What Colors Can Chinchillas See?

Chinchillas are adorable and fascinating pets that can live to 8-10 years on average in the wild, while some well-cared-for pet chinchillas live as long as 20 years. They have a unique set of visual abilities that are different from other pets. But have you ever wondered what colors chinchillas can see?

In this article, we will explore What Colors Can Chinchillas See?

Understanding Chinchilla’s Vision

Before we dive into the color vision of chinchillas, it is essential to understand their visual system. Chinchillas are crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk. They have large, round, dark eyes that provide them with excellent low-light vision, allowing them to navigate in their natural habitat.

Moreover, chinchillas have a panoramic vision that allows them to see almost 360 degrees around them. Their eyes are also positioned on the side of their head, which gives them a broad field of view but reduces their depth perception.

Chinchillas have cone cells in their eyes that help them distinguish different colors. However, they have a limited number of cone cells compared to humans. This means that their color vision is not as diverse as ours.

 Colors Can Chinchillas See

Chinchilla’s Color Vision

Chinchillas are dichromatic animals, which means they can only see two primary colors, blue and green. They lack the third cone cell responsible for perceiving red and cannot see the color red or any variations of it. Therefore, colors that appear red to humans appear as shades of gray to chinchillas.

The blue and green colors that chinchillas see are also less vibrant than the colors we perceive. This is because their cone cells are not as sensitive to light as ours, and their brain does not interpret colors as vividly as humans do.
So, what colors can chinchillas see? Let’s take a closer look.


Blue is one of the easiest colors for chinchillas to see. This is because chinchillas have a high number of blue-sensitive cone cells in their eyes. In fact, chinchillas can see shades of blue that humans cannot perceive.


Green is another color that chinchillas can see well. Like blue, green is easily visible to chinchillas because they have a high number of green-sensitive cone cells in their eyes. Chinchillas can distinguish between different shades of green, from light green to dark green.


While chinchillas can see yellow, it is not as easily visible to them as blue or green. Chinchillas have fewer yellow-sensitive cone cells in their eyes, which means they have a harder time distinguishing between shades of yellow. To a chinchilla, yellow may appear more like a shade of white or gray.


Chinchillas have a difficult time seeing red. This is because they have very few red-sensitive cone cells in their eyes. To a chinchilla, red may appear as a shade of brown or gray. This is why red objects may not be very appealing to chinchillas.

The Importance of Color Vision for Chinchillas

Chinchillas have a natural instinct to seek out food, avoid predators, and interact with their surroundings. Their limited color vision does not hinder their ability to perform these tasks. Instead, chinchillas rely on their other senses, such as their sense of smell, hearing, and touch, to navigate their environment.

However, color vision is still essential for chinchillas to recognize danger and mate. They can perceive the slight variations of blue and green colors, which can help them detect predators that blend with their surroundings, such as hawks or owls. They can also use their color vision to identify potential mates during the breeding season.

The Effects of Color on Chinchilla’s Behavior

Chinchillas are sensitive to light, and the intensity of light affects their behavior. Bright light can cause stress and anxiety in chinchillas, and they may exhibit signs of discomfort, such as excessive grooming or hiding. Therefore, it is crucial to provide chinchillas with a dimly lit environment to reduce their stress levels.

Chinchillas also have preferences for colors. They tend to be attracted to toys or bedding that are blue or green, as these are the only colors they can see. However, it is essential to note that chinchillas are sensitive to the texture and scent of their surroundings more than the color.


In conclusion, chinchillas have limited color vision that consists of blue and green colors. They cannot perceive red or any variations of it, and their perception of colors is less vivid than humans. However, their visual abilities, combined with their other senses, allow them to navigate their environment successfully.

If you are a chinchilla owner, it is essential to consider the effects of light and color on your pet’s behavior and well-being. Providing a dimly lit environment and choosing bedding and toys with blue and green colors can improve your chinchilla’s quality of life.


  • Can chinchillas see in the dark?

Chinchillas have excellent low-light vision, which allows them to see in the dark. However, they do not have night vision like some other nocturnal animals.

  • What colors should I avoid when choosing bedding and toys for my chinchilla?

It is best to avoid colors that are too bright or vivid, as they can cause stress to your chinchilla. Stick to bedding and toys with blue and green colors, as these are the colors that chinchillas can see.

  • Can chinchillas see UV light?

No, chinchillas cannot see ultraviolet (UV) light.

  • Do chinchillas need colorful objects in their environment?

No, chinchillas do not require colorful objects in their environment. They rely on their other senses, such as smell and touch, to interact with their surroundings. It is essential to provide a comfortable and safe environment for your chinchilla, rather than one with colorful objects.