Why Does My Chinchilla Run Away From Me? {7 Ways To Help A Scared Chinchilla}

My chinchilla used to dart across the room and this game of hide-and-seek was not fun. I was left asking myself, “Why does my chinchilla run away from me?”

How do you get a chinchilla to come to you? Why are chinchillas so scared? There’s so much I needed to know and my patience was not where it is now. Bonding takes time and is a continuous practice.

In this article, we will discuss the topic that many of us wonder which is, “Why does my chinchilla run away from me?”

Why Does My Chinchilla Run Away From Me?

Chinchillas like to express their explorative and curious nature by inspecting the four corners of the room and beyond. They run away to search, explore or out of fear as well.

You may not have bonded fully with your chinchilla yet and this process shouldn’t be rushed. Be soothing, move slowly, make contact only when they initiate it and continue to offer vocal praise with treat rewards.

Trust and bonding will increase and the fear response to run away from you will subside. We’ve all been there. It’s quite normal.

How Do I Get My Chinchilla to Come To Me?

  1. Start by getting your chinchilla to recognize your soft and soothing tones in your voice.
  2. Do not initiate contact or lurch at your chinchilla with the intention of scooping them up.
  3. Stay on the other side of the cage for now and use vocal praise.
  4. Offer treats like half of a raisin and see if your chinchilla will take it from your open palm. If not, drop it gently in front of them and be patient.

Sooner or later, you will be their favorite human, the provider, caregiver and most trusted being who will cause your chinchilla to come to you, show excitement and greet you when you come home.

Why Is My Chinchilla Trying to Escape?

Chinchillas need to be careful. They have adapted in the wild over centuries to respond to perceived and very real threats. They are vulnerable and have many predators.

Their defense mechanisms are:

  • running away
  • hiding
  • escaping

They use burrows, rocks and shrubbery to escape in the wild. Do not discourage this behavior and offer hiding spaces in the cage for them to have comfort in privacy.

Your chinchilla will come to you, initiate contact and enjoy your company and your relationship will build with time. Make sure to devote 2-4 hours of closeness, exercise, bonding or simply being together in the same room per day.

Do Chinchillas Like Being Chased?

Chasing is a fun form of play for chinchillas with each other. They do not like being chased by larger creatures including humans. This ignites a stressed or fearful response and they may not want to play with you anymore.

Your exercise or play sessions shouldn’t include chasing. Chinchillas are very good at hiding and you will lose your pet when chasing turns into a frustrating game of hide and go seek instead.

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How Do I Stop My Chinchilla From Escaping?

You can’t stop chinchillas from doing what they have adapted to do which keeps them safe from predators in the wild. You can encourage them to come to you with bonded interaction that could take weeks to develop.

If you aren’t spending 2-4 hours per day together, then your chinchilla may not fully trust you yet. The enclosure must be a comfortable space as well without a bully chinchilla in there who is always exerting dominance over a fearful one that wishes to escape.

The cage must be large enough with hiding spaces, play areas and enough chew toys to promote a comfortable environment.

Cover up any holes under couches, block passages and seal any exits or entryways that could lead outdoors. Windows needs wire mesh screens and doors should be closed.

How Often Should Chinchillas Be Let Out of Their Cage?

You can decide how much time your chinchilla needs to be out of the cage once the trust has been built and the two of you have bonded. Until then, focus more on:

  • interaction with your voice
  • chew toys
  • treats in the cage

Once your chinchilla is making contact with you, cuddling or nibbling your finger out of affection, you can increase the time spent out of the cage to 2-4 hours per day.

Remember that the cage is a desirable, comfortable and safe space that your chinchilla should love returning to for peace and quiet, food and rest.

How Can I Help My Scared Chinchilla?

Help your chinchilla with your soothing voice. You are the stabilizer and the constant reassurance provider that everything is ok. Adjustments need to be made.

7 Ways To Help A Scared Chinchilla

  1. Remove a bully chinchilla who might be causing this fear from excessive dominance.
  2. Add more hiding space in the cage.
  3. Avoid making loud noise.
  4. Keep other pets away from the cage.
  5. Place the cage in an area without much traffic or children running around.
  6. Do not pick up your chinchilla unless they come to you.
  7. Let your chinchilla have more quiet time and privacy.

Being scared of little chinchillas helps them survive in the wild. Fear is useful when a vulnerable chinchilla stays alert to avoid predators. You are caring for creatures with acute fear responses and this is quite normal.

How Do You Grab a Chinchilla?

A chinchilla shouldn’t be grabbed. The contact should be initiated by them first. This could take several days to a few weeks at first. Here are some handling tips to gently pick up your chinchilla:

  1. Place a hand under your chinchillas chest.
  2. Support the hind legs with your other hand.
  3. Perform a scooping motion from the front and a listing motion from the back.
  4. Hold your chinchilla close to you
  5. Keep their body upright which protects the sensitive spine
  6. Bring your chinchilla as high as your shoulder and always give them a view without smothering their eyes into your chest.

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.


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.