Thinking about getting a chinchilla? Good, you should. Chinchillas make incredible pets. I understand where you are at in the process. You are in the “google everything” phase where you are doing preliminary research to make an ultimate decision if a chinchilla is the right pet for you and the family. That’s okay and completely normal. I’ve been there. Not long ago, I had tons of questions before adopting my chinchilla and shortly after. Heck, I still have questions every day. One of my questions, in the beginning, was regarding how to interact and play with my chinchilla. Can chinchillas roam the house? After owning my chinchilla, testing some theories and further research, here is what I can tell you.
So, can chinchillas roam the house? No, chinchillas can’t roam the house. Chinchillas roaming the house presents too many dangers. Chinchillas like to chew which could cause death if a chinchilla chews an electrical cord. Additionally, chinchillas can hide and tuck themselves into small places. This can make finding your chinchilla at the end of playtime difficult if your chinchilla roams your house.
So, what do we do? What’s the best course of action you should take to ensure your chinchilla has plenty of space to play? Additionally, what rooms of the home would be considered safe and what are the best practices you can put into place to make owning a chinchilla easy and enjoyable?
The good news is that I plan on delivering you all this information in this post. Stick with me for a few more minutes, and we will cover everything you need to know about having your chinchilla out of their cage. The good and the bad. The recommended and the not recommended practices.
Let’s jump into the details.
Chinchillas Should Not Roam Your Home for These 7 Reasons
Chinchillas love to chew and bite on various objects. Chinchillas will chew their cage bars, nibble on treats and just about anything they can find or gain access too. No worries, most chinchillas don’t bite humans in most circumstances.
However, if you are anything like me and have several rooms in your home, it’s highly unlikely all electrical cords have cord protectors on them. If your chinchilla can find a way to get to them and begins chewing, this can become problematic for the obvious reasons. Ultimately, it could even lead to your chinchilla being killed by the electrical shock.
This alone is a good reason not to allow your chinchilla to roam the house freely.
A safe chinchilla room is the only way to go.
#2-Other Unsafe or Toxic Items
Let’s assume your chinchilla doesn’t find any electrical cords to chew. It’s likely with how easily chinchillas can jump and climb. Other items in the home can potentially cause danger to your chinchilla as well. This may include household cleaners, or even various plants could cause your chinchilla harm.
Your chinchilla should always be in the same room as you with supervision when they are out of their cage.
#3-Difficulty Locating Your Chinchilla at The End of Playtime
Chinchillas are not only masters at climbing and jumping. They are also the king of hide and go seek. When a chinchilla can break free in your home and can roam around, there is a good chance they wedge themselves in a clever hiding spot.
Chinchilla owners on forums and Facebook communities will even make statements that it’s taken over 24 hours to find their chinchilla. I can’t even imagine this feeling of having no clue where my chinchilla could be. Could you imagine all the places inside 1 home where a chinchilla may be hiding?
• Couch Cushions
• Under Dressers
The list could literally go on and on for hours. The point is simple If you don’t want to be searching for chinchilla all night instead of sleeping, then you need to keep other areas of your home blocked off and not allow your chinchilla to roam your house.
#4-You May Step on Your Chinchilla
This is rare, but it’s possible. Especially if you have kids running around the home. Chinchillas when they are loose around the house, and several people are running around, it’s possible someone accidentally steps on your beloved chin. Chin’s have incredibly fragile bones that are paper thin.
It’s important for reasons such as this when disaster can be avoided not to risk the danger and risk the harm that could potentially be caused to your chinchilla from a night out running the house.
#5-Temperature Control is Imperative
I personally keep my chinchilla in my basement. I do this for the mere fact that I know it’s the correct temperatures to keep my chinchilla safe and to remove the possibility of my chinchilla overheating. The rest of my home is usually around 70-72 degrees.
I’m aware that these temperatures may be okay, but I prefer to do better than okay and keep my chinchilla not only safe but comfortable. My basement is usually 5-7 degrees cooler than the rest of my home.
If your chinchilla gets loose in other areas of the home, it’s entirely possible that the room your chinchilla ends up hiding out in may be too hot for them and run the potential of your chinchilla overheating and ultimately dying.
It’s not a risk worth taking in the grand scheme of chinchilla playtime options.
#6-Chinchillas Poop Very Often and They Also Pee
This may not be a danger to your chinchilla, but it’s undoubtedly a danger to your floors and home. Chinchillas are going to poop about every step they take. More than 200 times per day. If your chinchilla is roaming around your house, you will have plenty of poop nuggets to clean up.
Additionally, chinchillas will pee when they are out of the cage. This could potentially be in a spot you don’t notice right away if you are letting your chinchilla run freely everywhere around the house.
Another downfall to allowing your chinchilla to run outside of closed quarters.
#7-Possibility of Exiting an Exterior Door or Window
People come and go at households. It’s how it works. Well if your chinchilla has access to everywhere in the house, you have another big problem. If somebody arrives home and opens a door, your chinchilla is extremely fast and could quickly run right past them reaching the outside of the house.
Not to mention how high chinchillas can jump and climb. If a window is open, it would also be easy for your chinchilla to reach the outside of the home. Once your chinchilla gets outside, it’s unlikely that you will be able to find your chinchilla. They are too fast and can fit into way too small of spaces.
Additionally, the chances of your chinchilla surviving other predators or even the heat are very slim. This is a significant danger you run when allowing your chinchilla to go to and from around the house freely.
Not a good idea. Now that we have covered the main 7 reasons to consider before allowing your chinchilla to roam the home let’s discuss a few other considerations you need to keep in mind before taking the chance of having chinchilla playtime in a large square foot house.
3 Other Problems That Your Chinchilla Roaming Your Home Could Cause
#1-Chinchillas Are Small and Fragile
We already discussed, and that could happen by merely stepping on your chinchilla. What we didn’t mention are the dangers your chinchilla could bring on themselves. Always remember how well chinchillas can jump and climb.
If they get to a high structure and fall or land incorrectly, you could have a substantial chinchilla injury on your hands. Chinchillas are just not meant to be in huge areas with dangerous items and dangerous heights presents. Not if you ask me at least.
#2-You May Have Other Pets in The Home
Sometimes individuals can luck out and get a chinchilla and another animal to behave around each other. This may include other small rodent pets, and some have even had luck with chinchillas interacting with pets such as dogs.
This is, however, rare. It’s not going to be common for you to be able to keep your dog calm enough around a chinchilla for the chinchilla to remain safe. A dog will be naturally curious and confused. They may chase your chinchilla causing overheating, bite your chinchilla and pick them up or even merely step on your chinchilla or paw at them.
In all honesty, if you own a dog and a chinchilla, the dog, is likely the most significant danger your chinchilla will face if they are roaming the same home together without limited space. This and overheating will probably be your two most significant dangers to avoid at all cost.
#3-Other Rooms Could Overheat Your Chinchilla
Not all rooms of your house will remain at the ideal temperatures for your chinchilla. It’s essential that your chinchilla is always between roughly 60 and 70 degrees and low humidity levels. My chinchilla, for example, needs my basement to accomplish this. My house itself is usually warmer than this.
If your house is above this temperature that’s okay. A few degrees won’t cause a chinchilla to pass away or overheat during normal play times, but your chinchilla is running and hiding in a warmer room or wedging into a couch cushion or other item around the house is when you can run into problems.
Chinchillas just don’t make for the most excellent free roaming pets compared to other animals, but they do make for excellent pets overall if you follow some simple instructions and keep an eye on the situation with your chinchilla.
Since we know chinchillas aren’t supposed to be roaming free around the house, what alternatives do you have? Well, you have 7 great alternative options to choose from and to implement during playtime with your chinchilla.
Let’s dive into those details now.
7 Things You Should Do Instead for Chinchilla Playtime
#1-A Chinchilla Safe Room with Access to Limited Rooms or Square Feet
Limit your chinchillas roaming space to one room. You can either close the door to the room or use other ingenious mechanisms such as 2×4’s or stack some boxes if it’s an open-door frame instead of a door that can physically close.
It’s perfectly fine for your chinchilla to roam an entire room with you if the rest of the room is chinchilla proofed. This includes cords that your chinchilla could chew and ensure other pets are not present in the room with your chinchilla.
Other pets could be harmful like we discussed previously, and cords present a danger that we will consider next.
#2-Cord Protectors and Covers for Electrical Cords
Cords are one of the biggest dangers for your chinchilla running freely in a room. This is purely because they love to chew and can easily take a shock if they find a nice tasty tv cord to take a bite of. The solution is to purchase cord wrappings and cord covers. You can find these on Amazon or any home department store for extremely cheap.
Get yourself a large roll of the chord coverings and cover any cords in the room where you intend on having your chinchilla. This opens more space for your chinchilla to roam, keeps them safe and also makes your house look that much better in the process.
It’s a win for everyone if you ask me.
#3-No Other Pets in The Other Area
We mentioned how pets such as dogs or cats can be the biggest danger you run into as a chinchilla owner. Well, just eliminate the problem. Take your dogs and place them behind a door in another room until the end of playtime.
You can also consider just placing your dog in a kennel for the time being until your playtime is over with for the day. Your other pets will be just fine, and this ensures nothing gets too out of control during playtime.
I’m personally in the works of trying a slow introducing my dog and chinchilla. If I have any success with this process, I will be sure to keep you posted.
#4-No Exterior Doors or Windows Open
Close all other doors and windows. Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure that if you a young chinchilla that you block the bottom of the door. When chinchillas are young babies, they are much smaller, and they still have collapsible ribs. In this situation, make sure to block the gap under the door just in case.
Chinchillas of this size can squeeze under these small gaps. This is ultimately going to cause you to have a chinchilla free roaming your home whether you like it or not, unfortunately.
#5-A Tent or Playpen for Your Chinchilla
This works fantastic. I use one myself at my house that is we are moving out of. My basement is unsafe, and all the doorways don’t have doors in this basement. Not to mention it leads straight upstairs where my big dog is located.
I use a playpen type tent that’s 5 feet tall by 6 feet wide. I ordered it on Amazon, and it’s straightforward to fold up and unfold for use. My chinchilla can still jump and play with ease and hasn’t shown any signs of complaints. Although, I’m not going to lie.
I’m excited to get out of the playpen when we move into our new home and open up the space much more for her.
#6-Always Have A Proper Sized Cage for Your Chinchilla
Even if you are the best chinchilla owner in the world and always dedicate an hour a day to play and interact with your chinchilla, does not mean that you get to skimp out on a cheap small cage for them.
Chinchillas need plenty of room to maneuver and play.
Also, chinchillas need plenty of space to jump, climb and do all the natural chinchilla type behaviors. It’s important. It keeps your chinchilla happy and healthy. I always recommend the smallest cage you consider for one cage being the 2 level Critter Nation that you can find on Amazon.
If you have multiple chinchillas, this is the absolute bare minimum size cage to get. If you are strapped on a budget and need something slightly cheaper, you can aim for the 1 level Critter Nation cage, but I highly recommend you consider upgrading in the future and adding the second level to the cage.
#7-A Bathroom Is Always a Fantastic Option for Chinchillas and Play Time
Not enough chinchilla owners discuss the magic of a bathroom for playtime with a chinchilla. They work fantastic. Make sure to close the toilet lid and don’t’ have any access to harmful cleaners or other agents accessible to your chinchilla.
Outside of this, bathrooms provide enough jumping and space for your chinchilla to run and jump and be a silly little chin. They are safe, usually free of electrical cords and just simple rooms to allow your chinchilla time to roam around and enjoy playtime. It’s that easy. Use a bathroom!
Something big that we haven’t discussed this far into the post is significant to chinchilla owners. What do we do when we need to find a chinchilla that did happen to get some free roaming time in around the house? First and foremost, I can tell you that’s it’s likely not going to be easy.
If you have any chance of making it happen, it’s likely going to be using one of the 6 techniques that we are going to discuss in this section. Let’s move into those details now.
6 Ways to Find A Missing Chinchilla Inside Your Home
#1-Chinchilla Treats Always Work Wonders
Bust out the bag of chinchilla treats. Shake them, open them and place a few on the floor in a few rooms and call your chinchillas name. If she or he can hear you, you may be able to pull them out of hiding.
#2-Tap on the Dust Bath Container Around the Home
This is my favorite technique on the list. It works. Begin training your chinchillas at a young age to associate a dust bath with something rewarding and that’s desirable. I do this by always offering treats during a dust bath, and when I try to get her into her dust bath, I begin tapping on the dust bath container with my finger.
This is for her to represent this noise with treats and an excellent time in a dust bath. My breeder taught me this trick, and I just kept it going. Use this if you can’t find your chinchilla in the home to see if you can lure them out.
Just make sure to follow through and give them the dust bath and treat when they do come out.
You want to make sure that this same trick works in the future as well.
#3-Follow the Chinchilla Poop Trail
We all know that chinchillas’ poop about as often as we blink. Non-stop. If you are having trouble finding your chinchilla in the home after some free-roaming, start looking by following the poop trail. In no circumstances, should you have a chinchilla loose in the house and not be able to locate some form of poop nuggets.
While they may not lead you directly to your chinchilla, they can sure start providing some clues and give you an idea of where they may be hiding. Follow the poop and be your chinchilla’s hero. Return them safely to their cage.
#4-Leave the Chinchilla Cage Door Open
Some people think that their chinchilla cage is more like a chinchilla prison. This is absolutely not true. Especially if you are taking good care of your chinchilla and providing adequate space and keeping their cage clean.
If this is the case, your chinchilla likely feels very safe in their cage. Try leaving the cage door open. You may surprise that your chinchilla will just return to their cage on their own after an excellent long adventure wondering the home freely.
This won’t always happen, but it’s a good practice to begin implementing when and if this ever happens to you.
#5-Call Your Chinchillas Name and Hope for a Response
This will likely not work very well and depends heavily on how well your chinchilla recognizes you as the owner and recognizes your voice. Some chinchillas respond very well to their owners and their own names, and some don’t quite have this skill down.
Nonetheless, chinchillas are extremely smart animals and deserve credit. If you can’t find your chinchilla in your home, begin searching the house slowly but walk around with treats calling your chinchillas name in a calming and welcoming tone. It may just work for you.
#6-Wait it Out and Keep the Entire Home at Correct and Safe Chinchilla Temperatures
Sometimes, it’s going to take patience. I personally haven’t been in this situation with my chinchilla where it took multiple days to locate her, but it does happen to other chinchilla owners. If this is the case, be sure to leave food and a dust bath out in case they come out of their hiding spot.
However, remain calm and patient and keep trying variations of these tricks and tips in this post. I’m sure everything will turn out just fine for you. Hang in there. He or she will come out to greet you soon.
Putting It All Together, Your Chinchilla Roaming Your Home Is Not a Good Idea
To recap, can chinchillas roam your house? No, chinchillas should never be roaming your house freely with access to multiple rooms. Too many dangers are present if a chinchilla can roam your home freely. Chinchillas should enjoy playtime with you in a controlled area where you can keep them safe and under your supervision.
Chinchillas make fantastic pets, and with some basic care and common sense, you can enjoy owning a chinchilla for the next two decades.
As always, I appreciate you guys stopping by. I’d love to hear your stories about your chinchillas. Do you allow your chinchillas to roam your house freely? How do you get your chinchilla to come out of hiding when he or she is lost in the home? Be sure to drop a comment below. See you next time.