Chinchillas really enjoy exploring and usually prefer to snuffle around in their own time, rather than being held and stroked. Chinchillas are also delicate pets and can easily be injured if they’re not handled properly.
If you’re looking for a small pet that will enjoy being picked up and held, we’d recommend rats or ferrets.
Why are Chinchillas nervous about being held?
In the wild, Chinchillas are hunted by other animals. It’s natural for them to be nervous, especially of a big animal like us humans!
Chinchillas have developed some special ways to defend themselves if they feel threatened. One way they do this is ‘fur slip’ where they shed patches of fur so they can escape if another animal gets hold of them. They can even lose their tails if they’re grabbed by them (which will never grow back). Obviously, this can be a bit of a shock for an owner, so it’s always best to handle your chinchilla with care and consideration.
Like lots of small pets, Chinchillas can sometimes bite if they’re scared or if they’re picked up and handled roughly.
How to pick up your Chinchillas
It’s really important to learn how to pick up and hold your Chinchillas safely so they don’t panic and don’t get injured.
Adults should pick up Chinchillas by:
- Placing one hand under or around the chest area.
- Lifting and supporting their hind legs with your other hand.
- Holding your Chinchilla close to your body for security.
- Keeping your Chinchilla upright to protect their delicate spine.
Young children and chinchillas
We recommend that children don’t pick up Chinchillas because they’re delicate pets and can bite when frightened. Instead, let children interact with Chinchillas in a safe area at ground level. You can do this by:
- Creating a secure area where the Chinchillas can run free.
- Asking the child to sit on the floor or a low seat.
- Giving the child some of the Chinchillas favourite treats and allowing the Chinchillas to take the treat in their own time.
- As they become more comfortable with the situation, the chinchillas will spend more time closer to the child and can be petted gently whilst given treats.