How Affectionate are Chinchillas?

While considering getting a chinchilla I did so much research, I felt almost like an expert before making up my mind. I’m sure you too wonder some of the same things. One of my main questions, when I started, was if chinchillas are affectionate. 

Are Chinchillas Affectionate? Yes, chinchillas are absolutely affectionate. They show their affection in many ways. Sitting in your hands and in your lap. They make cooing and crackling noises. They will make little grooming moves like chewing on your hair and petting you. They can cuddle up to you. 

There are a number of ways that a chinchilla will show his affection for you.

They will climb all over you using you as a jungle gym. They will take treats and food from your hands. As affection can mean different things to people I will hit just a few areas that seem to be the most in question. 

Chinchilla likes being petted, more than being held. They like to be rubbed around the head, and neck, and on the back. When just sitting in your lap they enjoy a good soft rub. They are even known to start petting you back. 

Yes, you can hold a chinchilla. Just do not hold them to tight, as they can get injured easily. Some chinchillas like to be held for a short time. Some even get used to it and enjoy it for longer periods.

While you can get them to be held and petted, cuddling is different. Some love to cuddle and some never will. You can’t force this unless you want your chinchilla to fear you and run from you.

Now that we know for sure that chinchillas are affectionate, I feel it important to tell you some more information, that will help aid you on your journey to get this affection from a chinchilla.


Trust isn’t something that happens the day you get one, or even in the first few days. It will take several weeks and in some cases even a couple of months. This is the first step you must get through. This step can take 2-4 weeks or even longer in some cases. Do not rush this. 

Just care for his needs, and talk to him softly. Going to the cage several times a day. Just letting him know you are there. Just keep it short and always calm. It is quite nice to reach the point that your chinchilla gives you high regard, trust, and affection. Before you know it your chinchilla will love it when he sees you near and will do whatever he can to get your attention.

Especially if you only have one chinchilla you will find that he will thrive on your attention. They are very social animals and need to both get and give attention and affection. This is very important as they are naturally part of a very large pack. They can even develop health issues if left alone for to long.

Holding a Chinchilla 

Chinchilla skeletons are delicate, and they can get rib damage easily. So you must be careful when holding a chinchilla that you do not hold them to tightly. Also, when picking them up you must take care not to grip them tightly around the rib area. Just knowing this can help you in finding a way to avoid the problem. 

Some say to scoop them up, and some have said to pick them up back toward the tail. Each has their own reasons for their advice. I say follow the instructions of whom you get your chinchilla from, as that is what they are used to. You can then change this over time as you will learn your particular chinchilla and find a way that works well for both of you.

You can offer treats to make your chinchilla sit longer in your hands or lap. You can sit on a couch with a folded towel in your lap letting them explore the towel. They are naturally active, curious, and love to explore. So getting them to just sit and be held for extended periods takes some patience, extending the time a little bit longer each time. 

Petting a Chinchilla

Your chinchilla may never get to the point that they like being held and petted. But, getting their trust is the biggest hurdle. They can after a while enjoy just sitting quietly with you and being petted. Just be prepared for them to start petting you back. This again is very natural for these animals.

If you can have playtime with your chinchilla, then maybe you can get them to like sitting and being held and petted. If your playtime is letting them climb on you while letting them feel free to flee when scared they learn to trust you. Once they trust you are not just a giant enemy or predator, you will become a part of their pack and win their heart.

Cuddling your Chinchilla

Spending plenty of time with your chinchilla and learning what he likes and doesn’t like. Don’t push the boundaries he sets. You will have clear signs of what is and isn’t acceptable. I have found so much information on this. Some chinchillas really like to be cuddled. Other chinchillas do not want to be cuddled, even if they like to be held and petted.

You will just have to try it for a short time and if it doesn’t work, just wait a few days and try again. Do not force it for long periods of time if your chinchilla is unhappy with it. Even if you get lucky and get a cuddle, it doesn’t mean that you will get it on demand. Always be careful to not push it, and lose the trust you have earned. 

Your Chinchilla Love

You will be able to tell once you have gained your chinchillas’ trust, and therefore, his being around. He will start taking food or treats from your hands. Eventually working up love. First off he will not hide from you all the time. This is a sign of comfort with you to climbing on you. The greatest is when they will sit and let you hold, and pet, and cuddle a little with them.

Another sign is in the sounds that he makes. Sometimes a barking sound can mean that he is afraid, and another chinchilla can bark when it is excited. There are cooing sounds and an almost chirping sound. 

From everything that I have found there is no way to really know what these sounds mean until you know your chinchilla. I have found sites that say this sound means this, but then another site will say that sound means something else. The thing is that you have to know your chinchilla and learn what it means when he makes a certain sound.

Spend the time it takes to know your chinchilla. Love them just the way they are and have the patience to move forward together. Know that as people change with time so will your chinchilla. Some of these changes will come rapidly and some will take some time and lots of patience. 

For all the time you spend, you will find new traits in your chinchilla that are completely different than any information about another chinchilla. 

If you find that a chinchilla will join your family. Enjoy your new little furry baby and give them all the time and attention and love that you can. Forever, keeping the relationship with your chinchilla growing.

Rick Matthews

Hello, I am Rick Matthews, I have helped raise 100's of pets in my life living with my Father who while we did not live on a farm, raised all sorts of animals to sell them to families. We had so many different pets we all quickly became experts intending to them and helping them stay healthy. Back then we did not have the internet to look up thing on how to take care of their kids. As my kids got older, they wanted pets and of course, I did not want to have as many as we did when I was a child, but wanted to share my experiences. Many of these articles are written to help educate families on what to expect when looking to get a new pet for their children.

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