Chinchillas are native to the Andes Mountains in South America. In their natural habitat, they have plenty of space and motives to run and jump.
How high do chinchillas jump and how fast do they run?
In this article, we are ready to share with you the facts about how active the chinchilla is and how it moves about in the wild and in captivity.
Chinchillas can run at up to 15 mph and jump to 6 feet. These rodents have long feet and powerful hind legs that help them to jump high and run quickly. Chinchilla owners must give these animals 2 to 4 hours of play every day outside of their cages so they can stretch their legs.
Why is running and jumping so important for chinchilla pets in captivity? And how can you encourage your chinchilla to run and jump?
To find the answers to these questions and learn more about your pets’ speed, check out the following section of this article.
Table of Contents
How Fast Can a Chinchilla Run?
Chinchillas are prey animals in the wild and they rely on running as well as other tactics to stay away from their predators.
How fast do chinchillas run?
Chinchillas run at up to 15 mph. They must move quickly on their paws to be able to escape predators such as foxes and wild cats.
Although this is a good speed for a small animal, it is not fast enough for them to escape their very quick predators. Some of their predators can run twice as or even three times as fast as the chinchilla.
To help it, the chinchilla is very agile, so it can run into small crevices and spaces that these large animals would not be able to fit in. The chinchilla is crepuscular and will move about at dusk and dawn to avoid other animals that could pose a threat.
The chinchilla will also move in a large group called a herd to keep safe. Each herd contains up to 100 chinchillas.
Moving in this way helps the chinchilla to protect itself. It also has a defense mechanism called a fur slip where it can release fur to free itself from the grasp of predators when they catch it.
Why Running Is Essential for Chinchillas
Domesticated chinchillas need the freedom to run about like they would do in the wild.
Why is running so important for chinchillas?
When these small animals spend enough time each day running around, they gain lots of health benefits. Here are some of them.
- They remain in good physical health. A healthy chinchilla spends enough time each day running to keep in shape. We love taking good care of our pet chinchillas.
- They have good mental health. These small pets must spend time running each day to prevent stress.
- They are not bored. Chinchillas love to stay active throughout the day. Living in a large cage helps them to have plenty of space to move around.
Encourage Your Pet Chinchillas to Run
Running is good for your chinchilla’s physical and mental health.
But how can you encourage your furry friend to run in captivity?
One important way to do this is by making sure your rodent’s cage is big enough. The enclosure for your pet must measure at least 4x4x3 feet.
If you have more than one chinchilla, your enclosure will need to be even larger. If its enclosure is the right size, it will feel more motivated to run and will have enough space to do so.
If you have a small group of chinchillas it will be best you keep them in a room rather than in a cage. This will give the rodents more space to explore and run.
To give them even more space to run, your chinchillas need at least 2 to 4 hours of free playtime outside of their cages every day. Most owners will allow their rodents to run outside of their cages in the evening when they are most active.
Make sure the space you let your chinchillas run in is completely safe. (More about that later on).
How High Can a Chinchilla Jump?
Do chinchillas jump?
Yes, they do!
Chinchillas are native to the mountainous regions of South America. In their natural habitat, they will jump high from rock to rock.
How high can chinchillas jump?
Chinchillas jump up to 6 feet in the air. Their jumping abilities help them to get the food they need and also to keep clear of dangerous animals.
You will find chinchillas jumping in the wild to reach for berries left on the trees by other small animals. These serve as a source of food for the chinchillas.
A chinchilla jumps to get away from potential predators. They can jump high out of harm’s way to protect themselves.
Encourage Your Pet Chinchillas to Jump
Your chinchilla will enjoy running and jumping in its cage if it feels comfortable in it.
What can you do to make your chinchilla’s cage good for jumping?
Make sure it has multiple levels. Chinchillas jump so high and will love leaping from platform to platform in a cage with more than one level.
Give it plenty of space. The cage must measure 4x4x3 feet to give your chinchilla enough room to run around.
Popcorning and Why Chinchillas Jump
You’ve just seen your chinchilla jumping in an interesting way. It was running and then all of a sudden it lept into the air.
Or perhaps it was calmly sitting on its hind legs when all of a sudden it jumped into the air like a rocket. Yes, chinchillas are excellent jumpers, and these bursts into the air have a special name.
What are they called?
Popcorning is when a chinchilla uses its powerful hind legs and arms to leap high into the air while it runs or while it is standing still. These spring-like jumps are different from normal jumps as they occur while your chinchilla plays.
You will see your chinchilla jump in this way while it is happy, it is not the same jump it will use to get away from a dangerous situation. If your chinchilla popcorns often, that means it’s in a good mood.
But do not worry, as some chinchillas never popcorn. It is something that some of them do and some don’t.
Wall Surfing Chinchilla Jumping Abilities
Your chinchillas jump so high and are so agile that they are practically defying gravity. They popcorn about and run onto the walls of your home.
What is this called?
When a chinchilla leaps and climbs on your walls from a standing start or after running, it is called wall surfing. This is because the chinchilla's strong hind legs force it up onto a wall and across it as if it were surfing on water.
This activity in captivity is associated with happiness and play. When your chinchilla is happy it will begin jumping and running about its cage, wall surfing as it goes.
Making Your Home Safe for Chinchilla Jumps
Regardless of whether you have one rodent or several, adults or baby chinchillas, you want your animals to stay safe while they are playing.
What can you do to give your chinchillas the proper care they need while exercising?
Up next we’re going to discuss how to make one room in your home safe for your chinchilla to run and jump around in.
Choose a Room
When letting your chinchilla outside of its cage, you must choose a room for it to be in where it will not harm itself. Big rooms like the living room or kitchen are unsuitable as they have too many things in them the chinchilla could harm itself on.
A good choice is a spare room that doesn’t have many things in it. A room with tiled flooring is also a good option as it makes it easier for you to clean the floor up after your chinchilla.
Whatever the room you choose, it must be temperature controlled and it must not be drafty. It must not be completely empty either, put some hiding places in it like cardboard boxes that will give your pets something to take cover under.
Block Entrances and Exits
Chinchillas are very agile animals and can quickly slip into unwanted places. To ensure your chinchilla doesn’t end up in an unsafe room, the only solution is to block off the entrances and the exits to the room.
Your chinchilla loves investigating the world around it. It likes to nibble on things in its enclosure.
Because of this, you must remove any dangerous wires from the room where you will keep your chinchilla. Make sure it always has enough food and water to drink even when it is outside of its cage.
Secure any Shelves
Your chinchilla has strong hind legs which it uses to jump from rock in the wild. But when creating a room for your pets indoors, you must make sure it is safe.
Any shelves or levels in the room must be completely secure. They must not be more than 60 cm in the air as chinchillas often fall off of platforms because of clumsiness.
In an unsafe room, a chinchilla could fall off an unsteady shelf. If it falls from a height, it could easily end up with broken ribs or other broken bones.
If your chinchilla falls from height you must take it to the vet immediately for revision. They usually recover well from minor fractures but the vet will ensure the chinchilla does not have any damaged organs or any more serious injuries.
Chinchilla Running and Jumping FAQs
Chinchillas live very active lives. They are native to the Andes Mountain range in South America where they must run and jump to escape their many predators.
Do you have a new chinchilla at home and wonder about how it runs and jumps?
Then check out the following answers to these most asked questions about chinchilla activity. You will find the most interesting facts about chinchillas below.
What Is the Top Speed of a Chinchilla?
Chinchillas need to run quickly when evading predators in the wild.
How fast can a chinchilla run?
The top speed of a chinchilla is 15 mph. It will run quickly in an attempt to get away from foxes and wild cats that chase it on the ground.
In the wild, these animals will also run quickly to try to take cover from birds such as owls and hawks.
Do Chinchillas Get the Zoomies?
Chinchillas can jump and run thanks to the power in their back legs.
But do they get the zoomies?
Your chinchilla will love running around its cage when it is playing and having fun. Fast runs called zoomies occur when the chinchilla is really enjoying itself.
When this happens, all you will see is a ball of fur dashing around the room. It is quite entertaining to watch.
Can Chinchillas Run in a Ball?
Chinchillas are very active animals and love to run and move about in their enclosures.
But is an exercise ball good for a chinchilla?
Exercise balls are not good for chinchillas for many reasons. One reason is because they simply are too small for them.
Chinchillas, although they are small animals, are much larger than the hamsters and gerbils that these wheels are designed for. You must not put them in one.
Chinchillas must not use a ball because they can overheat in it. Chinchillas have very dense fur they cannot sweat through.
Trapping your pet in a ball will quickly cause it to overheat and it could die.
Your pet must not use a ball because it could get a foot caught in it. A ball with slats is very dangerous for a chinchilla.
Can Chinchillas Run on a Wheel?
We all want our pet chinchillas to get as much exercise in captivity as they would in the wild.
But is a chinchilla running wheel a good idea?
Running wheels for chinchillas are a great way for them to stay active. When choosing a wheel for your animal, keep the following in mind.
- Get a big enough wheel. Make sure the wheel was designed for chinchillas and not for any other small animal.
- Get a wheel with a solid running surface. Wheels with rungs or mesh flooring are not suitable for chinchillas as they can hurt their feet and cause injuries.
- Use an open-wheel design. This design will ensure your chinchilla gets enough ventilation while it runs. This will prevent it from overheating.
Running, Jumping, and Your Chinchilla
Chinchillas are sweet, furry, loving pets so many people underestimate the awesome power they’ve got in their back legs that give them the ability to bolt across a room or leap to height.
Thanks to this article, we’ve seen that the fastest speed recorded by these animals in the wild is 15 mph. Chinchillas can jump to a height of 6 feet.
Did you find this article interesting?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best articles about chinchillas, hamsters, gerbils, and other rodents. For more information about what you must feed chinchillas or other small animals, check out our website.
Thanks for reading!