Chinchillas and Hair Ring [Recognizing, Treating & More]

Owning a chinchilla is a great experience, but it doesn’t come without understanding how to provide some primary care when certain situations arise with your new pet.

Depending on if you choose to adopt a male or female chinchilla, you may have different circumstances to worry about throughout your chinchilla ownership.

For males, hair ring is undoubtedly an issue you are likely to encounter at one point or another.

Don’t worry; it’s not as challenging as you think to handle and remedy.

Let’s first begin by discussing what hair ring is and how to recognize it.

So, what is hair ring? Hair ring is when your chinchilla’s loose fur becomes trapped on the sheath of a chinchilla’s penis. With male chinchillas, when the penis retracts, the loose fur can form a ring and knot fur that circles the penis. When a hair ring occurs, it causes pain, can block urination and cause other health concerns for your chinchilla.

While slightly uncomfortable to envision, that’s what hair ring is.

Luckily, all the female chinchilla owners won’t have this concern to deal with.

They have their list of potential health hazards to watch for as well.

However, if you own a male chinchilla, hair ring is a real problem and something to be watching for.

Don’t worry, I intend to break down what you can do as the owner in these situations and explain what you need to know about hair ring in general.

I’ve created easy to navigate links directly below that will allow you to skip to any specific section of this post that you desire to learn more about.

By the end of this post, you should understand how to recognize hair ring with your chinchilla and how to remedy the situation for your chin effectively.


Here is what I plan on covering in today’s brief post:

As stated previously, feel free to skip around through this post if you only need limited information on the topic or perhaps, you’re short on time.

Otherwise, take a few minutes to educate yourself and learn what you need to know about hair ring.

Here are the details.

What Is Hair Ring?

The first thing to understand about hair ring with your male chinchilla is that it should not be taken lightly.

I’ve seen in social media groups or forums that chinchilla owners mistakenly think this isn’t a huge deal because it can be easily fixed.

The problem is that if we adopt this mindset, we may become less aware and able to spot hair ring when it does occur or take it less seriously overall.

Hair ring occurs most often after a chinchilla has been attempting to breed or just finished breeding.

Again, hair ring only impacts the male chinchilla.

Hair ring will surround the penis around the foreskin and cause serious problems with mating, urinating, and other serious complications that can occur if it’s not spotted quickly.

While most reputable chinchilla breeders have this process on lockdown and understand how to check for hair ring, that doesn’t mean all of us know how to handle it so effectively.

With this in mind, let’s discuss a few other topics that can help educate you on what to look for and how to remedy hair ring with your chinchilla.

How Do I Know If My Chinchilla Has Hair Ring?

Luckily, hair ring is relatively easy to notice, and it’s not difficult to handle as the chinchilla owner.

First and most importantly, it occurs most frequently when a chinchilla is attempting to mate or has just completed mating.

A straightforward indicator to spot is your chinchilla having difficulty breeding or mating.

Most often, this will be on the account of hair ring.

To diagnose and be 100% certain that you are dealing with hair ring, you will need to complete a check of your male chinchillas’ penis.

Completing a Hair Ring Check on Your Male Chinchilla’s

It’s been said by many others that own chinchillas and experts on the topic that a check should always be performed on a male chinchilla for hair ring at least once every 30 days.

Part of this is since hair ring can present even if you don’t often breed or even have a cage situation where a male and female chinchilla are together.

To complete a check of your chinchilla and to visually inspect for hair ring, I personally recommend using 2 individuals.

One individual can hold the chinchilla while the other carefully check for any issues.

This also would apply if you need to remedy a hair ring issue that your sure is already present on your chinchilla.

Allow one person to hold the chinchilla in an appropriate fashion while one slowly removes the stuck hair from the sheath of the penis.

Now, some individuals who recently adopted a chinchilla may be nervous about this because their chinchilla hasn’t adapted to being held yet.

That’s okay.

Start with my guide about how to get your chinchilla to enjoy being held here.

You can also use something such as the Pop-Up Animal Play Tent (Link to Amazon) to warm your chinchilla up to being held.

I love this tent and use it all the time for videos and letting my chinchilla interact closely with my 3-year-old son.

It can surely help you have more control over your chinchilla to complete a hair ring check or to fix a hair ring issue.

Common Symptoms with Chinchilla Hair Ring

Now, let’s assume you have an idea that your chinchilla may be struggling with hair ring.

What symptoms may your chinchilla display?

Here is a quick list of symptoms your chinchilla may be showing with hair ring:

  • Difficulty Urinating
  • Frequent Chewing and Grooming of the Penis Area
  • Pain
  • Loss of Appetite

Any of these symptoms listed above can easily indicate that your chinchilla is suffering from hair ring.

If you don’t feel comfortable handling the situation on your own, be sure to find a local exotic vet that’s qualified and has worked with chinchillas in the past.

Not every chinchilla owner prefers to handle these situations or has fears about it.

There is nothing wrong with this and a completely ethical and viable option for you.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, hair ring is a real issue with male chinchillas.

Especially if you breed chinchillas or a male and female chinchilla have been mating.

Recognizing hair ring and getting it taken care of as quickly as possible is imperative.

Chinchillas are not difficult to care for, but from time to time they may present with an illness or two such as this.

Rely on a vet if needed, and don’t sweat it!

I wish you the best of luck and wish for your chinchilla to have a quick recovery.

Share Your Stories on Chinchilla Hair Ring

What’s your experience with hair ring and your chinchillas?

Do you have further recommendations you can share with the readers?

Be sure to share your thoughts, comments, and stories by dropping a comment below.

As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading.

Thanks again, and we will see you next time.

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Simply use the links to check them out!

Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 4 year-old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know. I'm the Author of the eBook "The Ultimate Chinchilla Care Guide, From Adoption and On"

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