Chinchilla Fact Sheet

  1. Chinchillas are native to the Andes Mountains in South America.
  2. Chinchillas take baths in dust instead of water. They will flip, roll and dig in the dust!
  3. Chinchillas are vegetarians. They love to eat Timothy or Alfalfa hay. Nuts, seeds, raisins and dried fruit are some favorite treats. 
  4. A chinchilla can jump up to 5 feet above its head.
  5. Chinchillas are considered “prey” animals and are vulnerable to birds of prey, skunks, cats, snakes and dogs.
  6. Baby chins are called “kits.”
  7. The average life span is 10-15 years but house chinchillas can live to be 20 years old!
  8. Chinchillas live in “packs” in the wild called “Colonies.”
  9. They are very social animals and love to groom each other.
  10. Chins sometimes “bark” and “chitter”.
  11. They come in many different colors such as black, white, grey, beige, sapphire, violet and combinations of these colors.
  12. Chins have very soft fur and do not get fleas.
  13. Because they cannot sweat, they do well in cooler temperatures. If the heat is higher than 75 degrees they may suffer heat stroke and even die.
  14. A chinchilla’s teeth will grow very long so they need wood and stone blocks to chew on.
  15. Chinchillas will do what’s called a “fur slip” and release a patch of fur if they are frightened. This helps them escape from the grasp of a predator. The fur grows back and doesn’t hurt the chin.
  16. Chinchillas weigh an average of 1-3 pounds.
  17. They are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and play at night.
  18. An adult female chinchilla can have two litters of babies each year, usually two kits in a litter.
  19. Chinchillas are considered “rodents” and are related to porcupines and guinea pigs. Their fur is very, very soft.
  20. It is illegal to hunt wild chinchillas and they are in danger of extinction due to illegal hunting.