Let’s start with the fact that Chinchillas are very quiet and
gentle animals and they don’t require all that much care. If
you get your pet at a very young age and begin handling them
from the start as they get older they tend to stay that way,
calm and docile.
With gentle handling from a young age most chinchillas will
become quite tame and bond closely with their owners, although
sometimes they do not like to be held or
They are very active and playful. Chinchillas can be kept
singly, and usually will do fine as same sex pairs especially
if they are litter mates or introduced at a young age.
Chinchillas are largely nocturnal so will be most active at
night which means they
spend most of the day sleeping or napping.. Sometimes
they are called crepuscular, meaning their activity peaks at
dawn and dusk. In any case, they should be kept in a fairly
quiet area during the day. If there is something interesting
going on they will be more active during the day however.
They prefer a consistent routine for handling a feeding times
and may be stressed out by changes to their routine. Since they
are so active and playful, chinchillas need a roomy cage for
exercise as well as daily playtime. Warm temperatures are more
of a concern for chinchillas than cool temperatures, so care
must be taken that pet chinchillas do not become overheated.
Because they sleep during the day they need to be protected
from a lot of noise and disturbances during this time. The best
time to play with your Chin is in the evening. They will
sometimes be ready to play with you in the late afternoon.
Initially sit next to cage to acclimate chinchilla to your
Chinchillas are very social and need affection and gentling.
When you first acquire your chin, it will tend to be shy and
run, so you will need to spend some quality time with
Regular handling is often warmly appreciated by chinchillas.
They also learn to become more socialized and more responsive
to human touch through regular handling.
Chinchillas vary in temperament. For the most part, it is very
hard to make a high strung chinchilla calm or a mean chinchilla
pleasant. Chinchilla temperaments are mostly inbuilt. For the
most part you get what you start with. Take this in
consideration when choosing your chinchilla. It is easier to
assess an adult Chins temperament and harder to tell with kits.
For the most part they do not care to be handled or petted,
however when you gain their trust, they will hop up on your
hand for a scratch behind the ear.
Some Chins will allow you to hold them, although they generally
do not like to be held or cuddled. To hold a chinchilla use two
hands, supporting their back legs in one hand, and their front
feet slightly higher than the back with the other hand. Hold
them up against your body to give them a more secure feeling.
Make sure you hold your pet by sliding your hand under the
chinchilla’s chest and carefully lift the leg with other hand
then cradle your pet close to you. Never grab the fur. One of
the Chinchillas best defences is that they throw off hair. If
you grab the pet by the fur they will instinctively drop the
fur and it may cause them harm. Read more about
Be careful not to squeeze them to tightly. They have a very
fragile rib cage so be very careful when handling them and
never let a child hold them. The pet may startle the child and
he may accidently drop him.
It is ok to hold a chinchilla by the base of the tail for very
short periods of time. Chinchillas like consistency and do not
like changes and being moved around. Chins have long memories,
if they are frighten, they will remember it and will reject
whoever frightened them until their trust is
Chinchillas are sensitive to stress and noise, so approach them
in a quiet way, handle gently and provide them with active
stimulation. Chinchillas make a variety of squeaks, squeals and
odd sounding barks. They do not make vocal sounds often, but
rather the noises they make come from their chewing and
rearranging of the things in their cage. Since they are
nocturnal, these noises usually occur at night.