Chinchillas are one of the easiest pets to take care of. Some food, water and shelter and for the most part, they can take care of themselves. However, keep in mind that often, we as the owners, often have busy lives and can’t always carve out time to spend quality time with our chinchillas. One would argue that we probably should have thought twice before the purchase if this is the case, but it happens. A question I wanted to address today is on this topic in specific. Do Chinchillas get lonely? After owning a chinchilla and going through some trial, error and conducting some research, here is what I can tell you.
So, do chinchillas get lonely? Yes, chinchillas get lonely. If you own a chinchilla, you should consider either having a 2nd chinchilla to be a companion with your other chinchillas or be sure that you have a schedule that allows for you to have dedicated interaction time daily with your chinchilla.
Now, some people have questions about what this means or what’s all involved. How much time do we need to spend with our chinchillas daily and when should we consider getting a second chinchilla to keep your other chinchilla happy and comfortable with a companion?
The most significant thing to understand before moving forward is that a lonely chinchilla may display different behavior from a chinchilla that gets the social interaction they need and desire.
Let’s take the time to give you a full scope of view of what you can do to keep your chinchilla happy and healthy and never reaching the point where they feel lonely or simply “depressed.”
More on Chinchilla Behavior and Sociability
Let’s think of it like this. Have you ever found yourself so excited that you have a few days to yourself? Maybe your wife is on a trip with friends or the kids are away for the weekend with the grandparents?
You get everything ready to go. Your favorite Netflix series is primed and ready and all your favorite snacks are on the table just to find yourself bored out of your mind about 2 hours into your first day of freedom?
Well, that’s how your chinchilla can feel if neglected by you and without any other chinchilla around to help keep them company or at least having social interactions. They have all the food, water and bedding ready to go. Well, at least I hope so.
However, over time, your chinchilla will begin to feel the sorrow and depression from sitting alone all day and never having any fellow chinchilla interaction or human interaction with you for a few short minutes of playtime daily.
Chinchillas Are Social Animals in Their Natural Habitats
Think of it like this. Chinchillas in the wild run in packs. They are used to companions and using each other to survive, communicate and interact with one another.
Chinchillas that share a habitat even grow accustomed to grooming each other by licking each other and find clever ways to play with each other and keep one another content.
Bonded or Paired Chinchillas May Even Be More Friendly and Behaved
It’s even been shown that bonded or paired chinchillas are more friendly, cuddly and have an easier time adjusting to human interaction than chinchillas that have been fully isolated the entire time that they have been around.
You see, when a chinchilla has all your care accounted for such as the food, water, bedding and hay, only one thing is missing. Social interaction.
If your chinchilla is given the ability to have their social needs met, all basic needs have been accounted for and it’s looking like you are in great shape. When this happens, your chinchilla is likely overall more content, happy and mentally healthy and stable.
Do Chinchillas Do Better in Pairs?
Yes, as stated before, chinchillas generally do much better in pairs. They need and enjoy the interaction time, love to play and even enjoy cuddle time and sleeping next to other chinchillas.
Do Chinchillas Always Like Other Chinchillas? Is it Possible They Want to Be Alone?
Yes, this is possible. Some chinchillas simply define the norm and don’t enjoy being around other chinchillas. Usually, rescues or chinchillas that learn this about their chinchillas have a few options or roads that they can take.
Option 1- You could look for a suitable and loving home for one of your chinchillas so that you don’t have two chinchillas interacting that don’t get along.
Option 2- You could keep both chinchillas but separate them and isolate them in different cages.
What Issues May You Run into If You Don’t Do This?
When I first got my chinchilla from the rescue, I sat down and spoke to the rescue owner for several hours to learn the ins and outs about chinchillas before heading home and embarking on the journey.
I had so many questions that I wanted to make sure I covered all basis. One story about my chinchilla who is a 1-year old female stood out to me. She showed me how she is currently housed in a separate cage but hasn’t always been.
Her cage mate before that was another female. For the first few months, they got along great. However, the other chinchilla began playing much “rougher” over time. This caused the chinchilla I ultimately adopted to have many fur slips or missing patches of hair from the “rough house” style of play.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean this is the end of the world. Chinchillas are like toddlers. They jump, hop, lick, nibble and just find a way to get into trouble sometimes. It’s in their blood, and it’s their nature.
However, who knows what would have occurred if the rescue owner didn’t ultimately separate the chinchillas for my chinchilla’s safety. Since home, I haven’t adopted a second chinchilla.
I do, however, work from home and she sits in her cage right by me during my work day. Hearing my voice on phone calls and I also dedicate at least 30-45 minutes a day to get her out of the cage to devote play time and interaction time with my chinchilla and so far, she has been content and happy with the arrangement up to this point or at least it appears that way so far.
Do Chinchillas Mate for Life?
For the most part yes. Like I stated before. Chinchillas are naturally and born to be social and run in pairs or herds for survival in the wild. However, let’s refer to my story and situation. My chinchilla is a female that’s almost 1-years old as of today.
Her previous cage mate was also a female. Females do tend to be more aggressive towards each other than male/male cage mates. This doesn’t necessarily this will happen, but more frequently you will see 2 females that ultimately need to be separated as opposed to a set of 2 males lacking separated.
As far as male/female pairing, well I think you can guess what happens when you decide to let this take place. Let’s just say, that you may need to plan to purchase more chinchilla cages soon.
Do Chinchillas Require A Lot of Attention?
Yes, chinchillas require a lot of attention. Chinchillas that are kept isolated or without another chinchilla companion will need even more dedicated attention. If you know for sure, you just don’t have the time to get your chinchilla out for dedicated play time, you should likely consider not purchasing a chinchilla.
Chinchillas for young children can also be an issue, but it could be up for debate. For example, a chinchilla is excellent for young kids because they live for long periods and require little maintenance outside of love and attention.
On the other hand, chinchillas are fragile and without you around, and may try to run away or hide. In addition, chinchillas can be frightened by children being loud or mishandling them. This can cause shedding, fur slips or in rare but possible circumstances, your chinchilla may bite.
Do Chinchillas Bond with Their Owners?
Yes, chinchillas can and do bond with their owners. Chinchillas over the course of time will get comfortable with you, climb on you and may even act like they are grooming you during their time out of the cage.
In addition, chinchillas are even known to come to the front of their cage in your presence as a sign of affection or to show excitement that you are around.
It may not happen in the first few days back from the rescue or pet store as time goes by, you will see the difference with your chinchilla and will be able to distinguish how your chinchilla feels about you.
Putting It All Together, Chinchillas Will Get Lonely. Take the Time to Remedy This Issue
To recap the entire point of this post. Do chinchillas get lonely? Yes, they absolutely do, and they absolutely prefer interaction with either you, another chinchilla or a combination of both.
Providing neither will lead to a non-social chinchilla that may experience other signs or issues such as not eating, premature deaths and acting out such as chewing their own fur or become more unpredictable out of the cage or at times even while in the cage.
It’s up to you to ensure that your chinchilla recognizes you as the owner and begins forming that bond with you. Over time, this is only going to increase your chinchilla’s overall happiness and comfort levels in your home and make them a longtime 15 plus year loveable companion.
What’s your experience with bonding or pairing chinchillas? Has anyone here ever experienced any issues with your chinchilla becoming lonely or acting out because of this? Be sure to leave a comment below.