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Chinchilla Characteristics

  • Females are considerably larger than males.
  • Chinchillas can breed any time of the year. They have a very long gestation period of 111 days. Due to this long period, chinchillas are born fully furred with eyes open. Litters are usually small in number.
  • Chinchillas instinctively clean their fur by taking dust baths several times a week. They roll around in a container full of special dust made of sand or fine pumice. It is important a chinchilla never get wet because their dense fur retains the moisture and can grow fungus if not dried quickly with a blow dryer on a low, cool setting.
  • Domestic chinchillas can be kept as pets, but they are naturally skittish and are not considered to be good pets for small children. They live an average of 15 years, but some have been know to live up to 20 years or more.
  • They make many noise, including barks, chirps, and squeaks. They have a different noise for every situation. Noises range from a calm, loving chirp given to a potential mate to a loud, aggressive bark when spooked.
  • Chinchillas have very sensitive digestive systems and cannot efficiently process fatty and sweet foods. A high quality, hay-based pellet and a constant supply of loose hay will sufficiently meet all of their dietary needs. A very occasional treat of a raisin or small piece of dried papaya are fine, but can easily be overdone, leading to diabetes. Fresh vegetables should be avoided as these can cause bloating in a chinchilla, which can be fatal. Nuts should be avoided due to their high fat content. A water bottle with fresh water should always be available.
  • Chinchillas are often voracious chewers and any ingested plastic can cause blockage in the intestines. As with most small animals, red cedar bedding should never be used due to its toxic nature. The cage must have good air circulation. The chinchilla can not sweat, therefore, if temperatures go above 25°C (75°F), the chinchilla could get overheated and may suffer from heat stroke.


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Page last modified
July 19, 2019