Can Chinchillas Climb? [Yes, Here’s Some Best Practices]

If you are contemplating purchasing a chinchilla, you probably have questions such as if a chinchilla can climb or not.

Can chinchillas climb?

I have now been raising my chinchilla for the past 5 years and here is what I can tell you on this topic.

Yes, chinchillas can climb. In the wild, chinchillas are used to climbing rock ledges, trees, and other structures to provide them safety from predators. Chinchillas’ feet and natural spring in their back legs make them excellent climbers. You should promote climbing inside of your chinchilla’s habitat using items such as safe-wooden ledges and other structures.

Seriously, chinchillas are incredible climbers and can jump like you wouldn’t believe.

I’m going to take the time in this post to go over some necessary precautions you should consider and what to expect out of your chinchilla after the adoption.

Climbing is a natural behavior a chinchilla will display but knowing what you can do to accommodate your new chinchilla will have you that much more prepared.

can-chinchillas-climb-my-chinchilla-playing-with-treats

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Can Chinchillas Climb?

First off, I want to point out that although having an animal in the home capable of climbing like an expert or even jumping is nothing to worry about.

With a few safety precautions, it’s easy to enjoy your chinchilla and allow them to express themselves as if they were in their natural habitat.

A lot of this comes down to simple things such as fully chinchilla proofing the room where your chinchilla interacts.

This, in addition to promoting as much of these behaviors as much as possible by structuring an awesome chinchilla cage, is about all that you need to do on your end.

Trust me, I was worried in the beginning as well, but I’ve since adapted and grown to love my chinchillas climbing abilities.

It’s humorous and a joy to watch.

It’s perhaps one of my favorite traits about chinchillas and one of the biggest reasons they make such fantastic pets.

However, an awesome time watching your chinchilla jump around could also turn into issues without the proper preparations so let’s ensure that we have you 100% prepared to handle these abilities of your new pet.


Chinchilla’s Can Climb Extremely Well, Here’s How to Prepare

To kick things off, you should never try and hinder your chinchillas climbing abilities.

Never, ever, ever!

In fact, you need to be promoting it, encouraging it, and having the proper cage setups for your chinchilla to climb and jump freely.

For my chinchilla cage, I have 4 total shelves or “levels,” a hiding box, and a ball to jump through.

Big tip, when I said I have a “ball to jump through” I am referring to a rodent ball.

This is known to be one of the most frowned up chinchilla toys you can purchase.

However, to combat the issues with this, I popped both sides off the ball and hung it from the top of the cage.

Now, instead of having one of the more dangerous toys for my chinchilla to use, it is nothing more than an excellent tool to promote further climbing for my chinchilla.

It does not end here my friends.

I have more.

Additionally, you want to place other items in the cage to allow them to explore and climb such as rocks, branches, or even hammocks (we will discuss more on hammocks towards the end of this post).

Keeping your chinchilla’s cage clean is simply not enough to keep them happy.

In fact, if you need help with this topic, always feel free to refer to my post about how to understand if your chinchilla is happy here.

They need more and you need to provide it.

The point I’m trying to make is simple.

Your chinchilla climbing is natural and keeps them happy.

A happy chinchilla is a friendly chinchilla.

Again, promote chinchilla climbing and don’t try to stop it.

This can cause your chinchilla to become depressed.

It may even cause your chinchilla to be less social and can lead to a chinchilla that’s not nearly as fun to watch, play with, cuddle with or even interact with, and this is the exact opposite of what you want.

In fact, it defeats the entire purpose of owning a chinchilla.

Chinchillas have such unique behaviors and climbing is part of it.

If you don’t enjoy this or allow them to do, you’re missing out on most of the fun that comes with being a chinchilla owner.


Structuring Your Chinchilla Cage Correctly to Promote Climbing

It all begins with the cage.

You have plenty of options when it comes to chinchilla cages.

In fact, if you haven’t done so already, you can view my post about the best chinchilla cages here.

Or you can skip that post and go straight to my #1 recommend cage that has been my top voted cage for the past 4 years.

The Critter Nation 2 Dual Level Cage (Link to Amazon)

This cage everything you need and more to promote climbing, jumping, and happiness.

Not to mention it looks great.

It is currently the cage I have been using for the past 4 years and I love it.

chinchilla-climbing-wooden-toy

As an ethical chinchilla owner, I strongly urge you to spend the extra money and get the larger three-level cages.

2 level cages are the bare minimum.

A 1 level cage without several shelves or plenty of room to climb around is not only borderline torture for a chinchilla but’s it’s slightly depressing to see.

I want her cage to bring my chinchilla joy and allow her to exercise and move around freely.

Your goal is to find a chinchilla cage with multiple levels, ramps, hiding boxes, dangling toys, and plenty to do always.

You can feel way less guilty leaving your chinchilla alone for a day if they have a cage that can keep them busy.

It’s essential, and I can’t stress this enough.

In all honesty, the proper size cage and ideal temperatures are perhaps the two biggest things needed to raise a chinchilla safely.

What About Playtime and Time Outside of The Cage and Climbing

This is essential as well.

Time out of the cage is not only designed for your chinchilla to take dust baths.

This should be a bonding time where you interact with your chinchilla and allow them to get to know you as the owner.

Chinchillas are loving creatures, and yes, they need room to climb around when they are out for playtime.

You can do this in several ways.

First, if you are using a full room, ensure that’s it fully 100% chinchilla proofed.

This includes covering all wires.

In addition, you want to make sure they can’t leave the room.

Chinchillas will run away and find ways to get in trouble.

Not to mention, chinchillas poop all the time and will also pee.

Keeping your chinchilla in one room and allowing them to climb and jump around is your best bet.

My chinchilla will climb my chest, climb my arms and shoulders and even climb and sit for minutes at a time on top of my head.

This is a strong sign that your chinchilla loves your company.

Additionally, if you give your chinchilla more space to climb they will.

A Story About an Enclosed Playpen I Use for My Chinchilla

Well the basement I have my chinchilla in now is at the perfect temperature and works great for her needs when it comes to sleeping and other natural activities but it’s hazardous for her to climb around freely.

My fix was simple.

I purchased an enclosed playpen off of Amazon that we use for playtime.

It’s large and has soft sides and mesh window type structures.

What does my chinchilla do with the walls of this playpen?

She climbs all over them, and she does it like a professional.

I currently use the JesPet 61 inch Chinchilla playpen (Link to Amazon) and have also been using this for my chinchilla for the past 4 years.

It has been my top recommendation for chinchilla playpens for this entire time and remains my top recommendation to this day.

Seriously, it doesn’t fall apart and makes for an excellent spot for your chinchilla to jump and climb freely and have a blast with you.

However, you can also view my post about the best chinchilla playpens here.

Chinchillas when you watch them and really study their behavior climb very similar to a mouse.

They can basically scale and climb walls and leap at incredible heights for the size that they are.

It’s crazy to watch and a ton of fun.

Let’s recap briefly.

Chinchillas need to be allowed to climb during playtime and need a cage that supports and promotes your chinchilla climbing.

100%.

No argument about it.

I know it’s somewhat frustrating and the fact that chinchillas do climb is one of the reasons chinchillas are so expensive on day 1.

It’s all about that cage which is your most significant cost in the beginning.

It’s only this expensive due to the size and the mere fact that it needs to support your chinchilla climbing and jumping for hours at a time.


Can Chinchillas Climb Trees?

Yes, chinchillas can climb trees. Chinchillas climb trees in the wild to remain safe from predators.

Are Chinchillas Good Climbers?

Yes. Chinchillas are excellent climbers.

They can climb rocks, ledges, shelves, and even specific wall structures.

Chinchillas in the wild are used to climbing quickly to escape predators, and you should be promoting climbing behavior in your home, chinchilla cage, and when your chinchilla is out of the cage for playtime.


Chinchillas Love to Climb Should Climb and Will Continue to Climb

When you think of a chinchilla and how you should provide an excellent home for them.

Think about one thing.

Vertical.

Vertical is the key to chinchillas.

Tall cages and plenty of space to climb is essential.

Once you learn your chinchilla’s behavior and witness it, your chinchillas climbing ability won’t bother you.

In fact, it will be one of the traits you grow to love most about your chinchilla.

It’s that easy, and I assure you, I’m speaking the truth with this fact and it’s from pure experience.

Allow your chinchilla to climb in a large cage and make sure to get your chinchilla out for playtime, and you will be on your path to a healthy and loving relationship with your chinchilla.

Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla and hope you enjoy their climbing abilities as much as I have.

What’s your experience with your chinchilla climbing?

Do you also recommend the biggest cages possible for your chinchilla?

What else do you recommend to the community to help accommodate a chinchilla’s climbing abilities?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today and we will see you again next time.

 

Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 4 year-old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know. I'm the Author of the eBook "The Ultimate Chinchilla Care Guide, From Adoption and On"

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