So, you’re worried about those bald spots and the beautiful fur slipping off your chinchilla? That’s 100% understandable. As a chinchilla owner we all have concerns and questions that we encounter throughout the journey. Chinchillas are known for having some of the cleanest most beautiful furs among all small pets. It’s troublesome and raises the anxiety levels a bit as the pet-owner to see a fur slip or other issues happen to our furry friends. I was curious as well as to why this happens. Why do chinchillas lose their fur? After some research and owning a chinchilla, here is what I can tell you.
So, why do chinchillas lose their fur? A chinchilla can lose their fur for several reasons. Most commonly, chinchillas lose their fur due to stress, anxiety or being held incorrectly. Often a chinchilla will lose their fur when trying to escape. A chinchilla sheds fur in the wild to escape predators.
That’s the short answer. For all the chinchilla owners reading, I’m sure you want more detail and ways to prevent this beautiful, sociable chinchilla from experiencing fur loss in the future.
Luckily that’s what this post is going to breakdown. Let’s cover everything you need to know to prevent fur slips to keep your chinchilla looking perfect and maintaining all of that beautiful soft fur.
A Deeper Look at Fur Slips and Hair Loss with Chinchillas.
Do chinchillas lose their fur when scared? Yes, this is definitely possible. Let’s break it down for you.
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.
Many animals have their own special ways and defense mechanisms they use to handle these pressures and to limit the chances of being captured or even killed in the wild. A chinchilla’s defense mechanism happens to be releasing and slipping fur.
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). Chinchillas are actually odor free. One of my favorite traits making them a top candidate and an excellent pet!
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.
Poor Handling Skills Can Cause Chinchilla Hair Loss or Fur Slips
Another common reason 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 furry friend and prevent the opportunity for hair loss, shedding or a fur slip to occur.
Don’t Do the Opposite When Handling Your Chinchilla
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. 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.
Just Like A Puppy, Your Chinchilla May Not Like the Vet Office
We all know how our puppies or dogs can be when taking a trip to the vet. At least I do. My 100-pound yellow lab will bark, cry, shiver/shake and even urinate when he arrives at the vet office. It’s never gotten better. He just flat out doesn’t like it and his anxiety levels are through the roof.
So are mine.
Your chinchilla may be more dog-like than you think in the same situation. If your chinchilla experiences heavy anxiety, stress or fear when taking a trip to the vet, 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 regular intervals 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.
Relax and Remain In Control. Comfort Your Chinchilla To Avoid Fur Slips
Assuming you are great at handling your chinchilla correctly, it’s important to be the owner that your chinchilla trust and gains comfort through. In the trip to vet situation, you can talk to your chinchilla, rub him or her in their favorite spots and even provide some delicious treats to help your chinchilla lower his or her anxiety levels and hopefully prevent the fur slip or hair loss.
Remember, if your chinchilla trusts you and recognizes you as the loving owner, you can have a lot more control of a situation in reassuring your chinchilla and providing comfort than you may think.
Chinchilla Dust Bath Time. We Need to Keep That Fur Healthy
Chinchillas need proper hygiene just like you and I do. Well, at least I hope you practice proper hygiene. 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.
A regular dust bath can do much more than give your chinchilla 10 minutes or rolling 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.
In case you were wondering what, I think you may be. No dust baths don’t help your chinchilla not to smell. If your chinchilla does smell, something else is likely wrong and you should contact your vet.
Chinchillas in most circumstances have no odor. (A pleasant bonus as a chinchilla owner)
Another Pro Tip- Don’t worry. Too many dust baths will not cause your chinchilla to lose hair unless you are overdoing it by a long shot. Limit the dust baths to 3 a week maximum and you won’t have anything to worry about.
Also, be sure that you are always remaining diligent about cleaning your chinchilla’s cage on a regular basis.
Shedding Is Normal With Your Chinchilla
Another consideration to keep in mind on the subject of hair loss with your chinchilla is shedding. Normal shedding will occur and that does not mean anything is wrong. A chinchilla will shed in small amounts just like dogs, cats, and other small pets. 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.
So, My Chinchilla Had a Fur Slip. Do Chinchillas Hair Grow Back?
The hair on your chinchilla will begin growing back immediately but like any other species, 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.
Ringworm and Dermatophytosis
Ringworm and dermatophytosis are less likely to be the cause of a bald spot on your chinchilla, but they are a possibility and worth mentioning. It’s possible that Ringworm can occur on your chinchilla. 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 and run 3 de-humidifiers to ensure the air quality is as good as I can get it.
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.
Your Chinchilla Is Doing It to Themselves
One possibility we have not covered is your furry friend self-destructing their own beautiful fur coats. Under stress, anxiety or fearful conditions your chinchilla may chew and pull at their own hair. 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.
Your vet can help diagnosis is the hair loss is due to chewing or another cause but, 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 in a manner and correcting the handling and stressful behavior should have everything back to normal in no time.
Putting It All Together. Keep It Stress-Free and Handle with Care to Reduce Fur Slips
I get it. That was a lot to take in. Especially as a new chinchilla owner. In this scenario, relax and don’t panic. Your chinchillas’ fur will grow back and most likely the cause of the fur loss, fur slip or bald spot is nothing to fret.
Handle your chinchilla with care and keep an eye on your chinchilla behavior and your chinchilla will remain beautiful, silky and smooth.
If you believe there is more cause for concern, be sure to contact your vet to double check and to play it safe. Your chinchilla safety and well being always comes first.
Do you have any related stories about a fur slip happening with your chinchilla? 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? Drop a comment below.