Chinchillas 101- All You Need to Know About Your Fluffy Friends

Growing up, I always wanted a pet chinchilla! I adopted two female chinchillas a couple of years ago. Even though I did my research as best as a could, but I never truly learned about Chinchillas until I brought them home. So here are some helpful tips and fun facts that I’ve learned along the way to help you care for your future fur babies!

  • Chinchillas originate from Andes mountains of Peru, Bolivia, Chile (Cold and rocky climate).
  • They have thick, lush fur with 60 hairs from each hair follicle (more than any other mammal).
  • Chinchillas don’t have any sweat glands, therefore are very prone to heatstroke. They dissipate heat through their large ears.
  • Chinchillas are herbivores.
  • Chinchillas have a total of 20 teeth. Their teeth grow continuously (up to 3 inches per year).
  • Baby chinchillas are commonly known as “kits” and are born fully furred.
  • The average life span of a chinchilla is about 15 years.
  • In their natural environment, chinchillas live in social groups that resemble colonies but are properly called herds.
  • They live in burrows, crevices of rocks (Provide hiding places in a cage).
  • Chinchillas are Nocturnal – active and eat at night.
  • Chinchillas can be shy and easily frightened.
  • Defensive behaviour of chinchillas is urine spraying or releasing fur if bitten.
  • Chinchillas are avid jumpers (up to 6 feet) and require extensive exercise – Provide a large cage with multiple levels.
  • Chinchillas are prone to heatstroke and matting, so dust bats are very important to help cool and clean their fur.
  • Chinchillas need a high fiber diet. Their diet typically consists of timothy hay (free choice) and eating chinchilla pellets.
  • Dried fruits (raisins) to nuts and vegetables can be used for treats.
  • Chinchillas like to chew on pumice stones to help file their teeth down as they grow.
  • Chinchillas love playing. Keeping fun activities such as a hammock or a running wheel in the cage with keeping them active and happy.
  • Routine weight checks and oral exams are a very important part when raising chinchillas.

Chinchillas are fantastic, loving companions, but like other pets, they require special care and attention to stay happy and healthy. I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you have any questions about how to care for your Chinchilla at home, please feel free to email me at – attention: Kaela, and we can try our best to help you welcome your new furry friend home!

Written by: Kaela, VT