Last Modified

June 6, 2022 by Umair Shahid

Keeping a pet chinchilla is a great joy that can be enhanced by bringing another one. As a veterinarian, people often ask me many simple yet important questions regarding chinchillas’ adoption. They are always getting caught in the confusion of getting a single or a pair of chinchillas. 

Well, if you can manage to give your pet quality interaction in the evening, you’re good to go with a single chinchilla.

However, if you can’t keep up with the dawn and dusk activity periods of chinchilla, you might consider getting a companion for him. Additionally, the social personality of your furry friend also dictates if he loves the company of a companion or prefers staying alone.

Do chinchillas Like to Live in Pairs?

In my opinion, pairing your chinchilla with another cage mate is a beneficial thing to do. The presence of another chinchilla reduces the loneliness and enables them to have a more productive interaction.

However, there is still ambiguity about whether your pet prefers to stay with another mate or not. That entirely depends on your chinchilla’s temperament, whether he accepts his cage mate or not. 

I have seen the cases of chinchillas living and having the most playful time they can have as partners.

On the contrary, I’ve also seen cases of chinchillas being rude and showing viciousness towards their cage mate. To sum this up, the answer to whether you should put your chinchilla with another one relies on the temperament of your beloved pet. 

Social Behaviour of Chinchillas

While all of us know these furry animals have a quiet and friendly nature. Chinchillas live in the crevices along with rock formations where they reside in the form of groups or colonies.

Their social behavior in the wild enables them to tackle predators and improve survival. These animals have long been hunted, resulting in the majority of their population staying in mountainous regions.

Depending upon their natural habitat, chinchillas still prefer living in herds with an average size of 100 chinchillas or more per herd. A greater number of individuals spend considerable time with each other in socializations. It is quite exciting to observe the presence of designated social ‘roles’ in these colonial herds.

You may find these docile animals guarding their herds or searching for food in these social settings.

This enables them to take care of their family so they can rest, play and eat safely. It is quite obvious that in the wild, chinchillas like to stay in pairs, but what about the domesticated ones? The well-adapted social behavior is justifying the reason why it is a good idea to keep a pair of chinchillas at your home.

Introducing Chinchillas to Each Other

Suppose you’ve decided to get your chinchilla another companion to make him more social and active. As a veterinarian, I recommend you clearly understand the social nature of your beloved pet before introducing another cage mate. You can’t just introduce them to each other and expect them to get playful and comfortable with each other.

The positive introduction and interaction between two animals demand time and patience. The first thing you need to do is to make sure that there is plenty of space available for them. Animals are very reluctant to share their space with other members of the same species. They feel hesitant in sharing their designated home, so you need to increase the cage space.

Experts recommend placing two chinchillas in separate cages for the very first time. This ensures they don’t harm each other by suddenly attacking or getting vicious after seeing each other.

Make sure the cages are placed at a few inches’ distances so your chinchillas can smell and get accustomed to each other’s presence. You may allow them to share a common dust bath or switch cages after a week or so. 

If your chinchillas seem to get along in a friendly manner and start accepting each other, now it is time to place them together in a larger size cage.

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Acceptance & Bonding Between Chinchillas

Let’s say you’re lucky enough to successfully introduce your furry chinchillas together. Still, there is a need to keep monitoring their behavior to check whether they are getting along well or not.

Some of the noticeable signs of happy interactions include tail wagging and low gentle chirping noises. As chinchillas start accepting their cage mates, they start jumping and running together, which is somehow a very relaxing thing you can see.

On the other hand, behavioral studies on captive chinchillas show they don’t spend a surplus amount of time playing. Instead, they prefer to rest and display comfort-seeking behavior. If you observe your chinchillas ignoring each other after an exciting run, don’t worry as it is fairly common behavior.

Companion Unacceptance in Chinchillas

Owners consult veterinarians and animal behavior specialists often when their chinchillas are not getting accustomed to each other.

In my opinion, this is an understandable problem whether you try to pair chinchillas with the same or opposite genders. Talking about females, they are more territorial and may not accept each other which is very common among them.

Males, on the other hand, show dominancy over the other cage mate, and in doing so, they may start fighting with each other. Although these fights are not harmful, as chinchillas have softer nails and they don’t usually bite each other.

You may observe abruptly loud noises and aggressive jumping when chinchillas don’t tolerate their companion. 

Nevertheless, unacceptance and fighting result in stressful and fearful situations that have negative impacts on the health of your beloved pets.

They may lose their fur, or show inappetence and make offensive or defensive noises. I recommend visiting an exotic or small animal specialist if you encounter such problems with your chinchillas.

Conclusion

Chinchillas can be wonderful and cuddly pets even when they live together in the same cage. If you’re someone who has a busy work schedule and doesn’t have plenty of time, consider getting a pair of chinchillas. The playful interaction of a chinchilla with another one completely depends on the social nature of your pet.

Some chinchillas love to get companionship while others like to spend time living on their own. The personality of your furry friend will eventually reveal whether he prefers another chinchilla on his premises or not.

Using my mentioned safe methods of introducing chinchillas, you can make them accustomed and make them bond a lot better.

FAQs

Can my chinchilla live alone?

We know chinchillas can live in herds in the wild, but that doesn’t specify their need to be kept as pairs. Your chinchilla can live alone and can get along enjoying if you give him surplus interaction time.

Is it ok to put two chinchillas in the same cage?

As long as you are quite sure about their compatibility with each other, you can place them in the same cage. However, it is better to place them in separate cages placed close to each other if you’re introducing them for the first time.

What to do if my chinchillas are fighting?

Experts suggest separating the chinchillas and having a second try after a few weeks. Sometimes, they fight after spending considerable time with each other in the same cage. Separation is ideal if you want to monitor any abnormal behavior occurring because of another chinchilla.

Author

I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.

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