If you have a chinchilla as a pet, it’s important to know that they may sometimes exhibit several troublesome behaviors. These may often be due to improper care or poor housing conditions— chinchillas have complex needs. As a chinchilla owner, you should ensure that you are able to identify your chinchilla’s aggression and possible reasons. At times, one of the causes might even be you.
Chinchillas are caviomorph rodents of the Abrocomidae family. They originated from South America, and they can live for 12 to 20 years. Some of their common breeds include long-tailed chinchilla and short-tailed chinchilla. Due to their soft fur, both breeds can be endangered due to hunting. Characteristically, they are social animals that like living in groups in the wild. Also, they are docile and active, especially in the evening and at night. The suitable diet to give to chinchillas when kept as a pet include rodent pellets and grass hay.
Unlike other pets, chinchillas don’t enjoy being held. They are also easily stressed by changes to their routines. Besides, chinchillas are very active at a young age and at night. Since sometimes they may feel threatened by your presence, its important that you make your chinchillas feel slightly more comfortable when you’re around them. While this may take some time, it is a crucial step in enforcing the bond between you and your pet chinchilla.
One of the common questions asked by those who keep chinchillas as pets is that “is it normal for chinchillas to be aggressive?” and “ should I be worried about it?”
There are a few possible reasons chinchillas can be aggressive to their owners or cage mates. These include:
It has already been established that chinchillas are active animals that always need to do something. On the contrary, if they are idle, they can get easily bored and they might attack or act aggressively to cage mates because they have limited activities to participate in the cage.
Chinchillas need space to retreat when they perceive threats. In other words, they are animals that don’t trust easily, so when they feel threatened, they look for their own safe space to retreat from their owners or even cage mates. However, they may feel aggressive and attack you if there isn’t enough space in the cage.
Your Chinchillas may exhibit aggression as a sign of discomfort when they are sick or feeling unwell. Some of the signs of aggression of chinchillas you should watch out for include biting and barking, a rhythmic, urgent sound that can sound similar to a duck quacking. You should also bear in mind that chinchillas tend to bite when stressed. Hence, punishing or reprimanding them is not helpful for the situation.
Here’s how you should react do to make your chinchillas less aggressive when it bites you:
Avoid removing your hand immediately or producing loud noises: Chinchillas interpret this as a threat and a sign that you may attack it as a response
Ensure your hands stay at the same spot: This is to show that your hand’s proximity does not mean you want to attack them.
Avoid punishing your pet after an act of aggression: Chinchillas will interpret a punishment as a response to their bite, causing more stress.
Here are some tips to help your chinchilla feel more comfortable and minimize the chances of aggression:
Chinchillas are not receptive to changes. As a result, any alteration to their daily routine would put them in great stress. Hence, as owners, you should try not to make any changes to their routine, as well as environment.
As highly active animals, chinchillas need an outlet for all their energy. Bringing them for regular walks around the apartment would be a great way to keep them occupied. It’s even better if you bring them for walks at night, when they are most active.
Sometimes, aggression can be due to the incompatability of chinchillas living together. If you observe than your chinchillas fight often, it would be better to separate them into different cages, to minimize the stress for them.
Chinchillas thrive on personal space, which makes them feel safe. However, if their cages are too small, it eats in on their safe space as well. To tackle this, getting bigger and roomier cages will help to cope your pet’s aggression.