How Long Do Chinchillas Live For? [Check This Out!]


Chinchillas are unique in many ways and make fantastic family pets. It’s natural to have questions about what you can expect going forward if you’re considering adopting a chinchilla soon.

I was the same way. I precisely wanted to know the details on one topic.

How long do chinchillas live?

I’ve now owned a female chinchilla for several years and researched plenty on the topic, and here is what I can tell you.

So, how long do chinchillas live? Chinchillas live for more than 20 years. In the wild, chinchillas live on average 8-10 years due to harsh conditions, hunting, and predators. In captivity, chinchillas live for 15-20 years or longer.

Now, I don’t think many of you were curious about this question because you needed to know how long a chinchilla will survive in the wild.

I’m sure most of you are curious because you want to know what you can expect if you decide to pull the trigger and adopt a chinchilla of your own.

With that being said, the answer most relevant to you is that chinchillas will live 15-20 years or longer.

This is also assuming that the conditions are ideal, and you raise your chinchilla in a safe and ethical manner.

The rest of this post is designed not only to break down how long chinchillas live in certain situations but also detail everything you need to know to ensure you give your chinchilla a long and healthy life span.

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

Here’s what I intend on covering in today’s post:

how-long-do-chinchillas-live

If you are not in a hurry and you didn’t need these answers for a school research paper, I recommend you pull up a seat and take 2 minutes to get the full details directly below.

Here are the details to understand.

How Long Do Chinchillas Live?

As stated before, there is a difference between how long a chinchilla will live in the wild and how long they will captivity.

It makes sense.

In the wild, a chinchilla is a weak link.

For years, they were even hunted by humans for their dense, soft coats of fur.

This doesn’t even include the other predators that would kill and endanger chinchillas such as fox, owls, hawks, and other large cats and birds.

It reached a point where chinchillas were even considered endangered.

This is a shame considering how wonderful a pet they make and that humans helped contribute towards this tragedy.

Shockingly enough, a chinchilla in the wild can still find ways to survive and live for more than 8-10 years.

They are masters at hiding in dark places, fast on their feet, and have incredible jumping and climbing abilities.

Don’t get me wrong.

They are still no match for most other animals in the wild.

Plain and simple.

However, for us reading this post, we plan to keep our chinchillas safe and out of harm’s way.

If you do that, I can assure you that chinchillas do not die easily.

Let’s dive into those details next.

How Long Do Chinchillas Live in Captivity?

Chinchillas living in captivity is an entirely different story.

You no longer have the dangers of predator animals coming after our small, soft chinchillas.

Ethical parents of chinchillas can see chinchillas live more than 20 years with ease, although the median age of survival age of a chinchilla in captivity as a pet is between 15-20 years.

But, check this out. It’s on record that the longest recorded life span of a chinchilla is 29 years, 229 days old.

Pretty cool, huh?

Typically, illness or injury is what could potentially cut these numbers short.

I do, however, intend to cover some basic precautions you can implement to make sure your chinchilla can live close to the two-decade mark.

Why Do Chinchillas Live So Long?

Pet chinchillas live so much longer than other rodents for a few reasons.

First and foremost, for a rodent, they don’t have many health concerns that arise too frequently.

Sure, they still have common concerns any pet can deal with, but for the most part, proper care can make a chinchilla live very long healthy lives.

Secondly, chinchillas in captivity as a pet don’t need to search for food and water sources.

You are providing it.

In addition to that, the food and diet chinchillas consume are very healthy overall loaded with protein and fiber.

This is going to be about 90% timothy hay and chinchilla formulate pellets.

All these factors with proper safety precautions are what give the chinchilla the ability to live such long healthy lives.

In fact, they have the longest span compared to any other common pet rodent, such as the rabbit, degu, or ferret.

Can Chinchillas Live Alone?

Yes, chinchillas can absolutely live alone.

Sure, some chinchillas do better in pairs, but this isn’t always the case, and it’s not necessary either.

Chinchillas can thrive and survive just fine in captivity without ever living with another chinchilla.

I’m personally a huge fan of chinchillas, so I plan to adopt at least one more and maybe several, but if you are on the fence about the best approach, you can 100% allow a chinchilla to live alone without issue.

Keys for A Chinchilla Living Long Healthy Lives

Now, we know how long a chinchilla can and should live.

What else can we do to extend the lifespans and ensure they live long and healthy lives?

Is it hard to take care of a chinchilla?

Absolutely not.

Look, it’s simple, my friends.

For a chinchilla to reach their average life span, you only need to do a few things.

First, stick to the basics and ensure your chinchilla is getting the proper diet that includes the correct and best chinchilla hay, chinchilla always need formulated pellets specifically designed for chinchillas and plenty of access to water.

Next, for a mental morale boost, make sure your chinchilla has plenty of space to act like a chinchilla.

This includes ensuring you have a proper size chinchilla cage.

I’m a huge fan of the Critter Nation 2 Dual Level Cage.

You can read my review if necessary, on this cage here.

Next, spend time with your chinchilla.

Let them out and allow them to get social interaction.

Chinchillas are social creatures and want to show affection towards their owners.

Plain and simple.

Outside of these recommendations, all you need to do is ensure you keep your chinchilla at ideal temperatures.

You can read my post about taking the necessary steps to do this here.

Also, make sure that when your chinchilla is out for playtime that you keep the room hazard-free, which involved ensuring your chinchilla can’t chew on any hazardous items such as cords or wires.

If you do these things, you’re in great shape to a long, loving, and healthy relationship with your new chinchilla.

Most Likely and Common Reasons for Chinchilla Death

If that’s what it takes to keep our chinchillas safe, let’s also discuss briefly what we need to understand about the ever so sad truth that a chinchilla does, in fact, pass away eventually.

Below are the most common reasons for chinchilla death:

Overheating and Non-Ideal Climates and Temperatures- I referenced a post I have above discussing this topic.

Chinchillas have very dense fur and need to remain at low humidity levels in addition to proper temperatures between 60-70F.

Overheating can cause a chinchilla to die.

Improper Diet- Overloading on treats and not understanding the nutrition a chinchilla needs can also cause a chinchilla to die.

Cleaning Products- Chinchillas are sensitive in about every way you can imagine.

They have sensitive digestive tracts, among others.

Chinchillas that take in cleaning products or the wrong detergents inside of their cage could experience death.

Dental Problems- Chinchillas always need the ability to file and grind their teeth down.

Overgrown or improper growth with a chinchilla’s teeth can cause a chinchilla to die from either illness or starvation.

This is due to a chinchilla’s natural reaction not to eat due to pain from the teeth and dental issues.

Weight Loss- This tie back n directly to the improper diet.

You can read about how much a chinchilla should weigh here.

Make sure always to be monitoring these situations to ensure you can provide the best care possible to your chinchilla and always call a certified vet if you are unsure.

Illness- Illness can occur with chinchillas, just like it can occur with any pets.

The list of illnesses is long and can vary, but overall, be sure to be looking for signs of illness such as lack of appetite, lethargic, trouble breathing, or even fur issues.

Final Thoughts

Listen, my friends.

All the common issues a chinchilla could experience are nothing to worry about.

I haven’t run into any issues since adopting my chinchilla, and it’s been fantastic.

Can it happen?

Sure, it can happen to any pet.

Overall, you shouldn’t be worried about and can expect a pet chinchilla to live with you for the next 15-20 years.

I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming adoption.

Share Your Stories Below

As always, I encourage my readers to drop a comment by sharing their stories and thoughts on the topic.

Chili and I appreciate you stopping by, and we will catch you next time.

Thanks again.

Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 1 year old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know.

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