When buying a Chinchilla one of the very first questions we hear from prospective owners is whether or not Chinchillas have to live in pairs.
This is a very important question and understanding their social requirements is crucial.
Often, would-be owners are only planning on adopting one Chinchilla and therefore this question quite rightly comes up in conversation.
So, do Chinchillas have to live in pairs? Chinchillas do not have to live in pairs. Lots of Chinchillas are very social and like to live in the company of others. Some Chinchillas, on the other hand, prefer to live a much more solitary life and pushing Chinchillas to live together can cause undue friction and conflict.
Read On to Discover…
Do Chinchillas Have to Live In Pairs (More Info)
As mentioned previously, housing Chinchillas together is a nice idea, but not a compulsory one.
Many people associate Chinchillas with having to live in pairs which can be off-putting for some. This is an absolute myth and Chins can just as happily live alone.
On a personal level, I have owned Chinchillas that have lived in pairs (Snitch and Snatch the terrible twosome) but also had the pleasure of owning the lovely ‘Chi Chi’ who lived on his own without company.
I can honestly say they all seemed as happy as each other. It is fair to say that Chi Chi was slightly more chilled than the other two and therefore looking back I feel like he was much better suited to life on his own. The other two would have driven him mad!
Individual personalities play a big part in deciding whether a Chinchilla would be better off living as a pair than living alone. Some things you may want to consider:
- Are both Chinchillas around the sound age? (this is preferable)
- Are both Chinchillas of the same sex? (more on this later)
- Have both Chinchillas lived in company before? (Probably best if they have)
- Do both Chinchillas have very active personalities (Likely a good match if they are similar)
Pairing a Chinchilla up needs to be considered on a case by case basis. You likely find that if Chinchillas have been living together already they are generally sold or rehomed together.
Are Chinchillas Best Kept In Pairs?
Generally speaking, you will find Chinchillas living together in pairs for the most part. If you buy from a shop or dealer they almost always encourage you to buy in pairs.
If rehoming the centre will usually have made a thorough assessment of the Chinchillas that need new homes and will have already determined by welfare standards if certain Chinchillas should be rehomed together or as individuals.
Like all animals, Chins must be treated as individuals, and looking out for their overall health and welfare should be your number one priority.
Some Chinchillas just never successfully bond with other Chins and therefore would be much happier living alone.
Other Chinchillas have a very social background from birth and thrive on the company being present. Providing that company is appropriate.
You would normally find that most Chinchilla owners will have more than one and keep them in pairs.
Do You Have to Buy Chinchillas In Pairs?
You don’t have to buy Chinchillas in pairs. There are no regulations to suggest that you must buy more than one Chinchilla and that they must be kept in company.
Most pet shops and dealers will keep multiple Chinchillas in one cage. This is usually due to limited space and the general consensus that Chins should be paired up.
It is also a very good sales tactic to make new owners believe that buying a pair together would be a great idea. They can’t deal with the thought of breaking the pair up.
If you are rehoming from a rescue centre you will find them to usually be a bit more transparent and give you a full background on the Chinchillas that need new homes.
The centre will have carried out their own assessments on the Chinchillas and have a better understanding as to which Chins need some company and which ones would be better off adopted alone.
Can You Introduce a Second Chinchilla At a Later Date?
It is perfectly possible to introduce a second Chinchilla at a later date and there are so many reasons why the pairing could be the perfect match.
However, just like in our own lives where there are people we instantly click with there are also many people out there that we do not. This is also true for Chinchillas.
There are a few things to consider before trying to introduce a 2nd Chinchilla into the mix:
- How long has your existing Chinchilla been living on their own?
- Have they ever lived with other Chinchillas before?
- Does your Chinchilla look happy living on their own?
- Why do you want to introduce a new Chinchilla? (Loneliness, Breeding etc.….)
- What is your back up plan?
Chinchillas that have been living on their own for a long time or have never lived with other Chins may find the introduction of a new cage mate very stressful.
They may not be used to all the extra attention and having to share their cage, food etc.…. This can often result in disaster.
If your Chinchilla is looking happy on their own, they may not need the company. By introducing another Chinchilla you may be causing unnecessary friction and fighting.
If this is the case you will want to have a solid back up plan for sure such as another cage ready just in case the two can’t live together.
It is also best to get to know your Chinchilla well beforehand and determine their personality, likes, and dislikes.
Once you have been able to identify these it will give you a much clearer understanding of how well the introduction process may go.
Many Chinchillas will be very pleased with the company, however many others will not be so happy about the change.
Always make this decision on a case by case basis and have a back-up plan ready should it go wrong. Two Chins should never be forced to live together if they don’t want to. Introductions should be well planned and phased in gradually.
Do All Chinchillas Get Along With Each Other?
Absolutely not! Looking at the nature of Chinchillas you would think that these cute little bundles of fur get on well with everyone, but that just isn’t true.
Chins pick and choose who they like, just like we do as humans. We have a choice over our friends, but we also have a choice over our Chinchillas friends too.
Certain Chinchillas do not make a good mix. The only real way of finding this out is through trial and error.
You will find some Chins get on like a house on fire whereas others can’t stand the sight of each other. Chinchillas that do not bond well together can end up fighting and scrapping.
They are in such a confined space for most of the time that they get under each other’s feet. This usually causes major conflict.
Chinchillas can become quite aggressive towards each other which can prompt fur slips, biting, and injuries towards one another. Never leave two Chinchillas together if you know they do not get along.
It isn’t fair on them, it’s dangerous and can cause you more grief in the long run.
If you have Chinchillas who you suspect don’t get on well, try splitting them up and monitoring their behaviour.
It will soon become apparent whether you have made the right decision and if not, you can always try to reintroduce them at a later date if need be.
Can a Male and Female Chinchillas Live Together?
Male and female Chinchillas can live together in harmony if introduced to each other properly through phased introductions.
Male Chinchillas are known to be much calmer and less territorial than females who can often be much feistier.
This tends to be a good temperament balance between the two and many mixed Chinchillas pairings seem to work quite well. They tend to complement each other.
It is fair to say that one of the biggest considerations when pairing a male and female together is the likelihood of breeding and the onset of mating behaviour.
It doesn’t matter whether they share a cage or are out of the cage for playtime, any interaction these two have could result in baby Chinchillas.
For many owners, the possibility of lots more Chinchillas is not an option and therefore this type of pairing is less common.
If you love the idea of a male and female combination, but don’t have the capacity or desire for baby Chins then male neutering is an option. This isn’t a very common occurrence but could be a great solution.
Can Two Female Chinchillas Live Together?
Two female Chinchillas living together have just as much likelihood of getting on as not getting on.
It’s a real 50-50 split and trial and error needs to occur to know for sure. Some female Chinchillas get on like an absolute house on fire whilst others can’t bear to be around each other.
If both female Chins have been introduced gradually in phases there is a very high possibility these two lovely ladies will bond with each other and form a peaceful relationship.
Personalities play a big part in the same way with all other relationships in life.
Female Chinchillas tend to have fiercer dispositions than males which can result in more severe bouts of fighting if they are not happy with each other’s company.
Make sure you monitor your newly introduced female Chins carefully to ensure there is not this type of conflict.
Can Two Male Chinchillas Live Together?
Two male Chinchillas can bond and live very happily together. It is very similar to the process of trying to bond two female Chinchillas together.
You must ensure that you take the time to introduce the two properly in stages. If you try to bond the two of them too quickly they will not get a chance to suss each other out which can cause instant conflict.
This can be avoided by taking your time and making it a positive process for both Chins.
It will be very obvious if you have tried to pair two male Chins that do not get along.
They are more than happy to fight each other which can involve biting, barking, and generally aggressive behaviour towards one another. If you are witnessing this behaviour regularly you must split them up for their welfare.
Can Adult And Baby Chinchillas Live Together?
Adult and baby Chinchillas can successfully live together. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will be in peace and younger Chins often annoy the life out of older Chins, but this combination can still work very well.
The best blend is usually mother and father Chins with their own babies. More like a family set up.
They will be used to living together and as long as they seem to get along ok can live together in a reasonably harmonious environment.
The same rules apply, where you must house in the pairs of the same sex of you could end up mating between siblings.
If you do decide to split up adult and baby chins from the same family you must ensure the baby kits are fully weaned from their mother before implementing this divide.
For combinations where the baby chin has been brought together with unrelated adults, this is a rather hit and miss situation. This could go swimmingly well, however, it could in comparison be a complete disaster. Always ensure you phase in introductions slowly and give your adult and baby Chins time to bond and get to know each other.
How Many Chinchillas Can Live together?
Chinchillas generally live in pairs. It is, however, possible to place more than two Chinchillas in a cage together providing the bond is there and they get on well.
We wouldn’t recommend trying to socialise more than 3 Chinchillas together unless they are family and have lived together since birth.
Even the biggest of cages can seem cramped when housing more than 2 Chinchillas together and there is a possibility that more than this can cause friction and fighting.
They tend to get under each other’s feet easily which can cause some conflict.
The best advice is to keep Chinchillas in pairs, however, if you have 3 or 4 Chinchillas that all seem to get on well and have plenty of space to get away from each other when needed, this could also work.
The chances of having 3 or 4 Chinchillas that bond well is much less likely than a pairing for 2 Chins.
Can Chinchillas Live With Other Animals?
When referring to other animals living in a cage with your Chinchilla, this would be considered a particularly bad idea.
Chinchillas have specific needs that are quite different from other species and therefore trying to pair your Chin with a Rabbit or Guinea Pig will not generally work.
As we get asked this question a lot, we have written a number of articles that cover all you need to know about housing chinchillas with guinea pigs, rabbits and more and if you should even house them in the same room?
You can access the posts below and find out…
Aside from differing behavioural compatibilities, dust baths can be a major hazard to other animals and can often cause respiratory issues.
Also, Rabbit droppings can be lethal to Chin’s since they harbour bacteria that do not agree with Chinchilla’s delicate digestive systems.
It is always best to keep Chinchillas paired together and not introduce different species into the mix. This can be dangerous and bonding is unlikely.
It can be problematic having other species of animals in the house when owning Chinchillas, in particular cats and dogs.
We have to remember that Chinchillas are predominantly prey animals and therefore other animals in the house that may go near to their cage will have your Chin on edge and not feeling themselves.
Never allow other animals to play with your Chinchillas when they are out of their cage. You will just be asking for trouble!
Do Chinchillas Get Lonely if they’re Not in Pairs?
Chinchillas are incredibly social creatures for the most part. A solitary Chin can get lonely without a cage mate. As mentioned previously, not all Chins are up for company, some are quite happy to go it alone.
A lot of Chinchilla thrive on the company and social interaction pairing brings.
Chinchillas that do live on their own require plenty of attention from their owner to make up for the loss.
There are some very specific ways in which you make your Chinchilla feel less lonely.
Taking your Chin out of their cage to exercise and play is vital for mental stability and bonding. This can completely make up for the absence of a cage mate.
IF you are worried that your chinchilla might be getting bored then you might want to take a look at our recommended toys and activities to spice up their life a little…
Make sure you Chinchilla has a couple of hours a day outside their cage to exercise and play.
Always supervise your Chin when they are out for exercise and spend as much time with them as you possibly can. They love the interaction and it is a great opportunity for both of you to bond.
If you want more information about if your chinchillas can get lonely and how you can prevent this, then head over to the article that shares all you need to know as an owner…
Do Chinchillas Live In Pairs In The Wild?
Chinchillas are naturally social creatures and for the most part, love being around other Chin’s. In the wild Chinchillas live in very big social groups and therefore have endless amounts of companionship.
They have all the company they need but are also free to remove themselves if they wish to do so.
Most Chinchillas in the wild will have special bonds with individuals that take their fancy and it is not uncommon to see them paired up. For the most part, however, you will find them in a big group and not segregated in any way.
How Do I Introduce & Bond Two Chinchillas Together?
Introducing two Chinchillas together and allowing them to create a bond naturally is highly possible.
It takes patience and careful planning on your part but can be carried out quite easily over a period of time once you know-how.
Follow these easy steps to help with the bonding process:
- Always take things slowly in baby steps. It gives your Chins the best possible chance of really warming up to each other.
- Initially put your Chin’s in two separate cages next to each other. They will be able to see one another and get familiar, but with a barrier to prevent any unwanted behaviour or fighting.
- Keep your Chinchillas close together in their separate cages to get them used to unfamiliar noises, scents, and visuals of each other.
- Let each Chinchilla out for playtime individually initially. Allow your Chinchilla that is out of the cage to explore near the cage of the Chin you are trying to bond them with. This will allow them to introduce themselves to each other naturally and say ‘hello’.
- Keep playtime’s separate for at least a few weeks to allow both your Chinchillas to get comfortable with each other.
- If all seems to go well after the initial few weeks, allow them to play together outside the cage.
- If all seems to be going well with this process there is a very high possibility both Chinchillas will be able to live together in the same cage successfully.
- Patience is key to this process and some Chin’s may take a lot longer to feel the connection than others.
How Big Does The Cage Have to Be For Two Chinchillas?
Chinchillas need plenty of room to jump, climb, run, and play. They are an energetic species that often have to let off some steam by becoming active.
When choosing the right size cage for Chinchillas it mostly boils down to common sense. If you have two Chinchillas then it is logical that you need a much bigger cage than you do for only one Chin.
You need to ensure they both have plenty of room to jump around, but also enough space to be able to get away from each other sufficiently when they need to.
Here is a good guideline for the size of cages you should ideally be looking for:
Recommended Chinchilla Cage Size
|No. Of Chinchillas||Cage Size|
|1||1m x 1m Floor Space, 1m Tall (Minimum)|
|2||1m x 1.5m Floor Space, 1.3m Tall (Minimum)|
|3||1.5m x 2m Floor Space, 2m Tall (Minimum)|
It can be hard to know what cage is the best option for your chinchilla no matter if you have one or two.
We would recommend going with the Critter Nation 2 Duel Level Chinchilla Cage as this is a great cage and offers plenty of space for either one or two chinchillas.
You can find out more about this cage and what we personally think of it here… plus we will also show you a budget option that’s pretty close to this cage if you prefer another option.
In conclusion, the best way to keep Chinchillas is in pairs if you can. They generally love the socialisation factor and company this brings to their lives.
Some Chin’s however like to live alone and therefore we should be respectful of that. Sometimes two is still a crowd.
Never try to socialise two Chinchilla’s who clearly do not want to be together. It isn’t fair to them having to live in such small quarters with other Chin’s they do not bond well with. This can cause lots of fights and friction which is unnecessary.
Above all, take your time when trying to pair two unknown Chinchillas together. This process for the most part works very well if followed correctly. Patience is key!
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