Do chinchillas bite? An Informative Guide

  • By: FerretGuides
  • Time to read: 7 min.
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When considering getting a chinchilla as a pet, it is only fair to understand what to expect. Now, chinchillas do bite in some circumstances. However, younger chinchillas should be taught that biting is unacceptable.

I must say that it is not always that your chinchillas will bite out of aggression. Quite the contrary as they are normally social and friendly. This article covers biting as a behavioral problem in chinchillas. The good news is that you can be able to train your chinchilla that biting is prohibited.

The only way to solve this problem is by understanding why your chinchilla is biting you. Has it always happened or did you bring home a biter? Well, read on to understand everything you need to know about biting in chinchillas.


Do chinchillas bite

Why do chinchillas bite?


pets will engage in certain behavior looking forward to the outcome. Therefore, you must observe and analyze your chinchilla to understand why your chinchilla is biting. Several situations could lead to a gentle chinchilla to bite.

Some of the reasons why chinchillas bite includes:


Poor socialization


Have you had your chinchilla for a while and he won’t stop biting you? It could be that your chinchilla has not been socialized with humans. If you adopted a young chinchilla, you should socialize with them as much as possible.

Also, you must take some time to teach your chinchilla that biting is acceptable. We shall discuss how to train chinchillas late in this article.

When you fail to socialize your chinchilla well, he might nip at strangers and mostly children. As I have mentioned above, these pets are friendly. However, without exposure to human interaction, he might not know that biting is not allowed.


New chinchillas tend to bite


If you recently adopted a chinchilla, he could bite because he is scared. Well, changing the environment and even ownership can be stressful for a chinchilla. I always urge new chinchilla owners to allow them some space to adapt to the changes.

When handling a chinchilla, you must understand that they dislike change. Set up his cage and give him some time to adjust. Do not try to pick him up the very first day you bring him home. This can be scary for him and he will result in biting you.

Understand that a new chinchilla is careful with human contact. They are considered vulnerable prey in the wild. For this reason, chinchillas are always ready to defend themselves. If you reach out to touch him, it means you are unwelcome. Instead, leave him alone until he starts to socialize with you. However, always check up on, feed and take care of him.

It should take only a few days before your chinchilla gets used to you.


Do chinchillas bite

Mishandled chinchilla


Chinchillas are perfect pets, friendly, playful, and clean. Everyone would want such a pet but not everyone who can understand chinchillas. These pets are quite different from the two most popular pets, cats and dogs.

When a chinchilla feels like he is being mishandled, he can bite for you to put him down. This commonly happens with children who barely understand how to handle a chinchilla. If a chinchilla bites a child, they will let him go, which is what he wants.

Once again, you must be keen when dealing with a biting chinchilla. I will outline the measures you must take to stop this behavior.


Mistreated chinchilla


When a chinchilla is mistreated, they might get angry and bite you. For instance, when you leave him in his cage without food or water, your chinchilla will be disappointed. Now, an unhappy chinchilla can be easily triggered to bite you and other people when handling them.

This is common, especially for new chinchilla owners. Sometimes you might not know how to care for your chinchilla properly. Well, I suggest you do your research and get the appropriate chinchilla food, which is comprised of grass hay and pellets.


To escape capture


Knowing how to handle a chinchilla is one thing. However, understanding that a chinchilla can resist being picked up is important. I advise chinchilla owners to observe and determine the mood of their pets before handling them.

If you are trying to capture him and he is running around, it means that he does not want to be caught. The best approach is not to chase him around as it will result in defensive biting. If your chinchilla does not want to be picked up, then give him some time.

A new chinchilla will not let you touch him for a couple of days. Invest some time in getting to know him and feeding him treats. Playtime, feeding, and grooming should help you form a strong bond with your chinchilla.


Lack of attention


You should start socializing with your chinchilla from the first day you get him home. The point is to develop trust and bond before you can hold him. play with him, or spend some time watching them play. Feed your chinchilla as often as possible and offer him treats.

Once a chinchilla is socialized, he will need attention. You must set aside some time to attend to your chinchilla’s needs. Lack of attention from his owner could make your chinchilla grumpy. In most cases, a chinchilla will nibble on your hand or fingers to seek attention.

He is probably trying to initiate play. However, you must take this seriously and take measures to stop him from biting.


Do chinchillas bite

Redirected aggression


If your chinchilla is angry for some reason, for instance, has been fighting with his cage mate, he might act up towards you. It is bound to happen when separating a fight between the two. You should act fast as chinchillas can be quite brutal when fighting an opponent.

In the course of separating a chinchilla fight, one could bite you. At the same time, when you pick them up to examine any wounds inflicted during the fight, a chinchilla can still redirect his anger to you. As a result, he might want to bite.


How do I stop my chinchilla from biting? 


I have outlined some of the common reasons why chinchillas bite. You need to monitor your chinchilla closely to understand the circumstances in which he is likely to bite. Well, below I am going to discuss some of how you can be able to stop him from biting.

Avoid sticking your fingers in his cage

Some chinchilla owners will feed their chinchillas through the cage spacing. While this is not harmful at all, it teaches chinchillas that everything that gets in through the spacing is food. If you keep sticking your fingers in his cage, he might bite you.

Well, avoid feeding him from the spaces. Instead, purchase food dishes and water bottles for feeding him.


Be gentle when holding him


Above, one of the common reasons why a chinchilla bite is being mishandled. Mishandling or mistreating your chinchilla breaks the trust and bond you had. And because he is not comfortable, he will bite in efforts to get out of your hands.

I recommend handling your chinchilla gently. The first thing you must know is that you should never pick him when he doesn’t want you to.

If you have children in the household, you should also train them on how to handle your chinchilla. You should probably wait a few days before you can let kids handle a new chinchilla.


Do not chase him to capture


As we mentioned above, if a chinchilla does not want to be touched, he will do everything possible to avoid capture. This includes biting; yes, your friendly chinchilla can bite your pain when trying to capture him.

Now, if you chase him around the cage, it makes him feel scared and threatened. In defense, your chinchilla can bite you to protect himself.

Instead of chasing him around when he does not want to be captured, approach him with a treat. Do not forget to purchase suitable and healthy treats when you bring your chinchilla home. After all, you are going to need them during training sessions with your chinchilla.


Establish trust before you reach out to pick your chinchilla


Chinchillas are not always ready to be picked up. When they do not want to associate with you, a chinchilla will do anything to get out of the situation. Therefore, I suggest you build trust with your chinchilla before you reach out to hold him.

Well, how exactly do you build trust with a chinchilla? Give him a lot of attention by feeding him both food and treats. Also, engage with him during play and dust baths.


Train your chinchilla to stop biting


As I had mentioned earlier, you can train your chinchilla to stop biting. Several methods can be used to curb biting in chinchillas. For instance, if your younger chinchilla starts biting, address it as soon as possible.

Once he bites on you, put tap his nose using your finger and firmly say no. Obviously, your chinchilla will not get it the first time. Say no and withdraw your hand but do not let him go. As I discussed above, pets engage in certain behaviors to attain an outcome.

Now, letting him go because he is biting you is more of rewarding him. He finally gets what he wants which will only teach him that biting is rewarding.

If he persists to bite, consider purchasing a pair of leather gloves. These will protect you from your chinchilla’s sharp teeth. This means that even when he bites, it is not going to be painful. Thus, you will not respond to biting. Your chinchilla will eventually stop when he understands that his behavior is not rewarding.


Do not punish your chinchilla


Your chinchilla might bite you painfully. However, yelling or hitting your chinchilla will only do worse. You might scare him by yelling or screaming. If the bite is deep and serious, give your chinchilla to another member of the family to hold him.

Once again, getting him back in his cage is somewhat rewarding to him.

Instead, focus on training your chinchilla to stop biting. It is going to take some time to do so. At the same time, put an effort to avoid circumstances that could scare or threaten your chinchilla.



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