Chinchillas have the softest fur in the world. Literally, that's just one of the things that make these little guys so awesome. So, obviously, we always want our animal's coat to look healthy and beautiful. But what if you wake up one day and your chin's once healthy, beautiful coat looks patchy and a hot mess? What if it appears your chinchilla is, well, going kinda bald? (No offense to the baldies out there - bald is a good look, too, just not on chins.) If you're noticing patches of fur missing on your chin, it could be because of chinchilla fur slip.
Fur slip is basically when a large patch of fur releases on your chinchilla in response to being handled too roughly. Or from being grabbed. As they’re prey animals, Chinchilla fur slip is built into a chinchilla’s DNA. In the wild, they use this mechanism to escape predators when they’re captured and release big lumps of hair to get out of the predator's mouth or wiggle their way out of the predator’s paws.
In a domestic setting, though, fur slip is also pretty standard; chinchillas use this tactic to avoid their human pawrents if they don't want interaction.
How to Help Your Chin Recover
If you’re a chinchilla pawrent and your chinchilla is showing signs of fur slip, there are a few things that you can do.
- Be gentle!
- Make sure you're always supporting your chinchilla's body from underneath their chest, tummy, and behind.
- Always alert your chinchilla that you’re approaching.
- Refrain from grabbing directly by the fur or skin.
- Keep all cats, and dogs, and other predatory pets away from your chin.
- Although kitty’s or fido’s playful intentions are pawsitive, fur slip or other, more severe injuries are possible if your chinchilla feels threatened.
The excellent news is chinchilla fur slip doesn't physically hurt your chinchilla. However, there may be some sensitivity if larger patches are missing. Additionally, the missing fur eventually grows back. The bad news is that a traumatic event always precedes chinchilla fur slip. And as small pet people, having our animals go through something traumatic is the absolute last thing we want. So do lots of research to understand the correct ways to handle and interact with your chinchilla, and understand, too, the type of environment they need to live in to be safe. Your baby deserves it. And you deserve a full coat of fluffy fur to cuddle.
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