Every chinchilla owner that only owns just one of these amazing rodents will at some stage or other wondered if their chinchilla gets lonely?
Outside of being domesticated pets, chinchillas live in herds in The Andes Mountains in South America. Since they normally live in herds, the question of “do chinchillas get lonely?” arises regularly..
In this post, we will answer this very question and share all the information you to to ensure your chinchilla never becomes lonely or bored while in your care.
So, do Chinchillas Get Lonely? Chinchillas can get lonely in captivity if they are not housed in pairs. In the wild chinchillas live in herds of up to 100 and they thrive on companionship and social interaction. Enrichment and time spent out of the cage is needed to prevent a chinchilla housed alone from becoming lonely.
Read On to Learn…
Do Chinchillas Get Lonely in the Wild?
Chinchillas are considered to be an endangered species; however, they still live in herds in the wild.
This helps them not to be lonely. Chinchillas are very sociable creatures who hate being alone.
They often play together, groom each other, keep each other content, and even cuddle in large groups. They give each other the companionship that they need.
Do Chinchillas Get Lonely in Captivity?
Because chinchillas are social animals, they can get lonely if they are isolated. If you are getting one to have as a pet, you might consider getting two.
If you choose to just have one Chinchilla, make sure that your schedule allows adequate time to spend giving it attention every day.
If you neglect to spend enough time giving your chinchilla social interaction, they can become depressed.
If they are raised in isolation, they can go crazy; they will bite at their own fur, bark or call a lot, and become extremely hyper.
It is good for chinchillas to hear your voice throughout the day. This will help them know you, be more comfortable with you, and form a relationship with you.
Besides just hearing your voice, you will have to dedicate time to play with them each day.
At least 30 minutes of playtime each day will help them to be better pets. Get your chinchilla out of its cage for some exercise or even just some cuddle time.
We have created a guide that covers all you need to know about how much time your chinchilla should spend out of their cage here…
If you choose to get two chinchillas, they cage better with like genders (male with male or female with female).
It is not suggested to get two different genders unless you have had a lot of experience with chinchillas and know how to breed them and care for their kits (babies).
Getting two chinchillas will help to avoid having a lonely pet. They will get the social interaction and companionship that they thrive for from each other.
Chinchillas like to play with each other and even groom each other when they are caged together.
How Long Does It Take For a Chinchilla to Become Lonely?
This is actually a question that we see a lot. Many new owners that have just brought home their first chinchilla often want to know how long it will take for them to get lonely?
Quite honestly, the answer to this question is it depends on a number of factors such as…
- If your chinchilla was housed with other chinchillas previously
- How much enrichment you provide your chinchilla
- How often you play with your chinchilla
All of these factors we make an impact on how fact your chinchilla gets lonely and even if they get lonely at all.
As we have mentioned previously in the post, the best thing you can do is to house chinchillas in pairs as they are social animals but if this isn’t possible then you certainly need to do all you can as an owner to give your chin the enrichment and habitat it needs to be mentally stimulated at all times.
(Later in this post, we will cover multiple ways that you can provide your chinchillas with this enrichment and mental stimulation)
Can Chinchillas Get Lonely Even With a Cage Mate?
If you provide your chinchilla with a cage mate then the social interaction that they provide each other is usually enough to prevent them from becoming lonely.
They will play, groom and bond with each other in such a way that stops any form of loneliness setting in.
The only way that your chinchillas may feel lonely even if they have a cag mate is if they don’t get on with one another.
This can force them to feel isolated and still feel lonely even if housed together.
This situation is rare if you follow the correct steps and procedures for introducing and bonding new chinchillas together.
(We have a step by step guide on how to do this in this post)
Do Chinchillas Get Lonely When They Are Separated From Their Cage Mates?
Sometimes it might be necessary for you to separate your chinchillas for a short period of time such as…
- Vet appointment
- Dust bath
When it comes to dust baths, this shouldn’t really be a problem as they are short and depending on your set up, you might even bathe your chins in the same room as you house them anyway.
As for vet appointments, there is a possibility that your chinchillas might experience some sort of short term loneliness or even anxiety when they separated as they won’t know that they are to be reunited shortly after.
You shouldn’t worry about this as there really isn’t anything you can do and after all the period that your chins will be separated is only a short one and for a very good reason.
Do Chinchillas Always Get Along With Their Cage Mate?
In short, the answer is no. Chinchillas do not ALWAYS get along. It will depend on their breeding.
How much interaction they have had with other chinchillas, how much bonding and interaction they have had with humans, and even the age of the chinchilla can be a factor.
Most of the time, chinchillas get along with their cage mates, but not always.
If you are getting multiple chinchillas that have not previously been around each other, you may want to start outputting them in separate cages.
The cages can be beside each other so that they can look at each other, hear each other’s noises, and get used to each other before being placed together.
Take time to introduce chinchillas to each other. You can give them playtime together for limited amounts of time to test how they interact together.
If chinchillas do not like each other, they may become aggressive towards each other.
They can fight or bite one another. If you see any aggression, nervousness, or even one fleeing away from the other you will want to separate them immediately.
Can Chinchillas Live Without a Cage Mate?
Chinchillas can most certainly live without a cage mate, although we must stress that we recommend housing chinchillas together as they are social animals as we mentioned earlier.
If they do not have a cage mate, you will need to bond with them and dedicate daily time to them.
An average lifespan for a chinchilla is approximately 10 years plus, but if they become depressed from lack of socialization they can expire early.
Buying from a breeder vs a pet shop may be the key in the bonding experience.
If you get a chinchilla while it is very young, the bonding experience will likely be easier. They are very affectionate animals when they are comfortable with their environment.
If they are older when you get them, it may depend on how much social interaction they have had in the past.
Do Chinchillas Get Lonely Without Owner Attention?
Absolutely. Chinchillas thrive on attention and socialization. If you have more than one chinchilla, you may not have to give them quite as much attention, but they still do enjoy it.
When chinchillas have cage-mates they entertain each other and usually bond well together, but it is also important that they have a relationship with their owner.
Chinchillas do not require a lot to keep them happy. As long as they have hay pellets, unlimited hay, and water – the only other necessity is companionship.
Why not head over to our free guide where we break down the top toys and activities you can do with your chinchilla to have fun and keep them stimulated easily and on a budget…
Buying a chinchilla can be anywhere from $150-$350 – this is the reason that some people opt to just get one chinchilla instead of two.
The pricing depends on where it comes from, whether it be a breeder or a pet store, the colour, and if it Is a show chinchilla or not.
Whatever decision you make, be sure that you have time to properly care for your new pet.
Chinchillas are naturally nervous creatures. They are born prey so that makes them skittish.
A new pet chinchilla will most likely be skittish until they become used to their owner and bond with them.
They will bond with you pretty easily if you give them a healthy environment with everything that they need and lots of attention.
Chinchillas are affectionate little pets. Be consistent, but not overbearing until they build up trust for you.
If you have multiple chinchillas that get along well, you should still get them out of their cages for attention and playtime as often as you can.
Even if they have each other to socialize with, it is still good to have human interaction if they are going to be your pets.
Do Chinchillas Mate For Life?
Chinchillas do mate for life. If you have a male and female chinchilla that have bonded, it is likely that they will mate for life.
Chinchillas are generally monogamous creatures, although occasionally they can get tired of each other and become aggressive toward one another.
Chinchillas can also have a lifetime bond with another of the same sex. If you are not an experienced breeder, it is suggested that you only cage females with females and males with males. If you get multiple chinchillas, they will likely bond for life.
If you just have one chinchilla, be sure to give it proper care. A chinchilla can form a lifelong bond with their owner if they are given a clean and safe environment, consistent physical interaction, and a proper diet of hay pellets, unlimited hay, and unlimited water.
How to Introduce Chinchillas To Each Other (Step By Step)
Step 1 – You should first introduce your chinchillas in separate cages at opposite ends of a neutral room of the home. This means that you shouldn’t introduce the chins in the room where you house your chinchilla.
This is because it could cause some territorial conflicts. You should gradually bring the chinchillas cages closer together and everything seems to be going well until they are almost side by side.
This is all for the first meeting as you don’t want to move too fast.
Step 2 – The next step begins by following the exact same process as we did in step 1 but this time you progress by letting your chins out of their cages to see if they adjust to each other and accept each other on neutral territory.
If all is going to plan then many owners like to leave the cage doors of both cages open and see how both chinchillas react and if they explore each other’s cage and more importantly if both chins are happy for this to happen.
Step 3 – Now it’s time to try housing both chinchillas in the same cage. For this to happen successfully then its important that the cage is neutral. We understand that going out and purchasing a brand new cage isn’t always practical so there is another way around it.
We recommend that you safely disinfect and clean the whole cage, including all of the toys and accessories.
You then need to re-arrange the toys and accessories so that the cage feels new to the chinchilla’s whose cage it was.
This should minimize any territorial conflicts and help the whole process run smoother.
Step 4 – Monitor the situation closely and look for fighting, anxiety and other signs that the bonding isn’t going to plan.
It’s always a good idea to have a second cage ready just in case you encounter any problems.
How to Help Chinchillas Get Along:
If you follow the simple steps to helping your chinchillas be successfully introduced to each other then you should have no problems.
With this being said, it always helps to know a few simple but effective tips and tricks that can further increase the chances of your chinchillas getting along once they’ve been introduced.
Let’s look at some of those tips and tricks now…
Even though chinchillas are social animals, they still need their own space to be active and perform natural behaviour such as jumping and climbing.
If you house chinchillas together that don’t have the space they need, this can cause a lot of problems including fighting as well as illness due to unhygienic living.
For this reason, it’s vital that you house your chinchillas in cages that are of adequate size,
A single chinchilla needs a cage that is at least 4X3X3. If you have multiple chinchillas, make sure that they have at least 2 square feet of floor space per pet.
We recommend you head over to our new chinchilla cage guide right here…as it shares the cages that we recommend for housing both one and multiple chinchillas in…
Lots Of Tunnels & Hides
Something that’s often overlooked is the need to provide your chins with enough hides and tunnels for the both of them and not just for one chinchilla.
This can sometimes be hard if the cage you have is small and for that reason, we do recommend a large cage for 2 or more chins.
Hides and tunnels are important to help chinchillas and many small animals feel safe and secure if they ever feel threatened or uneasy at any time.
This can especially be true as your chins are getting to know each other and they might need some time on their own.
We have a great new guide that we have put together that shares hides and tunnels.
The Best Pairs to Consider
When keeping chinchillas in pairs it’ also important to consider what sex the pairs should be.
It’s never advised to house male and female chins together unless you are planning to breed them.
You should also think twice about introducing adult and baby (kit) chinchillas together.
Even though chins are social animals by nature, the adult chinchilla may show dominant behaviours and their dietary requirements are slightly different too.
Female pairs are acceptable, although you do actually need to keep an eye on this pairing format as females are known to be more aggressive and territorial than males.
The safest option is to actually house two male chinchillas together. If you have two females then this is fine, however, if you are reading this before you have had a chin in your family home then we would recommend considering housing two males as there will generally be fewer problems.
Tips For Stopping Your Chinchilla Getting Lonely & Bored:
No matter if you have one or two chinchillas, you still want to do as much as you can to ensure your chinchillas don’t become lonely or bored.
We have put together some helpful tips that you can use as an owner quickly and easily…
Put Treats Around The Cage
A great way to keep your chinchillas mentally stimulated and provide some enrichment is to hide some treats around their cage.
You can hide them in their hides and tunnels as well as other interesting places in the cage.
Chins generally love this as it helps to replicate the natural behaviours they would produce in the wild such as searching for food.
Remember not to overdo this as treats can be extremely unhealthy for chinchillas.
If you want to know some great treat options you can offer your chinchilla as well as a full food list, then head over to our complete chinchilla diet and food guide here…
Put Lots Of Toys In The Cage
This might sound self-explanatory, however, providing your chinchilla’s with lots of toys is a great way to provide enrichment.
Consider changing toys around and even purchasing new ones from time to time.
We understand that this can sometimes become expensive but treating your chins to some new chew toys for only a few dollars can have a great effect on their mood.
We’ve recently created a great post that contains the toys that we highly recommend you use in your chinchilla’s cage and we also share the cheapest place to get them from too…
Time Spent Out Of The Cage
As a responsible chinchilla owner, you need to ensure your chinchillas are having as much time out of the cage as possible.
This is true even if you own two chinchillas and they seem perfectly happy together.
You need to allow for time out of the cage every day, again, we understand it can be difficult with busy lifestyles, however, as an owner this is something you simply must do to provide your pets with the exercise and stimulation they need.
This wouldn’t necessarily stop your chins from becoming lonely but it will receive boredom.
You can always head over to our full post that covers all you need to know about how much time your chinchilla needs out of their cage each day here
A Large Cage With Lots of Platforms
Again, a large cage won’t stop your chinchilla from becoming lonely, but it will provide enrichment and prevent boredom.
We have already covered cage size earlier in the post, however, something else that’s worth adding is that larger cages do allow your chins to feel more stimulated.
When your chinchilla can move around more freely and explore you are far more likely to see more of their natural behaviours and individual personalities coming through.
This is better for both you and your chinchillas as they get to have a bigger and better home and you get to see your chin showing what amazing rodents they are.
While there’s no substitute for adding a second chinchilla to your home, interacting with your chin is something you simply must do as an owner.
The time you spend with your chinchilla can help them to feel companionship and go somewhat to enable them to attain the social life that they naturally crave.
Not to mention that for you as an owner it gives you quality time with one of the most amazing and adorable pets on planet earth!