Posted: March 14, 2010, 5 p.m. EST
Q: I recently purchased a new chinchilla from a pet store and the fur on its tail was trimmed for some reason. I have seen another one like this at a store before. Why might this have been done? Will the fur ever grow back? I am greatly worried about this, because I can tell the hair being basically trimmed to only a half inch long has affected his balancing.
A: Some chinchilla breeders and/or owners trim chinchilla tail fur to give the tail a more finished, sculpted look. Tail trimming is of no benefit or detriment to the chinchilla. If the chinchilla is healthy and the tail fur has not been chewed, the fur should grow back naturally over a few months.
If the fur does not grow back to be a full, bushy tail, then several possibilities could explain why. The chinchilla may chew the tail fur due to nervousness, inbreeding, teeth problems, stress from loud external noises, stress from changes in daily schedule or habitat, or a cagemate doing the chewing. Consult with a chinchilla-savvy veterinarian to determine the cause.
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