Chinchillas are growing in popularity as an adorable and excellent family pet.
But so many people still know very little about these creatures.
I am reminded of that every time I have someone over and I introduce them to my pet.
They always have so many questions.
And when I tell them some fun facts about chinchillas, they’re amazed by these little rodents.
That’s why I decided to compile this list of surprising, fun and interesting facts about chinchillas. Let’s see how many of the 34 chinchilla fun facts are new to you.
- 1 9 Fun Facts About Chinchillas’ Physical Traits
- 1.1 #1: Crazy Dense And Soft Fur Coats
- 1.2 #2: Constantly Growing Teeth
- 1.3 #3: Only Four Toes
- 1.4 #4: Multiple Mutations, Adaptations, And Colors
- 1.5 #5: Bold And Black Eyes
- 1.6 #6: Fragile Ribs And Small Bones
- 1.7 #7: Sensitive And Small Digestive Systems
- 1.8 #8: Light As A Feather
- 1.9 #9: Adorable And Small Ears
- 2 11 Fun Facts About Chinchilla Behavior
- 2.1 #1: Ability To Love And Show Affection
- 2.2 #2: Crazy Jumping And Climbing Abilities
- 2.3 #3: Naturally A Scared And Timid Creature
- 2.4 #4: Sometimes Cuddly, Sometimes Not
- 2.5 #5: Dusk And Dawn Adventurist
- 2.6 #6: Hiders And Naturally Curious
- 2.7 #7: Social Creatures With A Desire For Interaction
- 2.8 #8: The Ability To Live With Other Chinchillas
- 2.9 #9: No Biting (For The Most Part)
- 2.10 #10: Loving Some Dust
- 2.11 #11: Receptive To Treats
- 3 14 Other Interesting Facts About Chinchilla
- 3.1 #1: Chinchillas Live A Long Time
- 3.2 #2: Chinchillas Have Always Been Preyed Upon
- 3.3 #3: Chinchillas Need Specific Temperatures And Humidity Levels
- 3.4 #4: Minimal Shedding And Dander
- 3.5 #5: Chinchillas Can Live Off Only Hay, Pellets And Water
- 3.6 #6: Chinchillas Can Be Potty Trained (Kind Of)
- 3.7 #7: Chinchillas Love Toys And Accessories
- 3.8 #8: Chinchillas Love To Chew
- 3.9 #9: Water Is Dangerous For Chinchillas
- 3.10 #10: Chinchillas Are Brilliant Rodents
- 3.11 #11: Chinchillas Groom Themselves
- 3.12 #12: Chinchilla Can Carry 1 To 6 Kits During Pregnancy
- 3.13 #13: Chinchillas Poop Non-Stop
- 3.14 #14: Chinchillas Produce Minimal Odor
- 4 Chinchilla Fun Facts You Need To Know: Final Thoughts
9 Fun Facts About Chinchillas’ Physical Traits
Let’s begin our list of fun facts about chinchillas with some physical characteristics that set this rodent apart.
#1: Crazy Dense And Soft Fur Coats
If you weren’t already aware, chinchillas have incredibly dense fur. This helps to keep issues like fleas and mites at bay.
It also requires proper care to maintain. This means dust baths and proper temperatures to ensure overheating doesn’t take place.
But it’s worth it. The feeling of a chinchilla’s fur is incredible. It is probably the softest animal you will ever interact with. Seriously, it’s incredible.
Of course, that is a bad thing for the animals. They have been hunted to endangered status, because their fur makes beautiful coats and fetches an incredibly high price. And when you take into account how many chinchillas to make a coat, it means many dead chins in the name of fashion.
#2: Constantly Growing Teeth
Chinchilla’s teeth grow throughout their entire life. This is common with many rodents, actually
It means they need to constantly grind their teeth down by chewing on everything. What’s required from you is to make sure your pet always has enough items to chew on safely.
You also need to ensure your pet gets a proper diet. The right food also allows them to file down their teeth and prevent infections and overgrowing teeth issues.
If a chinchilla does not have the ability to chew and file down its teeth, they can grow multiple inches in a single year.
If you plan to adopt one of these friendly creatures, you need to make sure you provide the necessary chewable items to prevent issues with this in the future.
#3: Only Four Toes
Yep, that’s right, my friends. Chinchillas only have four toes. That makes them quite unique when compared to other animals.
Furthermore, they have small and fragile feet, and it’s one of the reasons that many experts and other chinchilla owners advise against wire bottom cages. Those can cause a number of injuries or diseases, like chinchilla bumblefoot.
#4: Multiple Mutations, Adaptations, And Colors
Let’s be clear about 1 thing. Color does not matter. Any color and any mutation/adaptation of chinchilla will make a great pet and they are all adorable creatures.
However, I bet you would be surprised to know that chinchillas are bred in more than 20 colors in total.
Talk about options.
To learn more about this topic, be sure to visit my post about the color and mutation options you have when adopting a chinchilla from a local breeder near you. The link is in the first sentence of this section.
#5: Bold And Black Eyes
This is a distinctive trait of the chinchilla and part of what makes them unique and adorable pets.
They have curious but large black and beady eyes that stare right at you patiently waiting to be let out of their cage for some much-needed playtime.
#6: Fragile Ribs And Small Bones
Perhaps this isn’t something you can notice at first glance, due to their thick fur, but it is something that you need to be leery of as an actual chinchilla owner.
Especially when it comes to holding and physically picking up your chinchilla. Beneath those dense fur coats, chinchillas have tiny and fragile rib cages and fragile bones in general.
It’s essential to learn how to handle a chinchilla properly and to bond your chinchilla to enjoy being held slowly. If you need help with this specific topic, read that guide about to make a chinchilla enjoy being.
#7: Sensitive And Small Digestive Systems
Yep, it doesn’t take much to upset the belly with these rodents.
It’s one of the reasons you need to make sure you always provide the correct chinchilla diet. This typically consists of primarily timothy hay and chinchilla formulated pellets.
Avoid other items like fruits that are offered in too high of quantities, or items they shouldn’t be ingesting in general, unless you know for sure the item is safe. You can learn more about what fruits a chinchilla can and can’t eat here.
#8: Light As A Feather
Chinchillas are about as agile and lightweight as it gets. Sure, other rodents like mice are smaller and weigh less, but in general, the chinchilla is a small and lightweight creature.
In fact, chinchillas rarely grow over roughly 1 to 3 pounds in total, with 3 pounds being the extreme end.
Overall, if you have been considering the ultimate soft, cozy, and pocket-sized pet, a chinchilla may be the best fit for you.
#9: Adorable And Small Ears
Chinchillas also have tiny ears. When alert and active, you may notice their ears are up, and when in a shy or scared mode, you may notice their ears down.
Another fun fact: if your chinchilla is possibly too hot or overheating, the insides of the ears turn red or blood vessels become visible. This is a sign that you should end playtime and allow your chinchilla to cool down.
Now that we know just how cute these chinchillas can be, let’s talk about what kind of behavioral characteristics you can expect from a chinchilla.
11 Fun Facts About Chinchilla Behavior
These behavioral characteristics are all things you need to be aware of if you are considering getting a chinchilla. Most of them might surprise you, too.
#1: Ability To Love And Show Affection
This is perhaps one of the most desired traits you can experience with a chinchilla. Chinchillas are affectionate animals capable of growing close and intimate bonds with their owners and other family members.
Sure, sometimes it can take some time for this bond to grow, but overall, your chinchilla will grow to love you and respect you.
If you are impatient, you might be better off with a different rodent that does not require as much time to get comfortable with you, before showing affection. Read chinchilla vs guinea pig for more on this.
#2: Crazy Jumping And Climbing Abilities
This is fun to watch, but it also requires some work on your end as the chinchilla owner.
Chinchillas in the wild have the ability and desire to jump and climb. In fact, a chinchilla can jump nearly 6 feet in the air.
Not only do you need to proof your rooms where your chinchilla can play, but you also have to ensure that you have a cage large enough to promote this.
I always recommend the Critter Nation 2 Dual Level Cage.
However, I know that chinchilla owners prefer to spice up their chinchilla’s environment in their own unique ways.
With that being the case, I recommend reading my guide on how to choose the best chinchilla cage.
It will help you find a vertically large enough cage for any budget, so that you can give your chinchilla the space it wants and desires to remain happy and healthy.
#3: Naturally A Scared And Timid Creature
This is especially true after the initial adoption with most chinchillas. It takes a few weeks for a chinchilla to adapt to its new environment fully.
Due to being heavily preyed upon in the wild, the chinchilla brain is naturally programmed to remain scared and run away from danger.
Doing some small things, such as providing a nesting box, can ensure that your chinchilla always has space inside of its cage where it can feel safe.
Outside of that, simply give it time and the timid phase will end. Then your pet will be excited to see you each day. Patience is key when trying to tame a chinchilla.
#4: Sometimes Cuddly, Sometimes Not
I know, I know. This can either be exciting or disappointing to hear. Unfortunately, it’s the truth. Some chinchillas are naturally more cuddly than others.
I feel as if my own 3-year-old female chinchilla is a cuddly pet, but then I see videos of other chinchilla owners interacting with their chinchilla and realize that some chinchillas are even more cuddly than mine.
It’s just the way it goes, my friends.
Keep that patience and keep building the bond, and you will be surprised at how cuddly a chinchilla can become.
#5: Dusk And Dawn Adventurist
Oh no! Finally, a potentially negative trait about a chinchilla. Well, not really.
It’s just a solid reason not to let your chinchilla cage be in your bedroom. Chinchillas are crepuscular and nocturnal and are naturally the most active at dusk and dawn.
Don’t believe me?
Buy yourself a camera and leave it to record for one day. You will notice these little furry creatures getting most of their fun and exercise in during these times.
#6: Hiders And Naturally Curious
Sounds like a catch-22 doesn’t it? Well, it’s also true. When your chinchilla is out to play, it will want to roam the house to explore anything and everything.
It’s just how they are. At the same time, around new people or a new environment, you may catch it hiding most of the time in its hiding box until it adjusts.
Give it time, and it will eventually start spending less and less time inside of that nesting box.
#7: Social Creatures With A Desire For Interaction
Chinchillas are incredibly social. In fact, a lack of social interaction from you or even a second chinchilla can cause a chinchilla to begin entering a depressed phase.
They have emotions just like you and me. If you adopt a chinchilla, be sure to spend some time with it when time permits, or considering getting a second chinchilla for it to interact with.
#8: The Ability To Live With Other Chinchillas
Compared to the ferret or other pets like it, chinchillas do quite well when being housed with other chinchillas.
Ferrets are the complete opposite. They don’t necessarily need a cage mate nor desire one. Can chinchillas and ferrets live together? No, never. One is a predator and the other is prey. You can guess how this might end. If you want to keep both, keep them separated at all times.
But two chinchillas can work out great, as long as they like each other and you give them time and space to get to know each other gradually. This can make owning a chinchilla a lot of fun for the mere fact that you can expand the number of chins you have in the future.
#9: No Biting (For The Most Part)
One of the things I love most about my chinchilla is her gentle nature. Not just with myself but even with my young 3-year-old son.
Chinchillas, in general, are not known to bite. They are gentle. However, this doesn’t mean that a chinchilla will never bite.
If you don’t do anything to make them feel threatened and build a bond with them, eventually your chinchilla will grow to love you, and biting is not something you need to be concerned with.
#10: Loving Some Dust
If you haven’t seen a chinchilla take a dust bath, you are missing out. They absolutely love it, and it’s all that’s needed for them to maintain proper hygiene and to remain clean.
A dust bath is pure joy for them. Ensure that you are providing this pleasure 2 to 3 times per week.
If you need to learn more about the best dust to use for a chinchilla, read that post on the topic.
#11: Receptive To Treats
Chinchillas love treats. But you need to make sure you stick to safe options, like fruits, raisins, and dried oats.
Don’t overdo this, but make sure to show some love from time to time and offer a treat to your chinchilla. Trust me, it will be receptive and happy you offered.
14 Other Interesting Facts About Chinchilla
So we have covered the physical characteristics and the behavior characteristics of a chinchilla. Now it’s time just to discuss some fun facts about chinchillas in general.
#1: Chinchillas Live A Long Time
Chinchillas are one of the longest living rodents you can adopt. They have long life spans if they are well cared for.
They can live to 20+ years in many circumstances. In my opinion, this is one of the reasons that chinchillas make such an excellent option for a family pet. Talk about the opportunity to build a bond that will last several decades.
#2: Chinchillas Have Always Been Preyed Upon
Part of the reason chinchillas have the personality and behavior characteristics that they do, such as hiding or even running away, is purely because they have always been the hunted.
Other animals in the wild, and even humans, hunted chinchillas for either food or to make luxurious clothing from their dense fur.
And yes, humans hunted them for food too, though only in small numbers. You can eat a chinchilla and apparently it tastes like guinea pig. I’ll take their word for it. I never want to find out.
It’s no wonder they take a few weeks to build some trust and naturally like to sit inside that hiding box until they feel comfortable. It’s just what they are programmed to do.
#3: Chinchillas Need Specific Temperatures And Humidity Levels
Thanks to their dense fur, chinchillas can overheat very quickly. This makes it imperative for a chinchilla to remain at specific temperatures in order to survive.
It’s also the reason I have a post dedicated to how to keep your chinchilla at ideal temperatures.
#4: Minimal Shedding And Dander
I love this fact about chinchillas. It means my house stays clean. It is excellent for anyone with allergies to pets.
Chinchillas shed very minimally. Almost not at all. They also produce limited dander.
Sure, they do shed lightly, but compared to other pets, you will be delighted with the limited amount of shedding you notice throughout the course of owning a chinchilla.
#5: Chinchillas Can Live Off Only Hay, Pellets And Water
Not only can a chinchilla live primarily off hay, pellets, and water, but it should live off only that.
Chinchillas have very sensitive digestive tracts, and too much of food outside of these recommendations can cause stomach issues or even blockages.
Sugar and foods high in acidy can really wreak havoc on a chinchilla’s stomach. This makes life easy, in my opinion.
Outside of ensuring you have the correct hay, pellets, and some water, you don’t have much else you need to do in order to ensure that your chinchilla is peak health.
#6: Chinchillas Can Be Potty Trained (Kind Of)
Yep, I bet you didn’t see this one coming, did you? It’s not the most straightforward task to complete, but it can be done.
Unfortunately, you can’t train a chinchilla to poop in a litter pan. They poop far too much for this to happen.
But with some effort, it’s entirely possible to train a chinchilla to urinate in a litter pan instead of urinating on shavings or fleece liners inside of the cage.
If you need further information about the best chinchilla bedding options (hint: I love reusable fleece liners, since they save money and cleaning time), you can view my post here.
#7: Chinchillas Love Toys And Accessories
Sure, this may cost you a few extra bucks, but it’s essential in order to ensure your chinchilla has plenty to do inside of its cage to remain mentally stimulated.
Chinchillas will interact with all sorts of unique toys such as hanging hammocks, long tunnels, and chew toys dangling from the cage.
A chinchilla using these items with frequency is also a great way for you to know if your chinchilla is happy. If they aren’t using them often, it could be a sure sign that your chinchilla is stressed.
Be sure to provide your chinchilla plenty of these items inside of its cage.
If you need further details on this information, be sure to check out my post about the best chinchilla accessories you can purchase.
#8: Chinchillas Love To Chew
Going back to the previous fun fact, part of the reason these accessories are needed for a chinchilla is that these rodents love to chew.
Not only do they love to chew, but they also need to chew to help keep their teeth filed down. It is one of the reasons chinchillas often hold things.
Just be sure to protect your chinchilla from chewing dangers when it is outside of its cage by doing things such as covering wires and keeping harmful and toxic items out of reach.
#9: Water Is Dangerous For Chinchillas
Don’t get confused here, my friends. Chinchillas always need an unlimited supply of water for drinking purposes. It also needs to come from a water bottle to prevent bacteria.
However, chinchillas should never be physically getting wet, as in taking a traditional bath. A chinchilla’s fur makes it too difficult for them to dry and getting wet can lead to infections and potentially even death.
#10: Chinchillas Are Brilliant Rodents
I’ve owned a chinchilla for a long time. These creatures will amaze you with their intelligence.
From understanding their own chinchilla names, recognizing you as the owner, or even understanding when it’s time to come out play, these little creatures still impress me to this day.
#11: Chinchillas Groom Themselves
Chinchillas groom themselves entirely outside of the dust baths that are required to keep them clean and healthy. It’s a nice added benefit, if you ask me.
#12: Chinchilla Can Carry 1 To 6 Kits During Pregnancy
For being such a small rodent, I bet you wouldn’t expect a female chinchilla to carry more than 1 kit, would you?
Well, you’re kind of right. Most of the time, they carry 1 to 3 kits, with 2 being the most common.
However, they can carry up to 6 babies. Although rare, it’s still a relatively interesting fact about a chinchilla.
#13: Chinchillas Poop Non-Stop
I’m sure most of you may already know this, but I find it crazy that a chinchilla will poop more than 250 times in one day. Yep, that’s a lot of poop to clean up.
Make sure that if you plan on adopting a chinchilla, you read my post about how to keep all that chinchilla poop in the cage, to ensure you don’t have a mess around your cage.
#14: Chinchillas Produce Minimal Odor
On the flip side of pooping non-stop, the upside is that the poop doesn’t stink. In fact, for the most part, a chinchilla does not smell.
For being a rodent that spends decades inside of a cage, I find this to be a huge advantage.
Clearly, you need to keep up with cage cleaning etc. but for the most part, your life will be easy when it comes to keeping your chinchilla area odor-free.
Chinchilla Fun Facts You Need To Know: Final Thoughts
Well, there you have it, friends: everything you need to know about the physical and behavioral characteristics of a chinchilla.
I know this wasn’t my typical post.
Still, I figured that enough people may be curious about chinchilla characteristics and fun facts about chinchillas that it was worth putting together.
Hopefully, you learned something you didn’t know about the chinchilla and you realize that they are one of the best pets you can choose to adopt. Not to mention, easy to care for.
Now, it’s your turn to share.
Do you have any fun facts about a chinchilla’s physical traits, personality, or behaviors you think should be added to this list?
Be sure to share those extra facts by dropping a comment below.
As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading our list of fun facts about chinchillas. Thanks again, and we will see you next time.
Ronald Theriault says
We had a Chinchilla for eleven years. We named him Rocky after the cartoon character in Bullwinkle. He was magnificent. He loved to come out of his home and sit on my shoulder while I was in my recliner. Rocky loved raisins. He held them like one would an apple. He was very fast and on more than one occasion we had to fish him out of a tight spot. If you welcome a Chinchilla into your home, please make certain that his environment is correct. Make certain that he has a flat surface to get his feet off from the cage floor. His water should be a drip bottle. In the wild, he would sleep under cover, so make certain that he has a place to hide. We used a plumbing fixture; it was a “Y” made out of PVC. This gave him shelter and the sense of of having three ways to escape. Our veterinarian told us that Chinchillas were hearty and healthy and that they responded very well to medical care. Enjoy!
Some great advice, especially providing a place to hide (even better, several). Without that, a chinchilla will never feel comfortable and will always be nervous and on-edge. Thank you for sharing!