11 Signs Your Chinchilla Likes You And How To Bond With Them


Chinchilla’s are unique pets that do things their own way. They have their own methods of bonding and showing their owner’s love!

In today’s article, you’ll find 11 signs your chinchilla likes you and how to bond with them for an even more awesome playtime!

So what are those signs? Ideally, a chinchilla would express its affection towards its owner by:

  • Feeling safer and calmer around you 
  • Showing up at the cage doors upon approaching
  • Becoming more open to cuddles and physical interaction
  • Accepting hand feeding
  • Jumping and climbing around the owner
  • Producing squawking sounds while staying calm

keep on reading, if you’re looking for more signs and an in-depth explanation of these points! Not only that, but we’ll also provide you with a brief guide on bonding with your lovely chinchillas the right way!

11 Signs Your Chinchilla Likes You

Signs Your Chinchilla Likes You And How To Bond With Them
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Rodents and small furry pets, don’t particularly show consistent recognition and bonding towards their owners.

Although they can still be affectionate, they still miss that spark between them and their owners. Chinchillas, on the other hand, are quite smarter than smaller rodents, so they can learn to trust and enjoy their time with their owners.

For that reason, there’s a wide range of signs that your chinchilla can do to show you that it loves and trusts you.

However, you should also keep in mind that not all chinchillas will show all these signs, as they’re developed enough to have their own personalities and behave differently around people, just like cats and dogs.

Despite all that, with enough patience and good bonding techniques, you should expect your lovely chinchilla to warm up to you and display its affection to you! Here’s a list of signs that you should check for:

It Doesn’t Hide So Often When You’re Around

When you first bring your chinchilla, you’ll notice that they have a strong instinct for hiding and sheltering away from their predators’ eyes.

For that reason, it’s extremely important that you provide them with a hideout house to make them less anxious about their new habitat.

At first, you’ll notice that the chinchilla tends to hide away in its hut hideout whenever it sees anyone around it.

But with time and good practices, the smart chinchilla will understand that you mean no harm to them and trust you more. 

At that point, they won’t hide away whenever you approach their cage because they feel safe around you.

It Greets You And Shows Enthusiasm When It Sees You

As you know from the previous point, hiding away is always the reaction you get from your recently adopted chinchilla. 

This behavior usually changes quickly and it starts to stay around the cage as it would normally do when you’re not there.

However, it doesn’t stop here! A clear sign that your little furry friend loves you is that it’ll warm up to your presence and come to the front of the cage whenever you approach it.

Your pet chinchilla will show obvious signs of excitement and enthusiasm for your presence and will seem ready for some playtime outside the cage.

Even if your chinchilla is super timid at the beginning, don’t worry! It’ll eventually reach a point where it’ll become super energetic once it sees you if you give it enough attention and free playing time.

[Related Article: Do Chinchillas Die Of Loneliness As Pets]

It Has A Positive Attitude All-Around

This is one of the earliest signs of displaying affection but it’s generally overlooked by a lot of chinchilla owners with very high expectations.

Some people expect their chinchillas to bounce all around and snuggle into them all day just after a couple of days. However, it won’t take them long around chinchillas to know that this isn’t how things work.

The first sign that a chinchilla loves you would be “letting the avoiding game go”. Chinchillas are one of the friendliest and most harmless pets ever. 

However, they’re naturally timid and don’t like being around other creatures, especially larger ones.

In other words, the fact that a chinchilla isn’t aggressive and is okay with you petting and touching them is a clear sign that it’s starting to take interest in you and your presence.

Once you notice that the chinchilla tuned the aggressive behavior down, you should know that you’re doing things right. 

All you have to do from thereon is to respect their boundaries and help them build more trust and love towards you!

It Starts Eating And Drinking Regularly

To Bond With Your Chinchilla
Image by Benjamin M. Groß from Pixabay

A lot of animals, and even some people, don’t feel like eating when they’re uncomfortable or new to the place they’re at.

For chinchillas and rodents in general, this is even more noticeable. When they arrive at their new habitat, they might become lethargic, and it might take them a while before they stop avoiding food and water.

This happens because they’re yet to feel comfortable that you brought them that food. If they start eating from the food you bring them, it’s usually a clear sign that they’re becoming more interested in you and like you more now.

[Related Articles: Do Chinchillas Eat Dandelions And Rat Food]

It Happily Accepts Hand-fed Treats

Chinchillas would start eating the food you bring them as soon as they start to feel safe around you. Yet, eating treats off your hand might still be a bit uneasy for them.

Think about it. Imagine a giant hand that’s as big as you bringing you food! Of course, you’ll be hesitant to go for it at the beginning, so you’ll have to be patient on that too.

Once your chinchilla starts eating treats directly from your hands, it means that it pretty much adores you!

However, you should know that your chinchilla might love you very much but still feel a bit anxious about being fed by hand, so you don’t have to force it if your chinchilla shows other signs but not that one.

[Related Articles: Can Chinchillas Eat Fruits And Vegetables]

It Doesn’t Try To Avoid Cuddles And Opens Up To Holding

Similar to the previous point, the chinchilla’s openness to cuddles and enjoying being held depends mainly on the chinchilla’s personality and how social it can be.

Yet, you should know that with time, a chinchilla would be fine with being held for longer as long as you don’t lose your patience.

You can always encourage the chinchilla to hop into your hand by cupping them with some treats that your chinchilla loves. Also, remember to keep your hands not too cold or too warm for them.

Keep in mind that, unlike some other pets, chinchillas aren’t usually big on cuddles and not overly affectionate. 

This means that you shouldn’t expect them to let you cuddle or pet them as soon as you have them. 

Yet, if they love you, they might sit in your lap and let you cuddle and pet them, not for long hours though.

It Climbs All Over You

Another sign that your chinchilla loves you is how it interacts with your presence at regular playtime.

As you know, it’s essential that you let your chinchilla out of its cage for some free roaming at least once a day.

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Make sure that you chinchilla-proof the room before doing so to protect the chinchilla from injuring itself or chew into any wires or cables. You can also opt for one of those play tents that are designed for chinchillas.

At first, you’ll notice that the chinchilla ignores your presence and roams around freely. However, with time, it’ll start interacting with your body more often. You might notice that it climbs your lap, or even go higher and stay on your shoulders!

It Tries To Groom Your Hair

A scared chinchilla may resort to biting to escape danger, especially if you reach in suddenly to grab them.

Despite that, a loving chinchilla would rarely bite you for no reason. Instead, they might start nipping you or even try to groom your hair when they climb over your shoulders.

In fact, this one of the earliest signs that a chinchilla does to show its love towards its owner. You would even notice them sniffing around your ear and make sounds while they play around your hair if it’s long enough.

Don’t worry, although these nips might be a bit uncomfortable to some, they’re not painful at all! Instead, you can regard it as your chinchilla is giving you special kisses! 

It Produces Whispering And Squeaking Sounds While Playing With You

Chinchillas produce a wide variety of sounds in reaction to different situations. Depending on their body language, you can understand whether these are sounds of being uncomfortable or they’re actually enjoying their time and showing you their love!

For instance, a scared chinchilla would produce loud squeaks while looking obviously distressed. This is a sign that your chinchilla is having a problem that you need to tend to.

On the other hand, if you hear these squeaks but the chinchilla stays calm and well-composed, this means that it really loves you!

Luckily, this is one of the signs that you’ll notice relatively early. At first, chinchillas would let you pet, scratch, and cuddle them without making sounds. 

Soon after, you’ll start to hear it squeaking around as you approach its habitat, which is chinchilla’s way to greet you and show enthusiasm that you’re finally there for some playtime!

It Doesn’t Mind Snoozing Off Around You

At first, chinchillas will always be aware of your presence and will try to stay vigilant for any sudden moves.

You’ll even notice that they take shelter whenever you move your hands or walk around while you’re playing together.

After some time, the chinchilla would be so comfortable around you that it might take a quick nap around you even when it’s outside the cage after a long play session.

One crucial point to consider is to make sure that a chinchilla is having enough sleep in the first place. Exhaustion makes chinchillas more aggressive and nervous.

It Shows A Noticeable Increase In Jumping, Climbing, And Playing With Its Toys

Ending the list on a very high note! In fact, this is one of the easiest methods to tell that your chinchilla likes you. 

If you still have any doubts about any of the previous points, this one will tell you for sure simply because the vast majority of chinchillas will do so if they love you.

As you can probably tell, most points about chinchillas showing their love revolve around “acting like they’re home” without being avoidant or uncomfortable around you. 

Chinchillas originally live in rocky areas with lots of opportunities and spots to jump around. If you notice that chinchillas jump around when they see you rather than sheltering and staying dormant, they really love you!

[Related Article: Do Chinchillas Climb Trees Like A Monkey]

Do Chinchillas Recognize And Bond with Their Owners

Do Chinchillas Recognize And Bond with Their Owners
Image by Adam Białasik from Pixabay

You might be wondering if chinchillas will show their affection to you because they recognize you or because they’re feeling safer in their new habitat.

The good news is, chinchillas do recognize their owners and are capable of growing a strong bond with them.

Chinchillas recognize your voice quite well. Not only that, but they also learn your smell after interacting with you. 

When they’re exposed to the same routine of stimuli over time, they warm up to your hands and seem a lot happier when you’re around.

One way to prove that chinchillas recognize their owners is that most owners report that their chinchillas act a bit timid and still tend to hide when visitors try to interact with them despite being highly affectionate with their owners. This means that they can distinguish their owners from others.

10 Ways To Bond With Your Chinchilla

Now that you know what a chinchilla would do if it loves you, it’s time to know how to properly bond with your little furry friend! 

Here’s a list of things to do and know about your bonding journey with your chinchilla.

Understand Your Chinchilla’s Personality

While chinchillas have some common characteristics, each one of them has a unique personality and different affinities towards expressing their love and affection towards their owners.

Chinchillas are smart and can even vary in their intelligence levels per individual. However, they’re all clever enough to have opinions and feel emotions, but they’re not able to express it in a way that humans would interpret. 

They also have a strong memory, so even a very early incident in their life can have a major impact on their behaviors.

It’s essential that you keep this idea in your head while dealing with your chinchilla. It can make it a lot easier for you to set realistic expectations while dealing with your new pet.

Give Them Enough Space, Literally

Chinchillas are relatively large rodents who appreciate space to move around, play, and jump. If you want to bond with your new buddy, there must be enough space for that to happen.

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By supplying them with a habitat that’s large enough for them to explore, you’ll encourage them to be more comfortable around you quickly. Additionally, it’ll allow them to bond easier with you and take a lot less until you’re best friends!

[Related Article: The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Make A DIY Chinchilla Cage]

Prepare a Suitable Environment for Them

The easiest way to speed up the bonding process between you and chinchilla is by making them more comfortable at their new place.

Making chinchillas feel “at home” will shave off a lot of days and up to weeks of the time they need to become comfortable around you.

For example, chinchillas adore their dust baths! They love to roll in them and play around to clean themselves.

Lixit 30-0189-006 Chinchilla Dry Bath

Luckily, there are plenty of great and sturdy bathhouses for chinchillas available on the market. You can also opt for special dust that is safe for chinchillas’ fur coats.

Hold Them At The Right Spot And Time

Even if your chinchilla loves you and you can notice some of the previously mentioned signs, they would still need some space at certain times.

Showering your pet with love and attention all the time is a great way to make a cat happy, but for a chinchilla, it can sometimes do the opposite of what you’re hoping for.

Make sure that you pick the signs of when your chinchilla wants to be alone. Also, when you hold them, make sure that you do it the right way to avoid injuring them.

Don’t Overdo Cuddles And Avoid Sudden Moves

Some chinchillas might be generous enough to let you cuddle with them for a while even though they’re not a natural cuddler.

So in return, you’d be bonding more with them if you return the favor and not overdo the cuddling. Also, try to avoid sudden moves around chinchillas because it can easily freak them out.

Have A Lovely Chat With Your Chinchilla From Time To Time

As previously mentioned, chinchillas are able to recognize their owners via smell and sounds. For that reason, talking and singing to them will help them recognize you a lot easier, especially if you associate the talks with treats!

Always Feed Them Yourself

Just like most animals, chinchillas will appreciate their source of food. They’re going to bond faster with you if they know that you mean them no harm and you’re the only source for their food. 

Establishing such a relationship will make chinchillas more comfortable around you much faster.

Don’t Disturb Their Sleeping Cycle

One last thing you need to know is that chinchillas are mostly nocturnal animals. This means that they’re more active during the night and spend most of their days sleeping or dormant.

Exhausted chinchillas will be more likely to act aggressively, so try to interact with them as much as you can when they’re awake, and let them calm down whenever they feel exhausted.

Be There for Them

Last but not least, it goes without saying that not being there won’t get you anywhere when it comes to bonding with a chinchilla.

The more your chinchilla gets to see you, the more chances for them to associate your presence with happy treats and playtimes.

They’ll also understand that you like to cuddle and scratch them, so they’ll happily let you cuddle and pet them regularly.

How Long Does It Take A Chinchilla To Be Comfortable Around You

With intelligent rodents like chinchillas, it’s not easy to standardize the time they need to be comfortable around their owner.

It’s noticeable that most chinchillas would need anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks before they’re accustomed to their new home.

However, Just like people, chinchillas vary in personalities and some of them are more social than others, even in the same household. This means that your unique chinchilla might have a different say when it comes to 

For instance, some chinchillas will completely open up to their owners after a week or two once they feel safe in their new habitat.

On the other hand, a rather shy and timid chinchilla might take up to months before they’re okay with your presence. In that case, remember the following:

  • Always set an expectation that you chinchilla might never be as cuddly and affectionate as you hope it to be
  • Avoid staying physically too close to the cage on the first days of bringing your chinchilla home
  • Don’t make a lot of noise around its habitat, especially during the day
  • Never advance a step  in the bonding process until your chinchilla is completely fine with the previous one

Wrap Up

There you have it. A complete guide that walks you through 11 signs your chinchilla likes you and how to bond with them.

As you can see, chinchillas do have their own way of showing you their love. Remember that despite being relatively more intelligent than other rodents, chinchillas are still very timid animals.

This means that they need to take things at their own pace before they’re comfortable around you and able to show you their love.

It’s critical that you do NOT rush them or force them into playtime no matter how slow they are at warming up to you.

Sarah Jones

Sarah is a passionate pet lover who owns several pets on her own. She loves to share her experience doing part-time writing to impart some useful tips with other pet owners.

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