Understanding chinchilla behaviours
Chinchillas are very sociable pets and love to play! Always keep more than one chinchilla and provide them with lots of toys. Also, stimulate their natural behaviour by hiding treats around their cage. This will keep them amused and encourage natural feeding behaviours.
In addition, branches and shelves allow your chinchilla to exercise by jumping around the cage. Chinchillas love to chew, so provide lots of chinchilla-safe wooden blocks or natural toys. Regular, daily playtime out of the cage is essential but make sure it’s safe to let your pets out as they’ll chew anything in sight. A small pet playpen is useful as you can keep an eye on them whilst they play.
Training your chinchillas
You can train and encourage your chinchillas to interact with you more by palm feeding them!
Place a treat in the middle of your upturned palm such that your chinchilla has to step on you to get the food. Have patience; he may not go for it the first time. Do not move your hand toward him in the cage, for chinchillas hate to be chased. You’ll knock your whole training pyramid down to step one if you frighten your pet, and he won’t forget the incident easily. Once your chinchilla is willing to take a treat from your outstretched palm, try moving the treat up your forearm. To get at the food, your chinchilla will need to climb up your arms toward the cage door.
Don’t try to lift your chinchilla out of the cage just yet. Allow him to crawl out onto you. Let him explore your arms and shoulders and get used to your smell while you gently stroke his back and ears. When it’s time to put him back in the cage, tempt him back with his end-of-session treat.
Can chinchillas be aggressive?
Chinchillas can become aggressive towards other chinchillas or their owners. This is usually for a good reason, such as lack of exercise or living in a cage that’s too small.
If you notice aggressive behaviour, have a think about how much playtime your chinchillas are having or whether they have enough room.
Did you know?
Chinchillas communicate through hiccuping noises, chirps and squeaks.
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