I posted this in the Vents and Rant forum, but thought I would post it here too as it pertains to chins.
A few months ago I went to a Petco and instantly feel in love with chinchillas. I went home and researched for three weeks and finally decided that I had the lifestyle and capabilities to support the needs of a chinchilla. So, in February I went and picked one - his eyes were clear and sparkling, his coat looked good and the manager informed me that he was a few months old. Two months later my chinchilla which had become an amazing pet and huge part of my life died in my arms at the vet's office. After hours of agonizing that I killed my chin on accident, the vet called and informed me that Optimus had died because he never fully developed. As is the case with most pet store chinchillas, they are sold at young ages which doesn't allow their body to develop; they may look healthy, but they never have a chance to live a full life.
So heres my rant. I went to Petco tonight because I needed fish food. I decided that I would take a look at the chins and to my amazement there was a BABY in the cage. Not a young chin, but a BABY. My heart broke because I knew that some family would get attached to this wonderful animal and then have to watch it die right in front of their eyes a few months later. I was so disgusted that I decided I wanted to talk to a manager. I went around the entire store and couldn't find one. I went back to the chin cages and there was the baby, literally dying. He was flopped on his side with eyes wide open and breathing pretty shallow. Finally I found a manager after running through the store. He walked over and said, "Oh yeah, he looks bad." The baby looked up at him and got up for a minute and grabbed a piece of hay which is good sign I guess. The baby looked too young to even be away from its mother's milk though.
Before looking at the chins I looked at the hamsters. In the "male" cage there was hamster that was so large that its back feet didn't touch the ground. So, either this "male" was pregnant or it had an extremely large tumor.
To anyone reading this, please, please, please stay away from Petco's animals, especially the exotics. Most people see chins as a furry little animal, but in reality they are complex animals which need devotion and a lot of interaction and love. Also, people see the babies and think that they are even more adorable, but usually these animals shouldn't be away from their moms and are never going to be healthy. Please save yourself the heartache and consider a good breeder in your area.