Black Velvet Chinchilla

Scientific NameChinchilla lanigera
Common NameBlack Velvet Chinchilla
Care LevelIntermediate
Lifespan10-20 years
Adult Size10-14 inches in length
OriginDescendant of wild chinchillas from the Andes
TemperamentSocial, Active, Curious

About the Black Velvet Chinchilla

Black Velvet Chinchillas, with their deep, luxurious coats and gentle personalities, have captured the hearts of many enthusiasts and pet lovers. As a variant of the standard gray chinchilla, the Black Velvet has specific attributes that distinguish it from its counterparts. Their dark, soft fur has a velvety texture that makes them particularly sought after among chinchilla varieties.

History & Domestication

While the roots of chinchillas trace back to the Andes Mountains of South America, the Black Velvet Chinchilla is a result of selective breeding. As chinchilla breeding for fur and later for the pet industry became prevalent, different coat colorations and patterns emerged. The Black Velvet Chinchilla, with its unique color and texture, became one of the most popular and sought-after mutations. Over the years, careful breeding has sustained and refined this stunning variety.


Black Velvet Chinchillas are generally similar in size to their standard gray counterparts. A fully-grown adult typically measures between 10 to 14 inches in length, excluding their bushy tail, which can add an extra 3 to 5 inches. Their compact bodies are well-muscled, enabling their agility and active nature.


These chinchillas boast a surprisingly long lifespan for rodents. Under optimal conditions and with attentive care, a Black Velvet Chinchilla can live between 10 to 20 years. It’s not uncommon for some to even surpass this range, although such instances are relatively rare.


Breeding Black Velvet Chinchillas requires a meticulous understanding of their genetics to retain their unique coloration. These chinchillas possess a dominant gene responsible for their dark fur. When considering breeding, it’s essential to be aware of their lineage and genetic makeup to produce healthy offspring and maintain the desired coat color.

Unique Features

The standout feature of the Black Velvet Chinchilla is undeniably its rich, dark coat. Unlike the standard gray chinchilla, the Black Velvet variety boasts a deep black coloration that gradually lightens towards the belly, producing a beautiful gradient effect. This luxurious fur, combined with their large, expressive ears and curious eyes, creates an irresistible charm.

Behavior and Temperament

Much like other chinchilla varieties, Black Velvet Chinchillas are active, curious, and social creatures. They thrive on interaction, whether with their human caregivers or fellow chinchillas. Their nocturnal nature means they’re most active during the early morning and late evening, making these times ideal for play and interaction.


Gentleness is the key to handling Black Velvet Chinchillas. Their delicate bones require careful handling to avoid injury. With regular and gentle interaction, these chinchillas can become quite accustomed to their caregivers, even enjoying the occasional gentle scratch or cuddle.

Grooming Needs

Their unique coat requires specific attention. Dust baths are essential to maintain the health and quality of their fur. These baths, provided several times a week, help remove excess oils and dirt, keeping their coat in pristine condition. It’s crucial to avoid water baths, as water can damage their fur’s structure and lead to potential health complications.

Diet & Nutrition

A herbivorous diet is central to the well-being of Black Velvet Chinchillas. High-quality hay should be the main component of their diet, ensuring proper digestion and dental health. Supplementing with pelleted chinchilla food ensures they receive all essential vitamins and minerals. Treats can be given occasionally, but moderation is key.


The thick fur of Black Velvet Chinchillas makes them sensitive to heat. A temperature range of 60°F to 70°F is ideal. It’s essential to monitor their environment, especially during warmer months, to prevent overheating and the risk of heatstroke.

Common Health Issues

While they’re generally robust animals, Black Velvet Chinchillas can face dental issues, respiratory infections, and digestive problems. Regular veterinary check-ups and a keen eye for any changes in behavior or eating habits can help detect and address potential health concerns early.

Habitat Requirements

A spacious cage with multiple levels is ideal for these active climbers. Solid flooring, wooden ledges, hiding spots, and chewable toys contribute to an environment that mimics their natural habitat, keeping them engaged and promoting their overall well-being.

Cost of Care

The initial investment in setting up a suitable habitat for a Black Velvet Chinchilla can be relatively high. However, monthly maintenance costs, covering food and bedding, are generally manageable. Veterinary care, especially if specialized treatment is required, can add to their overall cost of care.

Black Velvet Chinchilla FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)