Chinchillas were originally hunted for their dense and soft fur. The majority of the chinchillas in captivity are descended from only 11 individuals that were captured in the early 1920s. Unfortunately, overhunting has almost extinct these beautiful, fluffy creatures in the wild.
The few chinchillas that still live in the wild have silver-grey fur with black ticking.
As a whole, chinchillas cannot get wet. Their fur is extremely dense, which keeps them warm, but at the same time, it’s too dense to dry on its own. Wet fur will lead to a cold, sick chinchilla.
In the following, you will find some more information about the chinchilla’s fur, what to do, if it got wet by accident, and whether chinchillas stink if they never wash with water.
Can You Wash a Chinchilla With Water?
Chinchillas have the densest fur on earth. In the wild, they live in the mountainous regions of the Andes in South America, in a rather scarce, dry, and cold environment. Their fur keeps them warm, even if it’s very cold outside.
As a whole, the fur of a chinchilla cannot be washed with water. It will clump, the body heat will drop, and the chinchilla will become sick. Chinchillas clean themselves in dust baths, where they get rid of all the dirt or greasy in the fur.
The only way to clean a chinchilla is to offer them a dust bath. You can use normal chinchilla sand from the pet store, put it in a bowl that is big enough for the chinchilla to roll in it, and offer it to your chinchilla every day or every second day.
Chinchillas will roll in the dust bath, trying to cover the entire fur in the dust. This helps them to get rid of any dirt or grease that might be in the fur.
What do You do if a Chinchilla Gets Wet?
Chinchillas should never have wet fur. They come originally from a very dry and cold environment, therefore both humidity and water are not good for their fur.
As a whole, if a chinchilla got wet by accident, it is possible to gently dry the fur with a towel as thoroughly as possible, or blow-dry the fur on a low and cool setting.
It is not good if a chinchilla got wet, but it’s also not too dramatic as long as you make sure that the chinchilla is dried quickly. If you need to use a fan, only use a rather low and cool setting. Never blow dry a chinchilla with hot air, because it might burn their skin and hurt them. Be gentle with the towel as well. Chinchillas are not used to being rubbed off with a towel.
Whatever leads to a wet chinchilla- remove it to prevent further accidents.
Do Chinchillas Stink?
Chinchillas keep themselves very clean if you let them. As long a chinchilla can regularly take a sand bath, and the cage is deep-cleaned once a week, the chinchilla and the enclosure will not stink.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂