Chinchilla Vs Ferret: Which One Should You Get?

Are you looking for an adorable pet to keep you company on your bad days? Do you want a pet that likes humans but can also entertain itself on its own?

Do you want a pet that doesn’t require much caring effort from you? Are you confused between chinchillas and ferrets as probable pets?

Well, don’t worry. In this article, we have done a comparative study between chinchillas and ferrets as pets and what would be a better choice for you!

Chinchilla Vs Ferret: Basic Distinction 

Well, talking about Chinchillas and ferrets, the basic difference between them is of course their family. So Chinchillas are from Chinchillidae, which belong to the rodent family. The ferrets on the other hand belong to Mustelid belonging to the weasels family.

And it is because of these familial differences that they are ultimately so different from each other. Although both of them are pretty small creatures and are extremely adorable pets, they look quite different.

While the chinchilla’s face reminds us of the mischievous Jerry, ferrets are more weasel-like.

Also, compared to chinchillas, ferrets tend to be bigger and longer in size. They also weigh a few pounds more than your average adult chinchillas.

Despite this, the average lifespan of chinchillas hovers at around 2 decades in captivity and around 15 years or so in the wild, whereas ferrets even with proper care and last about a decade only!

how ferret compares to chinchilla
Scientific nameChinchilla lanigeraMustela putorius furo
Average Height9 to 14 inches body with 3 to 6 inches tallaround 20 inches with 5 inches of tail
Average Weight2 poundsaround 4-6 pounds
Average Lifespan15 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity8 to 10 years
Average Costvariable 80$-300$variable 100$ or more

Chinchilla Vs Ferret: The Difference Between Chinchilla And Ferret

Grooming Needs

As we know chinchillas are extremely furry mammalian creatures and you know what? They hate water. So if you were thinking of giving them a shower for cleaning, forget about it. Because of such dense fur, drenching the chinchillas may lead to their hypothermia.

So to keep your chinchillas clean, invest in some Chinchilla dust and offer them an almost regular dust bath of about 15-20 minutes. All you have to do is fill a deep container with sufficient dust and coax your chinchillas into rolling into it. Try not to hold them and do it yourself; they don’t particularly like it.

Apart from the dust bath, you can also invest in some soft bristles, and if your Chinchilla allows you can use it to comb their fur and open some knots.

Ferrets on the other hand require a more hands-on approach to grooming that includes regular brushing and combing their fur. This reduces excessive fur shedding and also keeps them happy. You should also try and take your ferrets to get their nails trimmed professionally. 

I say professionally since many times without experience if you try doing it you might end up hurting them or yourself. You can also offer them a bath but that should be more than one or at max twice a month!

Food And Nutrition 

Chinchillas have an extremely sensitive diet. Ideally, their diet should primarily consist of fibrous food that includes hay, grass, and leaves. The reason is that without enough Fibre their digestive system may malfunction leading to other grave health issues. 

Treats for chinchillas should be limited to one or two pieces of fruit per 2-3 days. They cannot digest carbs so that is dangerous. Enough water should be kept in their cages.

Ferrets on the other hand are carnivorous creatures. That means they require a healthy quantity of meat and protein in their regular diet. Although their diet requirement is not as sensitive as the chinchillas, still to keep them healthy you need to ensure they intake an adequate amount of water, fats, and carbohydrates!


Like any other pet creature, it is important you visit the veterinary center for your pet at regular intervals. In the case of chinchillas to keep them healthy, ensure you give special attention to their diet, change their water and bath dust regularly, clean out their cages, keep them occupied with toys, allow them sufficient exercise opportunities, and keep an eye out for sudden fur shedding which may be dangerous if the cause is not found. The bottom line is if your chinchillas are happy, they are healthy!

Ferrets require a more active Healthcare system as they grow older. They would require canine distempering and rabies vaccination. Additionally, at regular intervals, they might also need dental and ear cleanings!

differences between chinchilla and ferret

Behavior And Temperament

Well, this is where there is the biggest difference between chinchillas and ferrets. Chinchillas and ferrets both can be social creatures. But in the case of chinchillas, they tend to socialize more with their own brethren whereas ferrets like to spend time with humans as well.

Chinchillas tend to keep to themselves and won’t demand your attention even if you try to give it. They are happy on their own. Typical chinchilla behavior is jumping around in their cages.

Although calm chinchillas automatically don’t mean something is wrong with them. They could be just resting and since they are crepuscular creatures you might find them resting through the day and active at night or dawn and dusk. Although I’d this continues, then it’s concerning.

Ferrets too are quite active creatures who are naturally curious. They will demand your attention and their extremely social nature makes them like to cuddle up with the owners. But with old age, their activity may reduce.

They are also crepuscular so you might often find them sleeping the whole day!

Exercise And Training

The natural habitat of chinchillas is mountainous forests. That means they are used to jumping and traveling through forages. That kind of exercise is necessary for their normal growth.

Thus it is important that your Chinchilla gets ample exercise to keep itself busy and healthy. That could be in the form of ledges you set up inside the cage or you could let it out after clearing out a place in your house for letting your chinchillas play there without hurting themselves! Not being very friendly with humans, it becomes a little difficult to train chinchillas to do something of your liking!

Ferrets on the other hand are quite easy to train and they are often trained to excrete in boxes to prevent further mess. Ferrets too are creatures that require ample exercise to keep themselves busy. So it’d be great if you clear out a place exclusively for your ferret’s playground!

Chinchilla Vs Ferret: Which Is A Better Pet For You?

Now, this question doesn’t have an easy answer. Rather it depends on what you want and what you can manage to do for your pets and that will determine what pet is better for you.

For instance, if you are someone who has no time to spend with your pet but you would like to pass some minutes watching the playful antics of small creatures, the chinchillas would be an excellent option for you.

But again it is often suggested to get a couple of chinchillas so that they don’t get bored easily. Now you have to think if you can manage taking care of two chinchillas and then come to a conclusion. 

Again, if you are someone who mostly stays at home and you want a cute pet whom you can train as you want, ferrets could be a great option. But you must also remember that they require a comparatively costlier diet plan so if you can afford that, then you are good to go.

Another important thing you need to consider is how attached you can get. Ideally, chinchillas may live for 20 years in captivity and ferrets should be living for at least 10 years.

Now after so many years will you be able to let go of them so easily or will it be easier if they were here for a shorter period?

Final Words 

At the end of the day, between chinchilla Vs ferret, there is no pet better for you or worse for you, keeping your needs and their needs in mind you should make your choice!

Chinchillas and ferrets are both wonderful pets and can make great company if you are a pet lover just like me.

That said, we hope this article was helpful in providing you with the relevant information you were looking for!