Chinchilla Life Expectancy: How Long Do Chinchillas Live?

It may surprise you to learn that, unlike hamsters, guinea pigs, and many other small rodent pets, chinchillas may live a long and full life.

Chinchillas are tough creatures native to South America's severe Andes Mountains. Domesticated chinchillas have been grown to be roughly double the size of wild chinchillas, yet they have preserved their quiet, shy nature. Eleven chinchillas were smuggled into the United States in the 1920s, and it is believed that nearly every pet chinchilla in the country is descended from one of these animals.

Lifespan and Aging of a Chinchilla

Chinchillas in the wild live an average of six years, however our pets in captivity live far longer, typically surviving for 10-15 years. The oldest chinchilla ever recorded lived for more than 29 years. The difference in longevity is most likely due to safety; our pet chinchillas are not devoured by predators as they age and slow down, and medical attention is available to our pets as they age.

Most chinchillas age in the same way that cats and dogs do. They begin life as kits and nurse for six to eight weeks on their mother. They develop into pediatric animals, then young adults by 8 months (when they can reproduce), and eventually adults. They eventually become senior chinchilla citizens with time and chance. Each of these stages of life has different health demands, and increasing the care provided to your pet chinchilla at all stages helps to ensure they live long, healthy lives.

The oldest chinchilla ever recorded lived for more than 29 years.

 What causes some Chinchillas to outlive others?

In many circumstances, the attention we pay to our chins is the most important factor. Chinchillas have unique environmental and dietary requirements. When we can address these demands, pet parents can extend their pets' lives.

Other chinchillas become injured or unwell. Chinchillas, like most rodents, are very good at masking indicators of medical problems, so close monitoring is required to detect and treat a disease in its early stages. When in doubt, have your chinchilla examined by a veterinarian who is familiar with the species. Because not all vets are knowledgeable about chinchilla medicine, make sure to choose one who accepts exotic pets.

Some chinchillas are simply "poor doers," which means they aren't as healthy or developed as others and are more prone to acquiring issues like dental disease, heart illness, or gastrointestinal difficulties. These little ones don't always live as long as their larger relatives.

How to Extend the Life of Your Chinchilla

There are numerous things that may be done to maintain chinchillas as healthy as possible.

Chinchilla Nutrition

The chinchilla diet is possibly the most essential component. Chinchillas are herbivores, which means they can only eat plant matter. They survive in the wild by eating grasses, leaves, and other roughage. Pet chinchillas are frequently fed pelleted diets and sweet "treats" advertised for chinchillas. These foods frequently cause health issues.

Chinchillas should be fed grass hays with low calcium levels, such as:

  • Botanical hay
  • Timothy hay
  • Oat hay
  • Meadow hay
  • Orchard grass

Alfalfa hay should be provided as a treat only on rare occasions. If timothy-based chinchilla pellets are fed, no more than a tablespoon per day should be given. Apple sticks can be used as chew toys.

If extra treats are provided, they should be extremely little amounts of green vegetables or fresh fruits. Nuts, seeds, or dehydrated fruits should never be fed to your chinchilla. Chinchilla teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetimes, and the rich fiber roughage associated with a consistent diet of hay and grass aids in the correct wear of these teeth.

Chinchilla Enrichment And Exercise

Make sure to keep your chinchilla safe and active. Chinchillas are incredibly energetic animals that climb to high vantage spots to assess their territory in the wild. They also use their mouths to explore the world. They will continue to engage in these actions in your home. Setting up a safe play space is vital since your chinchilla may want to climb up onto furniture or even onto your counters.

Chinchillas will also chew on electrical wires and woodwork in the house, so protecting both your things and your chinchilla is vital. Chinchillas require large cages as a "safe zone" when you are unable to oversee your pet. Chinchilla enclosures should have a sleeping area, a hiding spot, a "exercise room" with a running wheel, and hay racks. Because chinchillas are gregarious animals, most people keep multiples. If you opt to have numerous animals, remember to raise the cage size. Chinchillas require time out of the cage every day to exercise, explore, and stay cognitively occupied, in addition to a huge cage.

Chinchilla Healthcare

Finally, plan ahead of time. Chinchillas require frequent health care, and having a veterinarian who is familiar with chinchillas is essential. Even before you adopt your chin, contact a veterinarian that specializes in exotic pets. This will ensure that you have access to medical assistance. Schedule a "new pet" visit as soon as you acquire your new chinchilla to help you get settled and off to a good start. This way, you'll be ready if your pet develops a health concern and has to be seen straight soon.

Chinchillas are pleasant and intelligent creatures that can live as long as the family cat if properly cared for. Keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your time with your chin pal.

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