A Detailed Overview of Their Growth and Development

A Detailed Overview of Their Growth and Development

Chinchilla Size: A Detailed Overview of Their Growth and Development


Chinchillas are cute, curious, and energetic animals that make good pets when cared for properly. Owners need to monitor chinchilla size to ensure they grow into happy and healthy adults. These tiny rodents come from South America and can measure more than 15 inches from their nose to the tip of their tails. In terms of weight, they can be anywhere from 1.1 to 2.2 pounds.

Here, we’ll review Chinchilla size, life stages, and factors that can influence their overall dimensions.

Chinchilla Size: An Initial Look

Before delving into Chinchilla size details, it’s essential to differentiate between long-tail and short-tail varieties. As the name suggests, the short-haired chinchilla has a shorter tail but is heavier than its longer-tail counterpart. They’re typically about 12 to 13 inches long, weighing about 2.2 to 3 pounds. It’s also worth noting that female chinchillas are slightly larger and have more robust bodies than males. However, this difference is slight and not immediately noticeable.

Two black baby chinchillas

The body of a long-tailed chinchilla measures around 10 to 14 inches. Still, its tail can add another 5 to 6 inches to this overall length. Usually, they’ll be somewhere between 1.1 pounds and 1.8 pounds.

While these guidelines can be helpful for your pet, individual differences may vary. Each chinchilla is different, and their adult size will depend on genetics, diet, and activity level.

A Deep Dive into the Life Stages of a Chinchilla

Monitoring your chinchilla’s overall size is important. As they mature, you’ll surely notice rapid differences. The early stages are critical, and you should look for signs of stunted growth, lethargy, or loss of appetite. There are a few distinct stages to keep in mind when monitoring growth.

Newborn and Juvenile Stage

Tiny chinchilla kit on human's hand

The newborn stage of chinchillas spans from birth to the first few months of life. They’re born with their eyes open, a full coat of fur, and can quickly move around with a weight of 30 and 60 grams. They’re typically 2 inches in length at this point.

In just two weeks, chinchillas double in weight. By the time they’re two months old, they’ll weigh somewhere between 200 and 300 grams. As they gradually progress to the juvenile stage, chinchillas will grow a much fluffier coat, and transition to more solid foods instead of their mother’s milk.

Adolescent Stage

At three to eight months, chinchillas are in the adolescent stage of their lives. Their growth will slow down, and they’ll start looking more like adults. Typically, this is marked by a fully grown coat and behavioral changes. During this period, they’ll be more curious and independent and explore their environment’s boundaries. You’ll notice lots of activity with a healthy chinchilla in this stage. Typically, in their adolescent phase, chinchillas will weigh about 400 to 600 grams and reach 7 to 10 inches.

In the adolescent phase, you might notice a difference between the genders, with females slightly larger than males.

Chinchilla on bed eating a treat

Adult Stage

At one year old, Chinchillas are considered adults. This is when they reach their mature size ranging from 10 to 14 inches in length (excluding the tail) and up to 2.2 pounds in terms of weight. As adults, chinchillas are calmer than in their adolescent stages. However, it’s important that they get enough exercise, have a balanced diet, and have a suitable environment.

Factors Influencing Chinchilla Size

When it comes to chinchilla size, the biggest role is played by genetics. However, other factors can influence your chinchilla’s general size. Things like environment, nutrition, and gender are key.

For example, female chinchillas are slightly larger than male chinchillas. As such, the right environment and a balanced diet can help them reach a healthy weight.

adult chinchilla cuddled by human

Type of Chinchilla

Different chinchilla types will generally vary in terms of size and length. This is important to consider when predicting your pet’s expected adult size.

  • Short-Tailed Chinchillas – Short-tailed chinchillas are noticeably shorter than their long-tail counterparts. However, they’re a bit heavier and more robust. Short-tailed chinchillas are typically 2.2 to 2.3 pounds and 12 to 13 inches long.
  • Long-Tailed Chinchilla – Due to a lengthy tail, this chinchilla type is overall longer. However, long-tail chinchillas also weigh less. They can reach 20 inches in length, including the tail while being 1.8 pounds in weight.

The size of chinchilla types also depends on factors like their environment. Short-tailed chinchillas often become pets, while long-tailed chinchillas are more common in the wild.

Genetic Factors

While the two types of chinchillas mentioned above differ in size, there can also be certain genetic differences between the same type. Although possible, it’s uncommon for long-tailed chinchillas to reach 20 inches in length.

Other genetic factors besides tail length might influence their sizes too. Some of these factors include muscle mass and even bone size.

Environmental Factors

While the size of your chinchilla largely depends on genetic factors, the environment plays a vital role too. Chinchillas need spacious cages and toys for exercise to ensure optimal growth and well-being. For your chinchilla to play, jump, and stay active, you’ll need a cage of at least 3 feet x 2 feet x 2 feet. You can also install multiple levels and platforms for some extra stimulation.

Likewise, chinchillas need enough sleep sufficiently to maximize growth and well-being. A comfortable and quality bedding material like shredded newspapers or wood shavings helps them get the rest they need. Environmental factors are important in ensuring your chinchilla has a long lifespan.

Nutritional Factors

An important aspect of the growth of any animal, including chinchillas, is nutrition. Your pet chinchilla should have a diet of hay and pellets to ensure they grow up happy, healthy, and without stunted growth. Make sure not to overfeed them, either. These little guys have a big appetite and will overeat if given the chance.

The bulk of chinchilla food is hay. The reason being, they benefit from high fiber. Timothy hay is regarded as the right blend of fiber and other important nutrients. Feed your Chinchilla foods like wheat and dry herbs or goji berries for treats.

You should avoid vegetables, nuts, seeds, and foods high in fat, sugar, and salt. Although they’re rodents, chinchillas have a specific diet, and these foods can lead to ailments like diarrhea and bloating. Also, ensure they have plenty of fresh water.

Health Issues Related to Size in Chinchillas

Before your pet matures into a full-grown chinchilla, you’ll want to keep your eyes open for possible health issues. If you buy a Chinchilla, keep their eating tendencies in mind.

Overeating can cause obesity, making your chinchilla lethargic and out of shape and potentially giving rise to respiratory and heart issues.

On the other side of the spectrum is malnutrition. Look out for hair loss, weight loss, and stunted growth, as these are tell-tale signs that your chinchilla isn’t eating enough. If you do notice these issues, contact a chinchilla vet.

How Much Space Does Your Chinchilla Need?

When you get a baby chinchilla, you’ll quickly realize they make agile, curious, and entertaining pets. Between taking dust baths and eating, your chinchilla will need plenty of space to get the necessary exercise and mental stimulation. Enough movement ensures that chinchillas grow up with optimal energy levels and size.

Quality Cage Chinchilla Mansion

Generally speaking, a chinchilla needs a cage of at least 2 feet x 2 feet x 2 feet for comfort. However, bigger is better. If you have two chinchillas, you should at least double the size of the cage so they have enough space to move around freely. Also, ensure you have multi-level platforms and chinchilla toys for extra stimulation. While you’re planning your budget, factor in the above chinchilla cost.

Take Your Chinchilla Care to the Next Level With Quality Cage

Chinchillas are cute, curious, and entertaining animals that make great pocket pets. So how big can a chinchilla get? The size depends on many factors, but they’re generally smaller, with short-tailed chinchillas reaching 2.2 pounds and 14 inches long. In comparison, long-tailed chinchillas are typically 1.2 pounds, reaching 20 inches long.

To ensure your chinchilla reaches its full size, head to Quality Cage and select the right supplies. You can choose from dust bath bowls, cages, food, toys, and anything your Chinchilla needs for a long and happy life.


How big do pet chinchillas get?

Short-tailed chinchillas typically reach 2.2 pounds with a length between 10 and 14 inches. Long-tailed chinchillas can reach lengths of 20 inches. However, they’re lighter at only 1.2 pounds on average.

Are chinchillas very friendly?

Although high-strung, chinchillas as pets can be friendly if exposed to human contact and a positive environment from a young age. However, they aren’t the most affectionate animals. Short-tailed chinchillas, in particular, don’t like to be cuddled or handled. They should also be kept away from other larger pets. For example, chinchillas and cats don’t get along at all.

How big is the biggest chinchilla?

Long-tailed chinchillas are the biggest in terms of length, sometimes even reaching 20 inches in length. However, short-tailed chinchillas are much heavier and bulkier at 2.2 pounds.

Are two chinchillas better than 1?

You should definitely get two chinchillas instead of one. Chinchillas are naturally sociable creatures and live in groups in the wild. Getting e pair of them instead of one ensures they have the social stimulation they need.


Have Questions About Chinchilla Care?

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Author: Joshua Paulson and Quality Cage Team

Josh is the owner and CEO at Quality Cage Crafters since 2015. During his time at Quality Cage Crafters he has been able to learn from tens of thousands of pet owners and pet educators. He blends his ambition for manufacturing and passion for animal care to create solutions for pet owners, breeders, animal rescues, and zoos. He has brought together a team of great animal lovers to create high quality pet care content for the Quality Cage Crafters audience.

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