Baby chinchillas are called kits. Kits rely on their mother for the first eight weeks of their lives. They are born in litters of two to seven.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word rodent? A dirty, disease-carrying, furry animal that lives in the sewers?
While many rodents are dangerous and a nuisance, there are some rodents that can be kept as pets. Chinchillas are one such rodent. These small animals are furry and adorable. Chinchillas also make great pets and are super friendly.
Found mostly in the wild, chinchillas are domesticated and kept in captivity by a multitude of people across the world.
This article discusses the lifecycle of a chinchilla from birth and gives you tips on how to care for your baby chinchilla.
What Is a Baby Chinchilla Called?
Baby chinchillas are called kits. They are born in litters of 2 to 7. Chinchilla kits are reliant on their mothers for a few weeks after birth.
Newborn chinchillas are called kits. A litter ranges from two to seven kits.
Female chinchillas typically give birth early in the morning.
What Does a Baby Chinchilla Look Like?
Baby chinchillas are born covered in fur, unlike other rodents. They are born with their eyes open and start walking soon after their birth.
Female chinchillas give birth to kits once a year. Baby chinchillas are born with their eyes open. Their bodies are covered with fur, which is unusual among rodents who are usually born naked. Kits have short forelimbs and long hindlimbs.
Baby chinchillas become active soon after their birth. They start walking and running after a couple of hours. Kits run fast, and extra care is required when opening or closing the cage.
Their eyes can be one of three colors:
Baby chinchillas have large, round ears and long bushy tails.
Baby Chinchilla Lifecycle
Chinchillas go through four life stages: newborn, preadolescent, young adult, and adult. They live an average of 9 to 15 years, in which they go through their stages. Baby chinchillas rely on their mothers for the first eight weeks of their life.
Chinchilla loves longer than most rodents. Some chinchillas can live for more than 20 years. The average life cycle of a chinchilla is 9 to 15 years, depending on various factors:
They start their life much like humans: as helpless newborns. Female chinchillas get pregnant and go through a long pregnancy. The gestation period is around 111 days but can range between 109 to 120 days.
Baby chinchillas are born with fur all over their bodies, unlike other rodents. Their eyes are wide open, and they start walking a couple of hours after their birth.
Baby chinchillas rely on their mother for warmth and food for about eight weeks. These chinchillas are active and can run out of the cage if proper care is not taken.
3-Months Old Chinchilla
After 3 months, the weaning period begins for all chinchillas. Males should be separated from their mothers, while females can live in their mother’s cages indefinitely. This is done to avoid inbreeding among the chinchillas.
During the weaning period, baby chinchillas become hyperactive and stressed. This transition must be carefully monitored as some chinchillas stop eating and become tense.
Chinchillas develop high curiosity and learn to socialize with other chinchillas from a young age.
Related: Can Chinchillas Live Alone?
6-Months Old Chinchilla
At the age of 6 months, baby chinchillas are in their juvenile (young adult) stage. This stage lasts until they fully mature and turn into adults. Their bodies start to grow, and their development speeds up.
Chinchillas develop their personalities during this phase.
9-Months Old Chinchilla
After a period of 9 months, male chinchillas reach the age of maturity and are ready to reproduce. Female chinchillas must be checked for their potential breeding readiness.
One year after they are born, most chinchillas reach their full size and are considered adults. With proper care and diet, chinchillas live beyond their expected lifespan.
What Sounds Do Baby Chinchillas Make?
Chinchillas are vocal animals and make several sounds. Baby chinchillas mainly make contact sounds when they touch their mothers.
Chinchillas like to be noisy. Kits make several sounds to represent various moods. Chinchillas make noises when they are:
Chinchillas also make contact voices when they touch their mothers. They are loud and often active during dusk and dawn.
Do not keep chinchillas in your bedroom if you want a good night’s sleep. Some of the major sounds chinchillas make are listed below.
Related: Chinchilla Sounds
1. Contact Sound
Baby chinchillas make contact sounds when they interact with their mothers or other chinchillas. These sounds are aggressive slow grunts and indicate comfort. Chinchillas start making these sounds soon after birth.
2. Positional Sounds
Baby chinchillas are more likely to make positional sounds compared to adult chinchillas. These sounds represent comfort and happiness. They are low-frequency sounds and are used to transmit information about their location.
3. Bark Noises
Chinchillas make a barking sound when they are afraid or when they perceive danger. This is a high-intensity sound followed by low tapering. It is made up to five times continuously. Barking sounds are also used to alert the other members of the group of potential danger.
4. Depressed Sounds
Chinchillas have emotions and can feel sad. Crying sounds like shrill squeaks. Chinchillas make these sounds when they are depressed. Baby chinchillas make these noises if they can’t find their mother.
5. Alarm Sound
When in pain or due to fear, chinchillas make a high-frequency shriek. These alarm calls usually indicate fear, but they can also indicate happiness and excitement. If other chinchillas hear this, they can start hiding to avoid predators.
What Do Baby Chinchillas Eat?
For the first 8 weeks of their lives, baby chinchillas rely on their mother’s milk for nourishment. During the weaning period, they start eating hay, dried fruits, hay, and vegetables.
Baby chinchillas are small and fragile. While they are born with teeth, they don’t consume solid foods until 8 weeks after birth. In this period, they are dependent on their mother to provide them with milk.
The first solid foods they should have are hay and pellets.
After the weaning period begins, start giving small portions of food to your baby chinchilla.
Here are common foods that are safe for chinchillas to consume:
- Sweet potato
- Dried blackberries
- Apple blossoms
Dangers for Baby Chinchillas
Baby chinchillas in the wild are less likely to survive than kits raised in captivity. Wires, chords, chemicals, and predators are some of the most common dangers for baby chinchillas.
Baby chinchillas require extra effort and care. Pet chinchillas are more likely to reach maturity than wild chinchillas, as they aren’t at risk of as many dangers.
Rough weather, excessive rain, and predators are the biggest dangers for baby chinchillas in the wild. Fortunately, these dangers do not affect the pet chinchillas. Baby chinchillas living in a cage are also safe from the prying eyes of predators.
Here are the most common dangers for pet baby chinchillas:
- Wires and chords
- Sharp objects
It is potentially fatal for chinchillas if they eat or chew on one of these objects.
Live wires can electrocute your baby chinchilla in a matter of seconds. Eating drywall, carpets, or household chemicals can cause choking and gastrointestinal upset.
If your baby chinchilla likes to run around the house, sharp-pointed objects can easily pierce its skin.
Keeping your baby chinchilla in the hot sun is also dangerous, as it can lead to heatstroke. Many chinchillas die from overheating, which is why they should be kept in a cool area.
Some chinchillas are aggressive by nature and do not welcome other chinchillas near them. An aggressive chinchilla in the litter can attack other kits, which can be dangerous.
How to Take Care of a Pet Baby Chinchilla
Taking care of a pet baby chinchilla requires providing it a proper diet, keeping the cage clean, providing dust baths, and social interactions.
Baby chinchillas are noisy, messy, and dependent. These chinchillas require proper care and attention to keep them healthy. Understanding their needs can make caring for a baby chinchilla a piece of cake.
There are four things you need to worry about when raising pet baby chinchillas:
1. Healthy Chinchilla Diet
Keeping your chinchilla well-fed and healthy is a priority. Baby chinchillas require their mother’s milk to get their nutrition. They also start eating some hay and pellets a few weeks after birth.
If the mother dies during childbirth or after giving birth, orphaned baby chinchillas can be fed kit milk.
You can buy this milk from pet stores. Warm the milk in a microwave or on the stove and add it to a syringe. Hold the baby chinchilla upright and feed it via the syringe.
Feeding milk every two hours during the day is vital to provide proper nourishment to the chinchillas. This procedure should be done during the first 2 to 3 weeks.
Measure your baby chinchilla’s weight constantly to ensure it is eating enough. Do not normalize giving treats to your chinchilla though. Occasional treats are good and healthy, excessively feeding chinchillas treats will negatively affect their health.
Fresh fruits are not safe for chinchillas. Chinchillas can only be fed dried fruits.
Feeding your chinchilla proper pellets is also important to maintain their health. Get the right pellet for your baby chinchilla. Do not opt for any pellets suited to a rodent. Specially created pellets for chinchillas should be your choice.
2. Provide Plenty of Fresh Water
Chinchillas need water to stay hydrated, as dehydration is fatal. This requires a stable supply of fresh water. It is imperative that you clean your chinchilla bottles regularly to avoid bacteria accumulation.
Keep the water bottle almost full and replenish the supply once it reaches the halfway point. A backup water bottle attached to the cage can help maintain a stable supply of water.
Always use a bottle. Do not use bowls to provide water to your chinchilla. Water bottles keep the water fresh and untouched, reducing the chances of bacterial infections.
3. Set up the Right Cage
Chinchillas are active rodents. They need a big cage to remain happy. Jumping, climbing, and running are the favorite activities of chinchillas.
A cage size of 2 x 2 x 3 or 12 sq. feet is an ideal cage size for chinchillas.
4. Keep the Right Temperature
Chinchillas require cold temperatures to remain healthy. Their furry bodies are excellent at keeping them warm in the cold weather.
They easily overheat on warm days. Avoid keeping your baby chinchilla outside as it will overheat under the sun. This increases the chances of dehydration and heat stroke.
How Fast Do Baby Chinchillas Grow?
Baby chinchillas grow quickly. Chinchillas are considered fully grown a year after their birth. Most chinchillas mature when they reach the age of 9 months.
Chinchillas are fast-growing creatures. They start growing as soon as they are born. Within three months, baby chinchillas reach almost one-third of their final size.
After 8 to 9 months, most baby chinchillas reach maturity and are ready for reproduction. Most chinchillas reach their full size by their first birthday.
Some chinchillas continue to grow beyond their first birthday, reaching their final size a couple of months later.
Baby chinchillas are heavily reliant on their mothers for their basic needs. In the absence of a mother, owners can feed baby chinchillas with processed milk found in stores.
Caring for a baby chinchilla requires commitment and dedication. Once you get the basics right, caring for a baby chinchilla is easy.
How to Take Care of a Chinchilla Baby?
Baby chinchillas require extra care and attention. The mother should provide milk to baby chinchillas till the weaning period. The kits can fight for the milk sometimes. Ensure proper rotation to provide adequate milk to the baby chinchillas.
How Long Does It Take for a Chinchilla to Give Birth?
Female chinchillas go through a long pregnancy period of 109 to 120 days. The average gestation period for chinchillas is around 111 days.
When Do Chinchillas Stop Growing?
Chinchillas stop growing after a year of their birth when they reach their full size. Some chinchillas grow beyond the first year but usually stop growing within two years.