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How Long Do Chinchillas Live? (And Can We Help Them Live Longer?)

how long do chinchillas live?

Chinchillas are an adorable addition to the family. And naturally, you’ll ask how long do chinchillas live. After all, I’m sure you’re getting attached to that fluff ball. And you’ll be happy to know that a well-cared-for chinchilla can live to be 10 - 20 years old!

The oldest known chinchilla was Radar who lived to be almost 30 years old. 

With you being a chinchilla parent, you play a big role in your chinchilla’s lifespan. Giving them the proper environment, diet, and living conditions will get your chinchilla well into their senior years. 

We humans can do a good job of prioritizing the health and well being of our chinchilla companions, making sure they are healthy and happy by providing them with quality products. Domestic chinchillas outlive their wild counterparts! 

How Long Do Chinchillas Live In The Wild?

Wild chinchillas live in the Andean mountains where they’re exposed to harsh climates, predators, and habitat loss. The average wild chinchilla will live 8-10 years. 

Wild chinchillas are considered critically endangered animals. While climate change has played a role in this, we’ve also lost a lot of chinchillas to hunting. Wild chinchillas are hunted for their amazing fur. 

Chinchilla Lifespan and Stages


The gestation period for a chinchilla is between 110 to 115 days. A chinchilla will carry 2-4 kits at a time. A baby chinchilla is called a kit!


Kits are born with a full coat of fur and their eyes open. They spend the first weeks of their life cuddling with their mom and nursing a lot. 

At 8-12 weeks the kits start to become more independent and curious about the world. This is when the mother will start to reduce the amount of time spent nursing. Chinchillas at this stage are called weanlings. 


A chinchilla less than a year old is considered a juvenile. This means the chinchilla is growing and learning very quickly but is still not fully grown yet. 

how long do chinchillas live?


Some species of chinchillas will be fully grown at the 1-year mark while others will continue to grow until 18 months. However, the growth slows down a lot by a year! 

Short-tailed chinchillas will grow to be 2-3 lbs and 12-18 inches long. While long-tailed chinchillas will stop growing at 1-2 pounds and 9-15 inches long (nose to base of tail). 

How To Set Your Pet Up For A Long Chinchilla Lifespan

Of course, you want to make sure you’re giving your chinchilla as many years as possible. So let’s talk about how to set your chinchilla up for a happy healthy life with you. 


Hay is the most important food you can give a chinchilla. One mistake a lot of chinchilla parents make is feeding too much pellet food and not enough high-quality hay. 

Chinchillas need access to hay 24/7 for 2 reasons. Hay provides them with the fiber their digestive system needs and it also helps to keep their teeth worn down. Chinchillas need to chew all the time so that their teeth don’t become overgrown.

Dental disease is very common among chinchillas so this daily habit of chewing needs to be prioritized. You can also have your chinchilla’s teeth filed down if they grow too long when your chin isn’t able to chew as they need to. 

Though there are plenty of troubleshooting options for you if your chinchilla isn’t eating hay as it should!


When you set up your chinchilla’s home it’s important to make sure they have plenty of room to be active and play. Chinchillas are very curious and fun animals. 

Just like you need to stay active as you age, so does a chinchilla! Exercise wheels, ledges, and natural toys can help get your chinchilla up and moving every day. 

A hideout is very important for keeping your chinchilla cozy and away from stressors. 

You also need to make sure that your chinchilla’s space is in a room where they aren’t getting direct sunlight or too much humidity. 55-68 degrees Fahrenheit is an ideal temperature for a chinchilla

Heat stroke is a very dangerous condition for a chinchilla. This can lead to organ failure or brain injury. Make sure you’re keeping your chinchilla cool and get them to a vet as soon as they’re showing signs of illness

Wild chinchillas live in the cool mountains. They simply aren’t made for the heat!


Keeping your chinchilla and their space clean and dry is very important for their skin. Moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungal infections

Have a dust bath available for your chinchilla multiple times a week. This helps them evenly distribute the oils on their skin. Never give your chinchilla a water bath! They have very thick fur that traps moisture. 

How Long Do Chinchillas Live With Humans

Most chinchillas prefer to live with other chinchillas. They are social animals! In the wild, they live in large herds. Happiness plays a role in how long your chinchilla will live so taking care of them socially shouldn’t be ignored. 

how long do chinchillas live

And of course, bonding with you as their owner is fantastic as well. Keep your chinchilla’s days full of love to keep their stress levels and loneliness low. 

It’s very unlikely that your chinchilla will live as long as record-setting Radar. There are factors out of your control (genes!). But you can maximize the life expectancy of your chinchilla by providing the healthiest diet, environment, and routine for them.


Chinchilla research is continuously growing! If you have any doubts or concerns contact your exotic vet.

We are not veterinarians, and none of our information should be construed as veterinary advice.

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