I thought my chinchilla would be just fine without me for long durations while I’m at work. I was sadly mistaken. I was left wondering,” Do chinchillas need a friend?”
We noticed that our chinchilla was not interacting with us as much as before. She gave up eating for a short time and hid at the back of her cage. She didn’t even want to come out when it was time to play together.
All of this changed when we got her a new friend. In this article, I would like to tell you more about it and whether or not chinchillas need a friend.
Do Chinchillas Need a Friend?
You are your chinchilla’s friend. If you are not around enough to spend two to three hours together at the very least, this sociable animal who lives in groups in their natural habitat would benefit from another friend.
We learned the hard way when our chinchilla started to become reclusive and depressed. We got her another chinchilla friend and we noticed how both of them thrived together after a patient couple of weeks of introducing them to each other.
Can I Have Just One Chinchilla?
We do not want to question your decision. You may not have enough room, space or the budget to take care of more than one pet at a time.
If you only want one chinchilla, this is fine. Just be prepared to spend more time interacting with your new favorite companion in your home.
Without another chinchilla around, you will need to provide enrichment in the form of:
- play time together
- vocal praising
- high quality foods
- chew toys
Your chinchilla will let you know when they would like some private time or when they would desire to hang out with you and spend some time outside of their cage. No two chinchillas are alike and it’s okay if you only want one chinchilla at a time.
How Can You Tell if a Chinchilla Is Lonely?
What happened to me was, when I used to go near my chinchilla, she would get excited to see me. One day, I did the same thing, but my chinchilla is hid in the corner of her cage. She was neglecting me.
She was barely moving around in her cage. With more research, we found out that our chinchilla is suffering from depression.
This is common with lonely chinchillas who do not receive enough time interacting with their human companions or with their counterparts. Chinchillas are very sociable in the wild and they hang out together in groups.
8 Signs Of a Lonely Chinchilla
- eating very little
- not playing with chew toys
- not exercising
- lethargic or not moving around in the cage
- indifferent to surroundings
- not looking at you
- not excited to see you
- chewing on their own fur
If these signs continue, you may have a chinchilla who is turning into a depressed animal with a lowered immune system.
This could lead to illnesses or an early death. Seek the medical attention of a veterinarian and discuss the possibility of maybe adding a new chinchilla to keep each other company.
Can Chinchillas Be Kept With Other Animals?
What happened to me was I had to keep my dog away from my chinchilla for a long period of time. Even though my dog was saddened by the fact that she couldn’t enter the living room anymore, we let her know that this was only temporary.
Chinchillas can feel very nervous or stressed around perceived threats such as predators even if there aren’t any. You can keep chinchillas with other animals, but you need to provide assurance, supervision and build trust.
Some animals can be kept with chinchillas while others cannot. We recommend you do not keep chinchillas with:
- Birds of prey
We believe chinchillas are very comfortable around animals that are similar to their size, diet or temperament such as:
- Guinea pigs
Your chinchilla will let you know how comfortable he or she is in the presence of other animals. Do not rush this process and be there to provide supervision and support for all of your animal companions.
Can Chinchillas and Rabbits Live Together?
We were worried about our chinchilla who was acting depressed and lonely. I have a rabbit named Roger that is very friendly, docile and sociable. I was wondering if Roger could help my chinchilla relax more and provide some company.
- The introduction happened slowly. We placed Roger’s cage near our chinchilla’s and they were able to touch noses after the second day.
- We brought them out for exercise time together on the living room floor and they exchange chew toys with each other.
We believe rabbits and chinchillas can get along together if you introduce them slowly, carefully and let them decide the speed and process of how to move forward.
Some chinchillas and rabbits will not take well to this introduction and may not want to be kept together in the same room.
Sometimes we have our rabbit and chinchilla together in the same cage and they cuddle with each other, but this didn’t happen overnight. They let us know that it was okay and we supported them with their decision.
Will Chinchillas Be Aggressive Towards Each Other?
Yes and no. If you rush the introduction between two chinchillas, they may become:
- bully each other
Females can become aggressive towards each other or at males who constantly chase them with the urge to mate. A peaceful introduction is necessary.
- Keep them in separate cages side-by-side for now.
- Let them see and smell each other first.
- Notice if one is trying to spray urine at the other through the bars.
- Bring the cages closer and closer together until the bars are touching after a few days.
- If they are calm, they may interact with each other or even touch noses.
- You could take them out into a neutral area and let them share chew toys together.
If a male chinchilla is neutered, the chances of aggression is lowered when there is a female present. Overall, we believe that the introduction process will allow your chinchillas to live peacefully as friends with
- a large enough enclosure
- two or more areas to rest
- various chew toys
- separate dust baths
What Do I Do if Two Chinchillas Start Fighting?
Do chinchillas fight? Of course they do. Stressful situations may result in some scuffles. If they have been placed in the cage at the same time too soon before they got a chance to warm up to each other, there could be:
- not sharing
- pushing each other back
- retreating to the corners of the cage
One of your chinchillas may become more dominant than the other. This may lead to the inferior chinchilla to:
- become lethargic
- stop eating
We recommend starting the process all over again.
- Place them back and just separate cages.
- Keep the cages around 10 cm apart from each other.
- Make sure their resting areas are at the opposite side of the cages.
- Slowly but surely, you can bring the cages back together again.
- After that, you can bring them back to a neutral area where they can reintroduce themselves to each other.
Can Chinchillas Be Happy Alone?
Yes. Our chinchilla used to be alone before we got her a friend. She was happy with us. One of us was home more often during a time where remote working was very common.
Once the both of us had to go back to our jobs, our chinchilla felt lonely. We didn’t resort to getting another chinchilla right away. We gave her a new enclosure instead. We provided her with more chew toys and a playpen area.
I used to come home at lunchtime to play with her outside of the cage. She would be fed at this time and she would watch me too.
Once I couldn’t come home at lunchtime anymore, we noticed that our chinchilla was not as happy as she used to be. This doesn’t mean your chinchilla can’t be happy alone. You just have to decide based on their reactions.
No two chinchillas are the same. Our decision was to get her a new friend. We have a camera set up in the living room pointed at their cage. I’m eating lunch at work now, and watching them cuddling together and resting as they wait for us to return this evening.
Chinchillas can tolerate being alone. Some of them like to be more introverted and private compared to others. The fact is, when they grew up in the wild, they are social animals living in groups.
This doesn’t mean however, that we have to place them together in pairs or larger numbers. We can become their friend. We can spend as much time with our chinchillas as possible and recognize when they desire their own private time as well.
Providing them with enough to do in their cage in terms of exercise, plenty of hay, chew toys and resting areas like hiding spaces, give chinchillas plenty of comfort when they are alone. If you decide to get your chinchilla a friend, introduce them to each other slowly and start by using two separate cages at first.
Thank you for visiting PocketPetCentral.com for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.