Companionship for your chinchillas
Chinchillas are a very social species and should not be kept on their own. Keeping them in single sex pairs provides them with companionship and it means they can snuggle up with each other at nap times. Make sure you buy or rehome your chinchillas at the same time as they’ll already be friends. It can be difficult to introduce chinchillas to one another later on.
Bonding with your chinchillas
Chinchilla owners have to earn – and keep – their pet’s trust. It may take weeks for your chinchilla to know you well enough to let you pick him up. You’ll see the best results if you move slowly, have lots of patience and visit with your chinchilla at the same time every day. And like elephants, chinchillas never forget: One frightening capture or grab could ruin your chance to make friends with this high-strung animal.
The first few days in a new home can be very stressful, so you should give your chinchilla time to get acquainted with his surroundings before you approach him. Remember that he is naturally more active in the evenings and night. When you feed your chinchilla or change his water, approach his cage slowly and directly. Speak to your chinchilla in a soft, comforting voice, but do not try to touch him. It is best for him to get used to your voice while you’re still across cage bars from each other. With time your chinchilla will be more comfortable and may come up to the side of the cage to greet you when you enter the room.
Get a chair and sit quietly next to the cage. If your chinchilla comes over to see what you are doing, offer him a treat or a food pellet through the bars. Raisins are a favourite treat, but you shouldn’t feed your chinchilla more than one a day (split them in halves to spread it out). Your chinchilla will likely bound away when you move your arm to bring the food up to his level, but curiosity will bring him back to your fingers. Repeat this activity every night at the same time so that your chinchilla will begin to anticipate your visits.
After a few days of feeding your pet through the wires, open the cage door and place your hand on the cage floor, palm up. Make no move to try to catch your chinchilla. Allow him to approach your hand on his own. He will sniff your fingers, then bound away, and then return. Chinchillas are jumpy and energetic, but they’re also curious. After each session, reward your chinchilla for his good behaviour. Eventually your chinchilla will get more comfortable around you!
Handling your chinchillas
Your chinchilla will soon trust you enough to allow you to lift him out of his cage. Place one hand behind him to keep him from backing away from you and slip your other hand underneath your chinchilla’s body, supporting his full weight. Lift him carefully. Hold your chinchilla securely against your chest or at your shoulder so he can look out behind you.
Never grab your chinchilla’s tail or a piece of it may break off in your hand. This is one of your chinchilla’s natural defence mechanisms. Your chinchilla will also release clumps of fur if scared or handled too roughly. If your chinchilla is running around, do not chase him. Let him calm down and try to slowly approach him and scoop him up in your hands.
Did you know?
Chinchillas have lots of beautiful, thick and soft hair (not forgetting those beautiful bushy tails!). Their hair follicles contain more than 50 hairs whilst humans have around 1-3.
DO YOU NEED MORE ADVICE?
To help you find the right food for your pet have a look at our product range.
Alternatively you can call our free consumer care line on +44 1405 862241 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Our dedicated team of pet experts will help you make the right choice.
If you should have any concerns about the health of your pet, always consult a vet.