San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
Tis the Season

operation chinchilla

We wish to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all the chinchilla lovers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, experienced chinchilla owners, rescue groups, animal welfare partners, national and local chinchilla resources, and anyone who has shared their recommendations to better enable us to give these more than 400 chinchillas an opportunity for wonderful, new lives as beloved pets. We are so grateful for the outpouring of support and professionalism. Today, we're happy to report that the chinchillas are doing well. Some of the chinchillas arrived with some pre-existing health conditions and injuries. We've had to perform surgeries to save several of them and we're pleased to share that they are recovering well. We will continue to share resources and educate new adopters regarding the expectations involved with having a chinchilla as part of the family. Again, thank YOU to everyone who has kindly shared this journey with us.

Due to overwhelming interest in adopting a chinchilla, we are no longer scheduling appointments for adoption. If you have already contacted us about setting up an appointment, we will be in touch. Our goal is to provide everyone with a quality adoption experience that includes adoption counseling on the expectations of having a chinchilla as a pet.

We've undertaken the largest rescue in our 134-year history!

On Tuesday, August 19, four teams of experienced San Diego Humane Society animal welfare professionals rescued 422 chinchillas during an 8-hour rescue operation in Vista, CA. This is the largest animal rescue in the history of San Diego Humane Society.

Since we do not turn away animals in need, we made arrangements to admit and care for all of the chinchillas in spite of the significant impact on resources, space, and personnel. PETA had procured the breeding/boarding facility and asked San Diego Humane Society to evaluate and re-home the chinchillas.

Our Operations and Animal Care staff worked non-stop to secure caging, food, hay, and everything else necessary to care for our new arrivals. Many of the chinchillas are already available for adoption, and the rest will be available as soon as we determine they're healthy. We'll be working with partner shelters and rescue groups in San Diego and across the country to give these animals the best chance possible at new lives.


If you're considering adopting a chinchilla, ask yourself if you are able to accommodate the following requirements to ensure their health, safety, and well-being:

1. Are you able to provide a temperature-controlled environment?

2. Are you prepared for a 16 - 25 year commitment?

3. Does anyone in the family have allergies?

These are among some of the various considerations in adopting a chinchilla. During your adoption appointment, our adoption counselors will spend time with you talking through expectations and other important information.

Chinchillas may not be suitable for small children. They have a very delicate bone structure and should only be handled by children under careful supervision.

• Chins are very active. They love to jump, climb, and perch.

• Chinchillas' teeth need to be worn down, as they grow continuously, which can prevent them from eating if they become overgrown. Wooden sticks, pumice stone, and chew toys are good options.

• Chinchillas are social animals. In many cases, they get along well with a cage mate.

• Neutered males and females would be better pairs than female to female. Introduce gradually and supervise the interactions.

• Chinchillas need dust baths 3 times a week. Give them dust box access for 10 minutes 2-3 times per week. Do not allow free access.

• Rotating a variety of safe, fun toys will keep your chinchilla entertained, stimulated, and exercised.

• Veterinary exams are recommended twice a year.

Never place a chinchilla in a rolling ball, even the largest size. Chinchillas will overheat and do not move or walk in a fashion that is conducive to moving the ball.


• Chinchillas are herbivores and require a low-fat, high-fiber diet to maintain optimum health. The diet of a chinchilla should be kept very simple. Quality chinchilla pellets, hay, and fresh water are all a chin really needs.
• Hay: 90%/free choice Timothy hay
• Pellets: no more than 1/8 cup high quality pellets (no fruits, nuts, or other added ingredients)


• Water bottle
• Food dish
• Hay holder
• Housing - large cage
• Toys - safe wood toys
• Safe litter such as Back to Nature, aspen shavings, Care Fresh, Yesterday's News
• Food - fresh Hay, quality chinchilla pellets, fresh water


• Except for wood, treats should be limited to once or twice a week.
• Wood treats can be given daily.
• Fresh or dried: rose hips, hibiscus flowers, chamomile, and dandelion greens.


• Human food
• Dried fruit
• Fresh fruit
• Fresh vegetables
• Sunflower seeds/peanuts

As you know, the San Diego Humane Society is supported solely through contributions, grants, bequests, investments, proceeds from our retail store, and small fees for services. We receive no county, state, or government funding. Contributions from the community are the only way we can continue to care for animals in need in San Diego.

Help support the nearly 2,000 animals we're already caring for, plus our 422 new arrivals.


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