Chinchillas can be very timid animals at times. This doesn’t impact how affectionate they can be or how much love they can have towards their owners. Especially once they are warmed up and recognize you as the owner. That can make a big difference. Clearly, we all want the best for our chinchillas and want to make sure we keep play time and cage time secure to avoid any issues or any harm/danger that our chinchillas could potentially wander into. Lately, while playing with my own chinchilla and watching her explore every nook and corner of the house, I naturally got curious. Will a chinchilla run away? After plenty of play time and my own research, here is what I can tell you on the topic.
So, will a chinchilla run away? Yes. It’s crucial to keep playtime in secure areas that are danger-free. If a chinchilla has the chance, they are masters of hiding in tight, dark spots and if a door is left open, there is a solid chance that they could decide to run away. This could be very bad.
I didn’t want just to leave you on the note that your chinchilla may be planning the next big prison break because that’s not true. I did, however, want to make sure I cover some of the precautions and pitfalls to avoid ensuring you don’t ever experience the feeling of searching endlessly for your chinchilla. That’s apparently no fun for anyone so let’s take some active steps towards avoiding that issue altogether.
Understand Your Chinchilla Knows How to Escape
It’s important to know right out of the gates that your chinchilla knows how to escape and will regardless of how much they love you and recognize you as the owner and commander. This is what they are naturally built to do. Hide extremely well and escape with ease.
This is one of the main reasons that it’s always recommended that you have a chinchilla safe room where you execute play time. In the beginning, this may be a bathroom with the toilet lid down. Remember, chinchillas are expert jumpers as well and can hit heights of 6 plus feet by springing off their back legs.
Having a safe room to play where doors are closed can help you from going on a wild goose chase looking for your chinchilla. It’s not that they necessarily want to get away from you, it’s that they are naturally curious and want to explore anything and everything.
Would Your Chinchilla Escape Out an Exterior Door?
If given a chance, yes, I wouldn’t ever risk this. If your playroom is somewhere connected to an exterior door to the house, I would always be sure it’s shut and make sure nobody plans on coming or going during this play time. If the door opens and remains open too long, it would be straightforward for your chinchilla to dart.
Once outside it would likely be impossible to get your chinchilla back. They will hide quickly and apparently with the entire world in front of them, they could be anywhere in a matter of minutes. I use a dog/cat playpen that’s oversized as my playroom for my chinchilla because I’m worried that she may even be able to get loose in my basement which I don’t consider chinchilla safe by any means.
Electrical cords are still exposed, and there is just too many storage items that I don’t trust I could even find her with ease down in my own basement. I did, however, have a good reason for choosing the basement for her resting spot.
It’s away from the rest of the noise in the house, stays nice and cool for her which can help eliminate the fear of overheating and keeps her isolated and away from my dog. I may change this plan in the future, but for now, it’s working very well for me. Couldn’t honestly imagine a better set up at the moment except somewhere easier to find her if she happens to get loose downstairs.
What If I Don’t Have A Playpen? Will My Chinchilla Run Away From Me?
If you don’t have an enclosed playpen for your chinchilla to play in, you still have several options. First, consider using a bathroom such as a master bathroom. There typically isn’t any electrical cords, nowhere to run and overall very safe. If the door is closed, you won’t have any issue using a bathroom for play time.
Secondly, if you can’t use a bathroom for playtime, just make sure you have a plan and have the room you intend on using entirely chinchilla safe. No electrical cords or you can even use cord enclosures sold in most home department stores. Also, you can use two by fours or other gates to block off an area of the room to give your chinchilla more space to run.
Be sure that whatever gate method you use it’s tall enough because she or he will jump, and they can jump very well. My enclosure is more like a big circle tent and has a screen on the top, and she can easily touch the top of the tent with ease, and it’s 60 inches tall or 5 feet. It doesn’t even appear that she needs much of an effort to do either.
Keep the Dust Bath Ready and Waiting Just in Case
Lastly, always have your chinchilla dust bath handy. If you start training your chinchilla when they are young by tapping on the dust bath when it’s time to clean up, they will begin associating this tapping noise with something that they love. If your chinchilla does ever happen to get out, you can try and place the dust bath on the floor and tap it to see if you can help them out of their hiding spot.
You may need to be patient when you do this. They may not come out immediately, so it’s a game of actively looking but also actively waiting to see if your chinchilla returns by playing the patience game. This has worked for me, and I’ve read on a lot of other forums that others have success as well so I’m I feel comfortable suggesting this as an excellent option to locate your lost chinchilla.
Be Careful During the First Week of Bringing Your Chinchilla Home
Another essential thing to keep in mind that during your first week home, your chinchilla is going to be very scared and full of anxiety. It’s best during this time to just allow them to stay in their cage. They need to get used to all the sounds and smells of where they are.
If they happened to run away during this initial week, it would be much harder to lure them out with a dust bath, and most likely they will be terrified and find a tough to locate the spot where you may be searching for hours upon hours before seeing them.
During this time, if your chinchilla did happen to run away, be sure to find a way to leave something to eat out for them just in case you miss them coming out of hiding. We don’t want them starving and at least want to attempt to keep them fed and lure them back to safety.
Close as many exterior doors as possible and even the entrance to the room where you know they are lost so that you don’t have to expand the search area at all. The smaller space you need to cover the better chances you have at locating a chinchilla that has run away or entered clever hiding.
The Final Word Be Careful, Keep the Room Safe, and You will be Just Fine
At the end of the day, you have plenty of active steps that you can take to actively protect your chinchilla from running away, and if they do, there is plenty of things you can do to try and locate them as fast as possible.
Be prepared to search for hours if they do run away and be very careful not to allow them to get outside. Once they reach this point, you’re on your own, and I honestly don’t know any tricks to bring them back to safety.
What’s your experience with chinchillas running away or hiding? How did you find them? Be sure to leave a comment below.