So, you’re worried about those bald spots, hair loss, and the beautiful fur slipping off your chinchilla?
Perhaps you are curious as to why chinchillas lose their fur in general.
That’s 100% understandable and I was curious about this as well when I adopted my chinchilla 5 years ago.
Why do chinchillas lose their fur?
Most commonly, chinchillas lose their fur due to stress, anxiety, or being held incorrectly causing what is known as a fur-slip. Chinchilla’s also chewing their own fur can cause fur loss. Dietary imbalances and hormones can also cause fur loss with a chinchilla.
- Why Chinchillas Lose Their Fur Explained
- Stress and Travel Can Cause Fur Loss With Chinchillas
- Keep It Relaxed During Playtime To Avoid Fur Loss and Bald Spots
- Does Chinchilla Hair Grow Back?
- Boredom May Cause Self Destruction To Chinchilla Fur and Bald Spots
- Reduce Stress and Practice Proper Handling To Reduce Hair Loss and Bald Spots
That’s the short answer and leaves plenty of explaining left to do in order for you to be well prepared to raise your new chinchilla without having issues with hair loss, fur slips, or bald spots.
Luckily that’s what this post is going to breakdown.
Why Chinchillas Lose Their Fur Explained
Like mentioned a moment ago, a chinchilla can lose fur for a variety of reasons but some causes are certainly more common than others.
One of the most common reasons and something you will likely learn a lot about during your chinchilla parenting time is what is known as a fur slip.
This is a defense mechanism for a chinchilla and primarily used to escape predators.
Something to keep in mind about chinchillas is how heavily preyed on they are in the wild and in their natural habitat.
Chinchillas are victims of prey not only from other wild animals but at one point, have even been hunted for their luxurious fur by humans.
While this is the method and mechanism that they use in the wild, they will certainly use the same methods as a pet as well.
Think of a skunk.
When a skunk is under the impression it’s being stalked or hunted or feels an enemy or predator get to close, it releases it’s nasty, musky oily liquid creating a terrible odor.
We all know about this and understand the smell is virtually impossible to remove with ease.
Well, a chinchilla doesn’t have this ability (thankfully).
However, under stress, fear, or the attempt to escape, a chinchilla can easily release a patch of fur which helps them escape their predator.
This will take place most often if you mishandle a chinchilla or corner them before they have built a bond and trust with you as the owner.
A chinchilla is accustomed to being captured by being picked up from the backside.
When this happens, if the chinchilla releases its fur or has a fur slip, the enemy can drop the chinchilla allowing him or her to escape and run to safety.
This is also what will cause a temporary bald spot on your chinchilla when it occurs but do not worry, it will grow back.
Other common causes of hair loss or bald spots with chinchillas can include the following:
- Dietary Imbalances
- Hormone Imbalances
- Boredom Causing Fur Chewing
- Lack of Grooming and Hygiene Control (Dust Baths)
- Fighting With Sibling Chinchillas
- Other Infection or Illness
- Improper Handling (More on This Shortly)
Above, you can see that besides a fur-slip, plenty of other factors could cause hair loss, fur slips, or bald spots with your chinchilla.
I want to begin breaking down some of the most common reasons for this hair loss next.
Poor Handling Skills Can Cause Chinchilla Hair Loss or Fur Slips
Another common reason a chinchilla will experience a fur slip or hair loss is strictly due to user and chinchilla parent error.
Handling your chinchilla correctly is imperative to ensure this doesn’t happen.
You want to grab your chinchilla at the base of the tail or lower back.
Basically, you will be palming your chinchillas tushy to handle him or her correctly.
This will ensure a safe and comfortable grip on your chinchilla and prevent the opportunity for hair loss, shedding, or a fur slip to occur.
This is also going to help your chinchilla to be much more comfortable with you overall.
I highly recommend reading my post about how to get your chinchilla to enjoy being held here to become a pro in no time.
It is also important to learn how to get your chinchilla in and out of the cage correctly to avoid scaring your chinchilla and creating hair loss or bald spots as well.
Long story short, improper handling, and improper grabbing at your chinchilla is a top reason that causes fur loss or bald spots on chinchillas.
Especially for new chinchilla owners.
If you attempt to hold your chinchilla in a different manner, you may encounter an issue.
Don’t grab your chinchilla around the body or underneath the chinchilla unless you know how to do it correctly.
Doing this can not only startle your chinchilla but when your chinchilla gets scared and tries to wiggle free is when your chinchilla may experience the fur slip or hair loss issue.
Do not worry, it will get much easier with practice and time.
Stress and Travel Can Cause Fur Loss With Chinchillas
Stress is another common issue for hair loss and fur slips with chinchillas.
Since we already discussed how handling can cause issues with stress and fear, I want to also cover how travel can cause issues and anxiety for your chinchilla resulting in the same fur loss.
Traveling with a chinchilla to reduce stress and fear needs to be kept at short intervals of time if possible and it is also imperative to keep your chinchilla at proper temperatures to avoid fur loss issues or other stress-related health problems.
Fur loss would be the least of your concerns when you begin adding in other problems that can occur with stress and travel such as heat stroke.
If your chinchilla experiences heavy anxiety, stress, or fear when taking a trip to the vet or during other travel, it’s very possible a fur slip or hair loss could be the result of the trip.
Unfortunately, we still need to go to the vet at times for other health-related concerns and if that causes a bald spot from time to time, you just have to deal with it.
It will grow back and is nothing to get overly worked up over.
Keep It Relaxed During Playtime To Avoid Fur Loss and Bald Spots
Assuming you are great at handling your chinchilla correctly, it’s important to be the owner that your chinchilla trust and gains comfort through.
Let’s also assume that you understand issues with traveling with your chinchilla and you are excellent at ensuring that your chinchilla is not losing fur due to fighting or other causes.
The next most common situation where a fur slip likely will occur at one point or another causing a bald spot is going to be during regular playtime and when your chinchilla is out of the cage interacting with you.
Remember, if your chinchilla trusts you and recognizes you as the loving owner, you can have a lot more control of a situation.
Do not corner your chinchilla during playtime and make it fun and interactive for them.
Get them back into the cage on their terms and by enticing them with treats or their dust bath in the beginning.
Eventually, getting them in and out of the cage will become very easy but in the beginning, it can be very tempting to get them back in the cage in a hurry.
If they have not fully adapted to their environment or trust you yet, they may try sitting under furniture or being reluctant to go back to the cage.
Pro tip* Make sure the room you are using is fully chinchilla proofed before allowing them to roam freely to avoid disaster or issues.
Do not try anything crazy to get them in the cage such as grabbing at them, chasing them, or any other tactics.
Take it slow and remain cool and relaxed otherwise, a fur slip, stress, bald spots, and other issues are likely to occur.
Not to mention, it can be damaging to the relationship for your chinchilla to fear you or gain an association that you are trying to trap them or capture them every time you interact with them to put them back in the cage.
What helped me greatly, in the beginning, to build the trust and return my chinchilla to the cage easily was using a playpen to interact with her.
This allowed us to interact closely in a small space which built the trust faster.
It also eliminated the need to struggle to get her back in the cage.
You can read my post about implementing using the playpen technique here.
I highly recommend the Jespet Playpen (Link to Amazon)
I have been using it for 5 years and it still works great, functions great and has plenty of space for your chinchilla to interact with you freely while still allowing them to climb and be themselves.
I cannot recommend this playpen and playpen technique enough but ultimately that is up to you.
In summary, learn to get your chinchilla in and out of the cage and do not rough house, corner, or chase them during playtime to avoid hair loss, fur slips, and bald spots to the best of your ability.
Dust Baths And The Role They Play For Healthy Fur and Reducing Fur Loss With Chinchillas
Chinchillas need proper hygiene just like you and I do.
To keep your chinchilla fur healthy, silky, and smooth, you need to afford your chinchilla multiple dust baths per week.
Dust baths are the way to keep everything from the fur to the skin healthy and functioning properly for your chinchilla.
It is also just part of learning how to take care of a chinchilla properly and needs to be on your to-do list each week.
A regular dust bath can do much more than give your chinchilla 10 minutes of rolling around and wild time.
The dust bath can also help your chinchilla remain fungus free, infection free and it allows moisture to regularly get back into the chinchilla’s fur and skin.
In addition, regular dust baths can help your chinchilla from developing other bacterial infections or other health consequences (more on this shortly)
Overall, this is going to greatly reduce the chance of bald spots, fur slips, or any other form of hair loss with your chinchilla.
Limit the dust baths to 3 a week maximum and you won’t have anything to worry about.
This will ensure you do not overdo it and dry out your chinchilla’s fur.
Also, be sure that you are always remaining diligent about cleaning your chinchilla’s cage on a regular basis.
You can read my about the best chinchilla dust and dust bathhouses to purchase here.
You can also read my post about how to give your chinchilla a dust bath properly here.
Shedding Is Normal With Your Chinchilla And Is Not Part of Hair Loss or Bald Spots
Another consideration to keep in mind on the subject of hair loss, bald spots, and fur slips with your chinchilla is shedding.
Normal shedding will occur and that does not mean anything is wrong nor will it ever cause bald spots or fur loss in a manner you will notice.
A chinchilla will shed minimally.
In these cases, it’s going to be very rare that you notice a bald spot.
If you do, it’s not normal shedding and more likely to be a fur slip.
Does Chinchilla Hair Grow Back?
The hair on your chinchilla will begin growing back immediately but like any other animals, this doesn’t happen overnight.
After a few weeks or even months, you shouldn’t notice the bald spot anymore and your chinchilla should look back to showcase form.
Assuming that you don’t mishandle or cause a brand-new fur slip in the meantime.
So, if you do notice a bald spot, fur loss, remedy the situation and simply wait for the fur to grow back and you will be in great shape.
Ringworm and Dermatophytosis
Ringworm and dermatophytosis are less likely to be the cause of a bald spot or fur loss on your chinchilla, but they are a possibility and worth mentioning.
It’s possible that Ringworm can occur on your chinchilla which may result in hair loss or bald spots if left untreated.
It’s a fungus and can be transmitted to your chinchilla either through people or other pets.
If your chinchilla has dry skin or fur or lives in a dry environment, ringworm can survive several years on your chinchilla and cause hair loss.
This is why I make sure to always keep my chinchilla’s room and living area at ideal temperatures.
I also run 3 de-humidifiers to ensure the air quality is as good as I can get it.
Could Fleas Be Causing Hair Loss With My Chinchilla?
The last cause of concern which is also extremely rare could be fleas.
If your chinchilla is around other pets such as dogs that may have fleas, it is possible that these travel onto your chinchilla.
Again, this is very rare and not likely but it’s worth double-checking.
It’s actually one of the few times I recommend brushing your chinchilla to help get a better look into the fur and to search for flea dust or grime.
If you believe this may be the scenario, you need to consider making an appointment with your vet to double-check.
Better safe than sorry in these situations.
Boredom May Cause Self Destruction To Chinchilla Fur and Cause Bald Spots
One possibility we have not covered is your chinchilla self-destructing their own beautiful fur coats causing fur loss and bald spots.
Under stress, anxiety, or fearful conditions your chinchilla may chew and pull at their own hair as we have already discussed.
However, boredom could also cause the same result.
When this happens it’s most likely to happen right along the back heading toward the butt.
Although a chinchilla can technically bite or chew off their fur anywhere on the body, this location is the most common that you will see in most circumstances.
The best way to avoid bald spots and fur loss due to boredom is to ensure you do a few things.
First, ensure you are spending plenty of time with your chinchilla.
This ultimately keeps them happy.
They are social pets and need this interaction.
Secondly, realize that you only spend a limited amount of time with them per day so ensure you provide one of the best chinchilla cages for them.
Not only a great cage but load it with plenty of great chinchilla accessories and toys.
View my post about the best chinchilla accessories here.
View my post about the best chinchilla toys here.
This will help make sure that boredom never becomes the cause of fur loss or bald spots with your chinchilla.
Your vet can help diagnose if the hair loss is due to chewing or another cause.
In most circumstances, reducing the stress factors or adjusting the environment to become more chinchilla friendly should do wonders toward solving the problem for you.
Do I Need to Do Anything Special If My Chinchilla Has A Fur Slip?
No, not at all.
The only time you should contact a vet or have a deep concern about the hair loss on your chinchilla is if you have no knowledge of the potential cause or your chinchilla is displaying other odd behaviors that could indicate an illness that’s more serious.
Most of the time, your chinchilla was either handled incorrectly or you stressed your chinchilla and correcting the handling and stressful behavior should have everything back to normal in no time.
Reduce Stress and Practice Proper Handling To Reduce Hair Loss and Bald Spots
Hopefully, by now, the potential causes of fur loss, hair loss and bald spots with your chinchilla are clear and you know what you need to do on your end to ensure they do not happen or happen seldomly.
If hair loss, a fur slip, or a bald spot has already taken place, do not worry.
Your chinchillas’ fur will grow back and most likely the cause of the fur loss, fur slip or bald spot is nothing to fret and will correct itself with nothing more than time and practice that comes with patience.
Handle your chinchilla with care and keep an eye on your chinchilla’s behavior and your chinchilla will remain beautiful, silky, and smooth and will not lose any fur from your own errors.
If you believe there is more cause for concern, be sure to contact your vet to double-check and to play it safe.
Chinchilla’s make for excellent family pets and deserve the best care we can provide.
Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla and hope you do not have any issues with fur slips moving forward.
Share Your Thoughts About Your Chinchilla Losing Fur
Do you have any related stories about a fur slip happening with your chinchilla or dealing with bald spots?
What was the cause and what did you do to remedy the situation?
How long did it take for the chinchilla to grow that beautiful fur back?
Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.
As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today and we will see you again next time.