On average, wild chinchillas tend to live between 8 and 10 years, while chinchillas in captivity commonly live to be 15 to 20 years old! This age range can vary quite a bit, though, depending on factors such as the type of chinchilla, their family history, daily care, and a bit of luck.
As the owner of an adorable chinchilla, it makes sense that you would want to be aware of the lifespan of your pet. After all, being aware of a chinchilla's lifespan allows you to make more informed decisions when it comes to medical care and behavioral issues in your pet.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a chinchilla owner that doesn't want their chinchilla to live for as long as possible. Fortunately, there are quite a few different things that you can do to help your chinchilla live a long and happy life. This post will cover some important information in regards to chinchilla health and some strategies to prolong their lives.
How Long Can A Chinchilla Live?
This is a question that can only be answered by chinchillas that have actually lived to very old ages. While it's most common to see captive chinchillas living to be around 15 years of age, there have been chinchillas that lived into their 20s, with the oldest recorded chinchilla being 3 months short of 30!
A very clear fact is that chinchillas that are kept as pets will almost always live longer than chinchillas that have to fend for themselves in the wild. This life expectancy gap can be attributed to a captive chinchilla's steady supply of food, protection from disease and predators, and an environment that's very safe and relaxing. All of these factors come together to help a chinchilla live for many, many years.
It's not really possible to say what exactly makes a chinchilla live to be twice its expected age. These outliers are likely due to a good combination of proper care, good genetics, and some luck mixed in. While luck is obviously out of your control, you are able to purchase a chinchilla with good genetics and then give them the exact proper care that they require.
So, there are a couple of things that you can do to give your chinchilla a good chance of living a very long life.
Why Do Some Chinchilla Live So Long?
As stated previously, there isn't a clear-cut answer as to why some chinchillas live for so much longer than others. However, it can essentially be boiled down to two main ideas, and those are great care and a healthy family history. Both of these factors can be controlled in some way or another.
If you have a "healthy" chinchilla, or a chinchilla that has a family history that's clear of any health issues, then there's a good chance that your chinchilla will live beyond their expected age range. It's the medical issues that come from old age that ultimately end the lives of living creatures, not the old age itself.
Therefore, if you can reduce the chances of your chinchilla developing an ailment, you'll increase the chances of them living longer.
A chinchilla's diet also plays a huge role in their health. If a chinchilla has a diet that is able to provide them with all of their essential nutrients, then they're able to supply their body with what it needs to grow strong and fight illnesses. These stronger chinchillas have a much better chance at surviving whatever life has to throw at them.
On top of those two points, a chinchilla's environment plays quite a large factor in their overall lifespan. When a chinchilla lives in an environment that's safe, comfortable, and stress-free, it lends itself to a much healthier chinchilla.
So, if a chinchilla lives to quite an old age, there's a good chance that they had a mixture of a good diet, strong genetics, and a safe environment.
How To Buy A Healthy Chinchilla
If you really want to get a chinchilla that will live for as many years as possible, then your best option is to buy a chinchilla that comes from a line of very healthy chinchillas. Genetics play a huge role in the health of living creatures, and the creatures that come from healthy families tend to live longer on average.
So how exactly would you go about acquiring a healthy chinchilla? It essentially comes down to finding an experienced and reputable breeder. Purchasing a chinchilla from a pet store won't allow you to see the health records of a chinchilla's predecessors. Doing this is essentially taking a gamble on how healthy your chinchilla is.
However, the process isn't as easy as just finding an experienced breeder. You also need to find a breeder that keeps records of all of their chinchillas' behaviors and ailments and doesn't sell all of their chinchillas when they're still babies. Most chinchilla ailments only become visible when the chinchilla reaches adulthood, so breeders that don't keep their chinchillas into adulthood won't be aware of any issues plaguing their creatures.
While its true that chinchillas that come from healthy families can still experience health problems, the chances of these problems occurring are significantly lower when the chinchilla isn't genetically predisposed to them.
Tips For Increasing Your Chinchilla's Lifespan
Since every pet owner wants their pet to live an extremely long and healthy life, how should you go about increasing the lifespan of your chinchilla? While there isn't a guaranteed way to help your chinchilla live past 20 years, there are a few things that you can do to greatly increase the chances of that happening.
To start, if you haven't purchased your chinchilla yet, you should definitely look to purchase one from a breeder that keeps detailed records of their chinchillas' health. When your chinchilla comes from a line of healthy chinchillas, there's a very good chance that your chinchilla will be quite healthy as well.
Once you've acquired your chinchilla, the best thing that you can do for them is to provide them with an optimal diet. You absolutely must feed your chinchilla a healthy diet that meets their nutritional needs and helps them grow to be strong and maintain that strength. This can simply be done with a mixture of standard chinchilla food, high-quality hay, and the occasional treat.
Your chinchilla's environment is also something that you should consider. The extent to which a clean and safe environment benefits a chinchilla is quite surprising! Get a cage for your chinchilla that's large enough and accessorize it to meet their specific environmental needs. Keep the cage in a place in your house that gets some traffic but isn't overly busy and stressful.
Spending time with your chinchilla throughout the day also makes them incredibly happy and gives them a good amount of exercise to keep them in shape.