The Chinchilla’s lifespan is impressively long, as it can go beyond 10 years. Looking into this exotic pet’s longevity can help you decide whether you are ready to care for it throughout its long life.
Wild Chinchilla Lifespan
Chinchilla lifespan in the wild is relatively short. Their life expectancy only ranges from 8–10 years because of the harsh environment they live in. Here are some most significant factors that prevent wild Chinchillas from living longer:
Chinchillas are mainly found in the Rocky Andes Mountains, located in South America. The area has long been visited by various natural disasters such as wildfires, avalanches, and snowstorms.
These dangers are further exacerbated by climate change. These extreme weather conditions leave Chinchillas highly vulnerable to injuries, illnesses, and death. Moreover, natural disasters have eradicated many of their habitats.
Predators and Poachers
Another big factor that shortens the Chinchilla lifespan in the wild is predators. Several land and aerial animals including foxes, owls, hawks, and snakes hunt down these rodents for food.
Hunters also prey on Chinchillas, but for other reasons. Their soft, dense fur fetches a high price. Selling them as exotic pets is a lucrative business too.
Poaching Chinchillas became so rampant in the 1900s that they were eventually hailed as critically endangered.
Today, Chinchillas are under the protection of the government. Trapping or hunting them is deemed illegal. However, due to their remote habitat, enforcement of the law is difficult.
Many Chinchilla colonies in the wild are discovered to be living on top of an area containing millions worth of extractable gold.
When the mining activities were underway, it resulted in the destruction and loss of several Chinchilla habitats.
Translocation was the proposed solution for the problem. However, this brought on more issues as a few wild Chinchillas lost their lives in the process.
Those that were successfully moved to another area were unable to adjust to their new homes, resulting in higher mortality rates.
Pet Chinchilla Lifespan
How long do Chinchillas live for as pets? Chinchillas in captivity have better chances of living longer because they are not exposed to bad weather or predators. With proper carChinchilla’shilla lifespan in captivity can range from 10–15 years.
It is often asked: “Do Chinchillas live for 20 years?” Yes. Chinchillas can potentially live up to 20 years, but it is pretty rare. To achieve such a long life, they will need consistent care throughout the years.
Luck is also a part of the equation as some Chinchilla pets inherit better genes than others. Hence, they are less prone to hereditary diseases.
However, pet owners need to set realistic expectations. Not all pet Chinchillas live long due to unexpected circumstances beyond your control.
Regardless, always aim to provide the best living conditions, proper diet, and medical care to your Chinchilla to help it live for a long time.
Long-Tailed Chinchilla vs. Short-Tailed Chinchilla Lifespan
What Chinchilla lives the longest? Generally, both the long-tailed Chinchilla and its short-tailed cousin are believed to have an average lifespan of 10 years.
Scientists cannot make a definitive approximation of the 2 species’ life expectancy due to their endangered status. Thus, it is challenging for experts to study the short-tailed Chinchilla and long-tailed Chinchilla lifespan.
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The Longest-Living Chinchilla in the World
The oldest Chinchilla to be ever recorded was able to surpass the 20-year lifespan. His name was Radar and he lived for almost 30 years. He was owned by a woman named Christina Anthony who lived in Germany.
Radar was born in 1985 and passed on the 18th of September 2014. This amazing Chinchilla lived for an astounding 29 years and 229 days.
A close contender for the title was Willis, who was a Chinchilla pet who lived in South Wales. He was able to live for an impressive age of 22 years old.
3 Ways to Help Chinchillas Live a Long Life
ave mentioned earlier, properly caring for a Chinchilla greatly increases its chances of living longer. Here are some that you can follow to ensure that your Chinchilla pet will spend more years with you.
1. Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.
Chinchillas require a high-protein and high-fibre diet. Ideally, their meals should be composed of 35% carbohydrates, 15% protein, 30% fibre, 4% sugar, and no more than 3.5% fat.
Here is a breakdown of what types of foods can be given to your Chinchilla and their recommended serving amount:
- Your Chinchilla’s daily meals should contain 2 tablespoons of grass-based pellets. Split them into 2 portions to keep your pet from overeating.
Consider serving 1 tablespoon in the morning and then another tablespoon in the evening.
Be sure that the product is specifically formulated for Chinchilla pets. Pellets made for other animals such as rabbits do not contain the essential nutrients your Chinchilla needs.
- Provide your Chinchilla pet with an unlimited supply of high-quality hay. They are rich in fibre, which promotes good gut health.Since Chinchillas’ teeth grow continuously, the hay’s roughage helps wear them down. Safe choices of hay for your pet are timothy hay, bluegrass, alfalfa hay, and orchard grass.
- Vegetables should only make up a small portion of your Chinchilla’s meals. Only serve 1 tablespoon of greens daily.Some healthy veggie options are dandelion greens and cilantro. Be sure to chop them into small portions to prevent choking risks. Avoid adding dangerous veggies to Chinchillas such as asparagus, rhubarb, and spinach.
- Treats such as fruits can be fed to your Chinchilla but in small amounts, around 1 teaspoon per day. Do not mix it with the main meal o else, your pet will only eat the treats.High-fat foods like nuts and seeds are a big no-no since they can cause liver damage.
- Make sure that clean, fresh water is always available to your Chinchilla pet. Generally, Chinchillas drink around 50–200 millilitres of water per day.
You can either use water bottles or water bowls. However, the former is preferable as they are less prone to contamination.
For sanitary purposes, always throw out any leftover food after 24 hours. The same applies to your pet’s drinking water. Change it at least once a day.
2. Mind the temperature and humidity levels.
When keeping Chinchillas as pets, mimicking their habitat’s temperature is very important. These rodents have thick fur, which makes them very susceptible to heatstroke. Hence, they fare better in a cool, dry, well-ventilated room.
The temperature should not exceed 60–75 degrees Fahrenheit, whilst the humidity must not exceed 40–50%. Failure to retain these temperature and humidity levels puts your Chinchilla in danger of heatstroke.
To maintain ideal temperature and humidity in the room, consider installing an air-conditioner with a dehumidifying function.
We also recommend getting a hydrometer that comes with a thermometer. This will help you take temperature and humidity readings.
Low-quality products tend to produce inaccurate readings, so purchase from a reputable brand. It is also a good idea to own 2 hydrometers and thermometers from different brands. Thi,s way you can double-check if the readings are precise.
3. Give your Chinchilla dust baths regularly.
Bathing Chinchillas does not require water because their dense fur will not dry properly. It invites the risk of bacterial and fungal infections.
In the wild, Chinchillas clean themselves by rolling on volcanic ash or Andean clay. This process is called a dust bath. Pet owners can replicate it at home too. Here are some things to keep in mind when giving your Chinchilla a dust bath:
- Only use dust specially made for Chinchillas. You can buy it in pet stores or online. Never use other types of dust or sand like from a regular sandpit. They are irritating to your pet’s skin and eyes and damaging to its fur.
- Use a heavy and enclosed container to keep it from tipping over whilst your Chinchilla bathes.Moreover, it should be bigger than your pet since Chinchillas toss and turn a lot when bathing. A glass fish bowl is a good option. Or you can purchase a Chinchilla bathhouse.
- Initiate dust baths during evenings. Being crepuscular animals, Chinchillas are most active at dusk and dawn.Mornings are a no-go since they are likely asleep at that time. Never wake them up as lack of sleep can badly affect their health.
- Pour ample amounts of dust into the container. It should be around 2 inches deep. Doing so allows your Chinchilla to roll around the bath without injuring itself.
- The frequency of bathing your Chinchilla depends on your area’s humidity. High humidity calls for dust baths 4 times a week.During less humid weather, you can limit it to twice or thrice a week. To help your pet cool down better, place the dust in the fridge before using.
- Limit your Chinchilla’s bathtime to a few minutes. Do not let your pet wash itself too much. Otherwise, his skin and coat will become dry. 10–15 minutes of bathtime is good enough.
- Always remove the dust bath container after use. Leaving it inside the cage will encourage your Chinchilla to urinate on it.If this undesirable thing happens, do not throw out the sand as it can still be reused. Just strain the debris using a sieve. Replace the dust after every 3 uses.
The Chinchilla lifespan is proof that this exotic pet is a long-term commitment. Think it through before deciding to own one.
Do your research to know if you are capable of caring for it throughout its lifetime. Doing so ensures that your Chinchilla can spend a long and happy life with you.