A. No, most likely not. Chinchillas can “furslip”, which means they can release hair as a defense mechanism, so if say they got wet and were scared, they may lose some fur but water itself will not cause fur loss. If your chinchilla were to ever accidentally get wet be sure to thoroughly dry him to prevent fungus. Do not use a hair dryer as chinchillas will overheat.
A. Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the individual chinchillas. If you get two or more chinchillas and decide to house them together, make sure you have backup cages in case one day they decide not to get along. Of course, if you have a male and females housed together be prepared for babies (kits). You will need a cage with small wire spacing (1/2″) and make sure to read up on chinchilla breeding and kit care.
A. No, most chinchillas do not like to sit still to be held. Some will however tolerate small amounts of holding and/or petting. Some chinchillas do like to be scratched behind the ears or under their chin. The secret is them letting you find the magic spot. I have one that hates his whiskers being touched so getting to his ears or chin without touching them is tricky.
A. You don’t have to let your chinchilla out at all however it can be fun to watch them hop and bounce off the walls and explore a new setting. Playtime is a great opportunity to bond with your chinchilla as he or she will probably use you for a launching pad while running around. Some people let their chinchillas out everyday. Others let them out a few times per week and still others do not let them out at all. Just remember to chin-proof the room first and always supervise your chinchilla when he or she is out of the cage. Playtime should be limited to around 20 minutes to prevent low blood sugar or overheating.
A. The type and size of cage you use will be determined on how many chinchillas you have, how much room you have in your house for the cage (chinchillas should never be housed outside), and what cage you feel comfortable using. A cage should be a long term investment; it protects your chinchilla from dangers in your house as well as protects your house from your chinchilla. You should never buy a cheap cage; if you can’t afford a good sturdy well built cage, you should not buy a chinchilla. Most owners would agree that bigger is better, no chinchilla would turn down more room. Bare minimum cage should for a single chinchilla is 24 x 16 x 16. The most popular chinchilla cages are 32″L x 20″W x 27″H or 36″L x 24″W x 24″H and would be appropriate for a pair or possibly trio of chinchillas in the larger.
A. It can be difficult to sex chinchillas. Place your chinchilla on a surface facing away from you. Hold the base of his tail and gently lift his back end up. Compare your chinchilla to the pictures below:
Most males have large space between the cone and anus though I have seen females with a large space so this is not always accurate. To be sure, a female will have a vaginal slit right under the cone. This slit may be closed tight or difficult to see if young.
A. There are several possible answers:
1. Your chinchilla could be priming. Priming is when the chinchilla gets new fur. This process first happens around 8-10 months of age and then a few times a year for the rest of the chinchilla’s life. During Priming, you may see little pieces of fur sticking up all over your chin’s back. You can comb your chinchilla if you’d like to help get all the dead fur out; you’d be surprised how much will come out.
2. Your chinchilla has slipped fur. As a defense mechanism, chinchillas are able to slip (or lose) their fur. If a predator is trying to catch a chinchilla, the chinchilla can slip fur and the predator is left with a mouthful of fur and the chinchilla can get away. Fur-slip can be a little amount or a lot. You can tell if the fur was slipped because it will have a white tip to it indicating it was live fur as opposed to solid grey. If your chinchilla has a bare spot of normal skin, this is a result of a larger furslip. The fur will grow back but takes about 3 months. Fur slipped from a tail takes longer to grow and can happen if your chin is trying to get away while your holding the base of his tail.
3. Your chinchilla or a cage mate has chewed his or her fur. Fur chewing is hereditary but can be caused by environmental stress or poor nutrition. Sometimes a chinchilla will chew in cycles, or only under certain circumstances and others will chew continuously. A theory is that boredom brings on fur-chewing so make sure your chin has toys to chew. Do not breed fur-chewers.
4. If your chinchilla has fur loss with red irritated or dry scaly skin your chinchilla probably has fungus (ringworm). You will need to isolate the chin from any others you have or treat all of them since fungus is easily spread. It is easily spread to humans and other pets as well.
A. First off remove the male chinchilla if present, and make sure your female and baby/babies are in a cage with small enough wire spacing that the kits cannot escape (1/2″ x 1″). The mom will usually take care of the kits on her own. It is a good idea to have a gram scale and weigh the kits daily to make sure they are gaining weight (may take a few days for milk to come in) and not loosing weight. If the babies are not getting enough milk, you will need to supplement them with hand-feeding. Read How To Care For Baby Chins
A. The best thing you can do is to find a local chinchilla breeder who has a female that can adopt them. If a female had only one kit or recently weaned kits, it’s possible to foster out more kits for her to nurse. At the very least, another female may help keep the kits warm (which is VERY important) and they can be hand-fed. Trying to care for them, without the help of a female will be very difficult.
A. Every chinchilla has it’s own personality, some are naturally more interested in human contact regardless of age. Do not pass up an adult chin that needs a home simply because they are a little older, remember chinchillas can live a long time. Given time to adjust to new surroundings, an adult chinchilla can bond just as much as a young chinchilla. Not all young chinchillas will bond closely either, just depends on the individual.
A. While chinchillas are naturally social animals, a single chinchilla can be happy; some even prefer it that way. If you do decide to get more than one, read up on introductions, and be prepared to have separate cages in case it doesn’t work out. Multiple chinchillas of the same sex will get along, so if you are not interested in breeding, be sure to get the same sex of chinchilla you already have.
A. Don’t worry it’s normal. Chinchillas have some special type of droppings called cecotropes that contain nutrients that they eat. Also happens with rabbits and other animals.