Do Chinchillas Get Depressed? [Not If You Do These 5 Things]

Owning a chinchilla is fantastic, but it doesn’t come without some bothersome days from time to time and it is normal to wonder if a chinchilla gets depressed and how you can tell if a chinchilla is depressed.

We all want to provide the best care possible to our chinchillas.

With that being the case, I have a specific question I want to cover in today’s post.

Do chinchillas get depressed?

I’ve owned a chinchilla for over 5 years and have been through some ups and downs myself, and here is what I can tell you on this topic.

So, do chinchillas get depressed? Yes, chinchillas can get depressed. Chinchillas need love and affection. Without love, affection, and social interaction, a chinchilla can get depressed and act more lethargic. To avoid a depressed chinchilla, make time each day for them, and provide social interaction.

Don’t worry, everyone.

Most of us don’t purchase a chinchilla just to lock it away in a dungeon.

At least I hope none of us would do that! 🙄

We obviously want to spend time with our chinchillas when time permits which is one of the first keys to avoiding your chinchilla ever becoming depressed.

The rest of this post is designed to explain other tactics and recommendations you can implement to avoid a depressed chinchilla in your own household.


Here’s what I intend on covering in today’s brief 3-minute post:

As stated previously, if you are in a hurry, use the links above to skip around in this post and get the quick information you need.

Otherwise, pull up a seat, grab a cup of coffee and check out all the details you need to keep your chinchilla happy and healthy.

Chinchilla Depression and Why Chinchilla’s Get Depressed

Here is the deal fellow chinchilla owners.

Chinchillas can get depressed for a variety of reasons.

It all depends on what was taking place in their environment prior to the onset of being a bit “less social.”

Most chinchillas will show more signs of anti-social, quiet, and even lethargic behavior purely because they aren’t getting the care they need or deserve.

Chinchillas are intelligent rodents with a high IQ.

They can realize when something is missing from a daily routine relatively quickly.

Here are a few examples of ownership issues that could lead to these depression type problems.

Not being with another cage mate honestly isn’t the end of the world if you keep a diligent schedule with the other items on the list above.

How Can You Tell If Your Chinchilla Is Depressed?

If you are sitting around wondering, is my chinchilla depressed, you may be feeling some anxiety on how to recognize depression with a chinchilla and wondering what to do next.

I understand that and sometimes it is hard to understand all of your chinchilla’s body language and what they are trying to communicate.

Somedays they will be making sounds and communicating and others they seem that they aren’t quite in the mood.

The best advice I can give you is to try and spend more time with your chinchilla.

Learn how to get them in and out of the cage properly.

Learn how to hold your chinchilla properly.

The more time you can get them out and interact with them and play with them, the more you are going to learn about them and the easier it is going to become to understand when your chinchilla is not happy or going through something physically or emotionally.

Most chinchilla’s after you have had enough time around them, it will become much easier to recognize if they are depressed or sad.

If they are beginning to act more lethargic or even more timid than usual, maybe they do not feel comfortable or safe or are becoming less social, sad and depressed.

However, the only way you would be able to recognize these signs of depression is if you know your chinchilla’s personality inside and out.

Recognizing and understanding if your chinchilla is depressed is the first step towards fixing the issue which is what I want to cover next.

Start with Social Interaction To Avoid Your Chinchilla Becoming Depressed or Sad

Being social with your chinchilla is a mega factor to always keep up with.

Learning how to socialize your chinchilla properly is also imperative when you first arrive home after the adoption.

Chinchillas isolated in the home without a cage mate can quickly become “pretty blue”.

You should always be trying to spend at least some time with your chinchilla each day.

Preferably out of the cage if you have a safe area that permits.

If you don’t, create a safe area by completing the chinchilla proofing process.

You can also use one of my top recommended products that I rave about in tons of my other blog posts.

The pop-up animal play tent (Link to Amazon)

This solves the problem of not having a chinchilla proofed room and allows you to interact closely with your chinchilla.

Chinchillas are affectionate and using a playpen like this can build the bond and friendship with your chinchilla relatively quickly.

At least that’s how it worked for me.

Make your chinchilla feel like part of the family.

It’s crucial and will help avoid any depression issues now and in the future.

Ensure You Use a Proper Sized Cage To Avoid Depression For Your Chinchilla

Not everyone has the time to spend hours per day with their chinchilla out of the cage.

Heck, I barely do, and I work from home.

That’s okay.

However, you do at least need to make sure that your chinchilla has a stimulating cage environment.

This means a large enough cage.

I’m a huge fan of the dual-level Critter Nation 2 cage (Link to Amazon)

It’s one of the largest cages you can purchase for a budget-friendly price.

However, your work doesn’t end here.

Chinchilla Cage Accessories Make a Significant Difference In Your Chinchilla’s Activity and Happiness

They still need activities and stimulation to interact with inside of the cage.

I have a post that details the best chinchilla toys here.

Additionally, check out my post about the most necessary chinchilla cage accessories here.

These items allow your chinchilla to run around, in addition, to jump from ledge to ledge.

Picture it like this.

Even if you are a completely ethical owner and spend one hour per day with your chinchilla out of the cage, you will still have 23 hours a day where they have nothing to do except mull around inside of the walls of the cage.

Make it interesting for them.

Make sure you have tunnels, wheels, and bridges.

Use one of the best hammocks to give them a second spot to rest and sleep.

The little things like this that you can do for nearly nothing out of your budget make a significant difference in keeping your chinchilla happy, healthy, and stimulated.

Consider a Second Chinchilla To Keep Your Chinchilla Happy

Now, let’s assume you spend time with your chinchilla and meet all the recommended criteria we have discussed this far.

Maybe you still feel like your chinchilla is somewhat “down in the dumps”.

Perhaps your right, and you have a very friendly and social chinchilla on your hands!

If this is the case, don’t hesitate and consider adopting a second chinchilla.

It may be exactly what both the chinchillas need to thrive and remain happy.

No matter what, chinchillas always want to be social in some manner.

In the wild, chinchillas are used to running in herds.

If you adopted your chinchilla from a local breeder, likely they were around other chinchillas for at least some duration of time.

Nonetheless, if you feel like you are doing a great job and your chinchilla doesn’t seem to be a glowing ball of sunshine, consider adding a cage mate after proper bonding to help them snap out of it.

Chinchillas are relatively cheap to own, and if this is all that’s needed for your chinchilla to remain happy over the next 15-20 years, it surely seems like a small price to pay, in my opinion.

Keep Your Chinchilla Clean and Healthy To Avoid Depression

These two items don’t necessarily lead to depression immediately, but surely could.

Think of yourself, for instance.

Do you want to be kept from healthy food or food in general?

How about a shower?

Surely, as time passes, if you neglect these two items, your chinchilla may feel neglected or depressed.

Chinchillas absolutely love to take their dust baths, so be sure you are providing this at least 1-2 times per week but preferably 3 times.

As far as food, don’t overload on treats and stick to chinchilla safe diets like timothy hay, and pellets.

If your chinchilla doesn’t get the nutrition and hygiene care they need, it can lead to health and mental concerns.

Stay on top of these things, and you won’t have anything to worry about.

Other Factors and Frequently Asked Questions About Chinchilla Depression and Sadness

The last significant piece of advice I can give you after adopting a chinchilla to avoid depression and other social issues is to pay attention.

Don’t neglect your chinchilla.

Perhaps it’s nothing at all related to depression, and they are sick and need medical attention from a vet.

Nonetheless, you will never know if you aren’t paying attention, so be sure to tabs on what’s going with your chinchilla daily.

Understanding That A Chinchilla Can Get Depressed Is The Best Way To Avoid Depression Altogether

Chinchillas are wonderful pets to own in just about every fashion but it is possible for a chinchilla to get depressed and it is important that you can recognize and understand when your chinchilla is depressed or sad.

This is going to help strengthen the bond for years to come.

Overall, if you keep up with your end of the deal, depression with chinchillas is something you likely won’t encounter.

However, if you are having issues now as you read this post, perhaps try implementing some of the tips and tricks I’ve laid out for you today to pull them out of it and get them happy, healthy, and active again.

I wish you the best of luck with your chinchilla!

What’s Your Experience with Chinchilla Depression?

What have I left out of this post?

What else can you add for the readers that can help them deal with chinchilla depression?

Be sure to share your thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by.

Thanks again, and we will see you next time. 🙂

Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 4 year-old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know. I'm the Author of the eBook "The Ultimate Chinchilla Care Guide, From Adoption and On"

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