Chinchilla Lifespan: How Long Can a Chinchilla Live?

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Considered exotic pets in many different places, chinchillas are cuddly and soft. But how long does a chinchilla live? As a new pet owner, what can you do to take good care of your chinchilla or chin?

In this article, we'll discuss the average lifespan of these unique rodents, what you can expect to find when you learn about their life cycle, and we'll give you some advice on how to best care for your jaws.

Let's get started now!

how long can a chinchilla live
Wild chinchillas have extremely short lifespans in the Andes due to predation, habitat loss, and overall climate change.

© ATTILA Barsan/

How long can chinchillas live?

What is the lifespan of chinchillas? Chinchillas live an average of 8-10 years in the wild, while some well-cared-for pet chinchillas can live as long as 20 years. For example, the oldest surviving chinchilla, named Radar, lived to be nearly 30 years old!

Wild chinchillas have extremely short lifespans in the Andes due to predation, habitat loss, and overall climate change.

They are athletic and slightly delicate creatures with needs beyond the standard rodent. They are considered critically endangered wild animals.

However, these herbivores are adorable pets, capable of leaping six or seven feet in the air. Like most rodents, they require constant stimulation and the ability to wear down their teeth because they never stop growing.

With proper care, most domesticated chinchillas will live to be at least ten years old. Life is more difficult for wild chinchillas. With that said, let's now take a look at the life cycle of this rodent to shed some light.

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How long do chinchillas live?
Chinchillas have an average lifespan of 8-10 years, while some pet jaws live as long as 20 years.

©Anya Poustozerova/

Average Lifespan of a Chinchilla

Given the chinchilla's unique genetic makeup and characteristics, the life cycle of the chinchilla is different from that of many other rodents. Let's talk a little more about what life is like for a chinchilla at any age or stage of life.

newborn or kit

Chinchillas have a gestation period of just over 100 days, which is quite long in the grand scheme of rodent birth. However, they are born with fur and can see it immediately after birth, which is another unique characteristic of chinchillas.

Kits will need to spend up to ten weeks of their lives with their mothers. They need her for warmth, protection, and the necessary development of social skills. However, the cubs are active and playful from their first days on Earth, which makes them agile and fearless!

young chinchilla

By 8 to 10 weeks of age, a chinchilla's life cycle begins with weaning off mother's milk and protection. They can be playful and shy, which makes them ideal pets for older children and even adults.

Young chinchillas at this stage of their lives should also be separated and grouped into same-sex pods. This is to prevent breeding, not because chinchillas like to be isolated. In fact, chinchillas thrive in packs – wild chinchillas are often found in groups of 100 or more!

How long do chinchillas live?
Clean, relatively odor-free, hyperactive and attention-loving, in the right climate, chinchillas can make excellent pets for apartment dwellers.

©AJSTUDIO Photography/


After the year has passed, most chinchillas are considered adults at this point in their chinchilla life. They might still be a little longer, especially with their active and hungry jaws. They're likely to be building muscle during this time, though you won't be able to tell what's going on under all the fur!

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Adult Jaws make ideal companions because of their playful nature and unique personality. They are often shy, but this means they are less likely to bite. Plus, they're nocturnal and like to take a dust bath, a process that involves them wallowing in a specially formulated pile of dust.

There is still much to learn about adult chinchillas, especially how to prolong their lifespan for years to come. Now let's take a brief look at it.

How to Extend the Life of Your Pet Chinchilla

How long do chinchillas live?
Adult Jaws make ideal companions because of their playful nature and unique personality.

© Cretopic/

If you're hoping to adopt a chinchilla or have recently brought home a chinchilla, here are some tips to help you prolong the life of your new family member:

  • Feed them a high fiber diet. Chinchillas are similar to rabbits in that they need plenty of fiber in their diet to live a happy life. Diet is key to caring for almost any pet, including chinchillas. So take a moment to research what foods are best for your new jaws and how you can best keep them healthy and happy.
  • Always give them something to chew on. Whether it's a piece of wood or a bale of hay, chinchillas need options to chew on all the time. Like many other pet rodents, their teeth are constantly growing, so keeping them at the proper length is a must.
  • Learn about the personality of chinchillas. As with any animal, the jaw is known for hiding pain or discomfort. This is where understanding your chinchilla and how it normally functions is key. This will make any unusual behavior more obvious so you can take them to the vet and get the help they need.
  • There is a veterinarian who knows chinchillas. If you can, find a veterinarian who understands exotic pet care and can properly care for your chinchilla if you feel unwell. While it may be difficult to find at first, finding a veterinarian who can extend the life of your jaw is key!
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about the author

august croft

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full time in Oregon. A graduate of Southern Oregon University with a BA in Theater and a major in Creative Writing, I have an interest in a variety of topics, especially the history of the Pacific Northwest. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping on the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my family's kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast-iron skillet.

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