Weight in chinchillas varies depending on the sex of the animal, its age, genetics, eating habits and exercise. There is no clear indicator that a certain weight in a chinchilla is considered to be the appropriate one since they are individuals just like humans and some of them are more lean or rounded than the others.
Even though we cannot say that a certain number on the weighing scale is adequate for a certain chinchilla’s age we can say that there are guidelines where the average weight is stated and thus check if our chinchillas are skinny or overweight compared to those guidelines.So, how much do chinchillas weigh? On average healthy adult chinchillas weigh anywhere from 1.1-1.8 lbs with that being said, it is not unusual to find chinchillas that are heavier because of their build but these chinchillas are not necessarily considered obese just because they are heavier than the average chinchilla.
Adult chinchillas that weigh less than 1 lb are considered very thin or even malnourished and should weigh at least 1 lbs. The easiest way to track your chinchilla’s weight is to use a food scale and weigh your pet on a regular weekly or monthly basis.
Weight gain or weight loss is a clear indicator of your pet’s health and it is the first symptom of occurring illnesses.
Summary of today’s article:
- Chinchillas weight varies depending on several factors
- How do I know if my chinchilla is at a healthy weight
- How do I know if my chinchilla is under-weight or overweight?
- Your chinchilla is what it eats
Chinchillas’ weight changes throughout their lifetime and even through the day. The weight can also change during the seasons if you live in a continental climate where you have winters and summers.
Some chinchillas will gain weight during the colder months and lose weight when the temperatures increase, this is not a rare occurrence and it is completely normal just like shedding of the fur after the winter months. Besides seasonal weight changes, chinchillas weight is influenced and depends on the sex of the chinchilla, its genetics, age, feeding and exercise habits and overall health.
The Age Factor
When chinchillas are born they weigh just an ounce or two and the weight depends on the size of the litter– bigger litters have smaller kits and vice versa. By the age of 6-8 weeks the kits grow and gain weight rapidly and they will reach the weight of around 7-8 ounces.
A chinchilla will reach adulthood at the age of 8-12 months and in this period it will reach the weight and size that it will most probably have during its adult life, ranging from 1.1-1.8 lbs. As chinchillas get older their weight will slightly decrease. Read more here on how to tell the age of chinchillas.
The Sex Factor
Chinchilla females are usually bigger and heavier than their partners. Their weight is usually around 1.1-1.8 lbs while males are just a little shy from these values being at around 1-1.4 lbs.
Although females are usually bigger than males, sizes and weight will vary from breeder to breeder depending on the available genetic pool of the chinchillas.
The Genetic Factor
Genetics play a much bigger role in the weighting game, usually larger mates will have larger offspring and if the litter is small (1-2 kits) the babies would be larger as well. The genetics factor will determine how big and heavy your healthy chinchilla will be at its adult age, but the feeding habits and exercise will determine if your chinchilla will get heavier, leaner or obese over time.
The Dietary Factor
An unhealthy chinchilla diet consisting of sugary treats and fatty foods will make your chinchilla overweight and much heavier than what it is supposed to be. This can cause other health issues to arise like diabetes, which will thus result in a constant weight loss and other serious symptoms in your pet’s health.
Not all chinchillas that are big and heavy have dietary issues, as we stated genetics play a big role in the basic build of your pet and if you are not sure if your pet is overweight we suggest that you check with your exotic pet vet.
The Activity Factor
Faster and more active chinchillas will weigh a little less than their relaxed, lazier peers. Although it is hard to imagine, there are chinchillas that are lazier during playtime and actually enjoy taking a lot of snoozes and munching on a bunch of food.
By not being very active and choosing to eat more (mostly pelleted foods and occasional treats) these chinchillas will build up more fat than their active buddies. If kept on a proper diet your lazy pet will not get obese and will live a healthy life. Active chinchillas have strong muscles and have a leaner appearance, although it is very hard to visually assess a chinchilla’s weight since their body is covered with long, dense, camouflaging fur.
The cage size is also an important factor to consider because chinchillas that are in bigger cages have more room for exercise and thus burn more calories and appear leaner than chinchillas with smaller cages.
It can be tricky to determine whether your pet is over or underweight. You should focus on giving your pet low-calorie foods that are the base of their diet, like fresh hay and you would supplement such a diet with a healthy dose of pelleted food.
Try to avoid muesli-type foods even if they seem like a balanced nutritional meal, it is most likely that your pet will just pick out the tastiest bits (sugary-fruit content and fatty-nuts) and leave the real nutrition in the bowl.
Weigh Your Chinchilla
After providing the best nutrition option to your pet, you should also monitor its weight. For this you would need a plain digital kitchen scale. These scales are portable, easy to use, measure quickly and precisely and you can always put a bowl on top of them where you would put your chinchilla in for a weigh-in.
Try to weigh your pet at least every week, at about the same time of the day. A healthy chinchilla’s weight will just slightly vary on different days for about 0.7 ounces.
This is normal due to drinking, eating and pooping that your chinchilla does throughout the day, and you can expect these weight shifts.
Why Is My Chinchilla Losing Weight?
If you start noticing a steady decline in your pet’s weight you should take it to the vet for a check-up, as this is usually the first and only symptom before your pet gets seriously ill. One reason why your chinchilla is losing weight could be because of its age, as chinchillas get older they start losing muscles and hair and slowly start losing weight.
Your chinchilla can also start losing weight due to recent changes in its diet, if you introduce a new food it is not used to or it is not a nutritionally balanced meal. A chinchilla can also lose weight if it is the summer period, where its weight will get lower but stop decreasing at a certain point (after about 2 ounces of difference compared to winter months).
Why Is My Chinchilla Gaining Weight?
If your chinchilla has a weight increase, this could be due to several factors. Your chinchilla might still be growing and it is normal for it to gain weight until it reaches adulthood at around 12 months or even up to 2 years.
Chinchillas can also gain weight due to the slowing down and stopping of their metabolism caused by a condition called gastrointestinal stasis. This condition usually appears due to poor nutrition and the lack of hay in the chinchilla’s diet.
The first sign of this condition will be the lack of poppies and weight gain. If your pet starts gaining weight take it to the vet, the veterinarian will set the diagnosis and determine whether your pet has a “stasis” or it is getting obese (due to poor nutrition or other underlining health issues).
There are two quick ways to check if your chinchilla is overweight or underweight without using a scale. Note that this way you will not be able to detect subtle changes in its weight, which is why regular weighing is a necessity.
When you hold or stroke your chinchilla, you should not feel any bones “sticking out”. The spine should be smooth and covered with muscles and the legs should feel strong and covered with lean muscle.
If you can feel bones under the skin that means your pet is seriously underweight and is in need of emergency medical care and advice.
To check whether your pet is overweight or obese you should place your chinchilla on a flat surface and lift its front paws with your index fingers. If you see folds of skin around the front feet and on the chest, this would be a good indicator that your pet is “fatter” than the normal chinchilla’s physique. In order to determine whether your chinchilla is obese, better take it to the vet.
Chinchillas’ weight will shift and change throughout its lifetime. A healthy chinchilla will have a consistent weigh somewhere in the range of 1.1-1.8 lbs, depending on its genetics, sex, nutrition and activity level.
Monitoring your pet’s weight can help with uncovering underlying health issues and it could even save your pets life! No matter how big or small your chinchilla is the food you offer it will make a difference in its health and weight.