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Care of Chinchillas

Use the links at the right to navigate our care articles. We provide information for the novice chinchilla lover and will be gradually adding more detailed information for the experienced chinchilla lover.

Chinchilla Facts

Adult weight: Males = 400-600 grams; Females = 400-700 grams

Life span: Usual = 10 years;
maximum = 20 years

Body temperature: 96.8 -100.4F

Heart rate: 100 beats/minute

Puberty: as early as 3 months, usually 6 -10 months

Estrous cycle: usual 40 days; range 16 - 69 days

Litter size: average 2; range 1-6

Litters per year: 2

Birth weight: 35 grams or more

Eyes open: yes

Wean: 6-8 weeks, at least 200 grams in weight


Chinchillas come from the Andes Mountains of South America.

They come in many different colors, including white, ebony, beige, standard grey, sapphire, violet and many combinations of these.

Their gestation period is an average of 111 days.

The name 'Chinchilla' comes from a South American Indian tribe and means Little Chinta.

They have between 80-100 hairs per follicle, making their coat too thick for fleas.

They do not bathe in water, but dust instead. They will flip, roll, dig and play merrily in their quest to be clean.

Chinchilla babies are called kits and are born with their eyes open, fully furred, and ready to go!

Chinchillas will do what's called a fur slip and release a patch of fur if they are frightened. It is designed to help them escape the grasp of a predator. It will grow back and does not harm the chinchilla.

They live an average somewhere between 10-20 years.

They prefer temperatures under 75F and will easily overheat in warmer climates.

The most common type of chinchilla found in the domestic and pelt scenes are the Lanigera species.

Chinchillas are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and come out to play at night.

Their teeth grow continuously throughout their lifetime so it's important that they have wood and other materials to wear them down on.