Do Chinchillas Like To Be Held & Cuddled? – Oddly Cute Pets

“Oh goodness, all that fur! I can’t wait to hold that little guy.” That’s a common human reaction upon seeing a chinny.

Chinchillas are the furriest exotic pets out there. They are playful, friendly, and oh-so-cute – totally irresistible. You want to put your hand in his cage, scoop him out, and hug him.

But do chinchillas like to be held and cuddled?

In this article, we’ll explore whether chinchillas enjoy being handled, cuddled, petted, and brushed. We’ll also tell you how to build a bond with your chinny. All these details will help you be a terrific and understanding chinchilla parent.

Key Takeaway:

Most chinchillas don’t like being held and cuddled. They are prey animals in the wild, making them naturally skittish and untrusting. But if you gain your pet chinchilla’s trust and train him well, he’ll enjoy spending time with you. Treats, a big chinchilla cage, and patience can earn you hugs.

How will I know if my chinny doesn’t want to be picked up? Or when he’s ready for some cuddles?

Your chinchilla will show you signs. Follow this article to learn everything about chinchilla’s affection and cuddliness.

chinchillas held cuddled

Do Chinchillas Like to Be Held?

Chinchillas are pretty sociable and affectionate critters. They’re all about the love and attention, whether it’s coming from their human pals or fellow chinchillas. But here’s the deal – they take their sweet time to warm up to you.

So, as new pets, chinchillas don’t like being held. It is because they feel vulnerable when they’re locked in your arms. They can’t run if they feel threatened, which stresses them out.

Plus, new parents don't know how to hold a chinchilla without making the little guy uncomfortable. Chinchillas have delicate ribs; if you apply too much pressure, you'll hurt your pet.

We don’t mean to break your heart, but your chinny doesn’t trust your touch yet. That’s why he prefers to stay out of your arms. But things will get better once you learn how to hold him right (and he trusts you).

We’ll look at the details of how to correctly hold a chinchilla further in the article.

Do Chinchillas Like to Cuddle?

Chinchillas aren’t lap pets. They are more into jumping around and playing than cuddling. But that doesn’t mean they’re not affectionate.

When your chinchilla is in the mood for some love, he’ll nibble on your finger and stick around. 

Basically, they don’t need physical contact as much as emotional closeness with you. They’re like cats that way – not clingy but loving nonetheless.

But do chinchillas cuddle?

Chinchillas don’t enjoy being cuddled. And it’s an immediate no-no if you’re holding them too close and too tight. They’ll try to squirm away and even bite you if they feel threatened.

However, if you gain your pet’s trust, he won’t mind being held in hand or put in a lap. Just no squeezing.

Do Pet Chinchillas Like Being Pet?

Okay, no snuggling. But can I at least pet my chinchilla?

Yes! You can.

Most chinchillas enjoy getting a few scritches and scratches from their owners. Pet your fluffer on his back, around his neck, or on the back of his head, and watch him purr with pleasure! Chin rubs are a big hit, too.

Can I give my chin some belly rubs?

It’s a bit hit or miss when it comes to belly rubs. Some chinchillas are cool with it, but others get a bit jittery because their bellies are sensitive.

Can you pet a chinchilla whenever you want? Nope!

Chinchillas are not always up for a petting session, especially if you’ve been MIA for a while. And if they’ve had a not-so-great history with previous owners or spent way too long in a pet shop before you took them in, they might be a tad hesitant about the whole petting thing.

Chinchillas like to play by their terms. Some are cool with a bit of affection and handling, but others are like, “Hands off, please.”

Bottom line: Tune in to your pet’s vibe, and don’t push it if they’re not feeling it.

Do Chinchillas Like Getting Their Fur Brushed?

Honestly, it depends on your bond with your chinny. If he trusts you, he’ll love it when you brush his fur. It’s like their version of a spa day.

But does chinchilla fur need brushing? No!

Chinchillas are pretty self-sufficient when it comes to grooming - they (and their cage mates) have got it covered. Plus, if your furball is hitting the dust bath regularly, his fur should stay grease-free and squeaky clean.
dust bath chinchilla

Reasons Why Chinchillas Don’t Like Being Held

All that fur and still no cuddling – sad! But their no-hug policy isn’t because they are rude or moody. They have their reasons, and they are pretty valid.

As a loving and responsible parent, you must understand their behavior. Let’s find out the reasons behind the chinchilla snub.

The Prey Nature

Wild chinchillas are used to living in hilly terrains and rocky areas, and their instinct is to constantly be on the lookout for predators. As a result, they get startled by random movements around them. If you try to pick them up, they’ll mistake you for a predator and might even panic or bite.

Delicate Skeletal Structure

Chinchillas might seem big and fluffy, but they’re small and delicate little critters. Most importantly, their skeletal setup is pretty fragile.


Unlike humans, chinchilla ribs are mostly made of cartilage, not bone. Cartilage is more flexible, so the little ones can squeeze through small spaces. But it also means that too much pressure or force while holding them could lead to fractures and injuries.

Chinchillas know they are delicate and fragile, so they prefer to stay safe on the ground.

Don’t Like Strangers

Chinchillas aren’t all buddy-buddy with strangers. It’s kind of an instinct thing – if they don’t recognize your scent, they’re not sure if you’re a friend or a foe. So, they prefer staying away.

But don’t worry; it won’t stay like that forever. As you get to know each other better, your chinchilla will warm up to you. It’s all about that learning curve.

Are there other reasons my chinchilla may not like to be held?

Yep! Here are a few more:

  • Fear of being dropped: Because chinchillas know they’re fragile, they get scared of being dropped from a great height.
  • Feeling unsettled: Being handled is unfamiliar territory for these critters, which might make them feel uncomfortable and stressed out.
  • Too much stimulation: Being held can be overwhelming for them, especially when they haven’t had enough time to adjust and acclimate to their new home.

Signs Your Pet Chinchilla Doesn’t Want to Be Held, Picked Up, or Cuddled

No two chinchillas are the same. They all have different personalities. Some enjoy human interaction, while others don’t.

A new chinchilla parent might not know which side of the fence their chinchilla falls on.

So, how can you tell if your fluffer isn’t the cuddle type? He’ll show you!

Chinchillas are expressive munchkins. And they’re not shy about showing their displeasure about cuddling.

Here are some signs that your chinchilla doesn’t like being held:

  • Hissing and growling: Chinchillas make a hissing or growling noise when they feel threatened. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, back off!”
  • Running away or hiding: If your chinchilla darts off to the other side of the cage when you approach him, it’s a sure sign that he’s not into being handled.
  • Biting: Chinchillas may give you a little nip if they don’t want to be picked up or held.
  • Spraying urine: Female chinchillas will spray urine if they feel stressed or threatened. It’s their way of saying, “Not now!”

Are there other times when I shouldn’t try to cuddle my chinchilla?

Yep! If you have a female chinchilla who’s in heat or a male chinchilla who’s feeling territorial, it might be best to avoid touching them altogether. It could also encourage aggressive behavior like biting and lunging.

If you have a pregnant chinny, let her be. She’s probably looking for some peace!

It's also a good idea to avoid cuddling your chinchilla when they're sick or injured. They're already stressed; don't add to it.

In other words, if your chinchilla looks a bit cranky and out-of-sorts, give him some space.

chinchilla held

Five Tips to Make Your Exotic Pet Enjoy Being Held and Cuddled

Chinchillas are pretty sharp cookies. They can pick up on your vibe and learn to trust and behave around you. Just stay calm and stick to your routine.

But the golden ticket here is building trust. Chinchillas are loving little furballs with some trust hang-ups. If you convince them you’re their buddy and not a threat, they’ll warm up to snuggles and cuddles with you.

So, how do you get on their good side?

Here are some moves to let your chinchilla know you’re all about love:

#1 Give Your Chinny a Nice Home

A stable environment = more chill chinny = more cuddle time!

So, give your pet a nice and cozy home. When it comes to chinchilla cages, bigger is better. Make sure your chinchilla’s cage has lots of room for your pet to run around and explore. And don’t forget about hideaways and comfy bedding materials.

Chinchillas require toys, too. Chew toys like a chinchilla block will keep them entertained. It’s also good for their teeth. Wooden parrot toys also make great chew toys. Just make sure you get one that’s made of safe, non-toxic materials.

Tip: If you’re housing chinchillas together, separate their sleeping and food areas. Otherwise, they might get territorial or nippy with each other.

#2 Build Trust with Chinchilla Treats

Treats are like miracle workers in building trust with exotic pets. Chinchillas eat hay, vegetables, and chinchilla pellets. An occasional treat like raisins, green apples, or raspberries will make them feel extra special.

Tip: Offer treats sparingly and limit the portion size to prevent health issues.

#3 Be Polite with Your Chin

Chinchillas aren’t big fans of loud noises or sudden movements. Talk to your chinchilla in a soft, calming voice, and talk often. Chinchillas have sharp memories; with time, they’ll recognize your voice and come running over.

#4 Give Your Chinchilla Play Time Out of the Cage

Your exotic pet doesn’t have to stay locked up in his cage all day – it’s boring! So, break the monotony and let him out. Get a playpen for your chinchilla and make it chin-ready by adding toys and hay cubes. Show him you’re invested in his happiness so he can learn to trust you. Soon, he’ll reciprocate the love with cuddles!

#5 Be Patient and Don’t Give Up

It might take a little bit of time for your chinchilla to warm up to you. And that’s perfectly okay. Chins are naturally shy animals, so don’t expect them to come out of their shells overnight. Take it slow and give it time – the reward is worth the wait!

You can cultivate trust by showing patience, respect, and plenty of love.

How to Hold a Chinchilla Pet

Once your chinchilla is comfortable with you, it’s time to attempt a gentle hold. But first, you must learn how to hold him right.

The best way is to place one hand under the chinchilla’s chest area and support his hind legs with your other hand. You want to make sure that his feet are secure, so lightly wrap your fingers around his body for extra support.

Can I pick my chinchilla by his tail?

Yes, you can, but only from the base of the tip (where it’s connected to the body) and only when it’s absolutely necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Can I Hold My Chinchilla For?

Can you cuddle a chinchilla for long? Nope!

Too much handling at once can stress out a pet chinchilla. So, it’s best to hold yours for a few minutes at a time and let him go back to his cage afterward.

How Often Should I Hold My Chinchilla?

Well, it depends on your chinchilla’s nature. But, ideally, once a day would be best. This way, it gets used to being held and cuddled by you.

Are Chinchillas Good Pets for Kids?

Domestic chinchillas are gentle, loving animals that make great pets for responsible pet owners. But they’re fragile and easily stressed, so they may not be the best choice for small children.

Do Baby Chinchillas Like to Be Held?

Just like adult chinchillas, baby chinchillas need some time to get used to you and their environment. Give them a few weeks before attempting to pick them up.

Chin-Chillin’ With Your Chinchilla

Every pet parent wishes to get some lovey-dovey moments with their pets. So, it’s justifiable of you to wonder, “Do chinchillas like to be held and cuddled?”.

Thanks to this article, you know that chinchillas have certain trust standards. Meet them to earn cuddling and handling rights. Give your fluffball a cozy home, bribe him with treats, and have a friendly chat with him. If you do it right, he’ll soon understand you’re a friend.

Did you find this article helpful?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we recognize the importance of giving your pet companions the love and care they deserve. That’s why we share helpful articles and pet care tips like these. If you’re looking for more fun pet-related content, keep checking our blog!

Thanks for reading.

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