Rodents tend to have a lot of similarities.
Even if the species can be quite different.
That means even the most different types of rodents share many behaviors or traits in common.
And one of those behaviors is burrowing.
Many rodents burrow. Are chinchillas one of them?
Do chinchillas burrow too, or are they the rare exception among rodents?
Keep reading to find out. We will cover everything you need to know about chinchilla burrowing, including what you need to do as a chinchilla owner (this is important!).
Do Chinchillas Burrow?
Yes, chinchillas burrow. It is a natural behavior in the wild and they retain the instinct to burrow in captivity.
This is not a behavior you should try to suppress. Instead, you should give your pet plenty of opportunity to follow its natural digging instincts. We will cover exactly how to do that below.
Chinchillas Burrowing In The Wild
Wild chinchillas live in the rocky, mountainous regions of South America. To survive in such harsh environments, they have developed natural instincts such as jumping, climbing, and burrowing.
In the wild, chinchillas burrow into the sides of mountains or under rocks to avoid predators and escape the heat.
Wild chinchillas are active mainly at night. They spend much of their time in underground tunnels, which can stretch up to 6 meters long and have multiple entrances and exits.
These burrows are essential for their survival, providing them with shelter, hiding places, and protection from the elements.
Chinchillas prefer to burrow in dry soils, so they dig their burrows in the driest spots they can find.
While their burrowing habits may look a bit different in captivity, their natural instincts remain the same. As a chinchilla owner, providing enough space, suitable bedding, and toys is critical to allow your pet to express its burrowing desires.
Chinchilla Burrowing Behavior In Captivity
So, do chinchillas burrow in captivity? The answer is yes, but to a lesser extent. In captivity, chinchillas generally do not have access to natural burrowing materials like soil and rocks, and their space is naturally more limited than in the wild.
Chinchillas in captivity retain the instinct to burrow, but their environment is entirely different from what they would experience in the wild. It is up to you to provide your pet with an environment that is comfortable for it.
Pet chinchillas should have a cage with enough space to move around comfortably, and you should clean it regularly to prevent the build-up of bacteria and odors.
Chinchillas usually use their bedding as a place to burrow, so providing them with plenty of it is crucial. Wood chips are a good choice for bedding, though some owners also use hay or crumpled-up paper.
Some chinchilla owners even provide their pets with boxes or tubes in their cages to encourage their burrowing instincts.
Apart from ensuring that your chinchilla has enough space, bedding, and toys in its cage to express its natural burrowing instincts, it is also essential to monitor its behavior.
Chinchillas need plenty of rest, so if you observe that your pet is digging too much, it might indicate that it is stressed or bored. Make sure your chinchilla gets enough sleep, exercise, and attention. This will help keep it healthy and prevent excessive digging.
Providing your chinchilla with safe toys such as wooden sticks, cardboard boxes, or hay balls will encourage it to play and exercise. These toys can also double as hideaways, giving your chinchilla the perfect place to burrow and feel safe.
Do Chinchillas Like Hiding?
Yes, they do! Hiding can be a way for these animals to play and exercise. Chinchillas are curious and active creatures that love to explore their surroundings. By creating hidden spots, you can encourage your pet to engage in natural behaviors like jumping, climbing, and running.
Another reason chinchillas like to hide is that they need an environment that mimics their natural habitat. In the Andes Mountains of South America, where chinchillas come from, they live in rocky crevices and burrows.
Chinchillas prefer temperatures that range between 60° and 70° F and hiding in a cool and shaded spot can help them regulate their body heat. It’s essential to provide hiding spaces in their cage that are not only cozy and stimulating, but also cool and shaded.
Do Chinchillas Like To Burrow: Final Thoughts
Do chinchillas burrow? Yes, like many other species of rodents, chinchillas burrow in the wild. And they retain that instinct to burrow in captivity.
If you own a chinchilla, that means you need to provide plenty of opportunities for your pet to get its burrowing fix. This means giving it some bedding it can dig around in and some tunnels and hiding spaces where it can disappear and feel safe.