise wheels. Everything must be cleaned and dried. 

The chinchilla will need a few dust baths through the week and the rabbit will need to be brushed a few times a week. You will not have to do much for the chinchilla’s dust bath, just put it in and watch him enjoy it and clean it up. You will have to actively participate to brush the rabbit. 

Both have advantages and disadvantages. The dust baths require you to have the dust, and to clean up the mess, while you do get the enjoyment of watching it play and flip and roll. 

While brushing the rabbit you are actually engaged with it and providing it with your attention. However, some rabbits do not enjoy this and it can become frustrating.

Life Span Of A Chinchilla:  Is 15 – 20+ years 

Life Span for Rabbit:           Is 8- 15  years

Chinchillas are active in the evening at dusk and throughout the night till dawn. 

Rabbits are active mostly during the day


The rabbit is better for households with children.

Chinchillas will cost more to start, and the monthly costs thereafter will be similar, with the chinchilla costing less. 

Basic vet expenses will be higher with the chinchilla it is an exotic pet, and vets may be more difficult to find.

Both can be trained, the rabbit is easier to train and can be trained to do more.

Rick Matthews

Hello, I am Rick Matthews, I have helped raise 100's of pets in my life living with my Father who while we did not live on a farm, raised all sorts of animals to sell them to families. We had so many different pets we all quickly became experts intending to them and helping them stay healthy. Back then we did not have the internet to look up thing on how to take care of their kids. As my kids got older, they wanted pets and of course, I did not want to have as many as we did when I was a child, but wanted to share my experiences. Many of these articles are written to help educate families on what to expect when looking to get a new pet for their children.

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