Do Chinchillas Bite? [Sometimes, Here’s How To Avoid It]


Chinchillas are one of the most loved small animals that families have all around the world. Wondering if chinchillas bite is a natural thought that comes to mind.

Why wouldn’t they be?

They are adorable fury loveable creatures.

If you haven’t looked at a chinchilla online or seen how adorable they are then you are missing out.

Find any video of a chinchilla taking a dust bath and you will probably be making a trip to your local Petco to pick one up as soon as possible.

However, naturally, when determining if you are going to get a new pet or not, you have plenty of questions that pop up through the process.

For me, I had one question that was important to me.

I wanted to know, do chinchillas bite?

Here is what I can tell you.

So, do chinchillas bite? Yes, chinchillas do bite. Chinchillas will bite when they feel threatened and feel as if they have no escape or safe retreat spot. Chinchillas bite when reaching into the cage abruptly in some situations. This makes the chinchilla feel cornered or scared. Chinchillas will not bite once they recognize and feel comfortable with their owner.

Do Chinchillas Bite and Why Chinchillas Bite

In the wild chinchillas are preyed upon and often the victims on the food chain.

They are targeted heavily by other predators and at one point, were even often hunted by humans because of the luxurious, thick, smooth coats of fur.

Here is a guide about why chinchillas lose their fur. 

It reached a point where chinchillas nearly went extinct in certain countries of the world.

Naturally, when chinchillas feel threatened the first thing they prefer to do is to run away from danger and attempt to hide.

Being as that they are inside of a relatively small cage compared to being in the wild, the ability to run is greatly reduced.

This forces your chinchilla to choose a new path to escape danger or at least feel as if he or she is defending themselves.

Unfortunately, for all our fingers, this can mean taking a bite from time to time.

Thankfully, we have plenty of steps we can take to help avoid chinchilla bites and it shouldn’t ever become or remain an ongoing issue.

Let’s dive in and cover everything else you need to know about chinchilla bites and if and when a chinchilla will bite.

We will also cover how to reduce biting from taking place and every other fun fact we can think of concerning chinchilla bites or chinchillas biting.

Do Chinchilla Bites Hurt?

I’d imagine that after hearing and confirming that chinchilla’s do in fact bite, your next question most likely is, do chinchilla bites hurt?

Here’s what I know.

Yes, chinchilla bites can hurt.

Chinchillas are known to have very long and extremely sharp teeth.

In some instances, chinchillas can pierce the skin severely or the bite can be deep and cause a substantial amount of discomfort.

In most circumstances, the only reason you will experience this form of a piercing deep bite is by putting your chinchilla in a position of feeling trapped, in danger or threatened.

Additionally, this may occur if your chinchilla was raised in a non-social environment as we discussed before.

Furthermore, if you don’t provide any hiding spot or an escape route in case your chinchilla gets this feeling of fear and being threatened, is another time which may result in a chinchilla bite.

Here’s a forum where various chinchilla owners discuss some common issues with their chinchilla taking a bite toward them.

You can view it here.

Reducing Chinchilla Biting

There are a few things you can do to help provide your chinchilla more comfort and ultimately reduce the chances that he or she takes a bite towards your fingers.

The first thing you can do is always provide some form of an escape for your chinchilla.

An easy way to do this could be ensuring that your chinchilla house or whichever form of a chinchilla house you have inside of the cage has a rear or side escape.

This helps make the chinchilla not feel trapped.

When reaching into the chinchilla house, the chinchilla will feel more comfortable understanding that they have a way out or an escape path that they can take if need be.

How Do I Get My Chinchilla to Stop Biting?

Outside of the other recommendations, we have already mentioned, you have a few other key tasks you can work on that help prevent your chinchilla from biting or eliminate it altogether.

To put everything already discussed into a summary, be sure to always keep the chinchilla cage and structure as friendly and safe as possible.

You want the chinchilla to feel as if it’s an environment where it never feels threatened.

This alone can dramatically or permanently eliminate the chance of your chinchilla biting you.

Gain Trust With Your Chinchilla to Reduce Biting

Over time your chinchilla is going to begin recognizing your voice, smell and overall presence when you enter a room.

This part of the bonding and relationship growing is going to slowly build trust between you and your chinchilla.

The more interaction, talking and time together, the stronger this bond will grow.

Get your chinchilla out of the cage 3 times a week for a dust bath.

Dedicate time to holding and petting your chinchilla. This shouldn’t be a tough task.

Chinchillas are naturally friendly and in most circumstances, will not be bothered by some time cuddling as long as it’s not overkill or too extreme.

Doing this, while keeping a clean, smell free and safe feeling environment for your chinchilla will make the chances of your chinchilla ever biting you slim to none.

When I refer to clean, I’m referring to you actually taking the time to clean your chinchilla cage.

Also, always ensuring the environment is always safe for your chinchilla which includes the room where your chinchilla lives to always remain at ideal temperatures.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for your friends, family or other strangers.

I assure you, chinchillas will get used to you, not everyone else.

Always exercise caution with others handling your chinchilla and instruct them how to properly handle your furry friend to avoid the chances of taking one of the sharp-toothed chinchilla bites right to the finger.

Any Other Concerns with A Chinchilla Bite?

Besides the potentials for a bite to penetrate the skin easily, you don’t have much to be concerned about if your chinchilla bites you.

Only in rare instances cases has a chinchilla bite carried infections.

In the situation, you do take a bite from your furry friend, don’t get too stressed out.

A rinse under some water and a band-aid if needed should take care of the issue for you quickly.

How Hard Do Chinchillas Bite?

You may also be wondering if my chinchilla does bite me, how hard do chinchillas bite?

This is tough to answer and will depend on the level of fear and anxiety your chinchilla feels when it decides to bite.

Your chinchilla may also bite you for other reasons such as the following.

  • Informing You That They Need to Urinate or Poop
  • If Your Chinchilla Smells Something Tasty on Your Fingers

Do Chinchillas Bite Often?

Do chinchillas bite often? No, they shouldn’t. Outside of smelling food on your hands or being startled or agitated your chinchilla shouldn’t bite at all. Especially once you build trust with your chinchilla. Lastly, as stated before, they may feel the need to bite to inform you of the need to use the restroom (so to speak).

Putting It All Together, Build Trust With Your Chinchilla To Eliminate Biting

To put all the pieces together, your chinchilla is a loving, harmless creature.

Follow the items discussed in this post to keep your chinchilla feeling safe and comforted.

In addition, begin building trust with your chinchilla by actively spending time with him or her, providing dust baths and giving a nice gentle scratch under the ears or chin.

Once you have established trust, you shouldn’t be worried about your chinchilla biting you.

Make sure you inform your friends to be slow and non-threatening when handling your furry friend.

What’s your experience with your chinchilla biting?

What did you do to remedy the problem?

Be sure to drop a comment below.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate you.

Related Questions

Do Chinchillas Scratch?

No chinchillas should not scratch you. On the other hand, be sure to scratch your chinchilla and show some love. I bet you will be surprised how much your chinchilla responds to the pleasure. This begins building trust with your chinchilla over time. Try behind the ears or under the chin for optimal results and one happy chinchilla.

Are Chinchillas Aggressive?

No chinchillas are not aggressive unless they feel very threatened or scared.  You should begin by referring to the beginning of this post where we discuss how chinchillas are preyed upon heavily in the wild. It’s in the chinchilla DNA to be scared or feels trapped if you don’t provide an adequate escape path or if you approach your chinchilla to quickly or violently when picking him or her up out of the cage.

Keep the Hands Clean and They Will Stop Nibbling Those Fingers

Our last word of advice is to always wash your hands. Not only is this best practice for handling your chinchilla but ensures you don’t have any tasty treats or scents left on your hands. You never know what you have on your fingers from whatever food you have consumed recently. This will go along way to avoiding an accidental nibble on the finger.


Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 1 year old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know.

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