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Old 11-10-2017, 10:43 AM United States
gizandcharlie gizandcharlie is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: New York
Age: 24
Posts: 22
Chinchillas: 2
hmmm Fur Biting Issue

I have three pet chinchillas. Gizmo (M-6y.o.), Charlie (F-5y.o.), and Pebbles (F-2.5y.o.).

Gizmo is in his own separate part of the cage, and Charlie and Pebbles (mom and baby) are in the other section.

About 5 months ago I began to notice my girls have been ripping their fur out for some reason. Gizmo does not do it at all. The baby, Pebbles, has much more missing than Charlie does but I occasionally catch them both doing it. Charlie has NEVER done this before now and I'm growing concerned because its starting to look awful, almost sickly.

They are generally pretty happy chinchillas. They have a wheel, their entire cage is made of wood for chewing, they have toys, they get dust baths a few days a week, and they come out for play regularly.

Does anyone know why they might be doing this? Or is it just boredom? I can't think of anything else I can do to entertain them more than I already am. Could it be diet? dust? They eat Oxbow, have timothy hay cubes, and they use blue beauty dust bath (sometimes Poof!).
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Old 11-10-2017, 01:17 PM Canada
Amethyst's Avatar
Amethyst Amethyst is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Alberta
Posts: 1,330
Chinchillas: 2

There are a number of reasons for a chin to chew it's fur, stress, boredom, illness, dry skin. Fur biting can also be genetic, some are just more prone to it then others. It doesn't actually hurt the chin, unless they are chewing so much that they get sores, they just look bad. For some chins it can also be come habit, so even after correcting the original problem they may still chew their fur. Think of it like a person biting their nails or chewing on their hair.

If it's stress, has anything changed in your house? New pets, people, cage placement change, etc? Anything new that the chins can see, hear, or smell that might unnerve them?

If it's boredom, you can try rearranging toys in the cage and/or swap them out. If the toys never change, same toys in the same spots, they can become boring. Sometimes just flipping a hanging toy can make it "new" again to the chin.

If it's dry skin, you would probably have already noticed flaky skin on the feet and ears. I would still look them over though to make sure there is no skin irritation making them chew their fur.
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