Chinchilla's lifespan

chinchilla lifespan

Photo by Tanya Kusova on Unsplash

Chinchillas' average lifespan is quite long compared to other rodents, which can make them an ideal choice for household pets. They are quite easy to care for too.

If you're thinking about adopting a chinchilla as a pet, learn more about its lifespan.

How long do chinchillas live?

A pet chinchillas' lifespan is 10 to 20 years. In their natural habitats, they have an average life expectancy of 9 years.

Some domesticated chinchillas have lived 20 years or longer. For example, the oldest chinchilla named Radar lived to the age of 29 and 229 days (and that's somewhere between 270-300 years if you convert this chinchilla's age to human years).

There are no evidence that'd show that female chinchillas live longer than males, or the other way round.

Primarily, chinchilla's lifespan in captivity depends on its diet, environment and overall care. Also, chinchillas often fall victim to accident-related deaths, such as overheating.

Let's take a closer look at these factors and then we'll tell you more about how to prolong chin's life.

What affects chinchilla's life expectancy'?

white chinchilla chewing a piece of carrot

Chinchillas may live up to two decades in captivity. However, the following factors may shorten the life expectancy of your chinchilla:

  • Nutrition. Giving a chinchilla a healthy diet is essential for ensuring a long life. Chinchillas eat a mixture of fresh produce, high-fiber hay, and commercial pellets. Fresh hay should comprise about 75% to 80% of your chinchilla’s diet. A lack of proper nutrition can lead to various health issues, including fatal constipation and gut infections.
  • Stress. Stressful environments, a lack of food, and health problems may add unnecessary stress to the life of a chinchilla. As with humans, chinchillas may suffer from a variety of physical problems due to excess stress. Potential issues include heart attacks and inadequate sleep.
  • Overgrown teeth. Without an adequate food supply, chinchillas cannot keep their teeth down to a manageable size. Their overgrown teeth may cause a malocclusion, which occurs when the teeth no longer form a proper bite. Malocclusion can lead to injuries, infections, and difficulty eating.
  • Overheating. Chinchillas have dense fur to protect against the cold. When placed in an extremely warm environment, the risk of heart attacks and strokes increases.
  • Choking. Chinchillas are at a higher risk of choking on objects and solid foods compared to many other pets. Unlike dogs and cats, chinchillas and other rodents cannot easily regurgitate.
  • Predators. Chinchillas are small rodents and are considered prey by a wide range of larger animals, which is why they do not live as long in the wild. Captive chinchillas should be protected from dogs, cats, and any animals that may see a rodent as potential food.
  • The runt of the litter. Runts do not always receive adequate nutrition before weaning, which can limit their development and shorten their lifespans.

How to extend your chinchilla’s lifespan?

grey chinchilla sitting on a windowsill

The average lifespan of a chinchilla covers a wide age range, from 10 to 20 years. If you want your chinchilla to live as long as possible, use the following tips to give them the best possible care:

  • Always provide access to something to chew. Chinchillas need to frequently chew to keep their teeth from growing too long, which can lead to health complications. Common choices include a bundle of Timothy’s hay and a block of wood.
  • Give your chinchilla plenty of fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient for chinchillas.
  • Pay attention to your chinchilla’s behavior. Spending time with your chinchilla makes it easier to detect abnormal behavior that may indicate a health issue.
  • Find a veterinarian with experience caring for chinchillas. You can ensure quality veterinary care by choosing a vet who has worked with chinchillas and understands their unique needs.
  • Seek immediate treatment for infections and wounds. Physical trauma is one of the most common causes of death for chinchillas. Sitting on a chinchilla, handling it improperly, or attacks from other animals may cause serious injuries. Without treatment, injuries can lead to potentially fatal infections.
  • Place your chinchilla in an air-conditioned room. Keeping your chinchilla in a room with an average temperature of 60-degrees to 70-degrees may help it live longer. They struggle to cool down in hot environments due to their dense fur coat.
  • Consider getting at least two chinchillas. Chinchillas are social creatures, congregating in groups of 100 or more in the wild. While you may not have room for 100 chinchillas, you may consider housing at least two. A pair of chinchillas can keep each other company, decreasing the risk of loneliness.
  • Give older chinchillas extra nutrition. Older chinchillas may grow thinner. You can help your chinchilla maintain a healthy weight by adding extra food to their diets, such as additional fresh produce or even pureed baby food.