Chinchilla Basics


We often have to describe chinchillas to people we meet when they learn that we have them as pets. The best verbal description we've come up with is that they have the head, face, and ears of Jerry the mouse from Tom and Jerry, the body of a domesticated rabbit, and the tail of a squirrel. Of course such a description is fairly limiting. Luckily, we can post pictures on the web so here's what a “typical” chinchilla looks like.


The above chinchilla is grey which is the most common. Chinchillas also come in beige, black, and with hints of purple. The most expense variety are purple, but as far as we know color makes no difference when it comes to behavior or longevity.

Size and Weight

Chinchilla adults are about the same size as a small to medium-sized domesticated rabbit. On average a chinchilla is somewhere between 9-11 inches long not including the tail. On average, an adult male chinchilla weighs between 0.8 to – 1.1 lbs. The females are generally larger weighing in at up to 1.3 lbs.

Life Expectancy

A pet chinchillas can live 10-15 years with some living up to 20 years. That's a long time compared to a typical pet. As such, you should be prepared for such a long term commitment. For the most part, chinchillas don't require regular veterinary visits despite their long life. This is especially true if you keep their environment clean. However, there's certainly nothing wrong with taking them to a vet yearly.

Temperament & Behavior

Unlike dogs, chinchillas are not really cuddly and don't respond to their names. They will however jump and crawl on you if you sit in their vicinity. Sudden moves and loud noises will scare them. If you buy a chinchilla from a breeder that handles them regularly from a young age, they'll be more inclined to allow you to handle them as they age.

Chinchillas won't bite unless they smell food on your fingers. They will sometimes nibble on clothing and belts. They are quite curious and should have as many places to climb in to and on top of as possible. Cardboard boxes with holes cut in them are ideal for this purpose.

Possibly the most important thing to note about chinchilla behavior is that they're nocturnal. They wake up in the early evening and remain awake until the morning.

What Do They Eat?

A chinchilla's diet is fairly basic. The primary food is pellets, very similar to those given to rabbits. Chinchillas also need to eat cubes of hay. And finally, they need to be given a portion of a vitamin enriched seed mix. Distilled water is recommended to avoid problems with bacteria in tap water that doesn't affect humans.


Chinchillas do not have dander which is what causes most people are allergic to when it comes to pets. People who are allergic to cats and dogs are still able to have chinchillas. Note that chinchillas eat hay and must bathe in a fine dust both of which can trigger allergies.


The price of a chinchilla varies depending on the color. A standard grey chinchilla from a breeder typically sells for around $75. From a pet store, the same chinchilla would cost $99-$125. And of course there are the costs associated with a cage, food, and bedding.

Place in the Animal Kingdom

Chinchillas are rodents and are part of the Chinchillidae family. There are two species: Chinchilla brevicaudata (short tailed chinchilla) and Chinchilla lanigera (long tailed chinchilla). It is the long-tailed species that we keep as pets, but both species are very similar. Like other mammals, chinchillas are warm-blooded.

The Chinchilla Club

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  1. Okay well i just bought a chin a couple of days ago and she was doing fine the first night we got her. she was playing at night and everything but the second night she seemed more scared and stayed in the corner of her cage. She still ate normally she just seemed tired too. She lays with her eyes closed and ears down as well. Also sometimes she jumps off the walls of the cages and it seems like if she thinks she can get out that way. Is this normal for a new Chin? Also sometimes it seems as if she's making a grinding noise from
    Her mouth and idk what's wrong. We bought her from a pet store but she was already 3 years and someone dropped her off because they had to move away. Anyone know what could be the problem with her ?

    • There is nothing wrong with her , they make a variety of noises and what your hearing is her simply grinding her teeth. Make sure you have at least 3 chewing toys in her cage so her teeth are trimmed, watch certain wood types because some are Toxic. Also she is getting use to you and her new surroundings, so it may take some time for her to feel comfortable. And lastly that is just how an Chinchilla sleeps lol , they mostly are drowsy looking during the day time because they are nocturnal , they do wake up during the day to eat and drink water and occasionally chew stay up for a good 10 minutes and go back to sleep, they are mostly active during late evenings and night time and even when the sun first rise , expect sleeping during day hours. She jumps off of her cage because they jump and climb, so it’s important for her to have levels so she can have plenty of jumping since it is natural to them , make sure she has OUT time and watch her closely because they do chew on things , for her to bond and get exercise I recommend at least 30 minutes a day , hope this helped.

  2. I have a male chinchilla, I assume. He's really happy and i did a buntch of research after my mom brought Doom home. My concern is he is starting to show physical changes in appearance, like his nose area is becoming more pronounced and his color is getting slightly lighter. He's still eating and drinking regarly, i take him out to play in my room. (heavy cleaned and supervised) The only problem is I dont know how old he is or what physical changes chinchillas go through as they age. Also im thinking of introducing a friend for him. Any suggestions on the best and easiest way to do that for them?

  3. I have a female chinchilla no idea how old she is my sister adopted her then moved away so we got her we have had her 3 years now 1 year ago she had a wet stomach so took her to vets and they gave him antibiotics for a urinary infection it cleared up. Yesterday she has the same thing again so we took her again and vet gave the same antibiotics unfortunately we don’t have exotic vets in my city so she didn’t know much or wasn’t able to help any ideas why this is happening also he has a small patch of fur missing at the top of his tail which has been like it for 3 years too so would like to know what this is too she has a good diet of pallets hay water and I occasionally give her raisins and dry toast as treats :)

  4. I am thinking about getting a chinchilla but some one said when they get angry they spray pee at the thing it is angry at is that true and I have a young daughter would it be a good pet for her and how much do they cost? so if someone could get back to me that would be great!

    • hi i just bought a male chinchilla 4 weeks ago and i did a lot of reading up on them..the female sprays when they get scared the males dont..i was at first worried if the chinchilla is the right pet for me but i am happy that i bought him..he is very cute and he trusts me a whole lot now...he jumps on my hand when i reach into his cage..he has never gotten angry...they get scared when they hear loud noises but they will get used to the regular noisses in your home like the vacum cleaner tv radio etc ..for play time i let him out into the bathroom he just jumps and runs around and climbs on top of me..they are great :)
      i have a grey standard chinchilla 4 month old i payed 159 dollars at pet smart

    • Hi Sabrinna. Females will urine spray when angry or annoyed but males don't. Chins are not a good pet for children unless your child has a quiet temperment and is content to just watch and offer a light pet now and then. Children usually want something to cuddle and chins don't like to be held or cuddled. They are extremely stressed by loud or continuous noise and bouncy people. This is because of their large ears (their hearing is very acute) and the fact they are prey animals. Quick movements, such as from a child, triggers the flight response and can cause a lot of stress. When my grandchildren come to visit my chin is always stressed and hides from them.

      Depending on the type of chin you get they can be expensive. For a standard grey, which is the most common type, you could pay between $50 and $150, sometimes higher depending on the quality. Cages are expensive and larges cages are a must have because chins require a lot of room to move around. Chins cages are comprised of several levels and cost between $100 - $400.

      Also chins have very specific needs that will cause sickness and death if not met correctly. Food, (mostly what not to feed them), temperature and humidity must be controlled. Chins, if not cared for properly, can suffer from bloat, which is painful and deadly if left untreated. Teeth can be an issue because chins have open roots and their teeth grow constantly. Once a chin develops teeth problems it requires constant vet care and is expensive.

      Last but not least is vet expense. Chins require check-ups just like most animals and because average cat-and-dog vets are not knowledgeable about chins your pet would need to see an exotic animal vet, which can be expensive. Just an office visit for my vet is $70, not counting treatment.

      Hope this helps. :)

  5. I just got my chin yesterday and I put him in my room, I also have a bird which I keep in my room I've had my bird for 8 years and she is healthy. Is being in the same enviornment harmful for my bird or chin? I don't let them out at the same time.

  6. How much do you think for achinchilla to take him/her to a vet and have an xray scan and pain killer and casting.If they had a fracture in their front arms

  7. Hi this is really really really important to me so will someone please respond if they know anything. Well my chinchilla Chloe is about a couple years old and we had to drop her off at a friends house. They said that she was sleeping a lot and she has never really slept a lot and has always been active at night but when they let her out to play Chloe fell asleep and had been really tired. The room isn't too hot and she has been eating and drinking. I have no idea why she's been sleeping a lot but please help if you have any ideas. Thank you

    • she is depressed and is missing chinchilla gets like that when i leave her for a while

    • Hi Julia,
      If your friend's house is very active and your chin isn't getting enough sleep during the day due to noise or other wise being disturbed she will be very tired during the times when she should be active.

  8. HI i bought a chinchilla about a wk ago. Well 2days ago at night it seemed strange to us and was just sitting in one corner and wasn't running around anymore. So the next day i took it to the vet early and it stayed hospitalized because i didn't have the enough funds to bring it back home. The next day after i went to pick it up and they told me he was doing much better he was already jumping around. As i paid the lady in front the vet, a rude orderly guy, walks out and says in a rude way, "your chinchilla is dead!." I mean come on they just told me they had it up front and he was fine and then he said he took it back to give it more medication and he turned up dead in less than 30 min. :'( my question is, should i ask for a refund for killing him, or is there nothing i can do. I would appreciate it if someone can please help me, as i sit here typing this comment, i have tears constantly running down. Thanks for the time

    • I would highly recommend getting your money back! And I would also demand an autopsy. That should not have happened. If he was doing well the vet should have never gave him more medication. Another thing is was it an exotic vet who only takes care of exotic pets because if he just looks after them on the second to regular pets he might not have had enough knowledge to simple care for him over night by not keeping it a cool temp in the back. I would definitely check his credentials.

    • Hi, firstly sorry about your little fella:'(
      anyway I suggest you ask for a refund, it seems very likely the vet advised you wrong!
      I'm a vet and am especially fond of my chinchilla Jelly-Bean I'm sure if this vet is decent she'll agree to pay you for the costs.
      I know I would!

      • Dear lauren !
        I just have read that you are a vet doctor and i hope you can help me to understand what could cause the death of black female of my chinchilla couple.
        We had gray male more than three years, this winter we found a girl friend for him. They get acquainted and after two month adaptation period we put them together and they lived since march 2012 in one big cage. They didn't have kittens yet but i couldn't say if she was pregnant, because she was bigger than him and had a very good appetite. They ate three times a day: 1. chin special food; 2. Timothy hay 3. fresh vegetables and fruits with small amount of acidophilus, which was advised by the vet doctor during our last visit to when the boy was sick 2,5 years ago.
        Yesterday was hot but with a wind through all the apartment and we didn't launch our air conditioner.
        In the middle day I saw her and him eating and running and in the evening when I brought them dessert (small chunks of peach) she didn't react, i touched her with a finger... and realized she was dead.
        We think it could be both: temperature or probably pregnancy problems. In the afternoon it seemed to me she had a discharge, but I wasn't sure it was liquid or some stains on the plastic, Then she was laying on her side in the "dinner space" like resting. That,s it, no other signs I could interpret as a symptoms.
        I appreciate your time and your kindness.
        Thank you.

        • Hi Irina,
          I'm very sorry for your loss, I know how hard it is to lose a pet. I know you were asking the vet but wanted to share something about chins. I apologize if this is intrusive.

          I've learned that temperature must be controlled with A/C or some other cooling device. Breezes and fans do not cool off a chinchilla because of their dense fur. A breeze cools by evaporation, chins have no exposed skin except ears, and they do not pant like dogs and cats when they get too hot.

          Just to mention too that most cat-and-dog vets are not trained to care for chins. Chinchillas require an exotic animal vet. I have read so very many stories of the average vet making a sick chin worse or even contributing to its death by inappropriate care. A competent exotic animal vet would never tell you to feed a chin fruits and veggies. Most chins develop diarrhea or bloat from eating those, but others won't and instead the damage is inside and silent until they suddenly die from liver failure or other organ failure.

          I hope this helps and again, my condolences for your loss.

    • Well, i'm sorry to hear about that. You can sue them. They told you our chinchilla was fine, and then it turned up dead. You should definitley get your money back. I have two chinchillas, and they're great. If I brought one to the vet and they said she was alright but wasn't, I would get my money back. For sure!

    • That's a form of malpractice, if the animal was active and doing well all it needed was some supervision, not to be overdosed. I would personally get my money back and then call and report this manner to the person or company that owns that clinic. I've had something like that happen to me before when I had a pup choking on something and even though we got what she was choking on out they refused to take her in as an emergency patient, and the pup passed away in the waiting room. My opinion would be to call around and maybe even find a better clinic that will actually show kindness towards you and your animals.


  9. I would like to respond to the article above that states that "chinchillas are not really cuddly and don't respond to their names". I have completly tamed my chinchilla who does respond to his name and can be held without trying to escape. It can be done it just takes time and love." Best Pet Ever. I recomend to anyone who is thinking about getting a chinchilla as a pet to do it.

    • Melissa ive had a chin for a week now and he sits on my had jumps on my head two nights ago he miss timed a jump (4/5 months old ) i tried to catch him as in hold with both hands he panicked and it took him 2 days to speak to me hes back playing but im cautious to hold him any advice would be appreciated as i'd love to bond with him like you have

  10. I'm 15 and I just bought a chinchilla for 125 at a local exotic pet store.. I was wondering if theres anyway to get my baby chinchilla to like being pet more because I've seen many videos online of chinchillas being pet and held for a long time and they seemed to be enjoying it. What should I do??

    • I have two chinchillas and to get them more pet-friendly is just to pet them. Be gentle and loving and they will be the same. Start off petting and letting them run around in a safe, small room. They will learn your scent and know you love them and will trust you to hold them. Also, like on zoos to get the animals accustomed to people the animals are exposed to many people. Same with chinchillas. Let your friends pet them with care and hand feed them and they will become everyone's best friend.

  11. What if my chinchilla has adaped to sleeping at night and being awake at day? I know it's not natural. But, is it healthy for it?

    • Yes. Being nocturnal is their nature, but it's also a habit. If you and I stayed up all night, and went to sleep in the day, we would have that habit and that habit can be discontinued. Sugar Gliders (a pet I highly recommend for a companion) also have this 'habit' that can be broken.

  12. I am 15 years old and i would like to buy a chinchilla i have saved up for one of these animals for some time now and people have told me chinchillas, rabbits and hamsters are really the ideal pet for my age... i'd like to know if it is really difficult to take care of this pet and if they can be really mean.

    • hamsters and rabbits are probly easier to manage with their curiousness. chinchillas enjoy getting into any tiny place possible and they're naturally inclined to chew. chew on anything, including electrical cords (such as the ones attached to your lamp, tv, etc) also trim boards of the room, which depending on what type of wood the trim board is made of can be hazardous to the animal. I have actually placed a cardboard barrier around the room, so they can't chew the wall paper or drywall. it doesn't look very classy but it keeps them safe. If you dedicate your time to your chilla they are very responsive to treats and very friendly. I'd best describe them as the softest squirrel that will bounce up in your lap and ask for a treat. they are temperature sensitive though and can't live in 85 degree heat. So be prepared to have an air conditioner set-up if you're considering this pet.

    • Chinchillas are GREAT as pets, they can be tricky to manage if you do not have the time though. with them you need to pay close attention to the temp in the room. anything above 75 degrees can cause heat stroke!!!!! They also require at minimum 1 hour out of cage time in a safe chinchilla proof room!! they need alot of love and attention especially if you are only getting one because they can become bored and stat chewing their furr and they can become depressed. so if you do get on make sure you have the time. also before you get one find a vet near buy that has a chinchilla expert as a yearly check up is always needed to ensure the health of your pet!

      I have one chinchilla and i am adopting on in may when i can drive to pick him up but i am currently studying chinchillas and their behavior for school so i am full of fun facts and tons of answers for almost any chinchilla question so feel free to ask me anything if need be.

      • Amber, great job on learning about chin care! Most people don't realize that chins need very specific care and often end up having sick, unhealthy pets that die unexpectedly.

        I'm happy to see you take chinchilla husbandry serious in doing research on these delightful creatures. :)

        I can offer some links with very detailed information about chinchillas if you'd like to take a look. Please e-mail me if interested:

  13. I have a baby chinchilla that came from a mean mother, will she be mean like her mother?

    • Hi Astrid, Some personality traits are genetic. Unless you know the mother chin's background and history it can be difficult to determine if there is a chance the kit will inherit the mean personality trait.

      Chins can become mean due to mishandling, bad environment causing constant stress, improper diet causing it to not feel its best. Even lack of sleep and constantly being grabbed and touched when it doesn't want to be can make a chin (even a person!) very cranky.

      Just take care of your chin the best you can, learn all you can about proper diet, environment and care. Respect your pet's boundaries, don't insist on grabbing your pet if she shows you she doesn't want to be touched. Be soft spoken and gentle with your pet, never raise your voice to a chin, never never hit your chin, not even light nose taps and it will eventually come to trust you and be a wonderful fun pet.

      Hope this helps. :)

  14. Well, the two chinchillas that I fostered last Thanksgiving (and actively mated in my living room) had a baby last Tuesday. After the sudden death of my Nemo I'm ready to try again (in a month or two when we can separate "her"). I will be a VERY over protective momma for a while. Any ideas on how to monitor her health? I know about the food, hay, dush bath, but I will be using only distilled water since I did not know what happened to make Nemo sick (thinking it might have been a birth defect). This is a different set of parents, and they are so wonderful with her! Wish me luck!!

  15. Also they like to chew cords- so never leave him out unsupervised.

  16. Anyone know how to catch these things? I have one living under my house. It is coming out and eating my cat's food to survive. I want to catch it and take care of it properly as it is not native to Wisconsin. I fear it will die within a month If I cannot catch it.

    • you have to be very patient with it cause its really scared of you, if you have food, and about 3 hours on your hands to sit there and wait for it to come to you then you have a really good chance a catching it.and remember be very still, and try sticking your and out at it. the bites dont hurt at all. good luck dont let the lil guy die.

    • Use a have-a-heart trap or contact your local animal shelter or animal control officer. It's difficult to catch tame chinchillas, much less one living wild because the prey instinct will override anything else.

      I'm curious why it would eat cat food instead of grass unless your place doesn't have grass. It will get sick quickly and die from eating cat food. I hope you catch him soon.

      • I just got a four month old chinchilla. She's from a breeder and she is from a long AMAZIG line of chinchillas. She won't let me touch her and when I tried to get her out of her cate she squealed like crazy. The girl said to take her out but she's trying to get out so bad!!! She's also huge and fat and she can't get any exercise. She nibbles but doesn't bite. Should I let her out of her cage? My parents keep saying no but she's going crazy trying to get out. I open the cage to pet her, she jumps a bit when I do pet her but once I'm done she goes to the front of the cage. I don't know if I should or not. Please answer this!!

  17. i'd say the very most important thing one should know if considering a chinchilla is that they are HEAT INTOLERANT. if you live in the NW where none of the houses/condos have air conditioning, even there the rooms get fairly warm while you're not home and windows are all closed/sealed. a chinchilla can go into heat stroke and die above the low to mid 80s - especially 85 or so. i bought one and fell in love immediately and had to return her the next day because although i had researched chinchillas for a year before getting one, that very night i was surfing the web for even more fun stuff for my new friend and i started magically seeing all these articles about their heat intolerance. fortunately the pet store refunded me for not only the chinchilla but =all= of the products i bought for her. now i live back in the south where it's hotter but we have AC - so it won't be long before i get a new chinchilla :)

  18. i just want to say something about the seed comment. chinchillas should never have seeds, they are too high in fat. chinchillas should have a low sugar, fat, and protein diet. and along with the hay cubes they should have loose hay also, timothy is most preferred and is easy to get. the problem with the hay cubes is the hay gets crushed and they lose their texture which means the teeth will not get worn down like it should, one of the biggest reasons we give hay is so the texture of the hay can wear down their teeth. also chinchillas are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk, they are not nocturnal. chinchillas will nibble on your fingers as a way of saying "hi". one last thing it would be wise to say what they weigh in grams, not pounds. this is what the most exotic vets weigh them in and what the majority of the chinchilla community does as well. if you have any questions please do not be afraid to email me.

    • My chinchilla made a noise last night that ive never heard him do before, he got out the cage and was hiding under it. but before he got out he was beginning to trust me cause he was nibbling on my finguers and jumping an my chest and arms. why did he make that noise?? was he scared? and thats the only noise he's ever made.

    • Hey, I don't know if you can answer this... But I'm 14. I've been asking my parents for a small pet (hamster, rabbit, something i could keep in a cage in my room,) and last year or so, I fell in love with chinchillas. I've been asking my mom if I can get one. I have about 130 dollars saved up. I've been researching a lot, and I know that isn't enough money, but my biggest concern right now is convincing my mom I could take care of it. I keep trying to sit her down and talk to her about it, telling her that I would be responsible and I would take care of it. She just tells me she doesn't want to talk about it and she walks away. Every time I bring it up, she just has the same reaction. She won't listen to any reasoning. Do you have any tips? Advice? Anything?

      • I am a mom of 3, ages 18, 16 & 11. The best advice I can give you in convincing your mom is .... DON'T talk, DO. What I mean is PROVE to her you are responsible. Parents view responsibility as an overall picture.

        You could be the best pet owner in the world, but trying to prove that to your mom if you lack responsibility in other areas will be an impossible task. So go out of your way to show her that you are a responsible. We are talking grades, homework, chores etc. Do these things CONSISTENTLY without being asked or told. SHOW her that you are mature and responsible enough to be a good "Fur-baby" parent.

        I'll give you an example... My 11 yr old has been wanting a hamster for a really long time. The other day when we talked about it I had to tell him no again. My reasons are this. He lately hasn't been bringing homework conveniently "forgetting" it at school. Also I have to tell him repetedly AND threaten with grounding to get him to do his chores. What I said to him was, "If I can't trust you to follow through with your responsibilitites regarding homework and chores, how can I trust you to not "forget" to feed an animal?"

        So responsibility in all areas is what a parent looks for when making a decision regarding animals. After you have proven yourself, THEN talk to your mom. Don't go right in to asking for a pet. Begin by pointing out that you have become more responsible in your daily life. Ask her if she has noticed, if she agrees THEN say something like, well mom since I have become more responsible, do you think I can handle the responsibility of a pet? Because I really want Chin.

        Good luck sweetie and If you need any more help go ahead and email me.


    • Hi there. I recently took in an 8month old chin. his previous owner did not give him any attention, so he comes across a little wild. I love animals, and I have taken in many stray dogs and cats, and even a meercat once,i've even stolen bunnies people were planning on feeding to their snakes, and i've gotten them all tame. I already love him to bits(he still needs a name, as she never gave him 1, but i want to get to know him first). I am the only person in my household he allows to take him out of his bunny mansion, he barks at the other people and loses hair when they try to touch him. I was just wondering if you guys had any tips on how i could tame him. I am so afraid of doing something wrong, as people have told me over and over again how easy they die. PLEASE HELP....

      • Time and patience are the best ways to tame a chin. Chins are adorable quirky little critters and they have a mind of their own and a very long memory. Just sitting and softly talking to them while they eat can do much to help tame them.

        You need to let your chin to decide when you are allowed to touch him. Don't pick him up if he doesn't want it, don't chase him around, that just ignites the prey flight response in him.

        I've had my chin for over a year and it's been only the last 6 months that he's allowed me to handle him. He's old and has had a few previous owners so it took longer.

        Young chins are much more delicate than older ones and shouldn't really have treats until they are over a year old. And even then there are very few chin-safe treats that are ok to give.

        Sounds like you are off to a really good start since he allows you to handle him already. Best of luck with your new fuzzy. :)

      • To tame him I recommended taking time. He is probably stressed. I just got a chin and mines a bit wild. Younger ones are easier to handle. You could slowly start doing steps like petting then taking him out of his cage. If you have a ball I wouldn't use it. I would use a bathroom to allow him to run around. With his fur coming off I personally would take him to the vet.

  19. My baby chinchilla died yesterday. He was 2 months old and taken away from his parents at 2 weeks because they were biting his ears and tail. I thought I did everything right: room was cool (below 70), no direct sunlight, he was running on his wheel and eating normally at midnight the night before. We woke up at 9 a.m. and he was flopped over listless. He died in my hands 20 minutes later. I love chinchillas (had one before older) but don't want to think about another until I figure out what I did wrong. Any suggestions? So broken hearted. :(

    • o Pamela, i'm so sorry to hear that the kit as died... i dont think in all fairness you have done anything wrong apart from not seperating the male once it was born...
      i have to say thou that i have not heard of parents turnin on the kit before, and may jsut be a case of unfortunate luck and a one off...
      are the parents ok together still or have they turned on each other?
      As for richard's comments regarding them being sterilized, that is true if you dont plan on breeding from them but not so sure on them checking for birth defects as you can see if anything is wrong with them once they been born and would not 90% of the time need to waste money of vets bills... i can positively say that has an experienced chinchilla keeper (not having to ever go to a vets with ref to chin).
      try not to be too dissheartned - i know its not nice or easy - but chinchilla up and put it down to experience...

    • So sorry about your little chinchilla! :(

    • I'm so sorry to hear about your baby dying. At such a young age it's very hard to manage them. Many breeders will tell you not to let a young chin out of it's cage for exercise or have a wheel until they are much older, around 6 months. Though some owners begin at 4 months, it is not recommended.

      Baby chins have difficulty regulating both blood sugar and body temperature. When they are too active they can overheat and their blood sugar will drop enough that they can die. It kinda sounds like that is what happen to yours.

      • You seem to know a lot about Chins so I have a question. My chin is 4 months old. She's trying to get out of her cage. Should I let her out in a safe environment or no?

  20. When I first bought my chinchillas, the pet store told me they were sisters. I took them to the vet and discovered one was male! I've done my best to just let things be natural for them and I never saw any "frisky behavior" so I let it be for two years. Last night, while cleaning their cage for Thanksgiving Day, we found a baby. Of course, it's a holiday weekend so I'm a little at a loss as to even where to go for help. I've called the vet and left a message. Mama seems totally fine, baby's nursing, and Daddy's just hanging out. They're all snuggled together getting some rest right now. I know I should seperate the male, but I want them to get some rest right now and I'll seperate them when they wake up this evening. It's interesting that you all wrote the female and male sometimes have a falling out, my male has been snuggling the baby and nosing it gently and cuddling with the Mama, no problems. I know my chinchillas are a little a-typical because I got them from a pet store I later found out had a dubious reputation. Any suggestions for help? I'm going to keep the baby of course, but is there anything special it needs? Special food for Mama? I'm kind of in shock still... Help?

    • HI,
      they dont need anything really from you as the mom will feed it for the 1st four weeks... just make sure you keep the moms food going and water as usual.
      just watch the female with the dad for a bit, if you get any probs just seperate them for a while, but make sure that they can still see each other so that they will be re-introudced easily... keep the two cages close but not so close that they can get to each other... just so they can smell each other...
      any further help please email on or for quicker replies as my wife checks her emails daily...

    • Elizabeth, you should have them sterilized as soon as possible. It's not healthy for siblings to be reproducing! Baby needs to be checked by a vet for any birth defects, and also sterilized!

    • Some breeders suggest supplementing a pregnant/lactating mother with calcium. Check your mother chin's teeth, they should be a deep orange color. If they are pale orange, yellow or even white she will need calcium. Offering a cuttlebone, alfalfa hay cubes in addition to her timothy hay, or a Tums original tablet can be ways to supplement.

      Allow the chin to eat the supplement as she desires and don't try to force feed by adding to water or her food because over-supplementation of calcium can cause bladder stones, which require surgery and are extremely painful.

      Female chins can become pregnant again hours after giving birth, that is one reason the male is removed. Back to back pregnancy is very hard on the mother chin and will affect her health.

      Don't allow the mother chin to have a dust bath until 10 to 14 days after birth to allow her vaginal opening to fully close. This will help avoid infections.

  21. I recently purchased 2 male chinchillas who are about 8 and 6 years old. Their previous owner's had left them in the dark garage 24/7 without playing with them or exercising them. I am so happy I was able to give them a better home! Because these two chinchillas don't bark or squeak terribly loud, I am able to keep them in my apartment that doesn't allow pets, even though they are nocturnal. They like to perch on my shoulders and "read" my book with me. Because I adopted them from a woman who rescues chinchillas, I was also able to free up more room in her home for more rescues. They are certainly becoming less skittish and nervous as time goes by, especially when I let them run around the bathroom every day. I put their dust house in the tub so that they don't track it all over the bathroom.

    • That is awesome! I love a good rescue story. Chinchillas are delightful animals and really need good care. I'm happy you have them now. :)

  22. I recently acquired a chinchilla from a friend. I have a cat and dog. I was wondering if I could leave the chinchilla in his cage for most of the time or if I have to let him out to get some exercise. the cage is only about 2'x1.5'. I don't like leaving him out because it's hard to catch him and I have to lock up my dog and cat. Please help. I don't want to be cruel by leaving him locked up, but I also don't want to risk losing him or being unfair to my other animals. Thanks!

    • Not being mean, but you really shouldn't have gotten one if you didn't know these things already, (especially with other animals.) They definitely need LOTS of exercise, & to be let out of their cage often...not just once in a while. They also definitely need a larger cage, with multiple levels & room enough to run around to get more exercise. The size you said is barely big enough for a hamster to get enough exercise, let alone a full grown chinchilla. Our one chinchilla has a cage taller than me, & about 4 ft. wide, (it would be suitable for multiple chins, though.) They can get along with other animals, if the other animals are friendly, & if you introduce them well. They are hard to catch at first, which is why you have to train them, spend time with them, & keep them in one safe room if possible. They need to get used to's no room to keep them stuck in a tiny cage, though. If you want to keep him, please make sure he gets the big enough sized cage & exercise he deserves. Otherwise, please find someone who will take good care of him. There are plenty of people like myself who'd rather take him than have him be stuck in a tiny, miserable cage for the rest of his life.

    • Hi Nicole. It's good that you are trying to give your chin the best care. The cage you have for your chin is actually way too small. The minimum size that they need 3' by 2' by 2'. Even with a large cage it is important for your chin to get some out of cage time. Please consider making or buying him a larger cage, not making this change can result in a very sick, unhappy chinchilla.

      One way to catch a chin is to use a dust bath 'house'. They look like a little plastic house with four sides, a top and bottom. There is only one hole your chin can use to enter and exit.

      Time his dust bath for after play time and put it down on the floor when you are ready to catch him. Lightly tap and rub on the side to get his attention. Once he enters, place your hand over the opening and gently transport him to his cage. Allow him to finish his bath and jump back into his cage. Once you get a big enough cage you can place the dust bath inside the cage and just shut the door.

      Another way to exercise a chin is to surround his cage with pet play screens and just open his cage door. Once he goes back into his cage you can close the door. With my chin I pull his cage, (on wheels) into my kitchen and block the exits. I chin-proof the room and let him go. I often just sit on the floor and talk to him while he runs, wall surfs and 'popcorns' around the room. He'll come sit with me and when he's tired he goes back into his cage. Times when I get tired before he does I put his dust bath in his cage and he'll go in to use it and I shut the door. lol, tricky, I know but he forgives me. :)

      Hope this helps.

  23. I just recently purchased a Chin from our local pet store. They sold me Alfalfa hay mini bale to feed him. I was later told Alfalfa can lead to sum problems later in life due to the high fat content? Is this true? Should I stop giving this to him?

    • yes you should stop... because it is high in protein, calcium, etc.... you should give it timothy hay.... if not your chinchilla would be getting kidney problems and other diseases..

      alfalfa hay - for baby chinchillas not for adult chinchillas because they need to grow but once an adult should change to timothy hay...

    • The good quality pellets for chins are made from alfalfa hay.and have a minimum of 18% protein so alfalfa isn't going to hurt your chin. Some people like to feed alfalfa in addition to timothy hay, some don't.

      You'll have to decide on how it affects your chin. If he has loose or soft and sticky poops you may want to stop feeding alfalfa hay everyday and feed only pellets and timothy. Once the poop returns to normal you can give an occasional cube if your chin likes them.

      Alfalfa isn't high in fat, it's the excess calcium in the hay that causes problems. Too much calcium in a chin's diet will lead to bladder stones, which will mean surgery. Too little calcium leads to weak bones and pale colored teeth.

      You can tell easily if your chin's diet is good concerning calcium by looking at their front teeth. They should be dark orange, if they are pale orange they could use a bit. If they are yellow or white they will need a supplement in either alfalfa hay and/or a cuttlebone wired to the side of their cage.

      I keep a cuttlebone in my chins caged. When I first got him he ate it almost daily but he was on a poor quality food. I switched to a quality pellet and he never touches his cuttlebone now.

  24. Hi all, I run a reptile sanctuary and just had 2 chinchillas dropped off at my door. I know one is male and female, and the female is pregnant. I have never actually cared for one yet and am not sure what to do. I know they need the volcano dust, a water bottle that does not drip, they have a big cage (dropped off with them in it) but the cage is a wire cage with a pull out shelf for cleaning..I am afraid they are going to hurt their feet...the female has an infection in her right eye as far as I can tell. She is pregnant and what do I need to do to help her through it?? any advice would be appreciated


    • Hi, I commend you for rescuing any animal. As long as the female is healthy and there are no complications with her pregnancy, then she will pretty much take care of everything on her own. She should have some type of little hidey-house to escape to and make sure she is on a high quality pelleted feed plus blocks of alfalfa hay and loose timothy hay. As a treat/ supplement you can give them 1/4 teaspoon old fashioned quaker oats (not instant) per day. Keep an eye on the male to make sure he is not still trying to mate with her excessively. you will know when she is close to delivering when her nipples elongate. This would be a good time to separate the male. Put him in a cage right next to the female so they can see eachother and touch noses. I would talk to a breeder about whether or not to reunite the male and female after the babies are born. The male will most likely want to mate again immediately and you will end up with another pregnancy and a weak, possibly sick mama. If you have any other questions, feel free to email. Good Luck!

      • Some females will turn on the male after pregnancy, some will let the male back in to her life - but some do also turn against the male permantely. I find its best once you have gotten rid of the babies after 12+ weeks, gently re-introduce the male under supervision. See how they react to each other. You can easily tell wether the female welcome him back or not. Some need time to re-gell but most re-gell well....
        Once the babies are born, keep them with there mother for around 4 weeks, and try to interact with them each day, pending on wether the mother will happily let you. My mother was more than fine with me handling reg, but dont do this too much, as the babies are of cause still a wild animal when they are born.
        After they are 4 weeks old start to seperate them from the mother for short periods of time to see if they are ok being away from the mother. Some will be some wont..
        Once they seem fine away from mother and are eating normal food (they feed from the mother once there born for few weeks) then that is the time you know you can start to seperate them.
        The mother will on occasion call out for the babies once they are fisrt seperated but do not worry as she will soon stop and get used to not having them.
        If you require any further advice please feel free to ask me (

    • For the pregnant mom. I would give her calf manna. Which is some kind of pellet you can buy at a livestock store. Give the mother and baby only until the baby is weined off and eating on its own with real chinchillas food. You would also want to hold the chinchillas every day to get them used to you. The mom and dad. The baby, you should start holding them when they are 1 hour old. The more you hold your chinchillas the more they are tamed for you to hold them. I bought my female from an individual and she is very tamed, she trys to get out when you open the door. She meets me at the cage door. My male I bought him at a pet store and he was very,very wild and wouldn't let you hold him. Now, you have to chase him but not much work and hes calmer now when you hold him. I held him every day to get him used to being held and petted. Then they had a baby boy 1-9-10. I held him and he is just hyper. Once you catch him after a chase hes fine. Hes got a lot of energy. I started holding him every day since he was born. Sometimes I let him sniff before reaching for him and sometimes that usually calms him down. I left my male with the female and baby and they did fine. In matter of fact my male helped cuddle up and keep baby safe. They are all 3 still in a cage together. If a chinchilla is in a cage alone then they get lonely. Then they can get really noisy. Make sure you get a cage that doesn't have big openings or big squares, or big opening between each bars because they will escape. I had my female in a dog cage when I first got her and she would escape all the time. She was 6 months old. They love alot of attention.

  25. The chinchilla food is not very basic, when someone is looking at adding a chinchilla to their family they need to do alot of research. There are certain amounts of vitamins, crude fiber, protien, crude fat, etc needed to be looked at when picking out a brand of food for a chinchilla. Rabbit food is not usually recommended when picking out a food due to its high protien and fat. I would not always take advise from breeders who show their animals, because their big thing is to make the chinchillas fat for show which is very harmful to a chinchilla. Also do not feed chinchillas fresh greens because it can cause bloating. SEEDS are also very harmful for chinchillas because of hte fats and oils that they have. Please make sure you note that people should NOT try to wash their chinchillas/get them wet, because chinchillas are very easily prone to fungal infestations, they get chilled easily, and it could cause loss of hair since they easily blow that. I would highly recommend no one to ever do that, dust baths are the BEST.=)

    • Hello, Would you please recommend good brand for Chinchilla food.


    • i just got my chinchilla for vday and now im doing research, i dont know what dust bath are but i want to know everything i need to know about chin. his male, and is nine months old. i got him a huge cage big enough for 4 chinchillas and got him a ball so he can fun around. i dont know how much timothy hay i should give him a day, or food or snack any info helps. thanks

      • Keep temp in low 80s at most-chins are heat intolerant- will easily overheat & die above 85. Give it access to an enclosed (bubble-style with a hole entryway) volcanic ash bath daily. This is not just natural upkeep for their fur and cleanliness, but the dust bath keeps your chinchilla happy. It's important for its overall it's so fun to watch!
        Also they're nocturnal so don't be alarmed when it "barks" at night :)

        • Hi Margaret, Not sure if your post contains a typo but I just wanted to mention that your numbers are a bit off.

          Chins do best in a temp range of 60 -70 degrees. Over 75 degrees is dangerous because they can die from heat stroke.

          Some people (on other forums) say their chins live in 80 degrees and seem fine and it was mentioned that the chin may seem fine but there is damage being done to internal organs that will eventually show up in either illness or death.

          I agree with you about watching a chin dust bathe. They are so cute and funny! Love chins :)

  26. The seed mix you suggest could be extremely dangerous to a chin. Seeds are very high in fat, and can promote liver problems in small animals, as well as making them fat. Additionally, supplemental vitamins are rarely recommended except in the case of nursing kits and mothers, and chinchillas recovering from certain medical issues. As with anything else put into one's body, you can also overdo the vitamins.

    It should probably also be clarified that hay need not be cubed, and timothy hay should be given with an alfalfa-based pellet (whereas a timothy based pellet could be accompanied by an alfalfa hay).

    It would be good to note, also, that getting chinchillas wet/bathing them in water is risky business as they are prone to fungal infestations on the skin which can lead to irritation and even baldness.

  27. Wow, some good info here.. I am so glad i read this before i brought the new chinchilla home. My two girls are getting a chinchilla from a friend who can no longer care for it.. and the girls also want a bunny. I have the separate spaces for each.. So it should be ok.. Still, I have two dogs and four cats .. and I would hazard a guess that the dogs will not be able to refrain from trying to eat it.. or the bunny even though the dogs and cats sleep together and play with one another.. should be interesting to see what happened with the critters. I will be careful though.

  28. love chinchillas have 1 gray female she loves my 2 dogs nd they love her she jumps all over them nd they dnt mind would love to get male 1 to have lots ov cute chinchillas this site has been very helpful thanx

    • I have a male chinchilla. Was granddaughters. Would like to find good home for him. What town do you live in?

  29. I have a male Chinchilla named Chichi, he loves raisins!! Is there a limit to how many he should have per day? I saw a video on Youtube where they stated only one or two a day otherwise it could impact his digestive system? 4 or 5 is more the number we give him and he seems to be fine? I want to say that Chinchillas make the best pets!! They don't smell up the house and require very little upkeep. However if you have only one you should give them attention everyday!! I find having him in a common room in the house where people hang out is best!! I never thought I would get this attached to a rodent!! I love my ChiChi!!! He's a purple!!

    • Raisins are high in sugar and bad for chinchillas if you give them alot. Even if your chinchilla seems to be fine you should only give them 1 a day max! He could get constipated and die or have other digestive issues. Plus they will make him fat. personally, I only give raisins as special treats.

    • You should only feed your chinchilla one rasain a day as the sugar content in the rasains is very high.

  30. so....would a mobile home be a good place to live with a chinchilla?

    • Personally, i don't think so. They are very active curious animals and when they are out of their cages they really like to explore and i don't think the average size mobile home would be an adequate amount of space for a chinchilla to live properly. Also, the size of a chinchilla cage is quit large and can be up to 3 feet tall and if you get a cage with a bottom rack it can be up to 4 feet and take up a lot of room, meaning you need a lot of room to house them.

  31. My dog growls at my new chinchilla and bites her tail does anyone no what to do or why she does it?

    • dogs love attention so they probably feel the chinchilla is taken from its attention

    • Dogs are predators and chinchillas are prey. Do not let the dog have access to the chinchilla.

  32. Does anyone know if a chinchilla would get along with a typical rabbit? Are they safe to keep in a household together?

    • i just got a chinchilla and it seems very well mannered with my rabbit they just play together a lot

    • ok, so maybe some rabbits and chinchillas dont go well together, but chinchillas, rabbits and guinea pigs usually do good together. if u bring a chinchilla into ur house with a ribbit, just introduce them slowly. go to the link "introducing two chinchillas" that'll help for u to introduce the rabbit and chinchilla. its he same

      • No you are very wrong chinchillas have space issues and will attack and even kill other rodents if it feels its space is lost.

    • Chinchillas are territorial and will sometimes fight other rodents.

    • They would probably get along, but they should not eat the same food, as rabbit food has too high of protien which is bad for the chinchillas, but maybe you could feed them only chinchilla food?

  33. I totally LOVE chinchillas!I really,really,really,really,really want 1[or 2]I really want a baby female goldbar .They are SOOOOO totally cute!

  34. what type of chinchilla would be best to buy ? I want a gold bar chinchilla are gold bar chinchillas good with cats?

    • no chinchilla will be ok with a cat but a dog will get uesed to it

    • DON'T LET YOUR CAT NEAR YOUR CHIN! Cats will kill chins!

  35. Chinchilla's are fun lovin' animals they wouldn't do a thing to ya and if they did it was cuz ya did somethin' that annoyed them
    It's just the way they are
    They'll try to bite, but it'll feel like someone barely pokin' ya
    Sooooo, ya *Chinchilla's* are great animals and live pretty long that's the GOOD thing!

  36. can chinchillas bite

  37. do chinchillas bite and does it bleed or swell? can I pravent it?

    • My chinchilla has never harmfully biten me. Chinchillas nibble everything in their surrounding to test if its edible. If your chinchilla did bite you it would probly be because you scared it or hurt it somehow. If a chinchilla bites you hard, wash the wound with wound wash stuff and bandage it.

  38. Hi, I have 2 Chinchillas and they always love to play together......I love when they run over your's a ball of fur rnning over you

  39. I have two chinchillas, males, and they are so happy and excited all the time. They are excellent friends. I let them out to play, and I can leave the room, but I have to make sure that i've "chinchilla-proofed" the room, i.e removing any item that they could chew on, blocking locations for them to jump up on, and all that. I have found it best to not let them leave that one room, because it's easier to clean and protect. I understand not wanting to let them out without supervision, but if you can do it safely, do it. Chinchillas, or at least mine, need plenty of exercise, and its easier to just prep a room than devote all my time.

  40. Hi, I have one chinchilla and had him so far for 3 years. I wanted to know if they can thrive without any interaction of another chinchilla as I cannot accomodate two. Will they get lonely or will he just be fine and go about and around when I let him out of his cage? Till this day he does not allow me to pick him up but if I have almonds or rasins he will jump on my lap. I think he was mishandled at the pet shop where I got him winces when I pet him even lightly. My main concern is him being in an apt all alone.

  41. I just got 2 female chinchillias for my daughters. They love them already. I have noticed though they do not like being handled for even a short period of time. Does anyone if this will change with time having them? The chinchillas are about 3-4 months old. So the pet store has told us.

    • Chinchillas will form a bond to their owners. and LOVE them and ONLY trust THEM

    • Just keep handling them...being that they are at a young age they will get use to it. After handling them give them a snack. ie; banana chips, or almonds.

    • well if you handle them more they will be fine.

    • I just got a 4 month old chinchilla. She was untouchable yesterday but today she is a lot better. My advice is be patient and take it slowly. Most chinchillas do not like to be held. They are not cuddly either. If you push it to fast you have a risk of getting bitten. As the breeder said pick it up by its tail and then under the stomach it doesn't work. Mine doesn't let you touch where the tail and the body touch. All chinchillas are different. Just try it when they are awake an active not when you wake them up.

  42. yes i agree with melissa it is vital that you dont leave your chinchills alone in a room

  43. i just purchased my chinchilla and dont really know alot about them. i got him a nice cage but he has an entire bedroom that i have devoted to him, is it ok to just let him run free and return to his cage when he wants? should i leave his food inside cage, will he know to go there to eat?

    • you shouldnt do that because chinchillas are VERY sneaky and will find something that is toxic to them and chew on it and maybe die so i wouldnt let him out of the cage un less you are in the room with him

    • hi
      I have 3 chinchilla, and i think it`s sad all the time to keep them in a cage all the time, they are very funny animals and like to run and play very much!!!! It just when you let hem out you have to be there all the time before he come back in his cage,and believe he will do it by himself when he get tired, just to pay attention,that he didn`t try to bite nothing. One of my chinchillas is totally fine with that,no problem to me to live her along in the room,but the boy it totally different I have to be there all time. :-)
      So don`t worry and let your chinchilla have some fun sometimes

  44. I want a chinchilla but I'm not sure if I buy her at the pet store she will be very social with me. and I am wondering if 2 female chinchillas get along well

    • Chinchillas thrive best when kept with another of the same sex.

    • Noooo they will not git alomg it has to do with pride and if you do i would put them in a different cage or whatever you put yours in

  45. I am looking to buy a chinchilla and i heard that you have to keep them at a certain temperature or they will die . Is that true?

    • That is not true. Chins live in places where its either very hot or very cold so they do fine in either. But if you live in a place where it is very hot, give them a shady place and a cool surface made from marble or other stone.

    • Chinchillas need to stay cool. If the room temperature is over 85 degrees then they could suffer from heatstroke and die. If you ever notice a chinchilla's ears getting red then you need to cool it off right away. I keep a "Chin Chiller" that I bought at Petsmart handy. Its just a granite slab that you put in the fridge and stick in the cage so your chinchillas can lay on it to cool down. I love my little chinchilla, Keef. He makes a wonderful pet.

  46. Hi i am looking to buy a chinchilla and i would really like to know is a male better than a female or are the females better than the males?

    • well i had a female befor she got stolin and she was an excilent pet i cant give you a concept on a male cuz ive never owned one sorry

  47. ive had my chinchilla for 4 years now, i got her when i was 11. She very naughty and nibbles through anything. She managed to get to a pair of my shoes the other day and chewed through the end of it. But i love her to bits, the only animal i could watch for hours and hours and would still manage to amaze you. A small creature like that managing to get SOMEHOW up onto my old bunk-bed which went up the the ceiling... wasn't too good when she fell off it.

    • Well first off, you shouldn't let your chinchilla have free run of the house. You need to keep her in a large cage and only let her out when you can keep and eye on her so she doesnt chew on something harmful.

      Give her wooden toys that she can chew on instead of your things.

  48. well when i first got my chinchilla she was like that to and it was because she had had a mate be for she was sold to me and she felt scared and lonley so my suggetion to you would be to find her a mate because chinchillas only have one mate for there whole life but be for you find her a mate make sure she didnt have a mate be for you had her. becuase if you dont and she had then trust me you wont like what happens......

  49. I have 1 chinchilla and I try to get her out to play but they make noises at me or try to get away from me.

    • a lot of times they will do that if they do not like you or if they were taken from there mate and if she was taken from her mate you cant place her with anouth cuz she will attack him

    • Don't listen to 'nicole'. That doesn't mean that she doesn't like you. Shes just scared. Try training her that you are safe by giving her treat or scratches behind the ears. (if she likes that)

      • thanks maddy that was very helpful!!! i thought my chinchilla didnt like me =(

  50. i have 2 chins. And they seem to be really bored. I take them out and play with them everyday for about an hour. But they seem bored when they are in the cage. what are some good toys i can get them?? I heard that bird toys work good but I'm not sure.

    Also, i have have 2 little really well behaved dogs, 2 hamsters, and a bird. Do chinchillas get along good with other pets? Because i was thinking about letting my chinchillas play with my little dog. But i'm not sure if it whould be a good thing.


    • -Deseases can be spread between birds and rodents so you shouldn't let them play together. (but they can be in cages near eachother)
      -Even if your dog is well behaved you shouldn't let him play with the chinchillas just in case his instincts kick in and he tries to hurt your chinchilla.
      -Chinchillas are territorial and would probly hate playing with the other rodents.
      -Most wooden toys are great for chinchillas! They love to chew and will chew on plastic so don't give them plastic toys. You should get a giant hamster wheel for your chinchillas if you don't already have one. My chinchilla loves hers, and chinchillas need the exercise.

  51. I got a chinchilla a couple of months ago, and everything was fine. But a few days ago I noticed he is shedding really bad. If I pet him my hands are full of hair. Is that normal (especially in summer time) or he has some sort of disease ? Please, help. I'm worring a lot!

    • have you tryed giving them a dust bath? the dust cleans their hair.
      I have 2 chinchillas and i give them a dust bath 1-2 times a week.

      • You HAVE TO give chinchillas dust baths! but don't let them have full time access to one because if they use it too much they will get dust in their lungs.

    • you need to keep him in temps below 75, a chinchilla cannot sweat. its vital that the room temp is comfy for them. again the room must be kept below 75.

  52. Can Chinchillas climb walls and "walk" around the moulding? Sounds crazy I know, but my son has found some kind of animal in his rental house. He is describing to me what sounds like a chincilla. it runs very fast. It jumped very high on a piece of clothing that was hanging and then, jumped to the moulding around the top of the wall and ran on the moulding. He has no idea what it is and can't catch it. Everyone but me thinks he is crazy. Could a pet chinchilla have escaped from somewhere and wound up in his house? Can they cling to moulding and walk on it? Please help!

    • yes that could be a chinchilla, they can do that, they can walk on very small things such as clothings and wall moldings.

    • yes they can climb. i just got one and it jumped out and tried to run

  53. im just wondering what colour chinchilla urine is meant to be as i found blood in her urine last week and she was treated by anti-biotics and has finished her course but i just want to be sure that it has gone also can their urine change for any reason. She is aged 15 and the vet said that if it isn't an infection she will need an x-ray but is this really safe for a chinchilla of her age as i know she will need to be given anisthetic to make her sleep for a few mins. Her urine is currently a dark brown colour. Also how can i reduce the risk of the urine infection coming back if thats what it is.

    • I am sorry to hear about your chinchilla's health! I have young chinchillas (newborn to 4 years). The urine starts at a light yellow color with a kinda of sweet smell. I have 2 chinchillas that are litter trained and will only pee in an empty bowl. If i don't clean out the urine right away it will darken a bit and start to have an bit of a rodent urine smell, but it is still a yellow color. I hope this helps.

  54. When do you get to play with the chinchillas?
    And why do they make that high loud noise?
    When I'm holding my chinchilla she bite me and I don't know why?

    • It sounds like you chinchilla is a bit stressed and not ready to play yet. It can take months of training just to be able to hold a chin, and even longer before you can play with them. Try to offer treats through the cage every day until the chinchilla runs up to the cage when you walk to it. Once this happens, try opening the cage door and hold out a treat until the chinchilla comes right up to you. Once they start coming to the cage door for a treat pet them and itch under their chin. When you can do this, you have gained the chinchillas trust and can now start taking it out of the cage without any cries or bites. Chins will nibble you, that is normal, but it wont hurt, its just a way that they explore and check things out. If they are going to bite, they make a bark/chirp warning noise. If you are holding you chinchilla and hear that, they want to get put away because they are upset.

  55. please tell me what type of fruits and vegitables my chinchilla can eat. If you dont know, just see if they can eat oranges, please.

    • no they cannot. they shouldn't eat fruit as this ios high in sugars and therefore lead to diabetes. you should give them sweet potatoes or carrots.

    • Chillie,
      I give my chinchilla, Dewy, bananas, apples, oranges, raisins, dried mango, baby carrots. That will get you started. Look for things low in sugar. Also watch how many raisins your chinchilla gets. Can caust loose stools. I use fruit as "treats". Never more than a couple of bites. Kim

    • My Chins get raisins, dried bananas and apples, and "Healthy Toppings" (a kaytee product that is meant to be mixed with food) for treats. I like the Kaytee product because they are very small pieces so it allows you to give them more pieces day then you could with raisins. You can't go wrong with raisins, chinchillas love them and they are great training tools, just keep it to a few a day because they have tiny stomachs and you don't want to fill it with treats and sugars. It can give them loose stool and lead to diabetes later in life.

      • Kristen, I also used to feed my chin treats like raisins etc and learned from my exotic vet that it was actually harmful. The harm may not show up immediately but it will eventually.

        Just like a junk food diet can eventually kill a person through bad healthy and malnutrition, treats can kill your chinchilla by shortening its life and causing unseen internal disease.

        Please consider offering a high quality pellet (such as Oxbow), timothy hay for food and dried rose buds, dried rose hips, wood sticks for treats. There are also certain dried herbs that can be fed to chins, chamomile, calendula etc but it would be good to research this before feeding. And just a tiny bit as you already mentioned. :)

    • Chinchillas have very sensitive digestive systems and they can suffer from bloat, diarrhea, and constipation. Fruits and veggies will make a chin sick, some immediately with diarrhea and bloat, others in long term health problems.

      Chins only need a high quality pellet, timothy hay, and fresh water in their diet. Because owners like to give treats there are some treats that are ok - unsweetened cheerios, unfrosted mini wheats, dried rose hips and rose buds. Wood should always be available for chewing to wear down teeth. Wood sticks from a reputable source (not from outside) can also be treats given daily.

      Never feed a chin pellets that have dried fruit or treats in them. My chin came to me with this type of diet and was sick though he looked ok to someone inexperienced in chin care. His stools were small and hard. His fur was unkempt and he was nervous and lacked energy.

      Unhealthy diet will result in improper nutrition and eventually high vet bills. Raisins and other dried fruit causes tooth decay which usually results in the chin having to be put to sleep. Their teeth are open rooted and pulling can break the chins delicate jaw bone, and mis-align their other molars which will cause malocclusion. This is almost always fatal.

  56. I think your right, if Chillie (my chinchilla) was being towered over her by my sibling, she would be a bit afraid. And if anyones reading this that has a chinchilla, please let me know what it looks like. Mine is a dark grey, I believe that the sire was a black velvet, and the female was a grey.

  57. i want a chinchilla but i dont know if a boy or a girl is better? is their a differnce?

  58. my chinchillas weren't scared of our 3 dogs (2 of them large). Of course they never met each other without a cage between them or restraining hands. Many times the dogs would go up to the cage and the creatures would touch noses. My dogs are very calm though and coexist peacefully with multiple cats.

  59. I have a little kitten and my mother is lettign em get a chinchilla.
    Will that chinchilla be bother by the cat.

  60. Okay, so I want a Chin really bad, but my aunt told me that she wanted one too until she found out you had to pick them up a certain way (by the tail). Is it true?

    • no you can pick them up just like you would with a rabbit or guni pig just lift it up by its stomach

    • NO!!! You cannot pick up a chinchilla by the tail. THAT HURTS THE CHINCHILLA!!!! As a matter of fact, that is how you do NOT pick up a chinchilla. Look it up online and it will tell you the right way to pick up chinchillas, which is by the body just like you would want to be picked up by. I mean you wouldn't want to be yanked up by your ears right? So do not pick up a chinchilla by its tail! EVER!!!!!

    • You should not do that. It could hurt the chin. Some breeders do this, but it is not recommended for protection of the chin.

    • The lady at the pet store has taken care of chinchillas for a long time and they love her. She told me to hold them under the stomach and lightly grab the tail as a lead... not to yank it around. I don't know if you're talking about lifting it up by the tail, but you do have to hold the tail.

  61. Will a chinchilla be bothered by small dogs, is it okay to have a chinchilla in the same/home room as a dog?

    • yes they are frightend by larger animals because they think of them as preditors as they would in the wild

      • I agree with you, I think Chillie (my chinchilla) would be scared of my older brother Wesley, if he was towering over her cage.

  62. I will get a chinchilla from local SPCA to foster her for a while and this site was really helpfull. I just want to say that i had all kinds of pets all my life and at the moment i have a rabbit he is 5 years old and he is the most cuddly and loving pet i ever had ( even more then my dogs or cats) so animals personality is different like us people and one thing i know for sure u got to have patience and not push the pet to contact, they take their time, and what u get back is priceless. I don't have a family so my rabbit is my family. The love of an animal is pure and unconditional so enjoy every moment with your pets.

  63. Chinchilla will not die if you pull their tail, but it can be very easily BROKEN OFF, they are very fragile and their bones break very easily. Yes, they do enjoy company but if you find that your chinchilla is feeling depressed, you can buy a stuff toy to keep them company, BUT remove it if they start chew it because they might eat the stuffing inside and get sick!
    Keeping one chinchilla is fine, they just need a lot of attension.

  64. I know that they do like company, though.

  65. I have one chinchilla and he is okay.
    They are very sensitive and it will take a while to become adjusted to you.

  66. I read somewhere that if you pull on a Chinchilla's tail they could die. I don't think that is possible. Can someone tell me if it is real or not. Thanks.

  67. stephotography

    I just read that you are not supposed to keep just one chinchilla. they are used to company. if they are all by themselves they either behave like yours does or they get aggressive. so maybe you just get another chinhilla to keep yours company ..

  68. Toby,

    Chinchillas will "release" their fur. They don't shed their skin.

  69. Do Chinchillas shed their skin as a safety response when being attacked in the wild? And if they do, does it grow back?

  70. Stephotography Says:

    October 15th, 2008 at 3:31 pm
    I just brought my Chinchilla home, he's a rescue from the local SPCA, and he's terrrified! He just sits in the corner of his cage staring at the floor, and not moving. Is this normal? There is evidence that he played last night, as he chewed his apple sticks I left for him.

    Is there anything I can do to make things easier for him during the transition period?

    Chinchilla's are naturally noctural. Give him some time to adjust and go up to his cage & talk to him everyday even if it's just for a few minutes. If there's room in his cage get some of the bird perches because they like to jump onto & chew on it. They love collard greens and just give him time to get to know you. I loved having Chinchilla's!

  71. Stephotography,

    There's no sure fire way to calm your chinchilla. The more time you spend in the room and the more patience you show, the more likely you'll succeed. One thing to keep in mind is that you should avoid chasing your chinchilla as much as possible. The includes trying to catch him in his cage. Use food or treats (in moderation) to build trust.

  72. I just brought my Chinchilla home, he's a rescue from the local SPCA, and he's terrrified! He just sits in the corner of his cage staring at the floor, and not moving. Is this normal? There is evidence that he played last night, as he chewed his apple sticks I left for him.

    Is there anything I can do to make things easier for him during the transition period?

  73. I am not an owner, but I was looking into it. Wouldn't it be possible that if it was a female the Chinchilla might at that age begin to go into Heat..want to mate and maybe even clear an area or make a nest? Cats and Dogs do.

  74. I had my wonderful chinchilla for 5 years so far and when i got her she was about 5-6 weeks old. She has been the most wonderful pet and friend to me. but about a week or two ago shes been acting strange. she takes all the food out of her dish and when i take her out of her cage she doesnt come near me like she used to. I am getting worried that something is wrong or is it i havent played with her enough. (i been busy since school started and havent had much time to take her out to play)

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    We have a page on safe and unsafe foods for chinchillas.

  76. can you feed carrots or celery to a chinchilla

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    That is strange behavior. We haven't heard of chinchillas changing so drastically and so quickly. We unfortunately don't have any quick fixes. If you purchased your chinchillas from a breeder, perhaps the breeder can provide some insight having raised these particular chinchillas.

  78. Okay, so I am a first time chinchilla owner, and I am definately having a problem at the moment. One (out of the two I just recieved) is quite the curious pet, and used to love climbing on me, or even just nibbling for fun. Now, that same chinchilla is running away from me quite frequently and tends to bite me (to the point it drew blood...twice...after I told it no..and I was not abusive, just holding it)when I pick it up to go back into its cage. Is this going to be a constant behavior now? or should I just be patient and let it come back to me? It's very mischevious and will not come to me to go back into the cage.

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    Give your chinchilla some time to adjust to his new surroundings before becoming worried.

  80. I just bought my chinchilla today, he's incredibly cute. We bought him from a breeder but he was kinda lonely looking in the cage and in the back away from the other 4 but when we got him out, he attached to me and i couldn't resist him... I'm now worried that he isn't going to become active and run around in his cage like normal... Should I be? I can't find this on this website or any other website. Can anyone suggest a good book also, I have read reviews that people say the book they bought was incredibly inaccurate. Thanks!!!

  81. i love all rodents im a teenager and have alot of free time to exercise my gerbils and chinchilla and you NEED to be patient if you want your chinchilla to feel comfortable with you and not run away at the sight thats wat i have to say with my experience

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    There's no way to know if you're allergic.

  83. I need help! my parents might buy me a chinchilla and I might be allergic so help me if I'm allergic to guinea pigs am i allergic to chinchillas to?

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    Chinchillas may get along with rabbits or guinea pigs, but given that they all eat different food, we don't advise using the same cage. Cats and ferrets aren't safe in our opinion.

  85. What is the chance for chinchillas to get along with other rodents? hamsters, g pigs, or how bout ferrets? or cats? rabbits? living in the same quarters?

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    Chinchillas don't smell, but their cages do if not cleaned often. In addition, they are messy as they will chew on anything and everything, shed fur, and do their "business" everywhere much like rabbits and guinea pigs.

  87. I'm trying to convince my parents to get me a pet chinchilla. So far, from what I've read, chinchillas are apparently 'odorless'. However I was just wondering if chinchillas really are great pets? Also, are they generally quite messy? And finally, about how long would I have to spend with my chinchilla daily?

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    Unless the room has A/C so that the temperature can be maintained below 75 degrees, it doesn't sound like you have a good environment.

  89. hi i'm also looking into buying a chinnchilla the only space i have left in my bedrroom is right in front of my window i live in las vegas so it is generly hot most of the time but i keep my blinds closed and fan on. would it be good to put the chinchillas cage there?

  90. Avatar photo


    Your cage cleaning schedule will depend a lot on how big the cage is. Assume that you'll be cleaning out weekly though. The dust can be re-used a few times as long as it remains clean. You'll eventually figure out how much your chinchillas use per session and then only put that amount in so there won't be anything wasted.

  91. Ok, im looking into owning a chinchilla. I have a couple questions. How often do you change that cage(clean)? and with the dust bath's, after they are finished using the dust do you then throw it out? or do you save it for the next day?

  92. Avatar photo


    We're guessing your friends weren't good with the chinchilla. They were probably too aggressive with it and so it learned to bite to defend itself. Sorry, but we don't have any advice for teaching her not to bite. Perhaps you could put something on your fingers that tastes bad to chinchillas, but is safe so that she will learn not to bite.

    Chinchillas don't like heat at all. Temperatures over 75 degrees are not healthy. You need to keep your chinchilla in a cool room preferably with an air conditioner to maintain the temperature when it gets warm out.

  93. hi,
    i have a femal chinchilla and i got it from a friend but she bites for no reason at all. like when i stick my hand in her cage to get her water,and food dish she hisses sometimes or when i try to pet her through the cag on acations she bites so how do i get her to stop biteing because she had bite my baby cusin?

    And when its hot out she likes to curl up in a ball is that because she injoying that heat or is it to hot for her?

    p.s i would like it if you did re-write me to tell me what to do

  94. Avatar photo


    The expenses are rather small. They just need food and bedding as you guessed. We haven't kept track of the weekly costs, but it seems every few months we spend $30 or $40. You do have to be prepared for unexpected expenses should you need to go to a vet.

  95. Roughly, after chinchilla is purchased and also cage etc, how much do they cost to keep a week?
    Is it just the basics such as bedding and food that need to be bought?

  96. Avatar photo


    Chinchillas are a lot like rabbits. Their droppings are hard and dry. Their urine develops an odor after a while and they won't necessarily urinate where you want them to. Chinchillas themselves are pretty odor-free.

  97. What about odor? Do they have an odor? Also, what are their bathroom habits? Are they messy in this area? I heard they were compared to a rabbit. I know rabbit have hard and somewhat odorless pellets, but they urine a lot and the male rabbits will even spray out of their cage. Please advise as my daughter has fallen in love and I want to know what I am getting into before I agree.


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    Chinchillas are very destructive. They will chew on any wood and all wires. They also can't be house-trained.

  99. Hey I'm just wondering if chinchillas are destructive in your home if you let them around the house a lot e.g. curtains, couch materials etc. And how hygienic are they? Can they be house-trained?

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    Chinchillas aren't really cuddly. You can certainly hold them, but they're not likely to sit on your lap like a cat and they can't be trained like dogs. We like them because they:

    1) don't need to be taken for walks
    2) can be put in to a cage i.e. don't need to roam the house
    3) are cute as you said and have incredibly soft fur which is a joy to touch
    4) require little care when we travel without them
    5) will come over and sit/jump on you when you sit in their general vicinity

    They're not the ideal choice for all pet owners, but they're a good fit for us.

    • My friend told me about their friend's pet chin. He said it almost bit her finger off. Would a chinchilla bite like that normally or is it a medical condition?

  101. What is the draw to having chinchillas as pets? Other animals are cuddly, intelligent, loyal, affectionate, and so on. Are chinchillas affectionate? Can you teach them things, like you can with a rat? They are obviously extremely cute, which is reason enough to own one, but what are other general, attractive characteristics of chinchillas?

  102. Avatar photo


    Chinchillas don't need to be in their cage all the time. In fact, the more time you give them outside their cage the better. They like to run around a lot.

    We don't advise that you put them on the ground outside. They will most certainly run away and you will unlikely be able to catch them.

  103. Do chinchillas have to stay in their cage when you're not holding them, or can you put them on the ground and let them walk freely for a little while? Like can you put them down outside, or would they run away?

    • If you put them outside they will run away cause they love to escape..

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