Why Do Chinchillas Wipe Their Nose? {Top 6 Nose Wiping Reasons}

My chinchilla touches his face more than I do. Is it unconscious or for a reason? Why do chinchillas wipe their nose?

Can chinchillas have allergies? Do chinchillas get colds? There must be more reasons why chinchillas are constantly touching their noses. Let’s find out.

In this article, we’ll talk about chinchilla behaviors while focusing on why do chinchillas wipe their nose?

Why Do Chinchillas Wipe Their Nose?

Many reasons why chinchillas rub their noses range from getting dust in there, feeling ticklish, a runny nose, upper respiratory infection or grooming themselves.

Behavioral reasons for wiping or touching their nose includes enjoyment, playfulness, happiness and sometimes the opposite where they are expressing displeasure or discomfort.

Observe what the surroundings are and what happens just before your chinchillas wipes their nose to gain more clues to the exact reason.

What Does It Mean When a Chinchilla Wipes Its Nose?

Chinchillas wash the front of their face when it gets dusty. Nostrils suck in dust and must be relieved with a gentle wiping or rubbing motion.

Chinchillas are clean rodents that wish to groom themselves to remain clear of nasal blockages. Sometimes their nose gets runny and it could mean they have a cold or other minor symptoms.

Other times a chinchilla might feel irritated is when there is a fan directed at them or other external factors. Finally, nose rubbing could be a playful motion or a sign of displeasure.

Top 6 Reasons Why Chinchillas Rub Their Nose

Let’s look closer into some of the main reasons why your chinchilla could be rubbing their nose. Here are our top 6 explanations. Observe before and after the nose wiping action to gather more clues as to why this is happening:

  1.  Cleaning up
  2. Dust got in there
  3. Allergies or Cold
  4. Happy or Friendly Action
  5. Upset
  6. Dryness

1. Cleaning up

A head tuck and gentle rub is part of the grooming process. They may get dirty when they investigate places and spaces with their nose first.

2. Dust got in there

Chinchillas are commonly known to take dust baths to clean up. They roll around in it and cover their bodies. Some dust is bound to get in their noses. You might notice some sneezing or itchiness as well.

3. Allergies or Colds

Chinchillas can get sick too and a runny nose can result. Respiratory diseases such as pneumonia can also develop. If your chinchillas are constantly rubbing their noses with no relief in sight, there could be an underlying illness that needs medical attention.

4. Happy or Friendly Action

A chinchilla could be rubbing their face to say hello to you or just being silly. Sometimes we think too much of it if these actions are not repetitive throughout the day. Nose contact is also a form of communication in chinchillas.

5. Upset

Some chinchillas get angry at their surroundings or new caregivers. They have the right to change their mood and express it however they please. Sometimes this means they will wipe their nose in displeasure or simply because they are annoyed about something.

6. Dryness

A fan or dehumidifier could be drying up the air. Central heating and dry outdoor weather could also cause a chinchilla to rub a dry nose. Move the fan away if you can and do not leave your chinchilla’s cage next to open windows or air vents.

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Why Do Chinchillas Sneeze?

A chinchilla can develop infections in the upper respiratory tract. They can:

  • sneeze
  • cough
  • have a nasal discharge
  • difficulty breathing
  • fever
  • pneumonia

If these symptoms become obvious throughout the day, it’s best to visit the vet as soon as you can.

Do Chinchillas Get Colds?

Yes. Chinchillas can develop colds, fevers and it can worsen to become pneumonia. There are multiple illnesses that can develop. Chinchillas come into contact with bacteria that are harmful sometimes that can make them ill.

Some common bacteria infiltrators are:

  • Bordetella
  • Streptococcus
  • Pasteurella

If you keep chinchillas together, one can pass these illnesses to the other. These upper respiratory tract infections can be dangerous and contagious.

Can Chinchillas Have Allergies?

Yes. Since their fur is dense, it can attract pollen or other allergens in the wild. Dust in our homes and fumes from outside can cause allergic reactions, runny noses or respiratory infections.

Notice how your chinchilla is behaving and see if these symptoms go away within the day. If symptoms persist, it is best to get some medication from a vet to resolve the issue before it gets worse.

Why Does My Chinchilla Have a Runny Nose?

A runny nose could indicate that your chinchilla is sick. It might be a symptom of a cold or possibly a worse situation where pneumonia is developing.

Sometimes chinchillas rub their noses even when there is no nasal discharge. They could be communicating with you that they are displeased or acting boisterously and interacting with their nose against multiple objects and places causing it to get dirty.

Do Chinchillas Clean Up After Themselves?

Yes. A chinchilla likes to groom and cover themselves in dust in the effort to clean up their dense fur. They have furry limbs and can use them like rags to clean up their face that gets dusty or dirty.

Chinchillas like to go nose first into new spaces or objects in order to investigate. They can get dirty along the way, but thankfully, they like to clean up after themselves.

You can still help your chinchilla with a gentle wipe using baby wipes on their face and fur. Do not overdo it because chinchillas do not like to get wet. They can clean most of the dirt off with dust. You are assisting when you see something stuck or if you want to remove some dust attached to their fur.


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My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.