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How Long Do Chinchillas Live? (Average Lifespan, Data & Facts)

Kristin Hitchcock

Before adopting any animal, you must carefully consider their lifespan. For example, if you adopt a chinchilla, you need to ensure that you can properly care for it for the totality of their lifespan.

Chinchillas have varying lifespans that depend on a variety of different factors. Though you will never be able to tell exactly how long a particular Chinchilla will live, you can bet that a well-cared-for animal will live longer than one that is not taken care of.

Here, we discuss the average lifespan of a chinchilla and the factors that contribute to their longevity.

divider-chinchillaWhat’s the Average Lifespan of a Chinchilla?

Chinchillas can typically live as long as 10 years in captivity. Some may even live as many as 20 years with proper care. They are fragile animals, though, so it can be difficult to keep them alive this long unless you are well-educated and provide them with everything that they need.

They are not good pets for first-time pet owners because they don’t tend to be forgiving of mistakes.

Therefore, we only recommend adopting a Chinchilla if you are sure that you can take care of them properly.

Chinchilla in pink bathtub
Image Credit: MirasWonderland, Shutterstock

Why Do Some Chinchillas Live Longer Than Others?

1. Nutrition and Health

Ensuring that your chinchilla eats correctly is essential for taking care of them. Most importantly, chinchillas should have an unlimited amount of hay to snack on as they need to.

This hay provides an essential form of fiber, and it is crucial for grinding down their teeth. If they do not have enough hay (or chew toys), they will not wear them down properly.

While you can use chew toys to help with this matter, hay is truly the best option. It is what they would naturally eat in the wild, so it only makes sense that they should be provided it in captivity too.

Dental issues are common problems for Chinchillas and can lead to death.

chinchilla eating a nut
Image Credit: Edel-in-Wonderland, Shutterstock

2. Appropriate Temperature and Humidity

Even though chinchillas are not reptiles, you should still control the temperature and humidity of your chinchilla’s habitat.

Preferably, you should keep the temperature between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The former is the best option, though. You can put a cooling stone in their cage if they need it.

The room should also be equipped with a dehumidifier. The humidity level should be quite low, preferably, under 50%. Higher humidity levels may make the chinchilla’s fur damp, which can cause bacteria and funguses to grow. Occasionally, these can result in respiratory illnesses and similar issues.


3. Enclosure

You can keep a Chinchilla in a decently small enclosure, but a large enclosure is always better.

Activity and exercise will help your chinchilla live longer, and they will be unable to move around much if they are in a small cage. These animals are active and lively. If you provide them with enough room, they should be able to exercise just fine.

Without the proper amount of space to roam, these rodents are prone to obesity and diabetes.


4. Healthcare

You should get your chinchilla the proper amount of healthcare. They should get at least one checkup each year.

Furthermore, you should have contact with a vet whom you can contact in the case of an emergency. Chinchillas are prone to sickness because they are sensitive creatures. If the room temperature is off by even a bit, they can become sick.

Getting the proper care when your chinchilla is sick is essential to their wellbeing.

chinchilla close up
Image Credit: Pixabay

divider-chinchilla

The 6 Life Stages of a Chinchilla

1. Gestation

The gestational period for a chinchilla is about 111 days, but it can vary. After this period, the baby chinchillas are born.


2. Kits

Kits are born weighing anywhere from 25 to 80 grams. However, most fall within the middle of this range. They usually open their eyes a few minutes after birth and have a full coat of hair. They will be quite wobbly at first and spend much of their first moments huddling underneath their mother.

However, by the end of the first day, the babies are agile, and care must always be taken when opening the cage doors.

Kits usually stay with their mother for 8 to 12 weeks.

Blue Diamond Chinchilla
Image Credit: Igor Kovalchuk, Shutterstock

3. Weanlings

Around the 8-to-12-week mark, the chinchillas become weanlings. Usually, they are separated from their mother at this point and put into new cages.

Since young chinchillas tend to be extremely active, you should consider housing them in a big enclosure.


4. Juvenile

After completely weaning, they are considered juvenile. They stay juvenile until they reach 1 year of age, at which point, they become adults. These chinchillas are similar to adults and have many of the same traits. Their personalities may change as they become older.

Male chinchillas can breed at as young as 9 months.


5. Adults

Most of a chinchilla’s life is spent as an adult. However, exactly how long they are adults varies. In some cases, they may remain adults for 20 years. However, others may exhibit signs of old age as early as 9 years.


6. Senior

Older chinchillas will exhibit the same problems as many other older animals. For instance, they may have trouble getting around and may need assistance. You may need to move their hammock lower for easier accessibility, for instance. They may also lose weight and develop other health problems.

Their eating and sleeping patterns may also change.

chinchilla
Image Credit: tahanadakila, Pixabay

How to Tell Your Chinchilla’s Age

Since chinchillas age at such different paces, it is extremely difficult to tell their age. In many cases, your best bet is to ask your vet or the breeder or the source of the chinchilla.

divider-chinchillaConclusion: Chinchilla Lifespan

Chinchillas do not all age at the same rate. While one may show signs of aging at 9 and then pass away at 10, others may not act old until they are closer to 20. This huge range makes predicting their lifespan extremely difficult.


Featured Image Credit: AmberRVT, Pixabay

Kristin Hitchcock

Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one day!