Can Chinchillas Drink From a Bowl? This Is Better…

When thinking about your Chinchillas drinking habits have you ever wondered what life would be like if you provided them with a drinking bowl? 

More often than not you will see Chinchillas with a standard drinking bottle to get their daily water intake. 

You very rarely see a Chinchilla with anything different, but have you ever thought about why?

In this post, we will see if chinchillas can drink from bowls, what will happen if they do drink from a bowl, if water bottles are better than bowls and much more.

So, can Chinchillas drink from bowls? You should not allow your chinchillas to drink from a bowl. There are multiple reasons why bowls aren’t a good option for chinchillas including, the possibility that your chinchilla can get wet due to the bowl getting knocked over. Bowls are also unhygienic and can easily end up contaminated with feces and food.

Read On to Learn…

Can Chinchillas Drink From Bowls (more info)

We often see other animal species such as cats and dogs drinking from open drinking bowls. Horses and cattle get their daily intake of water in a similar way too. 

Using water bottles is something that tends to only be used in the smaller pocket pet variety in particular with rodents.

It is fair to say that Chinchillas would likely not have too many problems getting their water intake from a bowl if they had to, however they do find this method much harder. 

We want to make life as easy as possible for our adorable Chin friends and if we can, why shouldn’t we?

I can see why this question is asked quite frequently, particularly by new Chinchilla owners. 

Filling up a bowl of water doesn’t seem too out of the way. Cleaning bowls can often be much easier than trying to sterilize a bottle.

With this being said, we have created a guide that shares how to quickly and easily clean your chinchilla’s water bottle…

However, for the benefit of our Chinchillas, we must provide them the correct tools to do the job. 

There are a few reasons why we should not use an open bowl to provide our Chins with water…

4 Reasons Why It’s Not a Good Idea to Use a Water Bowl

At first, it might seem hard to believe that it’s not a good idea to use a water bowl for your chinchilla, however, there are lots of reasons why this isn’t a good idea once you scratch beneath the surface.

Let’s not take look at the reasons why chinchillas shouldn’t drink from water bowls…

1. Safety

We all know how active Chinchillas can be. They wiz around their cages at what seems like 100 miles an hour and their energy levels are endless. 

They have very little understanding of situations where they need to be careful which is why caution should be given to any loose items in their cage.

Water bowls can be unsafe for your Chinchilla as they bound around their cage. 

They are often not secured and it is likely when your Chin takes a flying leap from the top ledge that they will knock the bowl over. 

It is also highly possible that the bowl will end up flying around the cage with them which can be a real safety hazard. You can only imagine the carnage this drinking method could bring!

It is fair to say that some owners do give their Chinchillas a bowl of water whilst they are out of the cage which can be a much safer option providing your Chin is not jumping around too much.

 A bit like this polite chap here… 

(You can, however, see that it is not particularly easy for him to drink in this way and why it would never work inside the cage)

2. Wet Fur

Chinchillas have thick, dense fur that is not designed to get wet. You should try and avoid any situation where your Chin is likely to get their fur wet. 

This is a real possibility if you provide them with an open water bowl. As mentioned previously they are very likely to knock or tip the bowl over. This can result in them becoming significantly wet.

Wet Chinchilla fur is not good for health. Their fur can become seriously matted which feels highly uncomfortable. 

The fur is also not going to dry very quickly. This will leave your Chinchilla feeling cold for some time and could result in health problems. Unfortunately, Chinchillas are rather prone to health conditions as it is.

You’re probably wondering how chinchillas bathe in the wild if they can’t get wet?

Well, we have answered that very question right here…

3. Contaminated With Feed

It is very possible that an open water bowl can become contaminated with feed much more easily than an enclosed secure bottle. 

When you think about the amount of feed that is usually thrown around the cage as well as bits of hay you can see how this scenario is very feasible.

Contaminated water is not a very exciting prospect for your Chin. In the same way, it is not an inviting one for you either. 

Water that has become spoilt usually gets left which could mean your Chinchilla is not receiving the water intake needed.

Chinchillas drink approx. 2oz of water a day which works out to be 55ml. They must have fresh, clean water available at all times. 

If they decide to stop drinking due to contamination of the water it could lead to dehydration and overheating which in severe cases can cause death.

4. Used As a Toilet

If we’re being completely honest, Chins aren’t that fussy when and where they go for a toilet break. 

When they need to just let it out, that’s exactly what they go ahead and do. 

If you provide them with an open water bowl it is a pretty inviting option. They will usually find a way to contaminate the water with faeces and urine.

This poses the same problems with food contamination. They are unlikely to want to drink the water that they have used as a toilet and if they do, health issues are imminent.

What Happens If Chinchillas Get Wet?

Chinchillas don’t do very well with getting wet. They have very thick fur that does not dry very quickly at all. 

When we think about leaving our own hair to dry naturally (this one is more for the ladies with long hair)  

Now think about your Chin’s dense fur and the reality of that drying off very quickly.

Wet fur for long periods can result in your Chin getting cold. Cold Chinchillas with wet fur is not a good combination and can result in chills and pneumonia

This can ultimately result in death if not attended to quickly enough. Your best bet is to not allow your Chin to get wet in the first place.

When wet, Chinchilla fur can become tightly compact together. It can become knotted and unmanageable which may require extra assistance with grooming. This leaves them feeling extremely uncomfortable and irritable.

What Type of Water Can Chinchillas Drink?

This is a highly debatable subject and one that there hasn’t been a real scientific answer to. 

Everyone’s opinions differ greatly. When looking at my own experiences we wouldn’t give our chinchilla tap water.

We always made sure we gave our chins filtered water.

We also always made sure we replaced the water regularly as water left in a bottle can become scummy pretty quickly.

There are many other types of water to consider and we thought we’d put together this handy chart that shows how different types of water can compare.

Water Options For Chinchillas

Tap WaterYes & NoMost tap water is clean, however, dirty water can contain giardia and would not be suitable for use in your Chinchilla Water Bottle. Always check the quality of your tap water at home before choosing this option.
Filtered WaterYesFiltered water is ideal for use in Chinchilla bottles. It is the purest type of water available and it does not contain any bacteria.
Distilled WaterYesDistilled water isn’t as easy to get hold of as water from the tap and it, unfortunately, does not contain any minerals which your Chinchilla needs. There is, however, no harm in using this type of water providing they get enough minerals from elsewhere.
Bottled WaterYesBottles water is safe for chinchillas to use but is an expensive way of providing your Chinchilla with water and some would consider this quite wasteful

7 Reasons Why Water Bottles Are Better For Chinchillas

As we have learned, open water bowls are not ideal for Chinchillas and the preferred method is to provide them with water by using a bottle.

Most domesticated rodents will intake water this way and here we look at the reasons why bottles are preferred.

  • Chinchillas can easily knock over bowls whereas bottles can be secured to the cage much more easily. This makes it much safer for them.
  • Your Chinchilla has a much higher chance of accidentally getting wet with an open water bowl whereas an enclosed water bottle does not pose this threat.
  • Contained water bottles cannot get as contaminated so easily and for this reason would be considered less of a health risk
  • Water bottles tend to hold much more water than a regular pet bowl so you can be sure your Chin never runs out of water
  • Open water bowls can get chewed and bitten much more easily than bottles. The bottle tube is usually made of steel for this very reason
  • A water bottle is much easier for you to fill up and carry around than a bowl
  • Fewer spillages occur when using water bottles which can be less of a clear-up job for you

We have also made an easy to follow guide that shares everything you need to know about chinchilla water bottles in under 3 minutes and you can check it out right here…


In conclusion, water bottles are much easier to manage for both you and your Chinchilla.

 Providing you change the water regularly your Chinchilla will be as happy as Larry using a water bottle. 

They will find it so much easier to use than trying to drink out of a bowl.

It is vitally important you avoid your Chinchilla getting wet at all costs. There can be so many health implications to this that it is just not worth taking that risk.

Adam Woods

Hi, My name is Adam. I'm the main author of Pocket Pets Forever. I'm a pocket pet enthusiast and I love sharing my knowledge and passion for these amazing animals. Thank you for supporting us on our journey as we continue to publish content with the aim of helping owners care for their pets in the best way possible!

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