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Are Chinchillas Social?

Last Updated: 22.09.19

 

In case you’re wondering if a chinchilla is the right pet for your family, this article contains some useful info so check it out. Chinchillas are very sociable beings as wild chinchillas live in large groups. Also, it has been noticed about domestic chinchillas that they are less stressed and more stimulated when having a partner. Furthermore, these furry rodents spend some of their time playing and grooming each other.

 

A chinchilla’s behavior

It is a known fact that chinchillas are very sociable beings. In the wild, they usually live in colonies (also known as „herds”). Some of these herds might have up to 100 members. The social interactions are not the only purpose of these big colonies. By living in such big groups, it is easier to protect themselves from predators.

If you just got your chinchillas, don’t expect them to fall in love with you from the first day. It will take time for them to get to show their appreciation toward you. They tend to be friendly, peering and social animals that are capable of bonding closely with the owner. Some of them even like to be held or cuddled.

How to make your chinchilla more sociable

You should find an hour or two per day to interact with your chinchilla when you first get it. Make sure to handle it gently so you will be perceived as a friend. Gently handling your chinchillas at a young age will increase the chances for them to be more sociable and less aggressive. Also, offer small treats to get them used to rewarding them when they behave more social.

After a while, you will be able to pick them up, as they will trust you enough. When doing this, make sure to not damage their fur as they are able to shed the fur in seconds if they feel threatened. A great way to develop a connection with you is to pet them when they are taking a dust bath.

 

How to interact with your chinchillas

You should never punish or shout at chinchillas. There is a high chance they will not understand why you got mad. It will only make them more scared since they have very sensitive hearing.

Always be really careful when picking them up. By handling the chinchilla puppies with attention they will become docile and might develop a close relationship with their owners. Keep in mind that most chinchillas don’t like to be cuddled. Don’t try to force them to sit on your lap as you might get scratched or even bit if your chinchilla gets really stressed.

 

Your chinchillas may play together

Although chinchillas spend a lot more time feeding and resting, they might play with each other from time to time. According to scientific sources, chinchillas spend only a small part of their time playing.

There is no need to be alarmed that your pets don’t get along if your chinchillas play together and immediately seem to ignore each other. It is just a part of their natural behavior.

Chinchillas’ distinctive signs

There are some pretty distinctive signs that chinchillas enjoy meeting and playing together. The most obvious sign for a chinchilla is the tail’s movement. Just like a dog, a chinchilla will show its happiness by wagging the tail.

Apart from the tail wagging, there is another obvious sign that your chinchillas are playing. If you are hearing gentle chirps, it means that they are having a good time. Even light grunting represents a common sound for this situation.

As time passes by and the animals get to know each other, they will vary the way they play together. They may chase one another around the room or the yard, jump one in front of the other, and even use toys for their games.

A lone chinchilla is usually more stressed and less stimulated than a chinchilla living with a mate. This is why you should consider having a partner for your pet.  Keep in mind that they might not get along if they are not together from birth.

 

How to introduce chinchillas

It is better for a chinchilla to have extra company since wild chinchillas live in large herds. Nevertheless, you should pay attention to your newly introduced chinchillas as there is a chance that they will fight.

It is easier to do this when your pets are still young. If you plan on adopting a second chinchilla, you need to be patient when introducing it to the one that you already have. It might take a couple of weeks or even more to get your chinchillas to know each other. Take as much time as needed in order to avoid them fighting when they will be in the same cage.

In order for your chinchillas to get used to one another, you will need a second cage. Having one chinchilla in each cage, place the cages about a few inches apart. This way, they can sense each other’s scent without touching.

You should consider placing the beds at opposite ends of each cage. By doing so, the chinchillas will have a safe space to retreat. Reduce the distance between the cage while paying attention to their interactions.

After a while, you may see your chinchillas smelling each other through the cages or even sleeping nearly. Nevertheless, if you hear loud or abrupt noises that are similar to a dog’s barking, wait a couple more days before placing the cages closer.

 

How to accelerate the process

You should wait for about a week for the chinchillas to get used to each other’s presence. It is now time for them to get accustomed to one another’s scent. You can take a small quantity of sawdust from a cage and place it into the second one. 

Another method is to switch the cages or have the chinchillas use the same dust bath. It is easier to make the chinchillas use the same dust bath. Just pour a small amount of sand into a container and place it in one of the cages. After the first chinchilla used it, move the container into the second chinchilla’s cage.

Switch the dust bath between the cages for four to six days. By now, they should be used to each other’s scent. You can now let them spend some time out of the cage together. 

Don’t place the rodents in an empty room or an empty enclosure. If they feel the need to hide, they should have a place to do so. Also, pay close attention to them to keep them from fighting. After a few sessions of spending time together out of the cage, you can put both of them in the bigger cage.

If you think that introducing the chinchillas takes too long but you would like to have a pair, there is another thing to be done. You could buy two young related chinchillas such as two little brothers or a parent and a child. Avoid hosting two adult males into the same cage as they might fight often, especially if there is also a female.

Chinchillas might bond

After moving the rodents into the same cage, it is possible for their connection to get stronger. You may notice about the newly introduced chinchillas a different behavior from playing. They will often touch and nap together while having their eyes partly or completely closed. Even when they are not resting or sleeping they will spend some time close to one another.

Furthermore, they might take care of each other’s grooming or they might nibble. Nibbling is definitely a sign of affection in spite of looking like one of your chinchillas is biting the other one. If your chinchillas bonded, there is a high chance for them to be social with another pet. 

In case your chinchillas don’t seem to be bonding, there is nothing to worry about. Usually, they establish a connection when they are young and some of them might bond with members of the adoptive family.

 

 

 

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