Are you in the market for a new family pet and considering a chinchilla.
Then you likely have questions. And one of the most common questions is if a chinchilla dies easily.
They are small and relatively fragile creatures with beautiful fur.
Most new potential chinchilla owners are worried about that “small and fragile” component that comes along with owning a chinchilla.
I was the same way and had this exact question in the beginning. Keep reading for the answer.
- 1 Do Chinchillas Die Easily?
- 2 Chinchillas Do Not Have To Die Easily
- 3 7 Tips to Avoid Illness And Injury With Chinchillas
- 4 Chinchillas Do Not Die Easily With Proper Care
Do Chinchillas Die Easily?
After owning a chinchilla for 5 years, here is what I can tell you on this topic.
No, chinchillas do not die easily. Chinchillas live up to 15-20 years with proper care and a proper diet. Chinchillas are fragile animals, but with proper knowledge on how to care for them, they can live for nearly two decades.
Hopefully, this gives you some peace of mind about how hard it is to take care of a chinchilla.
Overall, it’s a walk in the park, and chinchillas make excellent pets.
The rest of this post is designed to break down what you need to know to keep your chinchilla safe and healthy. Here’s what you need to know to avoid illness and injury with your chinchilla.
Chinchillas Do Not Have To Die Easily
All right let’s get one thing out of the way and make it clear.
Chinchillas do not die easily if you ethically raise them and take care of them.
While they are certainly considered fragile animals with small bones and sensitive digestive tracts, they certainly don’t require much in order to get two decades of a loving relationship with.
They are relatively cheap to care for and honestly don’t need an extensive amount of supervision.
With some love, a proper diet, and a safe environment, a chinchilla can live a long, healthy, and happy life.
Below, you are going to see my top 7 tips to implement to ensure your chinchilla is always safe, remains away from potential hazards and dangers.
These 7 tips will ensure you have a chinchilla reaching their potential and living a normal life-span.
7 Tips to Avoid Illness And Injury With Chinchillas
1) Chinchilla Proofed Rooms Are Essential
This is critical.
Please, take the time to chinchilla proof the room.
Don’t let any exposed cords or wires in an area where your chinchilla can reach or sink their teeth into.
They can chew wires, and they DO chew wires.
If you live in a space that’s just too difficult to protect against this, consider something such as the pop-up animal play tent that I rave about in so many of my posts on this site.
It’s basically large enough for 2 adults and a chinchilla or two to interact within.
It also includes mesh sides for breathability, and the roof Is also enclosed.
Simply meaning, your chinchilla can’t get out.
If they can’t get out, they can’t be exposed to other dangers.
This helps immensely with other areas of owning a chinchilla, such as bonding.
Forcing your chinchilla to interact with you in a closer manner will help build trust that much faster.
Keep in mind, I only recommend doing this if you simply don’t have a space you can create that’s safe.
More space for your chinchilla to jump around is always better than less space.
If you have other cords and wires exposed such as tv plugins, cell phone chargers, or just basic lamp plugins, be sure to purchase wire coverings.
I specifically used these Velcro pads:
I love them because I have OCD, and they still look appealing, protect the wires, and can be zip-tied, so something nearby to disguise and hide them even further.
2) Always Use Proper Handling Techniques
Okay, don’t freak out.
If you hold your chinchilla wrong, they will not die.
However, we know that they have small bones and fragile bodies.
Learning to handle a chinchilla properly is essential.
I have a post about this specifically that you can see here.
Always ensure you are holding a chinchilla comfortably, firmly, and not in a manner that could cause a long fall to the ground.
3) Always Promote Chewing
Chewing needs to be promoted because a chinchilla’s teeth consistently grow.
An overgrown tooth or a tooth that grows in the wrong direction (known as malocclusion) can cause pain, illness, and yes, even premature death.
Chinchillas need to consistently have access to safe chew items to promote teeth grinding.
Stick to safe wooden chinchilla chew sticks such as these:
I use them frequently. My chinchilla loves them, and they are affordable. No need to get fancy.
4) Unlimited Water Is A Must
As obvious as this may be, it’s a must.
I currently use two chinchilla water bottles attached to my cage at all times.
You always need to have water available for your chinchilla.
Furthermore, I’d stick to glass water bottles.
I think they serve as one of the best chinchilla water bottles, and they are easy to clean.
You need to clean the water bottle when you take the time to clean the cage frequently.
Water can grow bacteria.
Make sure to rinse and clean your water bottles on a schedule and keep them FULL.
5) Don’t Forget About Overheating And Proper Temps
Likely the most common accident-related death with chinchillas is overheating.
They overheat easily due to having such dense fur.
It’s imperative you always have the room where your chinchilla lives kept at ideal temperatures.
You can also use dehumidifiers to keep humidity at proper levels.
I currently use this dehumidifier at all times, to ensure the humidity in my basement remains around 40-60%.
You can also use these Chinchilla chiller stone pads to allow your chinchilla an easy sitting platform to cool down.
- Made of granite stone to keep chinchillas cool and healthy
- Can be placed anywhere inside chinchilla's home
- 6-Inch long, 10-inch wide
Both work great and would be my top recommendations.
Outside of this, ensure the room you are in is under 70 degrees ideally.
If you need further details, I have a post about the ideal temperatures for chinchillas that you can see here.
6) Never Neglect The Diet
This is also a common mistake chinchilla owners make. Sometimes we get carried away with too many treats or think that a chinchilla can eat anything.
While they might ingest it, it doesn’t mean that they should.
Always stick to using the recommended chinchilla hay and chinchilla formulated pellets.
Stick to only allowing your chinchilla treats that are safe and offer them in small quantities. Doing this will ensure your chinchilla has a balanced and healthy diet.
It also minimizes the chance of having problems with your chinchilla not eating or drinking. You can read more about what chinchillas eat and should eat here.
7) The Chinchilla Cage Always Matters
This may never directly lead to death, but it could lead to depression or injuries. If you are planning on adopting a chinchilla, take the time and money to get a suitable cage.
Wire bottom cages can be damaging to chinchillas’ feet and they are also just not very appealing.
Too small of a cage can be bothersome and depressing for a chinchilla. They need room to interact, jump, climb, and run around.
They are inside of their cage for more than 23 hours a day or more in most circumstances. Give them a happy environment.
I currently use the Critter Nations 2 Dual Level Cage.
- Solid and durable construction
- Great size with four levels
- Great platform fit for accessories like fleece liners
- Sits on wheels making cleaning easy
- Under cage storage
- Total of four doors, making access very easy
- Large cage making it unsuitable for tiny spaces
- One of the higher costing cages but for good reason; it is easily the best value for money
It’s got 4 levels and allows for custom fleece liners that make life way easier when it comes to chinchilla hygiene and cleaning.
- Designed specifically for Critter Nation Cage
- Includes: Two large pan liners (one with a notch/cut-out for the ramp opening, Two small shelf liners and three ramp covers
- Available in various designs
It’s much better than using traditional chinchilla bedding.
It’s not necessarily the cage you have to pick, but it’s my recommendation.
It’s the proper size, physically appealing, and my chinchilla loves it. You can read my full review on the cage here.
Chinchillas Do Not Die Easily With Proper Care
At the end of the day, chinchillas are much like any other animal or pet we can own.
They don’t die easily, but they are more fragile than other pets and do need ethical, caring, and loving owners to thrive and live long healthy lives.
I trust this post will give you a baseline, and you will soon realize how easy it really is.
I wish you the best of luck with your chinchilla or your upcoming adoption.
Share Your Stories and Chime in Below
I love it when my readers provide feedback on any post I reveal to my readers. What are some further recommendations I may have left out?
Be sure to share your thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below. As always, Chili and I appreciate you reading and will catch you next time.
my son worked with chinchillas previously so he was familiar. He had a male that lived for 2 years then suddenly died. They were devastated, and perplexed as to why (nothing new in environment, same food, plenty of water, room to play, etc). Then they got a female, she was about 9 weeks old they were told. They had her for only 2 days and she passed! They had completely disassembled the cage, new everything (except the cage), cleaned the cage (I think he said vinegar??) and got all new everything.
What could cause this? They are devastated and afraid to get another one, and my grandson is really devastated (he’s very young so this is super confusing for him).
That’s terrible! Unfortunately, there is no way to know what caused these deaths, without actually seeing the chinchillas and their environment. A vet may be able to tell you what happened.