How Chinchillas Mate (Behavior, Season, & More)

Chinchillas are very fluffy animals of the rodent family. They are native to South America.

If there is anything cuter than a chinchilla, it is a baby chinchilla.

Are you ready to start breeding them all on your own?

In this article, we have listed everything you must know about chinchillas, how they mate, and what you must do while your female is pregnant. Keep on reading to find out.

Key Takeaway:

Male and female chinchillas become sexually mature at 8 months old. The females are normally monogamous. Mating season begins in November and ends in May in the Northern Hemisphere. The gestation period for the females is 111 days; after that, they give birth to 2 kits.

In what month will a chinchilla mate? Are chinchillas better in pairs?

To find out more about how chinchillas reproduce check out the information in this guide.

chinchilla behavior

How Do Chinchillas Mate?

Chinchillas are not your run-of-the-mill pets so it is often tricky to find out information about breeding them and looking after these rodents. That’s why coming up next in this article, we are going to take a look at the common behavior of breeding chinchillas.

When do chinchillas mate and how long are females pregnant for?

You’ll find the answers to these questions and more in the upcoming sections.

Mating Behavior of Male and Female Chinchillas

The female chinchilla is normally monogamous. This means that it mates for life.

Chinchillas become sexually mature at 8 months of age. Like other rodents, chinchillas reproduce by mating.

Females can become aggressive towards the males during the mating process and attack the male. So, if you are trying to breed chinchillas you must keep an eye on them.

Are you ready to find out more?

Then here are some fascinating facts about maturity in chinchillas:

  • A female can reach maturity in as little as 4 months. But this doesn’t usually happen until it is 8 months old.
  • Males take 8 months to become mature sexually. But the chinchilla may continue to grow in size after that. It should stop growing by 2 years of age.
  • Although females can become mature as quickly as 4 months, it is best to wait until the chinchilla is 1 year old to breed it.

Mating Season

The thought of breeding chinchillas is so exciting. That’s why we’re about to let you in on how it all works.

When do chinchillas mate?

Chinchillas mate all year round, but mating season typically begins in November and ends in May in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the breeding season begins in May and ends in November.

Here are some interesting facts about mating season for chinchillas:

  • Mating in chinchillas is based on the light cycle and the seasons. That is why mating times vary in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
  • A female will go into heat every 25 to 50 days.

The Gestation Period of the Female Chinchilla

The gestation period for chinchillas is longer than most other rodents.

How long is a female chinchilla pregnant?

The gestation period for female long-tailed chinchillas is 111 days long.

How rare is the long gestation of a chinchilla?

Find out with the help of the following fun facts about chinchillas.

  • Most rodents have shorter gestation periods than chinchillas except porcupines. The Brazilian porcupine will give birth after 201 days and the Indian Crested porcupine will give birth after 112 days (just one day longer than the long-tailed chinchilla!).
  • Short-tailed chinchillas have average gestation periods of 128 days. Yes, that’s even longer than the long-tailed chinchilla!

Giving Birth

Baby hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs are called pups. Baby chinchillas, however, are called kits.

How many kits are born per litter?

The female normally has a small litter with just two kits. A litter size may be as big as six but two is far more common.

Pregnant females usually give birth in the morning and the chinchilla kits are born minutes apart.

The newborn baby chinchilla will be furry and will have their eyes open. They can run around and play as soon as they are born.

The kits will also have teeth and will weigh about 35 grams. They will eat plant matter straight away.

The male chinchilla might help the female to look after the kits when they are born. However, some males are violent towards the kits and will try to kill them so pet owners must watch how the male reacts to its offspring.

Are you ready to find out the exciting way the kits are born?

Then here are some of our favorite facts.

  • The mother will pull the kits out of her birth canal using her teeth.
  • She will eat the kit’s placenta.
  • The mother will clean the kits after she gives birth to them. She will then clean herself.

Do Chinchillas Need to Be In Pairs?

Chinchillas are very social animals and like the company of their owners and their cage mates. But putting two chinchillas together isn’t as simple as it seems.

Take a look at our upcoming pairing guide that will help you put a mating pair together for breeding or same-sex pairs for companionship.

chinchilla pairs

Mixed Pairs

You’re a chinchilla superfan and would love to give a home to two furry rodents.

But you wonder…should chinchillas be kept in pairs?

Chinchillas love one another's company and will do very well in pairs. If you want your chinchillas to begin mating, you will need to adopt a male and female chinchilla both over 1-year-old.

If you don’t want your male and female chinchillas to breed, you will need to house a neutered male with a female. You may also have the female neutered but this tends to be less common.

Groups with members of the same litter are less likely to fight.

Mixed Groups

The thought of adopting chinchillas is overwhelmingly exciting and you cannot wait to get several of them.

But do chinchillas like living in groups?

Yes, chinchillas love to live in small groups. If you want them to mate, house them in mixed-gender groups.

If you do not want them to mate, make sure you neuter them. To ensure they do not fight, keep them in groups from the same litter.

Same-Sex Pairs

So you want to have more than one chinchilla but you do not want them to mate.

Can you put same-sex chinchillas in a cage? Should chinchillas be in pairs?

If you do not want to breed chinchillas you must put them in same-sex pairs. These small pets will welcome the company of another chinchilla if it is from the same litter.

Housing two male chinchillas or two female chinchillas together is not a problem if both of them are from the same litter. If they are not, the animals might become territorial against one another and begin to fight.

To prevent this from happening, you must get the chinchillas used to one another. The following steps will help you with this:

  1. Introduce the chinchillas to one another on neutral ground. Allow them to play with one another for an hour a day for a few days. Supervise them as they play and separate them at the first sight of bullying.
  2. Keep them in separate cages in the same room. Keep the cages a bit of a distance from one another.
  3. If the chinchillas seem to be getting along, allow them slightly longer play sessions until you feel comfortable that they will not fight.
  4. Once the animals have gotten used to one another, move them into one cage to share. You will have to repeat this process for every new chinchilla you introduce into the cage.

Same-Sex Groups

You want to adopt not one or two chinchillas, but rather, a small group of them!

Is that okay? Do chinchillas like to live in groups?

Chinchillas typically enjoy living in groups as they live this way in the wild. Wild chinchillas live in groups of 14 to 100 called herds.

They live in large groups as they are prey animals in the wild and living this way helps them to survive. They also live in large groups because they really like one another’s company.

To prevent your pets from fighting in captivity, you must house chinchillas from the same litter together.

If you do not want the chinchillas to begin breeding, you must keep them in same-sex groups. A small group of males or females is very effective as long as your enclosure is big enough.

What to Do When Your Chinchilla Is Pregnant

You love having pet chinchillas and now for the first time, something super exciting is about to happen…you’re about to have a whole family of chinchillas!

Looking after your mating chinchillas and making sure they have everything they need requires a bit of work. So, coming up next, we’re going to guide you through everything your pet chinchillas will need at this time.

Provide Enough Food and Water

Is your chinchilla mating?

Then you must ensure it has enough to eat and drink during this crucial time.

How much food do your chinchillas need?

Chinchillas must eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of commercial pellets every day. They must also have unlimited access to hay for snacking on at their leisure.

During the beginning of her pregnancy, a female will likely eat more often. Provide her with more than her normal allowance of commercial pellets to ensure she has enough energy for the day.
chinchilla eating hay

A pregnant female might lose her appetite slightly as she gets to the end of her pregnancy. This is normal so adjust her commercial pellet diet accordingly.

It is best you put your chinchilla food in a ceramic bowl to prevent your pet from nibbling it. You must have one bowl for each chinchilla.

How much water do your chinchillas need?

Your chinchilla will drink 55 ml of water every day. The amount of water your female chinchilla drinks while it goes through the breeding process does not usually vary but always make sure it has fresh water to drink each day.

You must use a drip-free water bottle to give your pets enough to drink. Fasten the water bottle to the side of the enclosure.

Make sure you have one water bottle for each chinchilla.

Put Nesting Boxes In the Enclosure

Is your female chinchilla going through the mating process?

While your chinchilla is pregnant, you must make sure that she and everyone else in the cage have what they need to feel comfortable.

What do breeding chinchillas need?

Your female chinchilla will need a nesting box. She will appreciate having a nesting box to take shelter in while she is pregnant as she may become less active at this time and spend longer resting.

The box will help her to feel safe.

The box will also provide shelter for the male chinchilla in case the female becomes aggressive. This might happen when the male attempts to mate or at other times.

The female might also show aggression towards the other chinchillas living in the same cage, so the box will provide shelter for them too.

The nesting box also provides shelter for the newly born kits. Most chinchillas do not build nests for the arrival of their kits and the nest box will help them to keep warm and protect them from drafts.

You will find great nesting boxes at pet stores. Alternatively, make your own out of a cardboard box.

Put multiple nesting boxes in different areas of the enclosure to ensure your pets have enough hiding spots.

Give the Necessary Medical Care

While your chinchilla is going through the reproductive cycle, you must keep an eye on it to ensure everything goes smoothly.

What must you do if your female or male looks ill?

If your chinchilla doesn’t look well, take it to the vet immediately. Always take it to a vet that specializes in exotic animals.

Be gentle while touching your female’s fur and body while she is pregnant. Give her plenty of support when you pick her up.

While giving birth, some chinchillas will make loud noises while others won’t. The birthing process can last from just a few minutes to several hours.

If your female has not finished giving birth within 12 hours, you must take her to the vet.

Most kits will be able to walk just one hour after being born. Keep an eye on them and take them to the vet if they are still unable to walk after this time.

Keep the kits with their mother until they are 6 to 8 weeks old.

Do not attempt to handle the kits straight away. In some cases, a female will stand on its hind legs and spit if it feels like someone poses a threat to its babies.

Prepare a New Cage

Do chinchillas like to be in pairs while they are pregnant?

In most cases, female chinchillas will become particularly aggressive while they are pregnant. Because of this, they need to have enough space to get away from the other rodents in the cage.

While the female is pregnant, it is wise to move her into a bigger cage with another female chinchilla. Your chinchilla does not want to be alone so do not isolate her.

It is a good idea to move the male into a separate cage where he can live with another chinchilla. If you can’t get another cage, make sure there are enough hiding boxes in your current cage.

When the litter is born, the babies will need to stay around their mother until they are at least 6 to 8 weeks old. You must keep an eye on the male at this time as he might show aggression towards the litter.

Kits from the same litter will usually get on just fine and you will not need to worry about separating them until they reach maturity, that is, 8 months old. But in some cases, you will have to separate them earlier.

Once the chinchilla litters reach maturity, you must move them into a separate cage. Keep the sexes separate to prevent unwanted breeding.

Find the Right Cage Location

Chinchillas originate from the Andes Mountains in South America. They like the cool temperatures that they would feel in the wild.

Where should you put your cage when the kits arrive?

Your chinchilla cage must never be in direct sunlight. Although the newborn kits must stay warm, they must never be in the sun and can easily overheat.

Chinchillas must be in a temperature-controlled environment. They like it when the temperatures remain between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

They must not be in front of a draft window, door, or air conditioning system. Kits must stay warm and will huddle close to their mothers to do so.

If the kits get too cold, they could quickly die. To ensure they stay warm, keep nesting boxes inside the enclosure. Make sure your chinchillas have plenty of hay.

Your chinchillas have very sensitive hearing. They will not like being next to a noisy sound system or in a room that backs onto a noisy street.

Keep the chinchillas and their babies in a quiet room that you can visit often. Always supervise young children while they are with the chinchillas.

Chinchilla Mating FAQs

Are you going to start breeding chinchillas for the first time?

Then make sure you check out the following list of chinchilla mating FAQs that will help answer your questions about breeding these small animals and help everything run smoothly.

Do Chinchillas Do Better In Pairs While Pregnant?

Chinchillas are very social animals and do not like to be alone.

Do chinchillas have to be in pairs?

Yes, chinchillas do better in pairs and small groups. If you separate a chinchilla because it is pregnant, it might become depressed.

A pregnant female will need company. If you separate a male and a female because of bullying, you must make sure they both have a cage mate.

Chinchillas generally always do better with company. They also like to spend time with their owners, so make sure you are with them and handle them each day.

If you do not want them to begin mating, keep your males in separate enclosures from your females. Alternatively, have your male neutered.

How Many Times a Year Do Chinchillas Have Babies?

Chinchillas are low-offpring animals because they produce babies at a much slower rate than other mammals.

How many litters do they have a year?

Chinchillas are capable of producing offspring 3 times a year but this only occurs in very rare cases. Most rodents of the chinchilla family will only produce 1 to 2 litters a year.

The litters can contain up to 6 kits but most contain just 1 or 2.

A female can begin mating again just one week after giving birth. So, if you do not want your male and female chinchillas to have more kits, you must keep the male in a separate enclosure.

Aside from human activity and population loss, the low breeding rates of this animal make it hard for the species to come off of the endangered species list.

How Do Female and Male Chinchillas Look After Their Kits?

Like most animals with long gestation periods and small litters, kits are precocial. This means they can feed themselves and move about on their own very quickly.

How do their parents look after them?

Kits are very independent after birth. They begin to eat plants straight away, which makes it really easy for a mother to wean them.

They can begin walking around after just an hour of being born. The kits also have teeth and are born with their eyes open.

Even still, the kits will rely on their mothers for feeding (drinking milk) and for keeping warm. After they are born, they will crawl under their mother’s body to keep warm and dry up.

Most males will also participate in helping to keep their kits warm by providing all-important body heat after they arrive.

If the mother feels like the males or any other chinchilla in her environment poses a threat to her kits, she will stand up and spit directly in the opposing party’s face.

Understanding Chinchillas and Their Mating Season

Chinchillas are not your standard pets and that is why it is often a challenge to find accurate information about their breeding process. Thanks to the help of this article, we have seen everything a chinchilla owner must know about taking these animals through this process.

Chinchillas become mature and ready to mate at about 8 months old. The female is generally monogamous and will mate for life.

The female has a 111-day gestation period and will have a small litter with just one or two kits.

Did you find this article interesting?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best articles about chinchillas, hamsters, gerbils, and other small animals. For more guides on what to feed these animals and how to look after them, check out our website.

Thanks for reading!

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