A good thing about having a chinchilla is that they can be tamed quite easily.
Taming a chinchilla is an important part of your relationship with them as there will be times when you will need to to restrain your chinchilla or even pick them up.
Once you have tamed them you can also do things like let them out of their cage into a room for some good exercise as you’ll known that you can easily catch them and put them back in their home.
This is because they know and trust you enough to be not scared of you and the bond between you is strengthened.
Because they are prey animals they are naturally quite nervous creatures. This kind of behaviour keeps them from being eaten by predators in the wild and can save their lives as they are able to get away at quick speed. If you can show patience you can build the trust with them and it does take time to do so.
So if you are looking at how to tame a chinchilla, then here is our guide to help you.
When to start taming a chinchilla
The sooner you start doing the better. In fact the younger they are the more reactive they are to being tamed.
They have far less fear at a younger age compared to when they get older and so the more you handle them at this young age, the better they will be as they get older at being around humans.
Is it easy to tame a chinchilla?
It is not difficult to tame a chinchilla but it does need patience. It important to not make sudden movements which may scare them.
Noises around the home may cause them alarm as well and cause them to retreat inside their home to where they feel more secure.
If your chinchilla is roaming around a room at this time, they may retreat somewhere like behind a piece of furniture until they feel that the coast is clear.
If you are starting out with a young chinchilla who has recently been weaned, it should be quite easy to win their confidence, however it is not something that can be achieved instantly. Younger members of your family who are eager to handle the chinchilla may need to be supervised in their interactions with it and have the situation explained to them.
How to get a chinchilla to trust you
Using treats is a great way of motivating your chinchilla into working with you. You can use larger treats such as a dandelion leaf or a piece of carrot for taming a chinchilla which isnt too keen on being handled.
The taming process can begin by sitting alongside the cage and talking to your chinchilla.
Give them a treat and offer it to them out of your hand.
If they happen to ignore it at first then be patient and be persistent.
Make your words softly spoken and give them encouragement so your chinchilla can get used to the sound of your voice.
Don’t be tempted to wave the food around but be subtle with your movements..
You may find that they come up and sniff your hand first to check you out rather than taking the food straight away.
If you have to leave the vicinity, then just leave the treat in the same place where you were offering it.
When you return they will have probably eaten the treat.
They are most likely to be responsive from late afternoon and into the evening, so don’t try this in the morning as they wont be at their best and will probably be asleep in their home.
Once the chinchilla feels comfortable taking a treat from your hand then just let it slide out of your fingers and wait until they have totally backed off with the treat before moving your hand away. Any sudden movements whilst they are still in the vicinity may result in them dropping the treat and retreating to their home.
Try and do this process every day at around the same time. Routine is important in the taming process and helps to build trust with the chinchilla.
In fact, they are more likely to come out to anticipate you coming to their cage them more you do it, and will end up waiting for you. This will build up the bond between you. It is also helpful to use this time to check on your pet’s health for any signs of illness.
What treats can be used to tame a chinchilla?
Once you have used treats such as dandelion leaves or slices of carrot, you can move to smaller treats such as raisins. You can also get healthy chinchilla treats from pet stores.
However, do stick to those designated and especially made for chinchillas.
Treats can also be used to coax a reluctant chinchilla out of a hiding place and a way to get them to do something you want them to do. They also work as a positive reinforcement for when they do something you ask them to do.
By rewarding positive behaviour, you also encourage them to repeat the task or behaviour.
However, it might be worth in time, moving between rewarding with treats and verbal praise or even cuddling them to ensure that they don’t become too dependent on the treat.
Using a routine to tame a chinchilla
As previously mentioned, when it comes to taming a chinchilla then a routine is one of the most important things you could do.
So when it comes to handling them, allowing your chinchilla out of their home regularly at the same time each day will allow them to anticipate this time and learn to look forward to it.
When you first handle your chinchilla, you may get nipped when attempting to handle them. Although they have sharp teeth that can give a nasty wound if you are not careful, a chinchilla is unlikely to react in this way when they are picked up. It is more likely that they will bite you when they are getting a treat from your hand.
How to pick up a chinchilla
Firstly, speak quietly to them and provide reassurance to them. This will ensure that they are less inclined to struggle. Do bear in mind that chinchillas do compare being held tightly to being gripped by a predator.
Secondly, when you pick them up don’t overpower them, just make sure that they are not able to wriggle free and fall out of your hands.
Thirdly, carry out the process of catching your chinchilla with minimal disturbance. It may even help if you simply take your chinchilla out of their nest box choosing a time immediately before they would normally wake up.
A chinchilla will soon get used to being roused from their sleep and will not resent it as much.
Fourthly, when picking up a chinchilla, scoop them up by plaing your hands on each side of the body to slow them down so that they don’t try to run away.
Fiftly, gently slide you hand udner their body just behind the body just behind the front legs.
Sixthly, Shift your other hand more centrally over the chinchilla’s back so that you can lift them up safely and give them adequate support beneath their body especially around their rear end.
The importance of this is that if your chinchilla feels uncomfortable and thinks that they are likely to slip out then they will struggle and become even more likely to do so.