Chinchilla Facts: Pet Care Guide and Health Information

Chinchilla Facts - Black Chinchilla Here are some chinchilla facts:

  • The chinchillas are mammals, representing the Rodents group.
  • Their natural habitat is the South part of Latin America.
  • Chinchillas live in colonies of 100 and prefer mountains where they can easily find places to hide.
  • The chinchillas feel comfortable in a climate with temperatures between 4 °C (40 °F) and 25 °C (75 °F.
  • The chinchilla pet lives more than other mammals – 18-20 years. In the nature its life expectancy is about 15 years.
  • The chinchillas are more active at night.
  • These nocturnal creatures play in the evening and rest or sleep during the day.

What makes this specific representative or the Rodents family a popular pet? Let the facts speak for themselves!

  • First, compared to their cousins Guinea pigs, chinchillas have a long lifespan.
  • Second, chinchillas are odor free so if the smell is a problem for you, opt for a chinch instead of a rat.
  • Third: you might think that a chipmunk is a better choice since it is a diurnal creature but in fact it spends several weeks of the year sleeping.

If you want constant interaction with your small sized exotic pet, chinchillas are a good choice. Last but not least: chinchillas are friendly small animals. They like being handled. They are not likely to bite you even if this exotic pet is frightened. In this situation it can lose patches of fur. Compared to these calm creatures hamsters and ferrets are considered “biters”.

Chinchilla Facts: Shape and Size

This cute animal has the size of a big squirrel or a baby rabbit. Normally it is long about 16-20 inches with its tail included. Compared to its large head, the chinchilla has small ears. How can we predict the size of our fluffy pet? Chinchilla breeders advice to check both the parents and the other baby chinchillas since the height and weight depend largely on genes.

Chinchilla Facts: Colours

Chinchilla Health Facts - Vitamin CThe great part of this family is naturally coloured in a gray palette. Chinchillas could be also Black, White, Beige, Ebony combined with a white belly. It features a silky fur and orange teeth.

The combination of grey fur, white belly and black eyes is classical. In fact, every chinchilla features a three colour coat. The black chinchilla has a black neck and head, dark grey sides and a white belly.

The sapphire chinchilla has a silvery grey to blue fur. This colour variation comes with pink ears and nose. White to ebony chinchilla has black eyes contrasting the fur. The main highlight of the brown chinch is the red color of their eyes and pink shade of the ears.

There are also chinchillas colored with different tints – with darker and lighter shades of beige, ebony or gray.

Chinchilla Facts: Fur

The main features of the chinchilla fur are density, smooth surface and silky texture. The chinch’s hair vary in length but the most common is the medium-sized coat. An interesting fact about chinchillas is that they can lose fur when feeling stressed. That is why they should be approached gently. The Chinchilla’s fur is considerably softer and more dense than human hair or any terrestrial animals’ fur. To maintain its skin healthy and beautiful, the pet needs a special dust bath every other day. In the summer this process should be repeated every day. That way you can help your pet to remove moisture or odor from its fur. When you touch a chinchilla, carefully dry your hands and remove any oils from your fingers in order to keep its fur dry since water can harm it seriously.


Chinchilla Facts: Temperament

Chinchillas are active in the evening and during the night. In the day they sleep or hide in dark and quiet places. It is not easy to gain the trust of your exotic pet but if you do your best, this fluffy creatures could be an adorable domestic animal. It will jump like a ninja or roll over during its daily exercise. Your chinchilla pet will come to you if you stay calm and motionless. Some chinchillas could be lazier or sleepier than others. In this case, maybe your pet needs more exercise.

Chinchilla Care

Chinchilla facts - photo by Beth L. Alexandert

Chinchilla. Photo by Beth L. Alexandert.

Before you select a pet, you need to know some important facts on how to take care of it. It needs a proper cage, small quantities of special food, daily exercising and playtime. Baby chinchillas are playful and curious exotic pets.

When you bring a new chinch at home, allow it to adapt to its new habitat. Chinchillas frighten very easily and that could reflect their health in a negative way. Then try to hand-feed it. Opt for its favorite foods – ½ almond and 1 resin daily. Soon your pet will adapt to the environment and will learn to trust you. To make your chinchilla an affectionate companion pet, play with it every day. Choose a room, were your pet could practice its jumping skills, explore the place and climb.

Another interesting fact about chinchillas is that when your amazing pet gets comfortable with your touch, it could sit on you. This is the best time to give it a hug.

Chinchilla Health Facts

Moderate temperature and balanced diet can help your chinchilla to live up to 20 years. Anyway, these exotic pets are vulnerable to injury or digestion problems so you have to observe symptoms of Illness.


Diarrhea and changed excrements are symptoms of an inflammation or digestion problems. This problem is often caused by bigger food portions or poor food quality. Diarrhea can easily cause dehydration which can be life threatening.

Loss of appetite

When your chinchilla refuses to eat or drink, you have to call your veterinarian. These exotic pets can live only 8 hours without food. To prevent the fast weight loss and dehydration you will need an immediate advice.


Lethargy is a symptom of many health problems that could affect your pet. It could be related to excessive gas in the stomach or infections. Sometimes your pet may lie stretched out due to broken bones or muscle disorder. In all these cases your chinch needs a veterinary treatment.

Hair loss

Bacterial, fungal infection and even stress can cause fur or skin disorders. Sometimes you can notice areas of baldness on the chinchilla body. It is important to ask your vet how to treat these areas.

Chinchilla Health Facts - Photo by vociferous

Photo: vociferous

Depressed Chinchilla: A True Story

There are absolutely curious reasons causing chinchilla pet depression. Changing the cage with a new one could be one of them. Even when the new pet home is bigger and more spacious the usually energetic rodent does not show any signs of happiness. This fact is stressful even for pet owners since they hope that the chinchilla will enjoy the new cage.

We as being chinchilla parents for more than five years would like to share our experience. For the fifth birthday of our fluffy pet Chippi, we decided to buy him a new, bigger cage. We chose a wider, taller and fully equipped new home for our chinchilla. Can you imagine how disappointed we were when realized that our male exotic rodent got depressed. Chippi did not enjoy the food and he was hiding all the time in his new house. More than a week our chinchilla didn’t explore the third floor of the cage.

We knew that it was easy for chinchillas to get down but didn’t realize that changing the cage could cause behavioral problems. Happily, chinchilla pets including our cute fur-ball bounce back from depression within two-three weeks.

Chinchilla Facts and Myths

The More I Feed Chinchilla the Happier is it

This is a common mistake made by chinchilla owners. In fact, chinchillas need only two tablespoons of balanced, low sugar food daily. If you provide your exotic pet with plenty of resins or almonds (more than once a day), it will soon become fat and lethargic. Instead of food, give your pet attention and play with it.

Chinchilla Fur May Cause Allergy

The chinchilla fur is not considered to be an allergen. These fluffy rodents have a very dense coat that bacteria and parasites are not able to live in. Some people might be allergic to the dust powder from the chinchillas’ bath.

Chinchilla Barks When it Feels Lonely

Chinchillas communicate through sounds. Most of the noises are messages to other rodents. Since these creatures are nocturnal, they might be very noisy during the night. When they bark that means they need affection. What can you do to make it stop barking when all your family sleeps – approach it in a quiet way, give it a hug and switch on the lights in the room.

How to Tame Chinchillas

How to Tame ChinchillasGaining your chinchilla`s trust it is not an easy task. It will take a couple of weeks to help this skittish rodent to feel comfortable at your house. Start by giving food treats such as resin or almond. Take one with your fingers and put your hand in chinchilla cage. Stay calm and allow your pet to explore you.

Repeat this for a week since chinchillas need time to know what to expect. Before you give your chinchilla its favorite goodie, call its name to help it learn it. That way it will associate the sound of its name with food. Soon your pet will come to you every time when you call it by name.

Use food treats as encouragement when your chinchilla exercises outside the cage. Play with your pet and soon your chinchilla will let you pick it up or hold it. It is an essential part of the relationship with your pet.

You will have to learn some more facts in your interaction with you chinchilla. Do not yell at your pet – you could rise your voice when it bites you furniture but never be rough with it. Chinchillas are social animals and need interaction so do not ignore them since they never forget.


Travel with your Chinchilla Pet

If you’ve decided to take your rabbit-like pet on vacation, you have to consider some essential chinchilla information. It is recommendable to transport the pet by car, not by plane, since you have to watch it closely.

First, purchase a wire or plastic travel carrier. Place and secure the chinchilla cage in the passenger compartment and try to keep the temperature moderate in order to avoid stress. Cover the floor of the travel carrier with paper sheets or cardboard. Give your chinch something wooden to chew during the trip. Do not forget a water bottle, some food and hay.

Before the trip find an available vet specialist with good chinchilla experience in the new place. Do a small research on the internet or find local rescue services. You may need vet`s advices during your vacation. Often in a new place, you may notice an absence of normal behaviours. Unusual medical problems may also occur. When you arrive, try to provide your exotic pet with its routine procedures – place it in its common cage, give it its favorite food and even walk it in a secured place.

Do not leave your chinchilla alone for long hours because your exotic pet may feel stressed in this unusual surrounding. An interesting but not well-known fact is that the chinchilla could make squeaky noises and that could be very frustrating for the hotel guests. To prevent the people around from complaining, simply leave the chinchilla cage underneath a lamp.

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