When you first purchase a chinchilla, it is only natural to wonder if they are affectionate.
Because they probably won’t seem that way in the beginning.
Or maybe you haven’t even purchased a chinchilla yet, but you are curious about the bond you might form and the affection they may show as time passes.
This is normal and a question that comes up frequently.
But the answer might not be exactly what you were hoping for.
Keep reading to learn how chinchillas show their affection and how much of it you can expect to receive.
- 1 Are Chinchillas Affectionate?
- 2 7 Ways Chinchillas Show Affection
- 2.1 #1: Your Chinchilla Greets You At The Front Of The Cage When You Enter The Room
- 2.2 #2: Your Chinchilla Jumps And Climbs All Over You To Show Affection
- 2.3 #3: Your Chinchilla Makes Squeaks And Noises Towards You But Remains Calm
- 2.4 #4: Your Chinchilla Enjoys Being Pet And Scratched
- 2.5 #5: Your Chinchilla Eagerly Exits Its Cage For Playtime
- 2.6 #6: Your Chinchilla Nibbles Or Attempts To Groom You
- 2.7 #7: Your Chinchilla Gets Comfortable, Relaxed And Almost Dozes Off With You
- 3 More Time With Your Chinchilla = More Affection
- 4 Affection From A Chinchilla Is At Its Lowest In The Early Days
- 5 Chinchillas And Affection: Final Thoughts
Are Chinchillas Affectionate?
Yes, chinchillas are affectionate. They prefer not to be overly handled or cuddled, but they do show affection in various other ways.
And, good news for us, they become especially affectionate and loving towards their owners.
Below, I will break down exactly how chinchillas show affection and what to expect as an owner of one of these wonderful little creatures.
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7 Ways Chinchillas Show Affection
As stated above, a chinchilla has many ways to show affection. They form strong bonds with their owners.
Chinchillas enjoy and need social interaction and grow to love and trust their owners and other members of the family.
Chinchillas need time out of their cage daily to have social interaction and to remain happy and content.
I know some of you may already own a chinchilla and it’s been a few weeks since you brought him or her home.
Maybe you are confused as to why your chinchilla isn’t showing much affection yet.
This is a completely normal chinchilla behavior to display.
We briefly touched on the fact that chinchillas are in fact, very affectionate animals, and they do indeed crave the attention and love from their owners.
This is 100% true.
Chinchillas do, however, show their affection in different ways.
So, how do chinchillas show their affection?
I have compiled 7 unique ways that chinchillas will show their affection towards you.
If you notice your chinchilla doing any of these 7 things or showing these behaviors, it’s a sure-fire way to know it is, in fact, warming up to you and loves you.
#1: Your Chinchilla Greets You At The Front Of The Cage When You Enter The Room
When I first adopted my chinchilla, this was not the case. In fact, she spent most of her time hiding in her hut hideout and avoiding me for the most part.
However, it didn’t take long for this behavior to change.
I continued to give her space and respect the vibes she was putting off. After about 7 to 10 days, she began warming up to me in a big way.
After those 7 to 10 days elapsed, she was greeting me front and center with her front paws on the cage bars acting as if she was 100% ready to play and interact.
Trust me, if you just adopted a chinchilla or are scared to do so, this day will happen much sooner than you think and it’s very cool when it does. For 8 great tips on getting there, read our article covering how to get a chinchilla to like you.
#2: Your Chinchilla Jumps And Climbs All Over You To Show Affection
Again, this didn’t happen immediately.
In fact, I was constrained on space in a house with an unfinished basement that was far too dangerous for my chinchilla to free roam when I first adopted her.
However, I went onto Amazon and purchased a pop-up animal tent. Specifically, this one:
I used this for playtime until I could cover more wires and protect her from further dangers. I simply had not fully chinchilla proofed a room for her yet.
Now, keep in mind, we were both inside of this smaller space interacting with each other.
In the beginning, my chinchilla was not acting overly affectionate towards me, but this changed rather quickly.
My chinchilla started warming up to me in the second week after several interactions out of the cage together.
This is when my chinchilla really began showing that she’s affectionate and prefers to show it. Once in my lap, she would almost purr like a cat and get relaxed and enjoy being pet.
This is also when it became easier to get her to enjoy being held.
Sometimes, the noises your chinchilla makes are a clear way to understand they are showing affection towards you.
Here’s a guide to understanding chinchilla noises in more depth.
She would also climb my arms and sit on my shoulders and on my head.
This is when being a chinchilla parent became very fun for me, and I could tell that she loved me and wanted to show affection towards me.
#3: Your Chinchilla Makes Squeaks And Noises Towards You But Remains Calm
This is honestly new to me. My chinchilla just started doing this.
She has always made random noises from time to time but not as much during cuddle or scratch time.
Now when I pet her, she seems much more relaxed than she used to be during these playtime and cuddle sessions.
Now I get almost a subtle squeak and sound of happiness that she puts out when being scratched, pet, or just interacted with.
Again, these noises are clear signs of affection that my chinchilla is showing.
Affection displayed by chinchillas in the first few weeks has by no means reached its peak and will continue to grow and develop as time passes.
Although it’s quick, it’s still important to understand this is taking place.
You just need to understand that your chinchilla will be more cuddle friendly in the future.
Your chinchilla may be more open to being held in the future as well.
As time passes, chinchillas tend to be overall a more courteous and more friendly animal.
They just need to feel 100% comfortable with you as the owner and caretaker.
#4: Your Chinchilla Enjoys Being Pet And Scratched
Again, if you are catching onto our common theme by now, you will probably notice how all these affectionate behaviors begin to increase and show their faces the more time that passes.
My chinchilla especially took some additional time to show this level of affection towards me.
Chinchillas naturally can be a bit “anti-touchy” when you first adopt them.
This doesn’t mean they don’t love you or want to show affection. It’s just how they are or can be in most circumstances.
That’s okay and nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s 100% perfectly normal for this to be the case.
However, a few months in and she is much more loving and affectionate in this fashion.
She can sit on my lap, allow me to pet her for extended periods of time, and even encourages me to do so in some circumstances.
This is when it’s always important to just respect your chinchilla and their boundaries.
If they aren’t quite ready for this level of affection, don’t force it and just wait until it naturally becomes more enjoyable for you and your new furry friend.
Pushing this issue too much can cause problems such as fur slipping.
Your chinchilla may also become fearful and begin showing other odd behaviors like shaking or different audible noises your chinchilla may make.
No worries, in nearly all circumstances, your chinchilla will not bite you, and my chinchilla has never even shown any signs that she was considering biting me.
Chinchillas are extremely friendly pets and don’t’ want to harm anyone.
#5: Your Chinchilla Eagerly Exits Its Cage For Playtime
I love this, but sometimes it can catch you by surprise if you aren’t quite ready for it.
At one point in time, it took some effort to get my chinchilla to exit the cage for playtime.
It’s not that she wasn’t excited, but she was just more hesitant in the beginning to exit before she warmed up to me.
Now she absolutely loves it, and if it’s me opening the door, she’s ready to go just about any time of the day.
It’s a pretty cool feeling when the relationship hits this level.
#6: Your Chinchilla Nibbles Or Attempts To Groom You
This is one of the behaviors my chinchilla started doing in the first three weeks or so. It happened right about the same time she started climbing on my shoulders.
Long story short, she would jump on my shoulders and begin sniffing or nibbling around my hair and even my ear lobe.
It feels weird, and I’m not a fan, but you can tell with the very soft nibble nature that my chinchilla nibbles me because she is trying to groom me and show me some love.
It’s not an aggressive act, and if it weren’t so weird, I’d venture to say it’s much like a dog licking its owner or showing love by giving kisses.
#7: Your Chinchilla Gets Comfortable, Relaxed And Almost Dozes Off With You
Keep in mind, not all of these behaviors are guaranteed to take place with your specific chinchilla.
However, over time, your experience and the behaviors you notice from your chinchilla will change.
My chinchilla isn’t quite the relaxing and napping type of chinchilla, but she seems to be getting there.
In recent times, I’ve been sitting on the couch in my basement as she runs around.
I’ve chinchilla proofed the entire basement. No wires that she can chew are exposed.
I can basically kick back and get comfortable during playtime which is a dream come true.
However, instead of just roaming around, she loves to immediately come to the couch with me and get comfortable with me and allow me to pet her.
She enjoys it and will even close her eyes from time to time to allow me to continue scratching and petting her into a nice nap for a few minutes.
Like, I said, I don’t’ know if these same behaviors will happen for you. But with time, it should always get better, and the bond should continue to grow.
More Time With Your Chinchilla = More Affection
The number one thing I can recommend to all of you is to spend more time with your chinchilla.
Yes, other factors are significant such as having an adequately sized cage for your chinchilla.
Even keeping your room where you house your chinchilla at proper and ideal temperatures is absolutely critical.
However, these are essential care items that don’t ultimately build your bond and interaction time with your chinchilla.
It’s the time out of the cage.
It’s the time jumping on you and interacting that slowly makes your chinchilla much more comfortable with you which increases the activities, amount of handling, and options you have for playtime with your chinchilla.
It’s that simple.
Spend time with your chinchilla and get it out of the cage for at least a few minutes every day to experience the best bond possible.
Affection From A Chinchilla Is At Its Lowest In The Early Days
If you didn’t notice some of the examples I listed out before, it’s clear that chinchillas don’t act out these behaviors immediately. They don’t show this level of affection right out the gates.
Always give your chinchilla time to adjust to its new home and environment.
When I adopted my first chinchilla, my breeder specifically told me not to do anything with it for the most part except feed her, change her bedding and provide her a safe room to sleep in inside of her cage.
She said for the first 10 to 14 days it’s crucial for your chinchilla to get comfortable.
Your chinchilla needs to learn the smells, sounds, and visuals around the new environment until it feels safer.
After this period begins winding down, you can expect a much more significant amount of affection displayed by your chinchilla.
Always remember never to push these loving and affectionate interactions with your chinchilla. They will happen if you can remain patient.
Other Tips To Getting More Affection From Your Chinchilla
These are just a few additional tips I can give you to help increase the bond with your chinchilla, which in return, will increase the amount of affection your chinchilla displays.
First, as I stated previously, ensure you spend at least a little time with your chinchilla every day.
If this is early in the morning, that’s perfect. If it’s before bed, that’s fantastic. It doesn’t matter, and your chinchilla won’t really care for the most part.
It’s the time and effort that counts.
Additionally, try and get down on your chinchilla’s level, perhaps by sitting on the floor.
You must remember that your chinchilla was preyed upon in the wild and it’s likely that it feels more comfortable when you are not towering over it.
In fact, chinchillas are brilliant animals, and they are also speedy.
Towering over them or forcing them to feel more intimidated is likely only going to cause you to be engaged in a hot game of “cat and mouse” trying to catch your chinchilla.
Good luck with doing this.
I still don’t have the answer to catching a chinchilla quickly when they are in the mode to run around and jump away from me.
If you do happen to figure out, be sure to share your methods by dropping a comment below.
A Few Caveats Your Chinchilla May Present Before Affection Arrives
Alright, it’s been all good news so far.
Now it’s time to present a few caveats about your chinchilla showing affection towards you.
First and foremost, don’t expect much early on and don’t expect anything until it happens.
Chinchillas can show affection in many ways, and it’s 100% possible that your chinchilla shows 7 completely different behaviors than what I have laid out for you here.
The point is that you should never feel like your chinchilla doesn’t love or appreciate you, just because the affection isn’t being shown right out of the gates.
It may just show it differently.
I can assure you that if you are interacting and taking the time to play with your chinchilla, it surely loves you, recognizes you, and plans to show affection towards you.
Case closed, no arguments about it.
Chinchillas And Affection: Final Thoughts
I know we have covered a lot of tips, and a lot of information about how affectionate you can really expect a chinchilla to be in the early days, and the days following.
The main takeaway is to realize that chinchillas are, in fact, affectionate and you need to have patience until this comes to fruition.
When it does, there are a number of ways they can show affection. There are also ways that people take for affection, but that don’t indicate it at all, like winking. Why do chinchillas wink? A number of reasons, but not to show affection.
I certainly wish you luck with your upcoming chinchilla adoption and promise you that chinchillas are 100% a worthwhile pet to own.
How does your chinchilla show affection toward you?
I would love all your feedback as well.
Does your chinchilla show affection in any different manners or ways than what I described above?
Be sure to share your stories and drop a comment below.
As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today and we will see you again next time.