Chinchilla Care

How to Take Care of Your Pregnant Chinchilla


Male chinchillas are sexually mature at around the age of 5 months and females at about 8 months to 1 year. This does not mean a chin cannot get pregnant before this time however. When females are about 6 months old they start to go into heat about every 25 to 35 days. The oestrus cycle of a chinchilla is about 28 days and the heat period is 2 days so chinchillas are capable of getting pregnant every month but the likelihood of mating seems to be better during the late winter/early spring months. As the days start to get longer the chinchillas are most likely to breed. Also during the late summer/early fall months chinchilla breeding will slow down. Even in a controlled environment they seem to sense the light change and will breed accordingly.   


Having more than one chinchilla to care for can be very amusing. Though a nocturnal species, they are a very active bunch; and to see them active, wither leaping, interacting with their fellow chinchillas, and scampering around in their cage can give you hours and hours of watching pleasure. A thing to expect with your chinchillas, especially if you have both male and female in one cage, is that they will eventually find the time to mate. 



Once a pair is bonded it can take anywhere from several weeks to over a year for them to successfully mate. Some signs that a mating has taken place would be tufts of hair in the cage and/or finding a breeding plug. 


Chinchillas are part of the rodent family, and just like their hamster and gerbil relatives, they are very reproductive. A male-female couple will most likely produce offspring or, as most like to call them, "kits." When breeding, chinchillas do not have any particular season to mate, but keep in mind that females are usually sexually active from either November to May or in the middle of summer. During these months, don't be surprised if you hear the cage unusually noisy at night, finding a lot of fur scattered about the next day. Since they are nocturnal, your chinchilla couple will most likely mate in the evening, accompanied with some chattering and squeaks as mating calls. 


Pregnancy on a chinchilla can be hard to detect especially during the first 3 months. If you observe your female chinchilla to be uncooperative during feeding time or getting unusually hostile to you or other chinchillas, most likely, she may be pregnant. Just to prevent her from hurting other chinchillas in the cage and to prepare her to giving birth, it would be ideal to isolate her or place her in a separate cage. This can help her get less agitated, giving her enough time and space for rest. By the time she contracts, you may observe her to squirm and groan.  


If your chinchilla is not used to being handled its best to leave her alone if you suspect she is pregnant. Stress can cause her to abort the babies. If your female is used to your affection and seems to want to continue to be outside of the cage it is alright to hold her. Just be sure to use extra care. Many chinchillas will go through mood swings during pregnancy. 


First time mothers usually have smaller babies and many times have single births. These can be harder to detect. Chinchillas carrying multiple kits will be obviously large. As the female gets closer to her delivery date you may be able to see the babies move.