Chinchillas, like other mammals, will reach sexual maturity at some point and go through “heat cycles.” It can be difficult to tell whether or not your female chinchilla is in heat, which can be problematic if mixed with any males.
This is especially if you don’t want your female chin to have a litter.
It can sometimes be tricky, but there are efficient ways to detect if your chin is in heat.
Female chins, for example, become very playful with males during heat, running around endlessly chasing each other, like cops and robbers.
Furthermore, if your female chinchilla is sexually active, she is most definitely in a heat cycle.
The following information will explain some obvious and not-so-obvious ways to tell if your chinchilla is in heat.
How to Tell Your Chinchilla is in Heat
When a female is in heat, it can be challenging to detect. However, both her and her male counterpart’s behavior may change noticeably.
A female chinchilla’s demeanor might shift from unusually playful to exceptionally grumpy during the heat.
Some chin owners have reported that their chinchillas become more easily agitated when they are among their owners and cage mates.
However, noticeable mood swings are not as prevalent a symptom as heightened playfulness, particularly with their male counterparts.
When a female chinchilla is in heat, she will let the male chase her around in what appears to be an endless game of tag.
Chinchilla owners often joke that female chinchillas like to play “hard to get” when in heat.
Even if your female does not have a male to chase her about, she will exhibit apparent evidence through heightened energy levels, which can indicate that she is in heat.
Chinchillas are particularly active in the evening, so if your chinchilla is exceptionally playful or restless in the middle of the day, they may be in heat.
Keep in mind, though, that chinchillas are not strictly nocturnal creatures and are known to be active throughout the day as well.
However, if you pay attention to their habits and peak playtime hours, you should be able to identify this.
Male Chinchilla Discharge
If you have males, they frequently expel a waxy material when ready to mate.
This waxy ejaculate helps keep their sperm inside the female during and after mating. The ejaculate will most likely be found beneath hides or shelters inside their cage.
If you notice your chinchillas are being sexually active, there’s no doubt she’s in heat.
Females only mate when they are in heat, also known as Estrous. This may seem obvious, but when a female chinchilla is not interested in sexual intercourse, she is not afraid to express it.
If a male approaches the female for intercourse when she is not in heat, she may stand to intimidate and urinate at and on the male chinchilla.
That is unquestionably one way to say no!
Do Chinchillas Have a Mating Call? (Squeaks and Squeals)
Chinchillas, unlike other mammals, do not have a distinct “mating call”, instead they will make a variety of noises that correspond to their heat cycles.
These noises, however, may be difficult to depict because they sound so close to the squeaks they normally make. You may not be able to know unless you pay attention to other related behaviors.
Males make these squeaks and squawks when they locate a nearby female in heat.
Although males frequently accompany these noises with what is known as the “swishy tail dance” among the chin community. The female chinchilla will offer her backside and let the male mount her if she’s impressed.
Heat (Estrous) Duration
How Long Are Chinchillas in Heat?
Female chinchillas typically go into heat about once a month (or every 28 to 50 days). They enter heat for about 2-4 days at a time.
Since chinchillas don’t enter a menopause stage in their later years, this cycle will continue until the end of their lives.
Do Chinchillas Have a Mating Season?
Chinchillas often mate in the late winter or early spring months. It’s all about the weather and the conditions.
As a result, northern hemisphere chinchillas will mate from December until the end of April.
From June through late September, those in the southern hemisphere will mate (this is due to the seasons being different and flipped in the southern hemisphere).
Compared to other rodent mammals, this is a rather early start to the breeding season. However, this is due to the length of their gestation period.
Other rodents only carry their offspring for roughly a couple of weeks before giving birth. Chinchillas, on the other hand, can bear their young for up to 110 days.
The early breeding gives them a healthy head start on giving birth to their young in the early spring.
Having stated that, your pet chinchilla will not have a mating season. Chinchillas obviously do not follow calendars and are always aware of the month.
They react solely to the weather and climates and alter their bodies and cycles accordingly.
This essentially means that they can mate during any time of the year, given that the female is reciprocating to the male chinchilla’s advances.
Caged chinchillas are subjected to stable climates and circumstances all year. Cool, dimly lit environments are ideal for your chinchilla’s comfort.
This means that a pet chinchilla can mate almost all year because its biological markers are not activated by seasonal changes.
So, if you’re a chinchilla breeder, there’s really no such thing as a “mating season.”
Do Male Chinchillas Go Through Heat?
Male chinchillas, like other mammals, are capable of reproducing at any time of year. They do not have an estrous cycle like females.
However, they become more attracted to females who are going through heat cycles, despite the fact that they do not go through heat themselves.
Keep in mind that until the female is in heat, she will not mate and will mostly always reject male advances.
Do Chinchillas Go Through Puberty?
Absolutely! Although chinchillas do not undergo noticeable physiological changes during puberty like other animals, they are born sexually immature and do not reach sexual maturity until they are 7 to 8 months old.
This is especially true in males because, while their testicles actually grow larger when sexually mature due to the formation of semen, this is unnoticeable. After all, their testes remain inside their bodies and never drop.
When females reach puberty, they begin to undergo their estrus cycles, but there are no apparent changes to their bodies.
Do Chinchillas get Periods?
Female chinchillas (and other rodent species) do not have menstrual periods like humans and other mammals.
Chinchillas, on the other hand, go through an “Estrus Cycle” (heat), as previously discussed.
Because chins do not have periods, they do not go through menopause later in life, so they go through heat cycles until the end of their lives.
Additionally, in humans and other animals, periods remove the inner lining of the womb and dispose of the unfertilized egg.
On the other hand, Chinchillas retain and reabsorb the lining of the womb and the egg as a means of protecting internal resources, such as iron, which can be difficult to find in their natural diet.
Do Chinchillas Bleed During Heat?
Chinchillas do not bleed during heat because they do not have menstrual periods and preserve their unfertilized eggs.
A recent injury, illness, or infection is the cause of blood observed inside a chins cage.
So, if you see blood and can’t figure out what’s causing it, call your veterinarian for an examination as they are likely in need of medical attention.
What is a Heat Plug?
A heat plug, also known as an “estrus plug,” is a little white waxy substance that female chinchillas emit when they enter heat. It is created and then dropped before mating.
But keep in mind that female chins do not always drop heat plugs and are not always discovered.
Can I Spay My Chinchilla?
Although they can technically be spayed (or neutered), it is advisable to avoid doing so unless absolutely necessary.
The only reason to do so should be medical emergencies. It’s a risky treatment for chins since the anesthetic can be difficult for their bodies to endure. The risk heavily outweighs the need for it.
If you are not a breeder and have females and males living together, it is normal to be curious about “fixing” your chins. However, it is preferable to house them apart or keep only one gender.
As you can see, determining whether your chinchilla is in heat can be difficult.
Although some signs are extremely evident, others are not so obvious and require close attention to detect.
However, using the information provided above should give you a good idea of what to look for when determining if she is in heat, especially if you have mixed genders living together.