How Does a Death Affect Chinchillas?

It's been a bad week for chinchilla pet owners. We received two e-mails about chinchilla deaths.

Stephanie writes… I had two chinchillas, but one has just died. I'm not sure how, but I'm wondering how can I help my other chinchilla that is still alive from getting depressed on me and keep up with his hyperness and happiness so I don't end up losing him too? If you can please help me I would be so grateful. Thank you.

And Cassandra writes… I had two chinchillas and one died last night so I have one left.
Their cages were right next to each other and they would play through their cages with each other. I'm wondering if my chinchilla can die from stress of losing the other one? What precautions should I take and what I should look for? It would be great help if I can get some information on that please. Thanks.

Infolific answers… We've had one of our chinchillas die. It's hard to know how the remaining chinchilla(s) will react to the death. Our best suggestion is to spend time with your remaining chinchilla. Aside from providing comfort, you should also watch for changes in behavior. If your chinchilla continues to run around and play, then there is likely nothing to worry about. If, on the other hand, your chinchilla won't leave the cage and is particularly skittish for a long time, you may have to look to other techniques. What those techniques are, we can't say. Our chinchilla "moved on" on her own.

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17 Comments

  1. I am so thankful I found this page. This is so helpful and comforting to get a better understanding of what was happening to my Chinchilla Pickachu. To see the other Chinchilla owners go through similar accounts as I did helps that I am not the only one who is going through this. The loss of my beloved Pickachu is extremely devasting. He was and always will be my "baby". I loved him so much and I always will. He was so sweet, funny, intelligent, and loveable. As he was dying and struggled to move, he would scoot closer to my face wanting to be near and close to me. He loved us just as much as we loved him. We are taking his death very hard. We will miss our Beloved aka "Baby" and "Ki-koo" Pickachu more than anything. He wasn't a pet he was and is family. :'(

  2. This website/page/article is so helpful and comforting to read. My Beloved Chinchilla named Pickachu just passed away 2 days ago. I had the most perfect 14yrs with him. I took care of him the best I could and showered him with so much love. A month ago, I seen some changes within him. He wasn't as active, not eating as much, wanted to rest and be cuddled a lot more. His genitals kept coming out and his stool was abnormal, and he felt a little boney on his back. Also, his little mouth was getting stinky (which it never did before). I took him to the vet and the doctor was amazed of how old he was. He checked everything and said he was ok but to give him natural honey and yogurt with oats. 6 hrs after taking Pickachu to the doctor, he wasn't hopping as much and he wasn't hoping normally either. The next morning, he was worse. He couldn't move his legs and his body was limp. He struggled so much to want to move around. We took him to the doctor again. The doctor said it could be of his old age and could see he still had movement in his hands and feet. He gave him a shot for his bones and wait and see if it helps within the next 2 days. If not, I was preparing to him down because his condition was worsening and he was suffering in pain. My mom and brother tried feeding him but he wouldn't eat. He struggled to breathe. 5hrs after getting the shot, my Pickachu died.

  3. Ive noticed after reading about the deaths of chinchillas that they all have something in common. They all seem lethargic, cant hardly move, are very limp, and many times seems to have twitches off and on. I wonder what that is coming from? Scooter demonstrated these symptoms and was also dehydrated. But, I didnt realize he was sick for a couple of days, because he didnt come to eat, but my chinchillas do that from time to time. So, I didnt think nothing of it until the night I went in the room and found him lying underneath the nitestand. When I went to pick him up, he didnt try to escape. i knew something was wrong once I picked him up. It seemed to me like he had nerve or muscle damage because he couldnt stand up. There has got to be a common denominator involving th deaths of these chins. I wish i could figure out what is happening!! what is causing the sudden deaths of these cute pets? I hope someday someone will investigate this problem and figure out the reasons why this is so common in chins...........

  4. I started out with Polly and Nosy that I took over from a friend who had to move, and I later introduced Cheeky a baby chinchilla to the two of them. When Nosy died (aged 10) Polly and Cheeky were both upset but they consoled each other and soon got back to normal. Polly lived to 15, she died 18 months ago. I was so upset but she had a long healthy life with only 6 hours of illness right at the end, though I stayed home from a friend's wedding because she was ill, to be with her. Cheeky really missed her and seemed very depressed for months. Now she is a lot more needy for attention from me, and will come and snuggle up with me when I let her out of the cage on a night. She never did that when she had Polly for company. Because Cheeky is 8 I can't bear the thought of getting a new friend for her and then seeing another chinchilla go through all the heartache again. I have taken on two dwarf Russian hamsters from another friend, also because they had to move, and Cheeky is incredibly curious about them. I often have Cheeky out loose and the hamsters in their ball (they are near impossible to catch otherwise, I sometimes let them play in the bath and fill it with loo roll tubes though). I have to take Cheeky to see the zoo vet every 3 or 4 months because her back teeth grow spurs that we need to keep on top of or she gets abscesses in her cheeks, other than that she is a beautiful healthy chinchilla. I swear she remembers Polly and Nosy and gets down every now and then though.

  5. Chinchillas who are in bonded pairs can get very depressed by the loss of their companion. This does affect their health. Sometimes getting another chinchilla is a good idea, as you are used to caring for two and it can help with your loss as well as that of the surviving chin. But introducing a new chinchilla can be tricky, even under the best of circumstances, and, just as with people, each chinchilla decides for itself as to compatibility.

  6. It it typical for a Chinchilla to die unexpectedly? I've done a lot of research on them, and I know I'm definitely getting. I've been told that their lifespan is from 10-15 years, but is it normal for Chinchillas to die of no apparent cause? I don't want my future Chinchilla to die on me..

  7. Soo..my chinchilla died last night. Her name was Amy. We took her to the vet yesterday because she was acting weird, and wouldn't eat, or move a lot. So they said she had skipping beats for the heart. So, they gave us medicine for her. While my mom&I fed her the medicine, literally 30 seconds later she died from a heart attack. She was very small when she was younger, and now we know why her heart had issues. I have another chinchilla, Tiki. She...keeps on scratching from Amy's death. Even though they didn't like each other. I...still can't get over Amy's death. I miss her so much, can i can't stop crying.

    • i know how it feels i lost my pet guinea pig,Julianna,and i miss her so... much i wrote songs about her and i can't stop crying and now i am gonna get a chinchilla so i can get my mind off of Julianna the vet said she had a kidney problem and she was not well at all and she would't eat or get up and move around like she use to and she would lay in one spot and the vet asked me what i wanted to do and i didn't want to watch her suffer any more so i said please put her down and after i left to say goodbye she tried to run to me and i couldn't help but cry i miss her so much and i will remember getting her in Canada and she was so little and i screamed and now she's gone and we use to say now we live in America again guinea la oink and now no more so yeah i am getting a chinchilla and i am happy but i miss Julianna so much and i will never forget her and the vet just send me roses because how many times we been there of all the pets i have and she was the first one the went to be put down and they gave me a poem of the rainbow bridge and i couldn't help but cry oh and i asked if she could be buried in the pet grave vard and they said what ever you want and i really really miss her i had her for 4 years and i will never ever forget her.

  8. aw im so sorry to hear about your loss i so long for a relationship as good as that with mine but all mine want to do is run about when they come out lol and aren't interested in being fussed really lol. But you were truly lucky to have the bond you had and i feel a lot of sadness for you. I used to have a pair that shared a cage and my female died it was about 10 yrs ago and my other chinchilla became very close to me he was lovely he became my best friend and he would come to his cage and look at me when i was sad and he used to come out to play with and he was lovely. I have never had that bond since and hope that someday i will find a chinchilla that will. I really am so sorry for your loss i know how it feels and hope you still want to get another as they are all different and have great characters and are great to be around.

  9. I do not recommend getting any pets for PetSmart. Every pet that I get from there gets sick and dies. It is hard b/c you want to rescue them from the small cages they are housed in, but all seem to have gotten sick after a short period.

    • I know what you mean. I ordered 2 chinchillas last year and when I went to pick them up they said one one was a little ill, but that their vet would help it get better. Instead it died. I didn't want to have just one, so they got me two from another shop that were much older. I was also told they were both female, but they turned out to be both male. A short time later one developed teeth problems and it had to have them clipped 3 times on the third time it had to be put to sleep because of a reaction to the anesthetic. I'm really angry with Petsmart. We are so sad and we now have to see if the other chinchilla can cope on its own or get it a companion in the near future.

    • I am so sorry to hear this news. I purchased both my chins at Petsmart and have had great luck. They were not too knowledgeable on the animals themselves, but I learned a lot from sites like this. Vanilla, the old one was about 3 when I introduced Villy, the baby. They got along great very quickly. Villy was purchased as vanilla was lonely. I have had great success.

  10. Chris Celnar

    Kendra, Nothing you can do at this point. I'm sure you realize now that ferrets and chinchillas don't mix. Ferrets and anything smaller them don't mix really.

    • yeah one of my degus escaped from its cage into the ferrets and was badly biten it died from shock a few days later :(

  11. I got two "male" chinchillas from Petco, we finally got everyone sexed (hopefully in a proper way) and separated. Two weeks later another baby was born. It quickly learned to escape from the cage (squeezed between the bars) and would run around the room. One night we checked, Goose was in the cage and so we let the ferrets out to play for a while. About 10 minutes later there is horrible scream and one has the baby (it's about 8 weeks old now). It jumped away and I caught it. Held on to it, which was weird because it normally didn't like being held. And it started convulsing on my hand, and had trouble breathing. In a last ditch attempt to see if it was okay, I let it's mom out of her cage and she completely ignored the baby. 2 minutes later the labored breathing stopped and it was dead. It was being kept with mom and a sister from the previous litter. Now the two of them wander around the cage and look out watching like when it had escaped. I'm worried about them becoming depressed over the situation. Any suggestions?? Thank you

  12. Pamela, We're so sorry to hear about your loss! We've had to deal with the death of a chinchilla too so we know a bit about what you're feeling. But at least it does sound like you had some quality time with Gizmo despite his life being cut short. Take care and we wish you luck with your search for a new friend!

  13. Our family has suffered a great loss of our young male chinchilla today...Easter Sunday. We came home from church and breakfast and he ran to his cage and jumped up onto the wire door for his normal kisses and pets. I took him from his cage, placed him on a small blanket and promptly brought him to our room. This was a new habit for us as we only had him a short period of time. My husband and I planned on watching a movie and so did with "Gizmo" our wonderful little loving chinchilla. He was fine and nestled in my neck and chest area and did so for about 2 hours. Now and then he made noises and such like normal. He behaved normal for we'd been having longer and longer snuggling sessions over the past week. Well, later, he hopped around our bed and such and we put him back in his house so he could get something to drink or eat in the event he was hungry or thirsty. It was nearly 15 minutes later and I noticed he was laying on his side near his door. I ran and picked him up and nearly lost control. He begun having seizures in my hands when I picked up his near lifeless body. He held on for nearly 10 minutes more and we tried calling vets around the area. He ended up taking his last breath in my husband's hands. He did twitch a few more times and my husband said he seemed to have a hard time breathing as if he was trying hard to breath but couldn't get enough air. We only had Gizmo for about 2 months and we loved him infinitely. The symptoms he suffered have been documented as we've looked online and it may have been from poor breeding and he may not have ever truly had a chance. Our lesson here is we will take our next chinchilla to the vet for a wellness check up and will purchase from a reputable breeder instead of PetSmart. It appears we had quite a great relationship with ours. He loved attention especially mine. He loved being pampered. Our family will heal but the loss is greater than ever could be expected.

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