Chinchilla Care

Chinchilla Temperament



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 cuddled.   


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 presence. 


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 it. 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.  


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 regained. 


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.