Transporting Your Chinchilla (by car or plane)
When traveling with your chin he needs to feel safe and secure. You want to make sure he is as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. Only use a pet carrier that is made for animal transportation; meaning one that is well ventilated, securely closes, plenty of room to move around and stretch out and one that should be able to survive an impact if there should be an accident. Do not ever transport a chinchilla in an aquarium, cardboard box or cloth carrier. Buying a travel carrier is just as much a requirement as purchasing a cage. Consider it part of your initial start up cost. Many people overlook this item when buying supplies and they shouldn't. You have to get your new family member home in the first place and then you never know when you may have to go to the vet. Be prepared and put safety first.
If he is the type to chew any and everything he can get a hold of, don't use a plastic carrier. You are better off using a small cage or wire carrier. We use a fleece blanket to cover the bottom of the carrier because it is soft and comforting to the chins. Some will also hide under the blanket. Please do place something on the bottom of the carrier for the chin's comfort. Unless you are making just a quick trip to the vet, you should put a small amount of hay in the carrier. We have found most chins will not drink when traveling, but we always have a water bottle available and periodically offer it to them. Do not hang a regular ball bearing water bottle in a carrier or it will just continually drip and then your chin will quickly have a very wet and uncomfortable trip.
We partially cover the carrier when traveling, especially if we are using an all wire carrier, to give the chins a sense of security. Do not put your chin directly in the sun. Just make sure you do not completely cover the carrier because they need ventilation and to keep cool. Your vehicle should be kept very cool for the chin. If you are traveling in the warmer months you must have air conditioning in your vehicle. You will also need to get the temperature down in the car first before you place the chin in it. This is not an option, it is a necessity! Speak often with your chin to reassure him that you are there and that everything will be OK. With all the chins we have traveled with, we find they all settle down after just a few minutes and sleep most of the trip.
We do not support or recommend transporting or 'shipping' chinchillas by plane. Animals are considered baggage when transported by airlines and the conditions in the cargo area are cruel and inhumane. The temperature is allowed to get extremely warm and we have heard of chinchillas dying during the flight. Plus the noise factor for animals is unbearable.