Chinchilla: Cute Rodent From the Andes

Chinchillas are beautiful animals with silky fur, large ears, and expressive eyes. Since they have retained many wildlife characteristics, they are great fun to watch. At the same time, with a little patience, they become tame and willingly let themselves be caressed. You need some space to keep them, because chinchillas always want to live in a spacious cage or in an aviary, at least in pairs. By the way, the rodent is crepuscular and nocturnal and is therefore not suitable as a playmate for children.

Where Does the Chinchilla Come From?

The home of the chinchilla is South America. In the barren mountains of the Andes, the cute rodent lives in crevices and caves and defies extreme climatic fluctuations. There it feeds on bushes and grasses. The chinchillas got their name from the Spaniards: “Chincha Indians” are the names of the indigenous people of this area who valued these small rodents very much.

Chinchillas Need Bathing Sand

We know the long-tailed chinchilla in seven different colors. The tail is bushy like that of a squirrel, the ears, on the other hand, are almost hairless, the button eyes are black. The rodent has long whiskers and a silky fur that it keeps in the order itself: a chinchilla must never be bathed. If it gets wet, it can catch a cold and even die as a result. Instead, you have to provide the animals with a tilt-proof bowl with special chinchilla sand. In this sand bath, the rodents clean their fur, reduce tension and establish social contact with their fellow species.

The Rodent is a Good Jumper

Chinchillas have five toes on each paw and can use them to manipulate their food skillfully. The hind legs are strong and long, which makes the rodents good jumpers. It is therefore very important that you provide your darling with a sufficiently large cage with several floors for climbing and jumping. You can also convert an aviary into a chinchilla home. Two animals can be kept in a gnaw-proof aviary with a minimum volume of 3 m³. The minimum dimensions of 50 cm wide and 150 cm high are very important so that your chinchilla can move sufficiently on at least three floors. For each additional animal, the volume must be increased by at least 0.5 m³.

In addition to the sand bath, you need two bowls, a water trough, a sleeping house, and a hay rack. Everything should be as stable as possible, as chinchillas gnaw on everything possible and impossible. You provide your animals with non-toxic, unsprayed branches for their teeth.

The Menu of Your Chinchillas

And that is on the menu of your chinchillas: Chinchillas need high-quality crude fiber-rich hay around the clock, which must also be the main food of the animals. In addition, you should give about one tablespoon of chinchilla food, depending on your living conditions. Dried herbs and flowers are also on the menu.

The animals have to be accustomed to fresh herbs and grasses very carefully, but they are then a healthy change. Fruit and vegetables are only a rare delicacy on the menu, e.g. every now and then a rosehip, a few dried carrots, a piece of apple, etc. Since chinchillas have very sensitive digestion, every change of food must be carried out very carefully. Herbal mixtures from your Fressnapf store can help keep your pretty rodents fit and healthy for a long time.


South America;

25 cm (females) to 35 cm (males);

300 g (females) to 600 g (males);

Life expectancy
10 to 20 years;

in the female between 6-8 months in the male between 4-5 months;

Breeding maturity
in females not before the 10th month of life. Suckling period: six weeks;

Litters per year:
one to three;

Gestation period:
108 to 111 days.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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