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About Chinchilla's Eyes

How many sets of eyes do chinchillas have?

By Marty Hull
Posted: May 13, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: I am having a debate with a co-worker. He says chinchillas have two sets of eyes, one set faces forward and the other is at the side of their head to see predators. I've had my chinchillas for five years, and I have never seen, heard or read anything like this. Can you confirm?

A: Chinchillas have one pair of eyes. The eyes are positioned on either side of the head to provide a broad range of vision. Chinchillas are nocturnal. The chinchilla eye is well adapted to low light conditions.

In bright light, the iris, which is filled with a very dark, dense pigment, closes completely, shutting out all light. In moderate light, the lower part of the iris opens slightly, similar to the effect of a pinhole camera, allowing in enough light for the chinchilla to see with ease without exposing the nocturnally adapted retina to excessive light exposure.
Some of the above information is paraphrased from the book Chinchilla Diseases And Ailments by A.H. Kennedy, DVM.

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Reader Comments
Hello Giselle, Thanks for your comment. Whenever you suspect a medical problem with your pet, please consult your veterinarian. The veterinarian who answers medical questions on our site hasn't covered a situation such as you describe, so I'll forward this to her to possibly answer in the future. These Q&As are for educational purposes though and aren't meant to diagnose, as that can only be done after a physical examination. I wish all the best to you and your chinchilla!
Marylou, Irvine, CA
Posted: 4/10/2012 9:42:52 AM
one of my chinchillas eyes are shut but not all the way he is verry active still
gisselle, union nj
Posted: 4/9/2012 6:39:32 PM
Can chinchillas see in color?
Nicholaus, Sacremento, CA
Posted: 3/13/2012 4:18:44 PM
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