When walking through a pet store, chinchillas are definitely a showstopper. They’re famous for their adorable faces and soft fur but chinchilla owners know there’s a lot more chinchilla fun beyond that.
As indoor chinchilla owners it’s fun to collect as many chinchilla fun facts as you can so that you can provide exactly what your chinchilla needs. As well as better understand why your chinchilla does what he does!
Chinchillas are extremely charming and intelligent. They are social guys and it’s not surprising that they have become such popular pets.
Chinchilla Fun Facts To Keep In Your Back Pocket
All domestic chinchillas in the US are actually descendants of 13 chinchillas who were brought here in 1927.
It’s interesting to think about those first 13 who started this mad love for chinchillas. And all of our furry friends are more related than we may have originally thought!
Chinchillas’ fur allows them to survive freezing temperatures.
Now, when I say survive I don’t mean thrive. The perfect temperature for chinchillas is between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
But it is interesting to know that they have adapted to live in higher altitudes and can tolerate cold much easier than they can tolerate heat.
And it’s important to know because if you let your house get hotter than 80 degrees you can put your chinchilla at risk for heat stroke.
They’re also sensitive to humidity which can make temperatures feel much hotter than they are. So keep your house cool with low humidity for your chinchilla.
Chinchillas can make 10 different sounds.
Chinchillas have a wide vocal range. Depending on the behavioral and social context they produce completely different sounds.
There are different sounds for exploring, avoiding predators, breeding behavior, defensive social behavior, and offensive social behavior.
They raise and lower their tones creating even more range. They are quite the conversationalists!
Chinchillas require a high-fiber diet.
Chinchillas have very sensitive digestive systems and the way to combat any digestive issues is to keep their diet very high in fiber.
Chinchillas need low-calcium hay like Timothy hay or orchard grass hay. Alfalfa hay is too high in calcium so that should only be fed in small amounts occasionally.
A chinchilla can live for 20 years.
Most domestic chinchillas live around 10 years but some can live up to 20 years. The biggest thing to focus on is keeping those chinchilla teeth worn down by providing plenty of chewing opportunities.
Dental problems are a big concern with domestic chinchillas and can take years off a chinchilla’s life. In addition to providing hay 24/7 for your chinchilla, chew toys help keep them busy chewing!
Chinchillas can shed their fur to escape predators.
When a chinchilla is frightened or stressed they may release a patch of fur known as “fur-slipping”. This helps them to escape from predators.
You should never hold a chinchilla where their feet are dangling. Always put your hands under their feet or use a towel for support.
Both domestic and wild chinchillas take dust baths.
Chinchillas actually have the densest fur among all land mammals. They can have 50-75 individual hairs growing out of a single hair follicle. Humans only have 2 to 3 hairs in one follicle.
Chinchillas need dust baths to maintain this special fur coat. More chinchilla fun! However, dust baths should only be put in a chinchilla's cage for 30 minutes a day so that the chinchilla doesn’t use it as a litter box.
Too much dust bath exposure can also cause eye problems for chinchillas. So get the dust bath out regularly, but never leave it as a constant in the chinchilla’s cage.
Chinchillas can jump up to six feet high.
When it comes to jumping, chinchillas have humans beat. These little guys can just up to six feet to escape predators.
I’m sure you’ve seen them jumping around their cage when they're perfectly content and playing as well. But make sure your cage is secure because they have the skills to jump out if they want to!
Wild chinchillas can live in herds with 100 members.
If there was any doubt about whether or not chinchillas are social creatures, just look to the wild. Chinchillas live in herds. Sometimes extremely large herds! There is safety in numbers.
Chinchillas will always feel safer and calmer with other chinchillas around. Thus more time for chinchilla fun.
Chinchillas are very shy in the wild and they hide under rock crevices.
Although chinchillas are social animals they are also shy. They need to have places to hide and the opportunity to remove themselves from any situation they find chaotic or overstimulating.
Loud noises could trigger their need to take cover but also having a place to get away helps them to completely relax and catch some good Zs!
Foraging is a core instinct and essential for chinchilla fun.
Chinchillas in the wild spend a large part of the day foraging for food. The opportunity to live out this instinct isn’t always given to domestic chinchillas.
So let’s change that! Hide healthy treats around their cage and give them toys that encourage foraging behavior.
There you have it! Keep these chinchilla fun facts in your back pocket so you don't forget why your chinchilla does what he does and why he needs what he needs.