Quirky Facts About Chinchillas

Chinchillas are exotic, adorable, and full of mystery. 
But there’s more to the story! 
We've got some extra fun facts to share about these super-fluffy little critters.  

Chinchilla Fur Facts

We can't talk about chinchillas without raving about their velvety soft fur.  
It's thick, luxurious, and visually stunning with shades of grey, white, blue, black, and options in a rainbow of other colors.  
But, do you know why it's so appealing? Well, we do, and here's the scoop on chinchilla fur (and trust us, it's a lot more intriguing than you thought!) 

chinchilla furry fact thick fur sub-zero temps

It's thick because of where they live; Chinchillas are native to the Andes, which means they live high up in the mountains where it's quite chilly so a cushy winter coat goes a long way. And if it gets reeeallly cold, chinchillas can survive freezing temps.

It's Getting Hot in Here: Watch the Temps

On the other hand, this fluffy, dense, fur can easily cause heat stroke (something to be aware of if you have a pet chinchilla). In other words, make sure you keep your chinchilla out of the humidity, and heat. They don't tolerate temps above 75°F

chinchilla fun facts about overheating

Chinchillas Have Control Over Their Fur 

Chinchilla fur can be released on demand. No kidding!  
It's called fur slipping.  
And this amazing fur feature is employed when a predator grabs hold of the chinchilla. The sly little fluffer releases a chunk of fur and escapes the grasp (and avoids becoming someone's supper).  

chinchilla fur fact about fur slipping


Chinchilla Fur Requires Dirt (Volcanic Dirt) 

Chinchillas take dust baths to keep their dense fur grease-free and to remove loose hair, dirt, and skin. 
While fine dirt from the outdoors may work for your chinchilla, volcanic ash is the best (and their favorite) due to its extremely fine consistency.

chinchilla dirt baths clean their fur

Dust bathing is really the only way to go when it comes to keeping your chinchilla clean and comfy. Water baths, on the other hand, are actually detrimental to your fur baby's health.  
Because their fur is so super-thick, water takes for-ev-er to dry, gets trapped, and can create the perfect environment for fungus to grow beneath. Yuck. 
So, one or two dust baths a week should do the trick for your chinchilla and its lovely coat.  

Gorgeous Chinchilla Fur has its Drawbacks

Chinchilla fur is gorgeous and that means it's coveted as a pelt.  
You guessed it, chinchillas have been hunted for their fur in the past (and may illegally be hunted today by poachers).  

It's the Thickest Fur for All Mammals

Literally. Chinchilla fur is the thickest of all mammals (not counting the sea otter). 

Picture this: humans can produce a maximum of three, maybe four, hairs per follicle while chinchillas may have up to 75 per follicle.

Now that's quite the head of hair...erm, fur.  

Chinchillas Take Popcorning to a New Level

We could go on and on about luxurious, mysterious, chinchilla fur, but we’ve got a few more cool facts that are worth noting (not related to that velvety coat!)

Chinchillas can get some serious air!

Though they're super small, they can leap up to six feet if they feel threatened. That's right, if they're evading a predator, their strong hind legs can help them launch straight up into the air...without a running start.  
 We thought rabbits were fun to watch popcorning, but chinchillas win this high-flying game! 

Close to Their Cousins 

Speaking of rabbits, while they aren't directly related to bunnies, they do look (and act) a lot like them.  
They've got short front legs, powerful hind legs, and large ears. In fact, there's even a rabbit breed called the chinchilla, but that's only due to its fur coloration.

chinchilla rabbit

With that being said, chinchillas are actually related to the guinea pig!  

Chinchillas Live a Long Time

One really cool thing about Chinchillas is that they can live up to 20 years if given top-notch care. 
So it's important to keep this in mind when considering bringing a chinchilla into your family. They will be with you for a long time (if cared for appropriately).   

Chinchillas are Night Owls

In other words, they're nocturnal and spend most of their waking hours during the nighttime. Because of their sleeping habits, they use their large ears, eyes, and most importantly, their ginormous whiskers to navigate the darkness while you're watching the backs of your eyelids.  

Chinchilla Teeth: Getting to the Root of It 

Like rabbits and their cousins, guinea pigs, their chompers never stop growing. In other words, they have open-rooted teeth that never stop growing...kind of like our fingernails.  This means that they need something to chew on like treats and toys, but also that they need hay and grasses to keep them busy and wear down those teeth.  
Our 7lb Natural Timothy Hay 1st Cutting is a great choice for your cute little chomper.
In case you haven’t figured this one out, chinchillas are interesting critters, and there’s a lot to learn about them and their behavior.  
One thing is for sure, though, we can’t get enough of these lovely littles.

Through Andy’s social media, Molly brings her heart for high-quality hay and an authentic passion to create a real community that celebrates everyday people and their pets.