Are Chinchillas Social Animals? Introducing, Living Together, Fighting and Bonding

two chinchillas

In the wild chinchillas live in fairly large groups known as colonies or herds. A single herd may have up to 14 to 100 members! They assign themselves special social roles. For example, some of them will look out and inform the rest of the herd when there’s danger.

Are chinchillas social animals? In the wild chinchillas live in large colonies with up to 100 different chinchillas. Chinchillas are social animals and will prefer the company of another chinchilla, although this doesn’t mean they won’t fight.

Chinchillas can make excellent pets and are social animals that like to live with the company of another chinchilla, but before adopting a chinchilla you must first understand the behaviors of chinchillas and what to do when they fight.

Can Chinchillas Live Together?two chinchillas cuddling in a blanket

Yes, chinchillas can live together. Most of the time they will prefer the extra company, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to fight.

Make sure to have a spare carry cage just in case they do start to fight.

When you move them in with each other, keep a very close eye on how they behave.

When two or more chinchillas live together you will need a bigger cage.

One adult chinchillas will need a cage that is larger than 3ft x 2ft x 2ft.

While two chinchillas don’t need double space it’s important to make sure there cage is big enough for both of them.

For two chinchillas, a 3ft x 3ft x 3ft cage is a good size. You need to make sure the cage has a minimum of 2 square feet of floor space per chinchilla.

How To Introduce Chinchillas

When introducing two chinchillas together you want to do it gradually.

Place each chinchilla in the same room with each other but in their own separate cage.

Make sure the cages are at least a few inches to a foot apart from one another.

This allows the rodents to smell each other through the cages and to get used to and accept each other scents.

If both chinchillas don’t show any signs of aggression it’s a good idea to keep moving the cages nearer.

After a week, you want the rodents to start accepting each other’s scents. There are a few different things you can do. You can switch the cages without changing the bedding or you can allow the chinchillas to share a dust bath.

Dust bath sharing is easier than cage switching.

Simply place a bit of the sand bath in a container and let one chinchilla use it.

When he’s done, let the other use it, and then return the bath to the first chinchilla.

Have your chinchillas share a bath for three to five days.

Afterward, allow the rodents to spend some out of cage time together. If the chinchillas seem to be getting along, then place both in the larger cage together.

Can Chinchillas Live Alone?pet chinchilla on a ledge in their cage

Just because chinchillas love in colonies or herds doesn’t mean you must keep them in groups or pairs.

Chinchillas can live on its own if you take good care of it.

Nevertheless, even animals who love their own solidarity can appreciate some companionship with others.

Make sure you’re giving your chinchilla the amount of attention and interaction that they need. You should spare an hour or two every day to interact with your chinchilla when they are awake.

What To Do If My Chinchillas Are Fighting?

There is a chance that your chinchillas simply will not get along.

This is common if you are trying to pair two females together as they are more territorial than males.

Although males are more dominant and this can cause fights if both rodents want to be the most dominant one. There are some obvious signs that you will see if your chinchillas are fighting with one another.

The animals will jump and charge at one another though.

You should know that chinchilla fights are not particularly dangerous. Chinchillas have shorter and softer nails than other rodents and they rarely bite.

While the fighting itself may not be harmful, it should be noted that chinchillas can become withdrawn and may stop eating or drinking if they are fighting with one another.

The animals may be jumpy and appear anxious or stressed.

Simply put, your pet will be depressed, fearful, and upset.

This is a normal reaction, especially for prey animals, like rodents, who are naturally cautious and hesitant when it comes to their surroundings.

If they start fighting you will need to separate them and start the introduction from the beginning.  

The Importance of Hiding Spots

Make sure you have sufficient nest boxes and hiding spots for each of your chinchillas in case they get scared or frightened or want to escape.

Have one large box for your chinchillas to rest. Chinchillas can be difficult during breeding or when you are introducing them to a new environment.

They can easily be bullied and may become frightened if they don’t find a way to escape.

Handling your chinchillas daily at an early age

You must interact with your chinchilla every day to provide companionship.

If you handle your chinchillas from a tender age, they will see you as companions or friends.

Chinchillas who are handled less when they are young may grow up to be more aggressive and less sociable.

Allow your chinchilla to approach you for small treats. if you want to pick them up, do this slowly and gently not to damage their fur.

when you are introducing new chinchillas to a new environment, be gradual and keep close supervision.

Keep their cages near each other for a week before introducing them. Consult a clinical expert if you are facing any issues.

Can Chinchillas Play Together?

If you are lucky, then your chinchillas will be happy to meet and play together.

There are some pretty telltale signs that your pets are getting along well.

You may see your chinchillas wagging their tails. That’s right, chinchillas wag their tails!

There is a whole range of noises you are likely to hear too, and they are distinct from the loud, abrupt, and aggressive barking noises that chinchillas make when they fight.

Low and gentle chirps and grunting sounds are common. Be prepared to hear different tones and duration as the animals communicate with one another.

As the animals get to know one another, they will jump together, chase each other, and play with toys that are provided to them.

According to research conducted on chinchillas kept in captivity, chinchillas do not spend a lot of time playing.

The animals spend much more time feeding, resting, and displaying comfort-seeking behavior.

Chinchilla Bondingtwo chinchillas in a cage

If you are really, really lucky, then your pet chinchillas will bond with one another.

Bonding is different from the basic interactions you may notice when chinchillas play with one another.

Bonded chinchillas will be much more social with one another.

They may rest and sit side by side, and you might see the animals touching and napping with their eyes partially or fully closed.

The animals will also groom each other and you may see your chins gently biting one another.

This is often called nibbling and it is a sign of affection.

Of course, when one of your pets is a little too forceful with the grooming, you may hear a bit of a squeak or a grunt.

If you do not see your chinchillas “bonding”, you should not be too concerned.

The animals are most likely to bond at a young age and the rodents typically bond with family members.

Are Chinchilla’s Friendly?

Chinchillas can make wonderful pets for the right person and are generally friendly animals, but before deciding on a pet chinchilla, familiarize yourself with their unique characteristics and all aspects of their care.

Learn about chinchillas, how to care for them, and what supplies you need to provide a home for a chinchilla.

Domestic chinchillas can be kept as pets.

Chinchillas are crepuscular (animals that are primarily active at dawn and at dusk), somewhat nocturnal.

Chinchillas are naturally very skittish creatures and generally do not like to be held, although they can become very attached to their owners.

They are not usually considered to be good pets for young children.

However, chinchillas can be very friendly animals if sufficiently acclimated to human touch as kits (babies), making them excellent pets for patient owners.

Chinchillas typically live about 15 years, but living between 18-22 years is not uncommon.

Although they are generally small creatures, their body length can grow from 10-14 inches, and their height about 5-6 inches.

Related Questions:

Do chinchillas like to cuddle? It is rare that a chinchilla likes to cuddle with people. They aren’t lap-pets for the most part. Chinchillas, in general, are fun and lively pets, and very entertaining. But occasionally you will get one that likes to snuggle up to you.

Do chinchillas recognize their owners? They tend to be affectionate, curious and social animals that can bond closely with their owners and generally like to be held close and cuddled.

Can you sleep with your chinchilla?  No, chinchillas have a different sleeping pattern from humans. They sleep most of the day and awake up from dusk to dawn.

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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