Chinchillas make a wonderful pet for many people. They are friendly, active, and fun loving creatures that enjoy the company of their owners. These little animals can, however, be quite challenging to tame.
Thankfully, with the following tips and tricks, you will have your chinchilla under total control in a matter of weeks. Following the steps below will help you through the hard process of training your pet chinchilla.
Let’s start by answering the most common question regarding taming a chinchilla:
Are chinchillas aggressive?
Chinchillas are not naturally aggressive animals and therefore they are recommended as pets for people who aren’t animal-savvy. They are sweet and tolerant, although there can be small spats or quarrels.
They are also a prey animal in the wild—so even though they have a very gentle disposition, your chinchilla might still feel defensive if you come at it too aggressively or at the wrong time.
Can you tame a chinchilla?
Yes, but it can take weeks.
Be patient and consistent.
It’s a bit of trial-and-error: figure out what your chinchilla likes and doesn’t like.
Chinchillas have distinct personalities, so you should treat yours as an individual. Not every chinchilla is going to respond the same way to the same treatment, so you have to figure out what works for your chinchilla.
Benefits of taming a chinchilla
The benefits of taming a chinchilla are manifold.
- First, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped a needy animal find its way into the world.
- Chinchillas who have not been tamed are easily frightened and are averse to human contact, but with your love and care, they can grow to be friendly and playful. They’re great at hide-and-seek, and making noise while they play is a great way to get their hearts racing.
- Taming is a prerequisite for training and teaching tricks to your chinchilla. Also, a tamed chinchilla trusts you and bonds with you easily.
- It’s not all fun and games, though. Chinchillas who aren’t tamed often suffer from depression or anxiety, so if you want to help them out and make them happy (and vice versa), consider taming one.
- You can show off your skill and your chinchilla’s cuteness at parties with friends who will be impressed by both of you.
How to tame a chinchilla
Here are the steps you should follow to tame a chinchilla:
1) Prepare an ideal home for your new pet
First, you want to make sure that your home provides an ideal environment for your chinchilla. She’ll be spending the bulk of her life in this space with you, so it’s important that it’s as comfortable as possible.
The temperature in the room where your chinchilla will live should be between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity should be 40-50%.
Chinchillas need a lot of space. They are very active and like to run around and explore, so they need a big cage. If you have the money, get the biggest cage you can afford. It makes it easier to clean and also gives them more room to move around. The bigger the better!
Put some toys in the cage for your new chinchilla. They love wooden toys and cardboard boxes. Avoid anything with small parts that might break off and get swallowed by your new friend, since this can cause serious digestive problems for him or her.
Make sure there’s food and water in her cage already, too.
2) Touching your chinchilla
Don’t rush into petting her as soon as she comes home. Your chinchilla is going to be nervous and stressed in her new environment, so it’s best to give her time until she feels comfortable. Allow her time to explore, sniff around the cage, and get used to the idea of you.
Once she seems comfortable, try gently petting her. Allow her to walk onto your hand under her own power—don’t chase her. You’ll need to hold on for about 20 seconds before she becomes accustomed to being petted. Don’t hold your chinchilla for long periods of time at first—only 30 seconds.
If she’s not comfortable being held, then let her back down again and try again another time. No need to rush things.
The best thing to do is leave her in her housing while you go about your day, and let her get used to you being around the house (she’ll grow more accustomed to your smell).
If you have to pick up your chinchilla for a short period (like if she needs a vet visit), put one hand under her bottom so she doesn’t feel like she’s falling, and hold her with the other hand by cupping it over her back. Don’t hold your chinchilla for long.
3) Treat the chinchilla with kindness
Chinchillas are timid animals, so treating them harshly will only make them more timid. Try to treat them with the same kindness you would show a small child.
Unlike cats and dogs, you can’t train a chinchilla by hitting or scolding them. And hitting them only makes them afraid of you. Instead, use treats to train your pet to do what you want it to do.
Finally, to tame your chinchilla, hold it in your hands and offer it a treat. After a while, the chinchilla will realize that being in the hands of its owner means tasty rewards!
Troubleshooting problems while taming a chinchilla
If you have a chinchilla that is not socialized when you get her, she will be frightened and stressed. This can lead to health problems in the future.
It is very important to spend much time with your new chinchilla, especially during her first week with you. She may still squeal when you first pick her up, but this will subside in a few days if you spend a lot of time handling and touching her.
Your chinchilla should never show signs of stress or illness because of handling and being picked up by people. When she does, it is a sign that she had an abusive previous owner who did not take proper care of her. Chinchillas need special care to be as healthy as possible.
Can I train a chinchilla to do tricks?
You can train a chinchilla to do tricks.
Training a chinchilla is a bit of an investment, as they are slow learners compared to other pets, but it is possible and worth it in the end.
Training takes patience and consistency. With some chinchillas, you can get results quickly while others will take months. Each day you need to make sure that you give the chinchilla time to warm up to you and be loving with you before training.
If your chinchilla seems scared or mean one day, keep trying another day or two before giving up on them learning the trick. Also, be aware that they will forget things if they don’t practice, so don’t worry if they forget at first; that’s normal and happens with all animals.
To be sure, training a chinchilla requires patience. Chinchillas do not respond well to coercion, and they are naturally skittish animals. They prefer positive reinforcement and treats to negative stimuli, so you’ll want to make sure that they associate you with good things.
While teaching a trick to a chinchilla, start with simple commands like “come” and “return.” Often, getting them to return to their cage will be more difficult than getting them to listen while they are out of the cage. You will want to teach them at first that you are rewarding them with treats or extra attention for coming back on their own, before you move on to holding onto their harness as they walk back into their cage.
You can also teach your chinchilla how to sit on your shoulder—a wonderful trick if you need a furry bodyguard for your next party or event! Keep in mind that this may make your chinchilla nervous, so there’s no need for you to rush into it if it makes the animal uncomfortable.
Yes, you can potty train a chinchilla. Chinchillas are rodents and like other rodents, they are very clean animals. They need to urinate and defecate in the same place. By doing so, they create an instinctual habit that helps them become accustomed to using a litter box.
Can I litter train a chinchilla?
Yes, you can litter train a chinchilla. The following steps will help you potty train your chinchilla:
Step 1: Start with a large cage or secure area, one where your chinchilla cannot hurt itself when it runs around. Line the cage with newspaper or other material that you can clean easily.
Step 2: Place the litter box near the edge of the cage so it is easy for your chinchilla to reach. Fill it ½ way with bedding material such as wood shavings or paper pellets to absorb moisture.
Step 3: Gently guide your chinchilla in the cage and allow it time to adjust to its new environment before trying to put it in the litter box.
Step 4: Once your chinchilla has adjusted, use treats such as fruit or vegetables to encourage it to use its litter box. If your pet finds these treats appealing, it will want to go into its litter box more often because of the reward.
Taming a Chinchilla is easy, and just about anyone can do it with some patience. Chinchillas are common pets, but there are many misconceptions about them because of their endangered nature.
By educating yourself on the care of chinchillas, you will be more than prepared for the adventure of owning one of these little creatures.
By using the above tips, you should be able to tame your chinchilla and enjoy playing with it for years to come.