Chinchillas make a variety of sounds.
Some are cute, some are annoying, and some can even be frightening.
What they all have in common is that they can let you know what your chinchilla is feeling, or what it needs.
Every chinchilla noise means something.
Learning to understand what your chinchilla’s sounds mean will make you a better owner and will deepen the relationship you have with your pet.
Keep reading for a rundown of all the common chinchilla sounds and noises, including what they sound like and what they can indicate.
- 1 Chinchilla Sounds And Noises
- 2 Specific Sounds A Chinchilla Will Make
- 2.1 Teeth Chattering
- 2.2 The Chinchilla Cry
- 2.3 The Chinchilla Coo
- 2.4 The Warning Call
- 2.5 The Short Alarm
- 2.6 The Angry Mother Call
- 2.7 The Bring It On Cry
- 2.8 The Contact Grunt
- 2.9 Chinchillas And Hiccups
- 2.10 Why Is My Chinchilla Squeaking When Touched?
- 2.11 Communication Between Mothers And Babies
- 2.12 Fighting Sounds
- 3 Chinchilla Noises: Final Thoughts
Chinchilla Sounds And Noises
I’ve now owned a chinchilla for almost 5 years and here is what I can tell you on this topic.
Chinchilla sounds usually represent a feeling or mood your chinchilla is in.
For example, purring indicates it is enjoying being handled while barking indicates fear, discomfort, or agitation. Other sounds can hold several different meanings depending on your pet’s personality.
I know this answer does not explain every sound a chinchilla might make and what exactly it means. But the rest of this article will do just that for you.
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Here are the details you need to understand and the meaning behind a majority of sounds you will likely hear at one point or another with your new chinchilla.
Why You Want To Understand Chinchilla Sounds
As a new chinchilla owner, you are not expected to understand every sound a chinchilla makes, nor what it may indicate.
This comes with time and patience.
Trust me, I had no clue either in the beginning. But as time passed and I interacted with her more, it became easier to recognize what each chinchilla noise meant and what mood it typically indicated.
Chinchillas can have a wide variety of emotions and have plenty of sounds that can go with them.
I was surprised by this at first and it took me some time to catch on.
The most significant piece of advice I can give you as a new chinchilla owner is that a chinchilla is generally trying to communicate something with you when it makes a sound.
Sure, you have a sound from time to time that may mean nothing except they just got the urge to sound like a quacking duck.
But most of the time, it is a message. And the more you get your chinchilla out for playtime or interact with it in any fashion, the faster you learn to communicate with it.
It is part of learning how to take care of a chinchilla in an ethical manner. You cannot give them what they need or want or respect their message if you have no clue what it means.
That being the case, let’s dive into some of the specific sounds you can expect from your chinchilla.
But before we do that, it is best to begin by detailing the most common chinchilla moods and the sounds that indicate each mood.
Chinchilla Moods And The Corresponding Sounds
What I have come to realize in my time owning my 5-year-old female chinchilla is that certain sounds indicate certain moods or attitudes.
It is rare that a chinchilla makes audible sounds for no reason at all.
It is extremely helpful to understand the different moods your pet might feel and the sounds that indicate each mood, so you can effectively adjust to the situation on the fly and respect the message that your chinchilla is trying to get across.
Here are some the most common moods.
Anger And Fear
Chinchillas are a rodent and like all rodents, they get spooked easily. And they make a sound to inform you of this.
Most frequently, a chinchilla will bark when it is frightened. But it may also make other sounds in these situations as well.
For me, barking or spraying urine are the only two behaviors I have ever seen from my chinchilla when she is angry or fearful.
This will occur most frequently if you corner a chinchilla or they are in a new environment that they do not fully trust yet.
If this happens, be sure to respect what they are trying to tell you and give them some space.
Nest boxes can be your best friend in these situations. Your chinchilla absolutely needs one inside of the cage.
Continue working on your bond and on increasing the trust between you, so that your pet does not continue this fearful behavior.
It is also important that you fully chinchilla proof the room you are using.
Lastly, consider reading my post about using the playpen method to increase the bond even faster and remove the need for chinchilla proofing. You can read that post about using a playpen here.
Happiness is another mood or attitude your chinchilla may have on a given day. Plenty of sounds can indicate your chinchilla is happy.
In fact, sounds and vocalizations from your chinchilla are one of the best ways to understand if your chinchilla is happy.
Here are some common sounds a chinchilla will make if it is happy:
- Teeth grinding and chattering
- A gentle squeak or humming noise
It should be noted, however, that teeth grinding may also indicate dental issues, so you want to make sure you understand the difference between the two.
Read my post about a chinchilla’s teeth for a better understanding of what I am referring too.
Yes, my friends and fellow chinchilla owners, it is 100% possible for your chinchilla to feel sad. They have emotions and feelings and are even capable of becoming depressed.
The sound that indicated sadness comes as no surprise. It is a crying sound.
If this happens, you’ll want to spend more time with your chinchilla. You might also want to give it a more luxurious living space, if your current cage is on the small side.
The easiest way to accomplish this is by purchasing one of these best chinchilla cages.
I have been recommending the Critter Nation 2 Dual Level cage for a long time and it remains my #1 recommended cage for a chinchilla. It is the cage I use myself.
It could also help to adopt a second chinchilla, especially if you are not able to spend time with your pet yourself.
While this is not necessarily a mood your chinchilla will be in for a day, it is still extremely important to discuss.
Some sounds your chinchilla may make can easily indicate that you have a major issue and need to seek the help of a vet as soon as possible.
Understanding these sounds can give you an early warning that your chinchilla has an illness or, even worse, is potentially heading towards death.
If you hear any of the following sounds coming from your chinchilla, I would recommend you at least take the time to call a vet and see what they recommend you do.
- Persistent squeaking
- Teeth grinding for no apparent reason
- Spitting, hacking, and cooing
If you do hear one of these noises from your chinchilla, do not panic. It could mean absolutely nothing at all.
All chinchillas are different, so the sound could just mean nothing. But you do want to ensure that your pet is comfortable and appears to be acting normal. You might also consider a brief call to a vet to double-check.
Chinchillas can catch all kinds of illnesses and most can quickly become life-threatening in such a small animal. Chinchillas can even catch covid-19, although it is rare. And even rarer they show symptoms.
Nevertheless, if it was me, I would always rather be safe than sorry in these kinds of situations with my pets. If you notice any unusual behavior, like your chinchilla not moving but breathing anyway when it usually does not do this, call your vet.
Next, I want to dive into some of the specific sounds and explain more about what they will actually sound like.
Specific Sounds A Chinchilla Will Make
These are the most common noises chinchillas make. Along with a description of each noise, I’ll also let you know some of the possible things it can indicate.
Teeth chattering from your chinchilla is when things may get a bit confusing.
It is a sign that your chinchilla may be frightened. It is also a sign that is happy. So how do you know the difference?
But you can usually make an educated guess, based on what is going on at the moment.
The point is to understand that a teeth chatter could be due to fear, or it could mean that your chinchilla is content.
Talk about a tough to read furry little creature. Frustrating, I know.
The Chinchilla Cry
This is a sound no chinchilla owner wants to hear. In most circumstances, the only time you will hear an audible cry out of your chinchilla is if he or she is in pain.
This is a cause for concern, of course.
You need to figure our what is causing your chinchilla pain. If you can’t physically see any reason why it is crying, you may want to make a call to your vet.
The Chinchilla Coo
This is the opposite of the chinchilla cry. This is a sound every chinchilla owner loves to hear.
Your chinchilla will coo when it is happy, or when it is communicating with another chinchilla. Or maybe even with you.
Sometimes they just want to let you know that they approve of something, or that there is nothing to fret over. It is all going to be okay.
These are some of the most common sounds I hear from my chinchilla. But they’re not the only sounds. There are quite a few more, but they are ones I have not heard from my pet.
Not long ago, I ran into a post on a chinchilla forum that mentioned a few other sounds chinchillas can make that could help you figure out what is going on with your chinchilla.
The Warning Call
The warning call is a lot like the chinchilla barking. However, your chinchilla may make the sound repeatedly in short bursts.
Most believe this is to warn the rest of the group of something that just isn’t right or something your chinchilla may have heard.
The Short Alarm
This is another bark-like sound and is basically a second version of the warning call. The main difference is that it is quick and usually audible in a rapid outburst in response to a scare.
Usually, this sound is followed by a quick dash, as if the chinchilla is running from its worst fear.
The Angry Mother Call
Female chinchillas are the ones making this sound, which should be obvious from the name. It is one of the more entertaining sounds on the list.
A mother chinchilla can have up to 4 baby chinchillas known as “kits”. When she does, the baby chinchillas will fight over the food source and audibly chatter their teeth while doing so.
The mother will become outraged and let them know to knock it off. She will do this by letting out a loud screech to get her point across. Sounds like every other household in the world if you ask me.
The Bring It On Cry
We have discussed in depth how much energy and personality chinchillas have. Well, this personality can shine through at extremes when you have a female and male chinchilla living under the same roof.
If the male provokes or irritates the female chinchilla, she is sure to let you and the male chinchilla know about it. You will hear a sudden scream come from the female chinchilla when this divorce is entering its beginning stages.
The Contact Grunt
This is a sound your chinchilla may let off when contacting another chinchilla. In most circumstances, this means that your chinchilla is happy with the contact it’s having with another chinchilla.
Chinchillas are very loving creatures and enjoy each other’s company, but they are also like teenagers.
One moment they are perfectly content and the next, it is an entirely new sound indicating they are in the mood to do something different.
Here is a great resource for an even more detailed list of other sounds your chinchilla may be making.
It should help you gain a better understanding of what is going through your chinchilla’s mind when they make all these funny noises.
Chinchillas And Hiccups
Chinchillas do get hiccups and it will be noticeable by the sound they make when the hiccups occur.
The problem is that when your chinchilla has hiccups, it is going to sound strikingly similar to the sound your chinchilla makes when it barks.
To understand and distinguish the two, all you need to do is pay attention to the pace of the hiccups.
If they are rapid and seem to be in response to some form of outside interaction, your chinchilla is likely barking.
If the barking noise is delayed and has intervals much like a human does when they hiccup, then your chinchilla has the hiccups and is not barking or trying to relay a special message to you.
Hiccups are nothing to fret over and do not require any special action on your part.
Why Is My Chinchilla Squeaking When Touched?
If your chinchilla squeaks when touched in a slow and calm demeanor then you need to keep doing what you are doing.
This almost always means that they trust you and are enjoying being handled by you and interacting with you.
If it is more of a persistent squeak, or even turns into a bark, then you need to either put your chinchilla back into the cage or stop handling your chinchilla in the manner you are currently handling it.
Overall, my chinchilla squeaks often when I touch her and is always calm.
It is almost always when she is jumping on my lap, shoulders, or head or when I pet her during playtime.
In other words, this is another chinchilla noise you do not need to worry about. It indicates you are doing a great job with your chinchilla. Keep it up.
Communication Between Mothers And Babies
Another common sound you may hear at one point or another is the sounds a mother chinchilla and the baby chinchilla will make with one another.
Most commonly, this occurs when the baby chinchilla is investigating the mother chinchilla and sniffing her with nose to nose contact.
It makes a loud squeak, which the mother answers with a grunt. This is how baby chinchillas let their mom know that they want to be fed.
The mother chinchilla usually responds by feeding her kits or by grooming them with gentle licks.
Last but not least you have the sound you may experience if you have two chinchillas housed together and they have decided that they want to fight.
This is relatively common with chinchillas and a dispute is bound to happen.
This often sounds like barking, but can also be more like screaming in some situations. When it happens, the chinchillas will likely be standing on their two back legs in a defensive stance.
Chinchilla Noises: Final Thoughts
It is clear at this point that chinchillas have a wide variety of sounds, noises, and even postures that they use to communicate.
The best thing you can do as an owner is to continue to get better at understanding what each noise and sound means and respond accordingly, in order to keep your chinchilla safe, happy, and healthy.
Ultimately, the more you begin to learn the different sounds and noises that a chinchilla may make, the better your bond will be and the better a chinchilla parent you will become.
Do not fret over not knowing much about them now. I didn’t know much in the beginning either and I doubt many do before they decide to purchase a chinchilla as a new family pet.
Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla and hope you begin to learn your chinchilla noises as quickly as possible to further your communication skills even deeper with your new pet.
Share your thoughts on chinchilla sounds and noises.
Does your chinchilla make any noises that I have not listed in this post?
Do you have any further advice for other readers about chinchilla sounds that could help us all communicate with our chinchillas more effectively?
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.