Exotic pet at West Ottawa


Jada Holmes

Loving, fun, mischievous, plump, and snuggly. These words describe man’s best friend, the average household dog, the good old American pet that will bring joy to any owner. What some may not realize is that these very traits mankind holds so dearly for their traditional pets can also apply to exotic pets. Ferrets, hedgehogs, chinchillas and more all are capable of capturing the hearts of their owners just as well as average cats and dogs, but rarely are kept as pets.

   Jr. Madison Barnes sheds light onto owning an exotic pet. Barnes purchased a chinchilla, Charlotte, almost a year ago for $135. At first, a lot of people may question where one would purchase a chinchilla and for Barnes it was a unique story. “I found this lady’s ad online, and she was selling baby chinchillas. She had one left. Right away, I told her, ‘I’ll be there soon to pick it up! As soon as possible!’ Then I traveled across state to Hartland, Michigan. It was a four hour round trip.”

   Like caring for any other pet, there are difficulties to taking care of it. “I find it hard to find new items to put in her cage to entertain her. Everything that I put in there, she might play with it for a little, but after awhile she just ignores the toy and leaves it be.” Another difficulty, which is common with all pet owners, is finding time to clean the cage. “Sometimes I’m just so busy that I have to push it off until the next day.” There is specific formulated food for chinchillas, but surprisingly, finding the food is not a big difficulty. You can find chinchilla food at any local pet store. Things Barnes did to make caring for her pet a little easier, as crazy as it might sound, is potty training her chinchilla. “I didn’t even know you could potty train a chinchilla. At first, I was putting bedding at the bottom of her whole cage. But the lady that I bought her from was telling me you could get litter trays at the pet store, so I did. You just put the bedding in the litter tray so they only go in that area.” Barnes takes Charlotte out whenever she is home, and interacts with her a lot to prevent Charlotte from becoming depressed. “I take her out and handle her, so she is very used to being around people.” Charlotte is a well trained and behaved chinchilla because of this.

   Barnes proves that owning an exotic pet can be just as fun and loving, as owning a traditional one. “Charlotte has a very spontaneous attitude. She’s such a fun and sweet animal. I never want to leave her.” Loving, fun, mischievous, plump, and snuggly are all words that perfectly describe the traits of a chinchilla.


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