10 Popular Small Pets

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Chinchilla fur is so velvety that the best thing about your new pet will simply be holding it. A chinchilla's luxurious coat comes in a range of colors, from white to charcoal. Unlike most furry mammals that have one hair fiber per follicle, a chinchilla can sprout up to 80 hairs from just one follicle. This South American native is technically a rodent. But it's so charming, with its saucer-like eyes and bowl-like ears, that we'd rather not give that too much thought. Chinchillas resemble a kangaroo, with front legs that are markedly shorter than their back legs, and a thick, bushy tail.

  • Life Span: Up to 20 years
  • Best For: Children over 10; chinchillas are fragile animals
  • Feeding: Commercial pellets, fresh water
  • Housing and Exercise: The chinchilla doesn't need complicated care. It will thrive in a variety of environments and temperature conditions, but it's most comfortable at a balmy 65 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 degrees Celsius). Most chinchillas live in wire cages with solid floors.

Good to know: The chinchilla doesn't have body odor. Even its droppings will take several days to emit a smell; if the animal's cage is cleaned frequently, odor becomes a non-issue.

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