Fur Chewing


Fur chewing is a trait in chinchillas which can be passed down genetically or caused by stress or, even, boredom. It can manifest itself in a Chin chewing the tips off his fur, or chewing down to the skin. They can chew on themselves or chew on cage mates. While there is no immediate cure, there are things you can do to hopefully help.

First, observe and watch for certain things that trigger your chinchillas chewing. Is it a particular sound, smell or sight? Does it happen when you clean their cage or move stuff around? If you can track it down to a certain event, changing that event can stop them. This would be stress induced.

Secondly, try giving your chinchilla more options to chew on. Various types of sticks, hanging toys, toss toys, palm, vine, or pumice. Give them several different places to hide & sleep - wooden house, fleece hammock, fleece covered tunnel, Seagrass, Willow, terra cotta. Put something in each level of their cage. Change the layout, move the shelves around. If boredom is the cause, these things can help alleviate that.

Lastly, the worst kind, is genetic and passed down from a parent. Experienced breeders are careful to not breed chins that have a genetic issue (fur chewing or malocussion). Accidental breedings (for example, chins that have been sexed wrong) or Backyard breeders, the inexperienced, breed un-pedigreed chins without any knowledge of whether they may have genetic issues that can be passed on. This can be gut-wrenching for the unaware owner. If they are few chewing because its in their blood so to speak, there may not be much you can do to stop it. We do suggest you try all of the suggestions above. Be sure they get regular dust baths and watch their skin for any signs of irritation or damage, treat as necessary.


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