Should I Get Another Chinchilla?

This question comes up all the time from chinchilla owners, as it rightfully and naturally would. Should I get another chinchilla for my existing chinchilla(s)? Is my chinchilla lonely? Does my chinchilla deserve a playmate? Cage mate? Best friend?

The answer, unequivocally, is no. Well, it’s no and yes. Let me explain!CuddlesIf you are a current chinchilla owner, you know that chinchillas are unique animals that are a true gift to the world! They have one-of-a-kind personalities with their own cute idiosyncrasies, adorable quirks, and delightful oddities that are distinct to each individual pet. This allows us to come to a few conclusions: 1. Chinchillas are particular, 2. Chinchillas are individualistic, and 3. Chinchilla behavior can sometimes be categorized as inexplicable. These reasonable conclusions – along with the fact that chins can be territorial – show us that the odds of one chinchilla getting along with another chinchilla is slim (depending on your chinchilla’s personality, of course).Mitty smilesThis is not to say that chinchillas can’t be properly introduced over time and come to be great mates – it’s only to say that your chinchilla does not need another chinchilla to live a long, happy life. This is a main point to consider. In my personal experience, every single one of my chinchillas (with the exception of the mosaic sisters Lulu and Fifi) live alone in their own cage and are living a healthy, satisfying existence. Do I wish they got along? Of COURSE! Did I try to bond them within reason? Definitely! Do I still have dreams? Forever and always. It’s my dream for all my babies to cuddle up and coo at me. However, it’s only a dream – that’s my reality, and that’s okay.Koko Cuteness BellyThe only reason you should get another chinchilla is because YOU – as a responsible, capable owner – want to take on the duty of another precious life in your home. That means double the mess, double the work, double the expense, double the personality, and double the adorable joy that comes from each and every chinchilla. Be aware that your decision will impact YOUR life, your existing chinchilla’s life, and your new chinchilla’s life as well. The main focus should be the well-being of your pets, despite their ability to cohabitate.Mitty sleepingSo, let’s say you’re ready to take the next step: another fluffy baby in the household! Great: congratulations for coming to this decision based solely on your willfulness to take on another chinchilla, understanding the great probability that he or she may not be able to live amicably with your current chinchilla. Bravo! What’s next? Firstly, if you have intentions to house your chinchillas together, you must purchase a chinchilla of the same sex (unless one of them has been fixed). Then, be sure to purchase all the necessities your FIRST chinchilla required: new cage, water bottles, shelves, hammocks, accessories, food bowls, and fleece! Do not pick up another chinchilla without first getting all the essentials that he or she may need. Never assume you can just plop him or her in with your existing fluffball – that could have devastating consequences for either or both babies. It’s also good to brush up on the basics for each new chinchilla, as no two are alike.sistersThen, you can introduce your chinchillas slowly to one another, placing their cages near one another to allow them to get accustomed to new smells and the new presence. I won’t go into the controversial topic of talking about how exactly to introduce your chinchillas, as there are plenty of suggestions out there and very strongly opinionated owners. The safest way that I have found is to place them in proximity to one another with a barrier and allow them to react to one another without having to fear for their safety. Based on their reactions initially and over time, you can safely determine how they might react with one another. In my experience, my boys got along until the ladies arrived, and the ladies never got along with one another (aside from the sisters, of course). I would never consider housing the males and females together because none of them are fixed, and I don’t have the capability to take care of any kits with my very full-time job if anything were to go wrong with the birth. I can’t stomach the idea of losing any of my existing babies, even to their babies.

 

What I’ve learned is that my chinchillas are generally solitary animals, and I am their best human friend. I clean, scratch, and provide emotional support to them (oft via song), and they have shown me time and time again that they don’t need – and never needed – another chinchilla friend for them to live a loved, loving life. No, your chinchilla is not lonely or lacking. Are they bored sometimes? Maybe. But that’s what stimulating cages, safe chews, and occasional treats or playtimes are for! You can provide a beautiful, fulfilling life for your chinchilla – never doubt that. They do deserve a great mate, and I’m certain they can find that in you.scratches

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8 comments

  1. Fantastic article!

    Me and my husband have been debating on whether or not getting a second chinchilla would be a good idea and your post really hit home with us, especially this line.

    “They do deserve a great mate, and I’m certain they can find that in you.”

    We were both worried that he was lonely, but it’s reassuring to hear that the chances are likely slim that she would get along with another chin regardless. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jen,

      I’m so glad you, your husband, and your lovely chin-child found some use in this article! I know that if you’re concerned for her happiness enough to do some research before jumping the gun on another chinchilla, then you’re on a great path for a long life of fluffy love 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am very glad you have posted this. It gave me some insight. I have been debating back and forth whether to get my 1.5 year old male chinchilla a friend, but also didn’t want to bring another one in just to have them fight or not get along. Thank you for this information.

    Like

  3. I am so grateful for this article, which has information not found anywhere else.

    Eight months ago I rescued a male chin from an animal sanctuary and was worried that he needed company, as in all the books chinchillas are described as gregarious animals preferring company to solitary lives.

    The rescue did not mention the need for a companion, as they normally do if the animal was used to living with others, so I assumed he was solitary and surrendered due to his bad temper. I must say he is very idiosyncratic (not to say wild), and has very strong likes and dislikes, especially in the design of his cage: he thinks he is the architect, not me. On the other hand, he is an enormous amount of fun at playtime and looks happy enough living on his own. Now, thanks to the article, I have one less thing to worry about..

    Thank you also for the comment about the communication via song; I have a voice that would scare frogs out of their pond but when I sing to my chin he falls blissfully asleep. Not only I finally have someone appreciating my total lack of singing talent but I know I can continue using it as a good communication means.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Alix,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your thoughts! It made my (and the floofs’) day.

      It sounds like your chin is a unique and strong-minded little fellow – what a treat! I’ve found it is a real joy to discover how their personalities untangle and evolve over time as trust grows and bonds form. Muff was a spunky, headstrong rascal when I first brought him home years ago, and turned into a really sweet ball of joy (still spunky, and ever-unique!).

      I encourage you to use your relationship with him to explore all the ways you can bring joy to one another’s lives – and, of course, may that include plentiful singing and sweet nothings! 😀

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  4. My female chinchilla, Chica, is dying from malocclusion (she’s on pain meds and antibiotics) and was told surgery wasn’t an option by the vet. I don’t know if her female cage mate/sister, Chichi, can sense how sick Chica is. They are very, very close and don’t like being alone. Chica is like an extrovert always exploring new places with care in the world, however, Chichi is the opposite. If Chica doesn’t lead the way, Chichi won’t budge an inch. For the past three years, Chichi has been dependent on Chica, always at her side. I’m afraid of what will come when Chica is no longer around. I’ve read a lot about introducing a new cage mate, but everyone has a different situation with different solutions. So should I introduce a new cage mate? Also, I have the double story critter nation cage and a whole room for my chinchilla’s, and I am willing to buy another addition to the cage if needed.

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    1. Hi Sofia,
      I’m so sorry to hear about Chica’s health. It certainly seems as if she is well-loved by Chichi and yourself, so know that your love matters to her in her remaining days, months, or years. As with humans, chinchillas can grieve in their own ways and for differing periods of time – as you may know, they have long memories and build strong bonds with humans and other chinchillas throughout their lives. If Chica passes away, I would give Chichi some time to acclimatize to her new life situation, and give her lots of love and regular playtime or interactions with you.
      After a few months of recovering from your mutual loss, I’d gauge your own feelings about getting another chinchilla and go from there. Ultimately, it will be your decision about bringing another chinchilla into your family, but keep in mind that there is always a real possibility that Chichi and your new chinchilla will not get along and they will have to live separately. I really hope this helps! ❤

      Like

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