Fur Chewing, Plucking and Barbering

Fur Chewing Bad Chewer

Here are some of the common chewing scenereos;

  • Rescues that eventually quit with good care and a stable environment.
  • Chinchillas that chew due to pain (only chew one side/area or when they are pregnant).
  • Chinchillas that strip their chests and legs
  • Chinchillas that only chew other chinchillas
Chewing is a stress-behavior related issue. While the action itself is not considered inheritable, I consider the temperament that leads to the learning of chewing to be very inheritable like many other personality traits.

A herd I saw back in 2004 had a large number of females that pulled the fur from around the inside of their thighs when they aged over a year. Every single female (~30ish) was traced back to a particular male 3-6 generations back, and the breeder chose to cull them rather than continue to propogate that trait.

In 2011 I purchased a breeding male that had 14 babies for me. Every baby but one chewed the tails of other babies bald. They never chewed themselves, just others. It was very bizarre. All of them have been placed in solitary pet homes.

It is my opinion that while the chewing chin may be chewing from an environmental stress that can be removed or fixed, I have 20 or 30 other healthy non-chewing chinchillas that are in the same situation so there is no reason to continue to breed animals that do this.