What exactly is a chinchilla fur slip?
No, this isn’t a piece of clothing. A fur slip is a defense tactic that chinchillas use to get out of dangerous situations.
But if you own a pet chinchilla, it can be unsettling the first time you see a fur slip. What should you do next? And how can you prevent this from happening in the first place?
In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about chinchilla fur slips. By the end of this article, we hope you feel more confident about how to prevent and deal with chinchilla fur slips.
What is a Fur Slip?
A chinchilla fur slip is a defense mechanism that causes chinchillas to release a patch of their fur. This helps chinchillas get out of dangerous situations. A chinchilla might release fur if they are caught on a branch or if they are trapped by a predator.
Pet chinchillas also release fur if they feel stressed. If you grab a chinchilla by their fur, they might release a patch of fur. Or, if they feel threatened by a pet cat or dog, they might release a fur slip.
A fur slip is different than shedding. Shedding is the process of releasing small amounts of hair all over the body. When an animal sheds, you don’t notice the loss of fur on their body (although you do probably notice the fur around your house!).
During a fur slip, chinchillas release a large patch of fur all at once. So, this leaves an obvious bald patch on the chinchilla. But, this isn’t harmful for the chinchilla.
Why Do Fur Slips Occur?
Chinchillas mainly release fur when they are stressed or scared. In the wild, chinchillas developed this tactic to escape predators.
Pet chinchillas also release fur when they are in stressful situations. Fur slips can be caused by a variety of stressful situations including:
- Fighting with another chinchilla
- Feeling threatened by a pet dog or cat
- A vet visit
- Being grabbed by the fur
What Should You Do?
If you notice that your pet chinchilla seems stressed, you should first try to calm them down.
Try to remove any stressors from their environment to reduce their need to release fur. But, even if you do this, your chinchilla might still feel threatened enough to make a fur slip.
If your chinchilla releases fur, you need to stay calm. They are not injured. This is a natural reaction to stress.
Make sure that the bald area looks smooth and clean. As long as the area seems healthy and not irritated, there is not much you can do. You don’t need to take your chinchilla to the vet because of a fur slip. Mostly, keep an eye on the area. The fur should grow back in a few months.
But, if you notice a bald spot without seeing the fur slip occur, pay special attention to this area. While this was still probably caused by a fur slip, it could be related to an infection. If the bald area seems inflamed or irritated, you may need to take your chinchilla to the vet for an exam.
How to Prevent Fur Slips
Since you can’t treat fur slips after they occur, the best way to deal with fur slips is to prevent them from happening.
Just remember, sometimes fur slips are unavoidable. These are a natural way that chinchillas deal with stress. But, there are ways you can help reduce the number of fur slips your pet chinchilla experiences.
To prevent fur slips:
- Reduce stress in your chinchilla’s environment. The best way to reduce fur slips is to remove stressors from your chinchilla’s environment. If two chinchillas are fighting, move them to separate cages. Never let your chinchilla spend time outside their cage in the same area as a cat or dog. If your chinchilla is stressed at the vet, give them treats and pet them to help calm them down.
- Handle your chinchilla properly. Chinchillas release fur if they think they are trapped by a predator. So, never grab your chinchilla by their fur. Also, monitor young children when they are handling chinchillas. The best way to hold a chinchilla is to place a supporting hand under their tail. They should sit on your hand and arm.
- Keep your chinchilla’s fur healthy. Chinchillas with healthy fur are less likely to release their fur. One of the best ways to promote healthy fur is to provide your chinchilla with regular dust baths. You should never let your chinchilla’s fur get wet. Instead, chinchillas need to roll around in dust to remove any dirt and oil from their skin and fur.
- Give your chinchilla plenty of entertainment options. If your chinchilla has enough entertainment options, they will feel less stressed. You should consider giving your chinchilla an exercise wheel and a few toys to keep them occupied. They should also have plenty of supervised time outside of their cage.
Of course, if you have any concerns about your chinchilla’s fur, you can consult your vet. But, a regular fur slip does not need to be treated by a veterinarian. Instead, try to use these tips to prevent fur slips from happening. And, if a fur slip occurs, keep an eye on the bald spot and wait for the fur to regrow within a few months.
Fur slips are a part of a chinchilla’s natural defense mechanisms.
This technique allows chinchillas to easily escape predators. But, pet chinchillas also release fur when they are stressed. And this can be overwhelming for new chinchilla owners.
Try to prevent fur slips from happening by keeping your chinchilla’s fur healthy and removing stressors from their environment. But, if a fur slip still occurs, stay calm. Watch the area and wait for the fur to regrow over the next few months.
Have you experienced a chinchilla fur slip? Feel free to share your stories and experiences in the comments below.