Knowing how many chnchilllas to get when you are first looking is going to be something that you will want to think about. Depending on how much time you have to spend with your furry friend you may want to consider getting a 2nd companion. I was thinking the same thing when researching chinchillas and am happy to share what I found out.
Are Chinchillas Better In Pairs? Chinchillas are naturally social animals, they live in large herds ranging upward of 25-200 per herd. They use each other for warnings of danger, for grooming each other, and for play. As they are social animals it is understandable that keeping more than one is more natural to them.
If you keep a single chinchilla you must give it a lot of attention to make up for what it misses from interaction with each other. This will increase the bonding with you but you may find that the demand on you is very significant to keep them from getting bored and stressed.
There are some cases where a chinchilla will be very aggressive around other chinchillas and need to be kept separate from others. You will need to know your chinchilla to know what is best for them.
Bonding With Other Chinchillas
The easiest way to bond chinchillas is to keep siblings together. It is best if they are 2 males or 2 females, otherwise you will need to get at least the male neutered. Another easy way is to keep a mother and child (preferably a daughter) together, again getting the male neutered.
If you are getting 2 from different litters then it is best to introduce them to each other when they are both very young. And when doing so make sure that you introduce them both to their permanent habitat at the same time so there will not be any territorial issues.
When you get a pair that are already bonded do not separate them even for a few days, This may break the bond they have and they may never bond again. There is nothing that you can do to make 2 chinchillas bond, they will either do this or not. You can sometimes have 2 chinchillas that will live together in the same space non-aggressively but not bond to each other.
Bonding To Their Owners
It is easier to get a chinchilla to bond with you if you only have one. It will see you as it’s only friend. This bonding can still take weeks and even months. If you have 2 chinchillas they may not feel the need to bond with you as much since they have each other.
You will want to spend time with each one separately as well as time with both together. This may not take as much time as you would have to spend with just one. With 2 they also have each other for company, you will need to devote more time to one that only has you for his companionship.
Either way it can take a lot of time and effort for you to get a close connection with your chinchilla. This cannot be forced, you must let your chinchilla decide that it trusts you and get close to you. Otherwise you will have a fearful and stressed chinchilla.
How To Introduce A New Chinchilla
There are 2 ways to do this.
First – Side by side
Side-by-side or split cage method. For this you will need 3 cages and everything that goes in 2 of them. 2 of them can be a little smaller but the final permanent habitat must be large enough to house 2 chinchillas together. And you must be prepared to always have 2 cages in case the chinchillas can never be housed together.
Set the cages up side by side with about 4 inches between them. This distance will allow them to smell each other, hear each other, and see each other but it will not allow them to bite paws, ears or tails of each other. Keep an eye on how they are reacting to each other at this proximity.
Try swapping the cages around now and then so they smell each other from different directions. You could even swap the toys and houses from cage to cage, just to mix up the scents, Maybe even switch which cage you put the chinchillas in. This will give them both a good mixture of the other chinchillas scents.
The permanent habitat needs to be thoroughly cleaned and have no scents of either chinchilla. During the introduction period this cage should only contain 2 water bottles and 2 feed bowls. The first introduction should last only about 15 min. This will keep them from getting to stressed.
Try putting a dust bath in the introduction area, but this must be an open dish and large enough for them both. Something like a 9×13 cake pan, with just a small amount of dust on the bottom. This may encourage them to groom each other, a very good bonding technique.
Don’t stress if this doesn’t happen right away. You may have to repeat this step many times. If they are getting along increase the time a little each time. Once you feel comfortable leaving them together be sure to monitor them because things can change.
Second – Smooshing
Smooshing -With this method you get a small carrier and put the chinchillas in it with just a water bottle, some food, and some bedding. The carrier should be small enough that they can’t fight in it. There should not be anything that belongs to any one chinchilla in the carrier.
You can take them and walk around or go for a drive. This will divert their attention to what is going on around them instead each other. You can do this for short periods of time increasing the time as you go. Or you can do it for a few days and see how it goes at the end.
I have read that this is a good way to do it if you are introducing one chinchilla to 2 or 3 that are already cagemates. I do not think this is a kind way to treat them. Sometimes they will still not be bonded at the end of this and you will have to start over.
With all the information already put in this post you wouldn’t believe how much more there will be. Some of the best is still to come.
Can Male Chinchillas Live Together
Yes, male chinchillas can live together. Male chinchillas are less territorial than females are. This makes them a little more ready to share a cage with another male chinchilla.
They are more dominant and aggressive especially during the breeding season. If you have females in the same cage with males the males will fight over breeding rights and dominance. It is best to have Just males or just females in the same cage.
Older Chinchillas Baby young Chinchillas
This will all depend on the chinchillas themselves. It is no different then trying to pair any others. You will have to watch a little closer because of the size difference, and you may want to keep them close but separate, till the little one is about full grown. There is no real rule on when to put them together, if they are fine with each other then you do not have to wait.
There is no way to know in advance if you can put a new chinchilla into the cage with one you already have. It is a lot of work and patience to do so. Make sure that you know what the sexes are. And good luck in your choices.