Abandoned chinchilla found dead in Sheffield by RSPCA on Christmas Eve

While many families enjoyed roast dinners, board games and festive films this Christmas period, RSPCA officers were out helping animals in need.

The animal welfare charity operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And this Christmas was no different. Over the festive period (24 December - 1 January), the RSPCA’s officers and inspectors responded to 15,723 calls and helped 759 animals.

The rescued chinchilla

The rescued chinchilla

Last year, the charity received 11,530 calls between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day - 36% less than this year.

An RSPCA officer ended up with a furry friend over Christmas after being called out to rescue four abandoned chinchillas in Sheffield on Christmas Eve.

Inspector Kim Greaves was called to the sailing club at Dunford Bridge by a member of the public who found two chinchillas abandoned.

Inspector Greaves said: “Sadly, only one of the chinchillas was alive and she was terrified but I managed to catch her in my net. She was very cold and wet through. Chinchillas can’t cope with the wet so I rushed her home and cleaned her up.”

The officer, who couldn’t find anywhere suitable for the chinchilla to go over Christmas got the correct food and special sand for her to bathe in, and set up a cage at home over the festive break.

“She’s doing well now and has perked up a lot over Christmas,” Inspector Greaves added.

“I’ve found her a place with a specialist and she’ll be going there in the coming days.”

Chinchillas are large rodents who are native to the Andes mountains in South America but have become popular pets in the UK. They are quite shy and can live for anywhere between 10 and 20 years so the RSPCA would urge anyone thinking of taking them on to do lots of research first.