This article talks about the average lifespan of a chinchilla and provides many tips on how you can prolong the life of you cute little chinchillas.
House-kept versus Chinchillas in the Wild
Chinchillas in the wild die around 8 years old. Stress to survive leads to a short life. In the wild, these animals must hunt for food.
Their habitat is growing smaller each day. Vegetation in the Andes Mountains is beginning to disappear. The hunt for cacti and berries grows difficult for these rodents. They must also avoid predators.
Most of these rodents don’t make it to 8 years. The natural habitat is the Andes Mountains. In the mountains there are also puma, birds of prey, snakes, and mountain cats. These are the natural predators of the chinchilla. If they were guarded from these predators they may live longer lives.
Chinchillas are chosen as pets for their long lives. The official chinchilla life span is 15-20 years. This is longer than the wild version because the pet is guarded from predators. Pets also receive medical help when injured or ill. However, it is not uncommon that some chinchilla owners lose their pets before 15 years.
If given a below average living condition, domestic chinchillas may live between 8-10 years old. Accidents can be avoided to allow the rodent to live a long life. Health of the pet should be accessed frequently. Keeping the pet away from stress factors increases its life. New owners must give the animal proper care to help it live to 15 years old.
What Do New Owners Need to Know?
Ready for Commitment
A long chinchilla lifespan means many years of care. New owners need to consider the commitment to the pet chinchilla. Owning a chinchilla is like owning a dog. Both require a lot of work for many years.
The pet requires daily exercise and bonding time. Allow the chinchilla out of the cage for an hour each day. Owners can play with the pet or clean the cage.
Cage cleaning is done every 7-10 days. The old litter is dumped and the cage scrubbed with mild soap. Chinchilla cages require thorough rinsing with clean water. Afterward, fresh pine chips are added to the cage.
These are chores done daily and can become bothersome. Not only the chores are an issue with a pet with a large life span. There are other factors.
One other factor is moving. The pet owner may have to move to a new home or apartment. Some rentals don’t allow pets. This will narrow the owner’s housing options.
Another common issue is adopting other pets. Chinchillas don’t do well with dogs. They also dislike other chinchillas. There is a chance that the pet owner will have to decide which pet is preferred.
After committing to the chinchilla, owners don’t want to lose their pet. Chinchilla owners lose their pets for many reasons. Some deaths are natural and unavoidable. Other deaths could be avoided with careful attention.
Using certain chemicals can cause death. Febreeze used in the same room as the rodent can lead to illness or death. Other strong aromas can make a chinchilla ill. These smells include cleaners and perfume.
Another common death is weight loss. The chinchilla may go off feed for many reasons. The fluffy fur hides the decrease in weight. It is too late before the owner realizes the animal is sick.
The most common death is from dental issues. This can cause the pet to stop eating. It can also cause infection and oral damage. The pain and infection can lead to death. Owners must keep chinchilla teeth trimmed and checked.
Finding a Vet
Chinchillas are considered exotic animals. For this reason, many veterinarians are unfamiliar with the species. New owners must locate a vet with knowledge of chinchillas before a health issue occurs.
Chinchillas are related to guinea pigs. Veterinarians may use guinea pig medicine to treat the pet. This is only when the proper chinchilla medicine is unavailable.
Common Chinchilla Care Tips
Most pets are fed twice a day with a special feed. Chinchillas are the same. Research into the correct feed is important. Most feeds marked for chinchillas have too much sugar. The excess sugar can cause diabetes and poor health. Owners should check sugar content on the box.
Most treats are high in sugars. High sugar is bad for the pet’s health. For this reason, treats are for training and special occasions.
Treats include chews and small pieces of fruit. An once of banana is the proper amount for the large rodent. Dried fruit can also be given as a small snack.
Loofah chews are the most popular chew. Most chinchilla owners agree that this is their pets’ favorite. Treats and chews are sold in stores.
Hay is also sold in stores. Adding hay is a great way to keep the animal healthy. The hay keeps the chinchilla’s teeth trimmed. It also adds fiber to the diet and promotes good digestion.
wners can supply hay throughout the day.
A new, popular way to check the chinchilla’s health is weighing. After the first week of ownership, the weight of the pet is recorded. The weight is checked every day or every two days. The weight records will show when there is a large decrease in weight.
A large weight loss indicates illness. Detecting the health issue sooner allows time to go to the vet. With the early detection, the chinchilla has increased chances of surviving.
These pets take a dust bath each week. The dust for bath is sold in pet stores. It is poured into a container and the chinchilla climbs in. The dust is then worked onto the fur and shaken out.
Desenex can be added to dust baths to remove ringworm and other fungal infections. Add only if the fungus treatment is apparent. Owners must insure that the dust doesn’t get into the animal’s eyes.
Long Chinchilla Lifespan, Long Friendship
Chinchillas don’t like other pets. They do, however, create a bond with their owner. Most chinchillas enjoy being held and played with. They live for many years. There is plenty of time for the pet to grow to love their owner.