Chinchillas are one of the most loved small animals that families own and raise all around the world. Wondering if chinchillas bite is a natural thought that comes to mind.
Do chinchillas bite?
After owning a chinchilla for almost 5 years, here is what I can tell you on this topic.
Chinchillas will bite when they feel threatened or cornered. Most often, a chinchilla bite will occur if your chinchilla has not adapted to their environment or built trust with you yet and you corner them, stick your hand through the cage and they begin to feel scared with no escape or hiding place.
The good news is that chinchillas do not bite often and you have plenty of action steps you can take to ensure that your chinchilla biting does not become a problem in the future.
I personally have never had my chinchilla bite me or anyone in my family.
Only nibbles in a playful manner (more on this later)
However, basic knowledge and precautions can go a long way when adopting a new chinchilla and avoiding those painful front teeth from piercing your skin.
- Do Chinchillas Bite and Why Chinchillas Bite
- Do Chinchilla Bites Hurt?
- Understanding The Difference Between Chinchilla Biting and Nibbling
- How Do I Get My Chinchilla To Stop Biting and Reducing Chinchilla Biting
- How Hard Do Chinchillas Bite and What You Can Do To Avoid It
- Chinchillas Rarely Bite Once The Trust Has Been Built
If you have about 2-minutes to spare, I recommend you stick around and learn the ins and outs about chinchillas biting and how to avoid it.
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.
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.
Chinchilla’s get scared relatively easily.
It is important to allow a chinchilla to adapt to their environment fully before attempting to handle a chinchilla too much to avoid issues with biting.
Do not worry, this time passes quickly and they begin to warm up to you.
Being that they are inside of a relatively small cage compared to being in the wild, the ability to run away 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 that they may bite if you make them feel uncomfortable, cornered, or threatened.
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.
This common among all rodents.
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 like mentioned previously.
Additionally, this may occur if your chinchilla was raised in a non-social environment as we discussed before.
This is one of the reasons I prefer recommending that the readers on Planet Chinchilla adopt their chinchilla from a local breeder.
When using a breeder, it is much more likely that your chinchilla has been more socialized beginning at a young age compared to a local PetSmart or PetCo.
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.
Understanding The Difference Between Chinchilla Biting and Nibbling
As a new chinchilla owner, it is important that you are distinguishing the difference between a chinchilla biting and a chinchilla nibbling.
A legitimate chinchilla bite will be noticeable and much more forceful than a chinchilla nibbling.
Typically, a chinchilla bite will occur when no trust exists and you have frightened your chinchilla in a manner that made them feel as if they had no other choice.
A bite can also occur in some situations before a chinchilla learns how hard they can bite down without hurting you.
You can call this an accidental bite.
This process is learned usually through gentle nibbling and socializing your chinchilla in general.
Nibbling is something you will likely always experience.
My chinchilla will nibble my fingers if I have any form of treats out or even just in a playful manner.
This isn’t designed to hurt you and it is one of the ways a chinchilla will show love towards their owners.
Trust me, you will begin to understand all of this within a few short weeks of owning a chinchilla and recognizing the body language they display.
How Do I Get My Chinchilla To Stop Biting and Reducing Chinchilla Biting
There are a few things you can do to help provide your chinchilla more comfort and ultimately reduce the chances that your chinchilla bites you.
The first thing you can do is always provide some form of an escape for your chinchilla which often comes in the form of a place to hide where they can feel safe.
The best way to do this is to ensure you provide one of the best chinchilla cages possible and also ensure you include multiple safe spots for them inside of the cage.
This helps make the chinchilla not feel trapped and in the beginning when your trying to gain trust with your chinchilla will dramatically reduce the chances of your chinchilla biting you.
Most chinchilla owners will agree that a nest box for your chinchilla inside of the cage is a must in order to reduce biting with your chinchilla.
You can view my post about nest boxes here.
When reaching into the chinchilla cage, the chinchilla will feel more comfortable understanding that they have a way out or an escape path that they can take if need be.
A safe haven inside the cage, so to speak.
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 biting altogether.
In summary of what we have discussed thus far, take it slow at the beginning with your new chinchilla and ensure you have a large cage with a nest box provided for them to reduce or eliminate biting with your chinchilla.
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.
During this time out, you also let your chinchilla play outside of the cage.
Just be sure to chinchilla proof the room where you intend on allowing your chinchilla to roam.
You can also use other methods to build the bond and reduce chinchilla biting such as using a playpen with your chinchilla.
Using the playpen method is what I did to build the bond with my chinchilla much faster and I have never had an issue with my chinchilla biting as I mentioned previously.
Dedicate time to holding and petting your chinchilla.
You need to learn to get your chinchilla to enjoy being held.
You also want to learn the best ways to get your chinchilla in and out of the cage.
This shouldn’t be a tough task.
Chinchillas are naturally friendly and in most circumstances.
In most circumstances, a chinchilla 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
At least not quickly.
This makes it important to always educate friends and other family about putting their fingers in the chinchilla cage or doing anything that may cause your chinchilla to feel scared provoking a chinchilla bite.
Always exercise caution with others handling your chinchilla.
Instruct them on how to properly handle your chinchilla to avoid the chances of taking one of the sharp-toothed chinchilla bites right to the finger.
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 has a chinchilla bite carried infections or caused other issues.
In the situation, you do take a bite from your chinchilla, 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 and What You Can Do To Avoid It
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 and stress 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
This is when it is important to understand the difference between biting and play nibbles.
Be sure to refer to the previous section of this post to gain a better understanding of the differences between the two.
Do Chinchillas Bite Often?
Do chinchillas bite often? No, chinchilla’s typically do not bite often.
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 you or nibble you to inform you of the need to use the restroom (so to speak).
Use Gloves To Handle Chinchilla’s Who Frequently Bite
While biting is not a behavior you likely need to worry about with a new chinchilla, it is still nice to know you have options and a way to safeguard your fingers until your chinchilla trust you and no longer feels scared in their new environment.
If you have anxiety about this or reaching into the cage during the first few weeks, I recommend wearing a pair of gloves to protect your fingers for the first weeks.
A basic pair of leather gloves will get the job done.
It does not need to be anything fancy and you likely will only need them for a week or two until you are comfortable a chinchilla bite will not take place in the future.
I personally never needed to take this approach but can certainly understand how it may make you feel better about reaching into the cage with a chinchilla you just adopted a day or two ago.
Chinchillas Rarely Bite Once The Trust Has Been Built
To put all the pieces together, your chinchilla is a loving, harmless creature and a chinchilla biting should not be a significant concern if you intend on adopting a chinchilla in the near future.
Follow the tips discussed in this post to keep your chinchilla feeling safe and comforted to reduce and eliminate chinchilla biting altogether.
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.
Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla and hope biting is never an issue you have to deal with now or in the future.
Share Your Thoughts About Your Chinchilla Biting
What’s your experience with your chinchilla biting?
What did you do to remedy the problem?
Be sure to share your thoughts, stories, and concerns about chinchilla biting 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.