Are Chinchillas Smart? Chinchillas Intelligence

a chinchilla lying down on wood

Chinchillas are great pets that can last for 15 – 20 years. They can learn their name through repetition and have a great memory, but how smart are they? 

Are chinchillas smart? Chinchillas have a great memory and can learn through patience and repetition which suggests a high intelligence. 

Chinchillas are quick learners and adapt quickly to routines.

How Smart are Chinchillas?

Chinchillas learn through repetition. If you repeat a task over and over, eventually the chinchilla will begin to learn how to do it.

It’s hard to measure an animals intelligence. Some chinchilla pet owners say it varies depending on each individual chinchilla.

Nobody truly knows how smart chinchillas are.

They do a few things that suggest they have high intelligence:

They Have a Great Memory

Chinchillas have an excellent memory and can recognize your voice and your appearance.

They’ll remember where their water and food bowl is and can quickly learn the positioning and layout of their cage which allows them to navigate around the cage very quickly.

Some chinchillas are able to learn how to use a litter box for when they urinate. Although you can’t train a chinchilla to use a litter box for their droppings as they poo so often.

They Can Calculate Jumps Perfectly

Chinchillas are agile and fast. They are able to calculate the distance between each jump perfectly.

It is very rare for a chinchilla to miss a step.

They Can Navigate Their Cage With Ease

They can remember the placement and the layout of their cage, which allows them to jump and run around extremely fast without bumping into anything.

They Urinate In The Same Area of Their Cage

Chinchillas will urinate in the same area of the cage so that they don’t get their cage dirty.

Here are some more intelligent behaviors traits of a chinchilla:

  • They recognize you without having to smell you
  • They can learn their names
  • If you turn on a TV in a room, the chinchilla is aware and will sometimes watch the screen
  • Chinchillas will come to you for treats
  • Chinchillas have much longer memories and may take considerable time to forgive you for an offense
  • They’ll know what it means when you shake the box of food

Chinchillas memorize where things are placed around the room and its cage.

Once it knows the layout of the cage, it will be able to zip around with extreme efficiency.

It will also learn where its food is stored.

If you keep treats under the cabinet across the room from its cage, every time you walk by the cabinet, it will know you are getting a treat.

Because chinchillas are creatures of habit, you must keep them on a set routine.

Chinchillas are also able to learn basic tricks. Below is a video that demonstrates the type of tricks you can treat chinchillas.

Can Chinchillas Learn Their Names?

Chinchillas can learn their name through repetition.

Over time, your chinchilla will get used to you calling it a certain name by recognizing the tone and pitch you use.

Can Chinchillas be Litter Trained?

Litter-box training is difficult for chinchillas, and will rarely be successful.

However, chinchillas will urinate in the same spot in their cage for years. You can put a litter box in the same spot your chinchilla likes to urinate, and it will go in the box.

If you move the box, the chinchilla will continue to urinate in its habitual urination spot. Using a litter box makes cleaning easier.

Every chinchilla is different. Some will learn things that others won’t.

The important thing to remember is that training a chinchilla takes time.

What Can Chinchillas Learn?

Chinchillas can easily learn their names and will respond by waking up and/or coming when they are called.

Some chinchillas are capable of being litter box trained for urinating. Chinchillas often urinate in the same spot in a cage.

Placing a small metal container with litter in it in that spot and then giving your chinchilla a treat if/when he urinates in the litter box can help get the chinchilla started with litter box training.

Some chinchillas will adopt the litter box after repeated reinforcement with treats while others may just go urinate somewhere else.

Some chinchillas can be taught several tricks, such as reclining on their backs, looping through boxes, etc. These are all learned responses that are often reinforced with treats.

Often owners want to train their chinchilla to sit on their laps for long periods. This type of training isn’t likely to work well with a chinchilla.

You may be able to encourage your chinchilla to sit on your lap for short periods, but it is unrealistic to expect your pet to sit on your lap for hours at a time.

Chinchillas are both extremely curious and also have the unfortunate role of being prey in the wild. Even though they have been domesticated, these traits are still very strongly ingrained.

Chinchillas can learn come and other commands.

Chinchillas Can Recognise When Something is Wrong

Chinchilla’s form strong bonds with their cage mates. If one chinchilla dies, you will see major changes in the remaining chinchillas.

Changes include withdrawal, refusing to drink, vocal calling, loneliness, and listlessness.

What you need to do is to take care of the surviving chinchilla.

Related Questions:

Do chinchillas have a good memory? Chinchillas have an excellent memory and can remember their name and the appearance of their owner without smelling them.

Are chinchillas smarter than hamsters? Chinchillas are able to learn and recognize commands unlike hamsters and are thought to be smarter.

Are chinchillas smarter than rabbits? Chinchillas are able to learn more tricks and be trained more obedient than rabbits and are thought to be smarter.

Charlotte Silcock

Charlotte lives in the United Kingdom and has worked in animal shelters looking after small animals. She owns a hamster as well as a dog and a cat and hopes to spread her knowledge about rodents to help other pet owners.

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