June 18, 2022 by Umair Shahid
Have you bought a new chinchilla? Now all of a sudden you have noticed a lot of furs everywhere. But don’t worry I am going to tell you all the details of chinchilla shedding.
There are a lot of reasons for shedding but this can also be because of any sickness. These reasons include fur slip, barbering, and the summer season.
Why is my Chinchilla shedding so much?
They shed in a warm environment to remain cool and to maintain homeostasis. Chinchillas shed their entire fur after every 3 months.
They are a good choice for energy sufferers because they don’t shed all the time and produce no dander. But, there is a seasonal shedding when they almost shed their entire fur and at times they even lose a whole clump of fur.
Chinchillas have thick and dense fur. They have 80 hair per follicle. You can imagine the density of their fur that one square cm of their skin surface contains up to 20,000 hair.
Chinchillas shed fur almost throughout the year but they mostly shed during spring and summer due to increased body heat.
In this article, I am going to clear all your doubts about why chinchillas shed? Is it good for your pet to shed? Is extensive shedding normal?
Reasons for chinchillas shedding
There are various reasons for chinchillas shedding. I am going to explain some of these below.
Some pet owners, after newly adopted chinchillas, get alarmed after seeing a lot of furs around.
But you don’t have to worry because chinchillas like humans constantly renew their fur. Like human skin cells when their new fur grows, their old one sheds.
Chinchillas’ shedding is very important because it helps them to maintain their temperature, and it’s the reason that chinchillas shed most of their fur when the season changes.
In the summer season, when the temperature rises chinchillas shed more fur to provide them better ventilation and to avoid heatstroke.
Moreover, they do so to improve hair circulation within their fur. Chinchillas cannot survive in a hot environment so they have evolved a system to keep themselves safe and maintain homeostasis.
They have dense and a lot of furs
Chinchillas have dense and soft fur. Even they are hunted by humans for their soft and densest fur. Chinchillas may not be the biggest animals in the world, but they are for sure one of the hairiest rodents.
They have almost 80 hair per follicle, while others have one hair per follicle or a maximum of three. Since chinchillas shed all year round so it’s normal to find their fur around the cage and at home.
But if your chinchilla has bald patches then it is not normal. You should immediately take your chinchilla to the veterinarian.
Chinchillas have evolved an ability to maintain homeostasis that is called fur slip. This ability allows them to quickly slip away from the hands of anyone who tries to grab them.
They do so by shedding a lot of furs. That’s why it is called a fur slip. Fur slips mostly happen when you try to hold them forcefully.
As a pet owner, you should know that your little chins are not fans of being held. So, when you adopt a chinchilla try to remain Patient. When a chinchilla gets scared it sheds an excessive amount of fur, this is known as fur slipping. To avoid so much fur from shedding avoid handling them frequently and forcefully.
Fur barbering occurs when a chinchilla decides to feed on the fur of other chinchillas companions or when your chinchilla decides to feed on its fur. Most owners don’t know that their chinchilla is feeding on its fur or that companion’s fur.
But you can check whether your chin is barbering or not. One of the ways is by checking for a patchy area on your chinchillas. The other reason is that your chinchilla can get bored. As a result, they can feed their fur.
Chinchillas have careless pet parents and they normally don’t bathe in dust. When they don’t have a dust bath, they tend to clean themselves manually through fur barbering.
Another reason can be genetic. Your little chin can have some genetic factors that can lead them to bite their fur.
An easy way to get rid of fur barbering is to provide them dust bath. In this way, they would be able to clean themselves. Don’t put dust baths all the time in the cage because this will lead to dryness of their skin and they will mess it up with urine and poop.
Also, provide them with wooden chew toys so that they don’t get bored. Still, if your chinchilla doesn’t stop barbering then you have to take them to a veterinarian. Some chinchillas even barber in reaction to internal pain, this is a smart reaction.
The teeth of chinchillas like other rodents grow continuously. To gnaw them down, Chinchillas have to eat a lot of fiber.
Sometimes, careless owners of these pets don’t provide them with hay or any other fiber diet all the time. As a result, they start to slobber down their chin.
Your chinchilla could lose hair down its chin and chest as a result of excessive salivation caused by slobbering.
This could even lead to weight loss, loss of appetite, and many other diseases. It’s a serious matter. You have to consult with the veterinarian in this case.
The vet will cut down its teeth and it will help your chinchilla to restore its proper health.
If your little chin is frightened or stressed, it will cause them to lose fur more than normal. Some things that can cause stress to your pet include bad Living conditions, poor diet, forceful grabbing, and loud noises.
The shedding of Chinchillas can also be because of several diseases. In these cases, you have to immediately consult the vet for the well-being of your pet chinchilla. There are a lot of skin diseases that led to excessive shedding.
Most diseases include abscesses and various fungal infections like ringworms. If your pet has a bald patch then it is most probably because of any disease. In this case, you have to visit your veterinarian.
If your little chin is suffering from malocclusion, then it may start to dribble. As a result, they can lose their fur from the chest due to salvation.
Chinchillas shed their fur after some weeks. The process starts from their head and moves down toward their tail. In this natural process, new hair grows towards the surface and replaces the older ones. New hair pushes the old ones.
During this process, you will notice a line on the chinchillas’ skin surface. That line is called as priming line, it is the exact area where the coat refresh is happening.
This line will move down the chinchilla’s body until all the coat is replaced with the newer one. In this way, their entire coat gets replaced. At this point, they have a fresh fur coat. This will last for a few weeks and then get replaced by another new coat.
This shedding process occurs all year long but it mostly becomes excessive during summers. This shedding helps them to stay cool and to maintain their internal body temperature.
While handling your chinchilla, avoid grasping them forcefully. It is advised to grab them at the point where their tail meets the body. From this point, you can handle them easily and they will also remain comfortable.
Don’t grab them or squeeze them, it will hurt them a lot. If you strain them from the chest or abdomen they will wiggle away, resulting in fur slip. To avoid this, firstly you have to relax it and be tame to handle them by the chest or abdomen.
The surrounding of the chinchilla is very important. You have to clean their cage daily because you have to keep all the extra and unneeded material away from the chinchilla’s fur. This helps to reduce extra oil from their skin and other dander which may irritate the skin and result in more shedding.
To maintain the healthy fur of your chinchilla, make sure that you are giving a balanced amount of everything. Neither giving too much nor giving too little because excess of everything is bad.
You have to provide them with enough food, dust baths, and all other necessities. Chinchillas need the correct nutrients to stay healthy.
They require a diet high in fiber. You should provide them with dust baths every two to three times a week for their cleanliness. Don’t give them excess dust baths as it can cause several other health issues.
Grooming of chinchilla
During fur shedding, it is important to clean and remove fur which your Chinchilla shed. This is also the best time to groom your pets.
Although, this is not necessary because not all chinchillas like to be groomed. Anyhow, breeders like to groom their chinchillas because it improves the appearance of their fur coats.
Do tails of chinchillas shed or fall off?
It has both answers. Yes and no. Because if you grab your chinchilla from the tail, it can come off as a result of self-defense. It occurs more frequently if your chinchilla is not trained or groomed and it got frightened while handling.
Chinchillas use this mechanism for self-defense and to escape from predators. You should avoid grabbing your chinchilla to avoid fur slip.
How often do these pets shed?
It varies. Some chinchillas don’t shed throughout the year except when their natural process occurs after a few months. Moreover, chinchillas with dense coats shed more often than chinchillas with less dense fur coats.
In addition to this, they shed more in the summer season to remain cool and to maintain homeostasis.
Is excessive shedding normal?
This important question is yet difficult to answer. Because shedding is a natural process, still if you believe that your chinchilla is shedding so much then, then you should examine your chinchilla’s skin. If there are any bald patches on your pet’s skin then you have to visit a veterinarian.
Chinchillas have very dense fur. So they have to shed their fur and replace it with a newer one. Chinchillas shed their entire fur after every 3 months but this process continues throughout the year.
There are various reasons for excessive shedding, but if your chinchilla has bald patches then this is not normal and you have to visit your pet’s veterinarian.
To avoid excessive shedding, you should not grab your chinchilla forcefully otherwise they will use an escape mechanism of fur slip, which causes excess shedding of fur. Moreover, you have to provide them with enough food, and a clean and peaceful environment.
Keep an eye on your chinchilla’s health and fir status, if there are large clumps or overly dense fur. Make sure to provide them cool environment because they also shed in a warm environment to maintain their body temperature.
I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.