Will a Chinchilla Run Away? [Here’s What to Do to Avoid That]

Chinchillas can be very timid animals at times and it’s normal to wonder if a chinchilla will run away and what precautions you can take to avoid this.

Will a chinchilla run away?

I have been raising a chinchilla for the past 5 years and here is what I can tell you on this topic.

So, will a chinchilla run away? Yes. A chinchilla will run away. 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.


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Your Chinchilla Will Run Away If You Are Not Careful

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 and it’s an extremely common behavior chinchillas possess.

Chinchillas know how to hide extremely well and escape with ease.

This is one of the main reasons that it’s always recommended that you have a chinchilla proofed room where you execute playtime.

In the beginning, this may be a bathroom with the toilet lid down.

We will also touch on other options you can use to keep your chinchilla safe and not capable of hiding from you later in this post.

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.

Chinchilla’s are a friendly and loving pet but this does not change their inability to resist the urge to check out other areas of the home.

Especially if they have the ability to free-roam to do so.

Would Your Chinchilla Run Away 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.

Make sure nobody plans on coming or going during this playtime in a manner that would expose the door to open for your chinchilla.

If the door opens and remains open too long, it would be easy 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.

We will touch on how handy gates and playpens for your chinchilla can be and 5 years ago, when I adopted my chinchilla, how I utilized them.

You see, I had to utilize gates and a playpen for my chinchilla 5 years ago because I used a non-chinchilla proofed room in my basement for playtime.

Electrical cords are still exposed, and there are 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.

Chinchilla Gates and Playpens Can Help Dramatically

If you don’t have an enclosed playpen for your chinchilla to play in, you should seriously consider getting one asap.

Even if you have a chinchilla-proofed room.

They come in handy in many situations and I cannot stress how much my playpen has helped me.

They also help to form a closer bond with your chinchilla due to close interaction.

Not to mention, your chinchilla running away should not be a huge concern if you have a playpen to utilize.

I highly, highly recommend the JESPET playpen (Link to Amazon)

I purchased mine more than 4 years ago and still use it all the time and it works perfectly.

If you need something more similar to a gate for your chinchilla, I would recommend the Amazon Basics Folding Gate/Pen (Link to Amazon)

You can also read my post about the best chinchilla playpens here.

Now assuming you do not want to use either of these approaches to prevent your chinchilla from running away, then you still have other options.

First, consider using a bathroom such as a master bathroom.

There typically aren’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 playtime.

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 and Treats Ready and Waiting Just in Case Your Chinchilla Runs Away

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.

And of course, do not forget to try offering treats to get your chinchilla out of hiding if they have ran away or decide to hide on you.

The First Few Weeks is Prime Run Away Time For A Chinchilla

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.

This helps eliminate unnecessary stress and dramatically reduces the chances of your chinchilla running away and hiding.

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.

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.

Use A Chinchilla Safe Room To Prevent Your Chinchilla Running Away

At the end of the day, you have plenty of action steps that you can take to actively protect your chinchilla from running away.

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.

Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla and hope you have no issues with your chinchilla running away now or in the future.

What’s your experience with chinchillas running away or hiding?

Do you have any experience with a chinchilla running away or hiding?

Did you end up using chinchilla gates, or playpens to make a room safer to avoid these issues?

Be sure to share your thoughts, stories, and concerns 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.


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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