Chinchilla life expectancy

Chinchillas living in their natural habitat at Andes Mountains in South America can live for 10 years, while those in captivity and given proper care can live up to 15 or even 20 years. The oldest chinchilla ever was 29 years old when he parted this world in Acton, California, USA on 18 September 2014.

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Wild Chinchillas

Chinchillas in the wild lives in rock crevices and burrows and need to hunt for their own food. Stress to survive leads to a short life. 

Their habitat is growing smaller each day as vegetation in the Andes Mountains gradually disappears. Hence, the hunt for cacti and berries becomes difficult for these rodents.

In the wild, chinchillas must also defend themselves against natural predators such as owls, eagles and cats. These make surviving in the wild an uphill battle, as most of them do not survive past 8 years.

Domestic Chinchillas in Captivity

Though fragile, chinchillas are chosen as pets for their longer life expectancy as compared to the other rodent counterparts.

When kept at home, the pet is provided with enough supplies and nutrition. Chinchillas as pets also receive medical help quickly when injured or ill. All these factors give them a good boost to the number of years they live.

However, it is not uncommon that some chinchilla owners lose their pets before 15 years. If the living condition is below average, a domestic chinchilla may also suffer in terms of health. This is especially if the owner lacks knowledge on how to properly care for a chinchilla.


10 Tips to Prolong your Chinchilla Lifespan

Although chinchillas can live more than 10 years, that is only if proper care is given to your chin.

In fact, chinchillas are very fragile animals and owners will need to educate yourselves well if you want your chinchilla to keep you company for many years to come. Here are some very good tip shared by fellow chinchilla lovers:


Tip#1: Be prepared for Emergencies

Owners lose sleep when their chinchillas refuse food.

There can be many reasons: It could be having a toothache that discourages it from chewing. Or it could be having mouth ulcers that you’re unaware of. Or it could be having a sore throat, preventing it from swallowing hays and pellets.

Whatever the reason may be, there’s one important thing you need to be 100% mindful of – and that is to make sure your chinchilla eats something. A sick chinchilla that doesn’t eat will only get worse.

Having a pack of Oxbow Critical Care can always come in handy as it is specially designed to help your pet recover from traumatic events such as surgeries or undernourishment. Oxbow Critical Care is packed with the most essential and vital nutrients making it a complete high-fibre meal that is easy to digest and helps your pet regain the strength it needs.

A pack of critical care usually cost around 15 bucks and can be stored for up to 2 years. You can even bake the leftovers into treats because chinchillas love them!

So take it as buying insurance for your pet and keep a pack around the house. Don’t wait until the day you need it, because it may not ship in time.

feeding critical care to a sick chinchilla

Tip#2: Chinchillas in air-conditioned room live longer

Chinchillas are prone to overheat as they do not sweat and their thick fur prevents them from cooling down when the temperatures are high. It is very important to keep your chinchilla in a room with a stable temperature that is neither too hot nor too cold.

You can achieve this by keeping your pet in a room equipped with an air-conditioner with dehumidifying function. Set the temperature to between 60-70°F, the best temperature being closer to 60°F. You can additionally cool your pet by putting a granite cooling stone in it’s cage where your pet will use it when needed.


Tip#3: Keep humidity low

Pet chinchillas originated from a cold and dry environment close to the Atacama Desert so it comes as no surprise that they do not flourish in humid environments.

If you do not have an air conditioner in the room, the next best option to keep the humidity in your chinchilla’s room under control is to use a humidifier suitable for chinchillas.

The optimal humidity level should be 50% or lower. High humidity levels can cause your pet’s fur and bedding to become damp, thereby becoming the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi resulting in respiratory and other illnesses.


Tip#4: Use chemical free cleaners to wipe the cage!

Although it is convenient to use your usual household cleaning products to clean the cage, it is actually a very harmful approach. Even if the product says that it is safe for pets, very often they still contain some amount of chemicals and are slow poison to your pets.

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One safe way is to use 100% natural enzyme cleaners that are extracted from plants. Enzyme cleaners works by breaking down oil, dirt, stains, mud, and odors in a super-fast and natural way.

These enzyme cleaners are usually concentrates that can be make into 15 – 20 bottles of cleaning solution. So it works out to be 10 times cheaper than your usual chemical wash!