Note for Pet Owners:

This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

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Chinchillas are becoming increasingly popular as pets ...but what do you know about them ? Here are 10 facts that you might find interesting.

  1. Chinchillas originated from the Andes mountain range in South America
  2. They are easy to look after ...but they are mainly nocturnal so they are not very suitable as pets
  3. They live to be over 10 years of age ...and up to 20 years is not uncommon  ! So if you buy one as a family pet consider who will look after it once the children grow up !!
  4. They are members of the rodent family mice, rats and hamsters.
  5. They eat grasses, bark, leaves, fruit and other vegetation
  6. If fed a commercially prepared diet they still need fibre in the form of good quality hay (eg timothy grass)
  7. You should never change the diet of a chinchilla suddenly because they can develop serious gastrointestinal problems including diarrhoea
  8. Like many rodents chinchillas often get dental disease which needs to be treated by your veterinarian
  9. Chinchillas like to be cool (but not cold). They can suffer heat stroke if they are kept in an environment at over 80oF
  10. Chinchillas need low humidity (ie they should not be kept in a moist environment)

Basic Physiological Information

Chinchillas are Mammals.

Classification : Rodents

Average life expectancy : 10 years (upto 18 years recorded)

Body weight (males) : 400-500g

Body weight (females) : 400-500g (larger than males)

Body temperature (rectal) : 38-39o C

Heart rate : Range 100-150 beats per minute

Respiratory rate : Range 40-80 per minute

Sexual maturity (males ) : reached at 8 months.

Sexual maturity (females) : reached at 8 months

Oestrus cycle : lasts 30-50 days. Seasonally polyoestrous - breeding mainly during November and May in the Northern Hemisphere.

Gestation period : 111 days

Average litter size : 4-12. Maximum recorded 26.

Young at birth : Weight 30-60g. Born with fur, eyes open. Suckle milk until weaning at 6-8 weeks of age

Weaning : 6-8 weeks of age


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