Sometimes your chinchilla loses large clumps of hair when he jumps out of your hands, but it's not because he is getting old and his hair is just falling out. It's called fur slip and there is a reason for it.
Why Does Fur Slip Happen?
Fur slip can occur if your chinchilla is being held tightly and trying to escape, if he is stressed out, or if he gets his fur caught on something.
Typically fur slip is done to "escape" the situation your chinchilla is in.
Much like a gecko will drop their tail if caught be a predator (or accidentally picked up by the owner by the tail), chinchillas will release tufts of hair to get away from whatever is trying to capture them.
How To Prevent Fur Slip
When handling your chinchilla it is safe to grasp him at the base of the tail where it meets the body. This will give you a "handle" on your chinchilla. He can then sit on your hand or arm while you hold the base of his tail instead of you trying to squeeze his delicate body.
When you try to restrain your chinchilla by holding him around the chest or abdomen, he may try to wiggle away and then fur slip may occur. Your chinchilla needs to be tame and relaxed in order to gently hold him this way.
When taking your chinchilla to the exotics vet, he may become nervous or scared and fur slip is common. No need to panic, he will be just fine. Reassure your chinchilla with treats, pet him, and speak to him with a quiet tone.
You don't want to make matters worse by getting yourself all worked up over a bit of hair loss.
Keep Your Chinchilla's Fur Healthy
To help keep your chinchilla's fur healthy and attached to his body, make sure he gets plenty of dust baths. You can either keep the bath house in the cage and just add more dust a few times a week or put the bath house with fresh dust in for short periods of time a few times a week.
This will help your chinchilla stay dry and fluffy, and they love it!
Also keeping your chinchilla's fur dry will prevent his skin from becoming infected or getting a fungal infection. Because the fur is so fine, moisture easily gets stuck between the hairs which in turn encourages bacteria and fungus to grow. A healthy coat will decrease the likelihood of your chinchilla's fur from falling out during handling.
With proper handling and a healthy chinchilla coat, fur slip can be avoided most of the time.