How Fast Are Chinchillas?

One of the many things when researching a new pet is to know if they are fast little guys. I was wondering just how fast this little guy was before making my decision, you may be thinking about this as well. Here is what I found.

Chinchillas can run up to 15 miles per hour. Their speed helps them avoid being caught by prey animals in the wild. This can also make catching them to return them to their cage difficult. Their feet have no fur on them, this helps with speed, jumping, and making fast directional changes.

How Fast Can They Run compared to other animals?

A chinchilla can run up to 15 miles per hour. This is an incredible speed when you compare it to other rodents and animals. Of small pets, the second-fastest is the mouse at 8 mph. The hedgehog is the slowest and comes in at a mere 4 mph. The hampster, gerbil, and guinea pig are all in the 6 mph. Range.

With other non-pet animals, the wild turkey has the same 15 mph. speed as the chinchilla. The squirrel hits 12 mph. The pig and chicken are even slower at 11 and 9 mph. A pet chinchilla may have no need to, nor want to run at that speed, This speed is usually used when fearful or when trying to escape. 

Their speed is what helped ensure their survival in the wild. They are food for many animals and birds. They would have to many times a day dart for the cover of rocks to avoid being dinner. 

Can Chinchillas Jump High?

Chinchillas can jump 6 feet straight up from a standing start. That is amazing since the NBA has the standing jump record at just under 4 feet. This was a needed trait so they could get around on the boulders of the Andes Mountains. It could allow them to jump over the animals wanting to catch them. They can jump in the air and come down spinning to take off in a new direction, it is to bad this didn’t keep them safe from fur hunters.

Do Chinchillas Need A Running Wheel?

Chinchillas are very fast creatures and need a lot of exercise. An Exercise ball or Running wheels allows your pet to keep up with their daily needs of physical fitness.

They need a lot of different exercising to keep healthy. It can also keep them from getting bored and into trouble and destructive. They can also become fat, stressed, and unhappy if they do not get proper exercise, this is not good for their health. A wheel is also the only way that your chinchilla can truly run at top speed in captivity. Even when out of the cage most places do not have the room for them to run all out for long.

However, that being determined, a wheel should not be used in place of them having playtime out of the cage, but instead as a way to ensure that they get as much exercise as they want. They should get at least 1-2 hours out of the cage daily.

You will need to be careful in the wheel that you choose. It should be large enough for an adult chinchilla. At least 14-16 inches in diameter, with a 5-inch running base. It should have a solid running floor so your chinchilla will not get injured by getting its toes caught in the slits.

Be sure to choose a wheel without an axle shaft in the middle. This will cause your chinchilla to run with an arched back to keep his tail from getting caught, which can cause problems. If you choose a wheel that doesn’t attach to the cage, be sure that the base is sturdy enough and stable enough that it will not turn over with your chinchilla inside.

After researching and a lot of reading the Chin Spin seems to be the best choice, this is just my opinion and a tip for you to look at. It comes in multiple colors, is made of metal and wood. The cost will be about $120. On Amazon. There are other wheels worth checking out as well. Steer clear of plastic wheels if possible.

Do not get a wheel for your chinchilla until it is at least 8 months old. Until then they are not able to regulate their temperature. They could very easily get overheated. 

There are things you can do to encourage them to get exercise. Out of the cage, playtime is best, however, you can entice them to use wheels by putting some dust on the wheel to get them started. Or perhaps use a treat to encourage them, or use something else.

What Other Excercise Equipment Do They Need?

There are a few other things available besides the Wheel. There is a giant ball that they can be put in and roll around. These are hard for them to control when wanting to stop. These balls are also prone to letting your chinchilla overheat. Even though they have slits for air they can get hot inside. The slits for air are also a spot for your chinchilla’s toes to get caught in. 

However, if your cage is to small for a proper wheel and you can’t just let them out to run this is better than no exercise at all. You will need to keep a close eye on them even in a ball to make sure they are not overexerted. 

Exotic Nutrition also has a 14-inch treadmill wheel that may be a good option. The flat spinning design is intriguing. This seems like it would be more natural than the upright wheels are. They wouldn’t need to arch their backs at all with this setup.

The construction of this item is all metal, with no risk of them chewing on it. They have replacement bearings that you can get and change yourself. They recommend changing them 1-2 times a year. However, this item is slatted and that could lead to feet getting caught. 

The 14-inch treadmill will cost about $50.

These two items are not needed unless it is the only way for you to provide them with exercise. They are only listed for you to review for yourself. I am not recommending them just informing you that they are out there as options. I know that a chinchilla needs a lot of exercise and some people need options to accomplish this.


They can run extremely fast for such a small animal. At 15 mph they are the fastest of all small animals that we call pets. Their speed was for protection but they still need to be able to run flat out so they can be happy and relaxed. 

They can jump higher than expected. At 6 feet they can jump much higher than a human can. This is why their cage must have some height with platforms for them to jump back and forth between.

For the mental and physical health of your chinchilla, it must have exercise. A wheel is a good way for them to get this. Out of cage is ideal but they still need some sort of way to get exercise when in the cage. 

Without proper exercise, your chinchilla will get stressed These little guys need to be able to run and jump.

If you are interested in learning more about chinchillas please visit one of our other articles What do Chinchillas Eat

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.

Recent Posts