How to Bond With Your Chinchilla

Here are some tips for bonding with your chinchilla-

  • When you first bring your chinchilla home, leave it alone for a few days.  Your chinchilla needs to get used to its new home and does not need the added stress of being picked up, played with , or showed off to friends.
  • Once your chinchilla has had some time to get settled in his or her new home, you can talk to your chinchilla in a soft voice and also sit by the cage.  If allowed, you can rest your arm inside the cage.  Your chinchilla will most likely be interested, and investigate your arm.  Try not to make any sudden moves.  Chinchillas are prey animals, always approach on their level, not from above!
  • If your chinchilla seems comfortable with your hand and arm, when they come near you you can slowly try scratching them under the chin or behind the ears.  Some chins are really sensitive and do not like their whiskers touched so you may have to be careful not to touch the whiskers as you are scratching.
  • You can also bond with your chinchilla outside of the cage.  If you let your chin out in a chin-proofed area, you can let your chin jump and climb on you.  This is best accomplished in a small area such as the bathroom or in a playpen.
  • Once your chinchilla is fully comfortable with you, you may be able to hold him for a while or let her sit on your shoulder.

Remember be patient and be calm!

13 Comments

  1. I used to have a chinchilla, I love pets but this one was quite the work. The pbreloms I had with my chinchilla April were that she needed a lot of excersize, and whenever I let her out of her cage in a closed off room, she would find somewhere to hide and it would take sometimes hours to catch her. I was very friendly with her and took care of her well so there was no need to her to be afraid of me, she just never got used to me over the 3 years that I had her. Another problem was she chewed on everything, wood, wires, floors, so you constantly have to watch them. Asides from that she was a great little chinchilla, but they are not much fun as a pet, more work.

    • I understand your problem, and honestly, some chinchillas just don’t like people! If you are going to get a chinchilla or recently got one that has this problem, don’t be discouraged. Your pet still loves you, but they just might not like contact with you. I’ve heard using your nose instead of your hands, so that is something you could try. I also would find any nooks or crannies that your chin could hide (along with any dangerous wires) and block those up. I usually use cardboard boxes. Provide many hiding house so that they can go some where that they can feel safe and alone. Finally, if you feel bad that you can’t interact with your chin and she feels lonely, get her a friend! Just make sure you take it slow and do your research.

  2. Hi I have a very skittish male chinchilla which I had to seperate from the more calmer male chinchilla because he was often being chased and bitten. So I have to rotate play time.
    Yet I’m not giving up on bonding the two. I have put them together in a small bathroom,just us together on the floor with my water spray bottle in case a fight broke out. So far…it’s been good. The calmer chinchilla seems to want attention from the skittish but whenever the skittish runs away, then he chases him. Anytime I see that I know he means to bite him so I spray the water on his face. He stops. Is this okay?
    I would like to find a way to stop the calmer one from chasing the skittish one. Is this possible?
    I’ve tried spraying areas with part water and part vinegar to neutralize their scent and the play room has everything,2 dust baths,2 of everything and the room is large size with hiding areas.
    I don’t think, the calmer one is trying to fight, more like play fight but he gets too rough. Often times, he leaves the skittish one alone but when he wants to have some fun,chasing him he looks for him. I think, he’s going through a growing phase like puberty, being macho and all.
    They are both supposedly 3 years old but I think, the calmer one is little bit more younger. I bought them together from Chinchilla rescue. They are not bought as a combo. She did say, they can’t be bonded. The skittish one had his tail amputated and he was a mess, meaning agitated and stressed out. The calmer one was rescued from neglect as a pup nearly dead from a chinese pet store. He was held and cared a lot by humans when rescued. That’s why he is more comfortable with people and other pets.
    So my really question, how can I stop the calmer male chinchilla from bothering the skittish male chinchilla. I am following your article about 3 times a day bonding in a neutral area. So I wonder if there is anything else I can do? It’s a bit of a hassel to rotate so I would really like everyone to get a long.
    Jean Beck

    • Personally I would never trust a chinchilla who has tried to bite his potential cage mate to get along. What happens if they are getting along for a while then one day your bitter gets irritated at the other? While it’s a possibility that this could happen with any pairing, I would think it’d be more likely with one that was more aggressive at the start.

    • If I were you, I would find a different method of breaking up the fights. If the chinchillas get too wet, they can drown and die. Instead, try keeping the m separated by a fence of some sort and let them get used to each other. If they are forced to like each other, then they won’t want to be friends.

    • I understand your problem, and honestly, some chinchillas just don’t like people! If you are going to get a chinchilla or recently got one that has this problem, don’t be discouraged. Your pet still loves you, but they just might not like contact with you. I’ve heard using your nose instead of your hands, so that is something you could try. I also would find any nooks or crannies that your chin could hide (along with any dangerous wires) and block those up. I usually use cardboard boxes. Provide many hiding house so that they can go some where that they can feel safe and alone. Finally, if you feel bad that you can’t interact with your chin and she feels lonely, get her a friend! Just make sure you take it slow and do your research.

  3. Hi,
    I’ve had my two male chinchillas for about seven months now. I’m having issues bonding with them. I’ve tried to be patient but they only come near me when I have a treat. I suspect maybe they were abused at one point (they were rescues). Can anyone give me suggestions about what to do? They are destroying my home and I just want them to realise I mean no harm so they don’t need to bite me when I put my hands in their cage.

    • Hi Sarah,
      Make sure to wash your hands before putting them in the cage. Maybe they are smelling treats or lotion or other food on them and that is why they are biting. Or perhaps they have come to think that your hands=food. Have you had any success in being able to scratch or pet them?

      • I would try just gently laying your arm inside the cage, and letting them come to you. If this doesn’t happen, try using some of their pellet food and do what you would do when you get out a treat so they think that’s what it is, and then laying it on your open calm, fingers, or the back of your hand. Keep all movements slow, and do things that make them associate you with positive things; treats, – dust bath, etc. If that doesn’t work, I’m not sure what else would work.

  4. I just got two chinchillas a few days ago . They are mates and have been together since they were young according to the store . Their last owner couldn’t keep them so they had petland adopt them out requesting it be for free . The male allows me to pet him but they female jumps the moment I make any contact and then she itches after , I don’t know what that means . She takes food from my hands and is very gentle but I’ve only been able to pet her once for a few seconds . Does anyone know what this means ?

    • Hi Shana, hopefully she has gotten more used to you by now. I think she probably did not have much human contact before and is not used to being touched or is easily startled from being in an unfamiliar environment.

  5. I have a chinchilla named totoro. We have had her for almost a year and yet she still seems scared of me or rather doesn’t like me. She allows me to stroke her and scratch under her chin or behind her ears or just rubbing her neck, but not for a very long time. Sometimes when I touch her she will stand on her two hind feet and start… squeaking? At me. I don’t know what to do. I’m too scared to touch her whenever she starts squeaking. Hence I don’t play with her for a long time. Moreover, she’s in a really tiny cage. I don’t think muchin likes me and I regret getting her as a pet ??. How do I bond with her? I can’t let her out of her cage cause she will just run under the bed and start hiding there and never come out or chew on all my wires. I don’t have a play place for her either. Please tell me what to do. I don’t even dare to carry her out.

    • First off, she sounds relatively normal. My boys still at 13 years old do not let me pet them for a long time and really only one sits still long enough to scratch him; very few chinchillas will let you pet them for long. It’s good that you don’t touch her when she stands and “squeaks” because I think that’s her warning you she’s going to spray you with urine if you continue. To bond more, I would use the dust bath house to catch her in the cage and them transport her to the bathroom. Make sure there is nothing she can get into and you can let her run around in there. It will take time to catch her again but you can try using the dust again to transport her back.

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