How To Hold A Chinchilla For First Time Owners


Seeing your pet chinchilla play around on its own is a fun experience. But there’s nothing better than holding the chinchilla. Isn’t that the reason why you got the chinchilla? So you hold the little cutie in your hands.

New pet owners can scare off the chinchilla if they don’t know how to hold it. It’s the same when you are picking out the chinchilla and you want to check it out.

Anyone considering getting a pet chinchilla should learn how to hold one. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to hold a chinchilla.

  1. Let the chinchilla get to know you.
  2. Be patient and gentle while approaching.
  3. Try petting the chinchilla first.
  4. Don’t force it if it runs away.
  5. Place both hands on the chinchillas’ chest.
  6. Lift the chinchilla.
  7. Hold its back legs and its buttocks with one arm.
  8. Hold its chest or front legs with the other arm.
  9. Soothe the chinchilla.

I’ll explain this thoroughly in a moment, follow the guide.

Preparing The Chinchilla

Preparing The Chinchilla

If it’s the first time you are going to be holding the chinchilla, you want to give it some time before holding it. Think about it, chinchillas are prey animals. They are also creatures of habit, so they don’t take too kindly to strangers.

That’s why you need to let the chinchilla get used to you. If you just brought the chinchilla at home, give it some time to adjust to the environment. Let it know that you are a part of it as well. You don’t even have to approach it.

All I’m saying is that chinchillas will react better to people they are used to when they are approached. [Source]

Approaching The Chinchilla

Once you see that the chinchilla is getting used to the environment, you can start approaching it. Be patient and calm, check how the pet reacts to you coming very close.

Usually, chinchillas get used to their owners quickly. That is if the chinchilla is not stressed out by something. Approach the chinchilla and see if it backs away or it’s fine with it.

You may have to do this several times and reward with chinchilla treats. But don’t give up on trying. You should approach even an aggressive chinchilla. Just don’t touch the chinchilla yet.

Petting The Chinchilla

Petting The Chinchilla

The next step you need to do is gently pet the chinchilla. Now, chinchillas bond with pet owners quite well. But they are not the type of animal that likes to be cuddled like a cat or a dog.

So, don’t be surprised if the chinchilla doesn’t like the petting. Also, don’t think about petting like you would pet a dog. I’m just talking about gentle strokes with the back of your hand over its back.

This is just a way for the pet to get used to your touch. Don’t overdo it, just see how it reacts. Aggressive chinchilla may try to bit. Or they may perform a fur slip. The patches of fur are how you know you are not exactly being gentle. The fur slip is when you know that you need to stop petting the chinchilla. You should still approach the chinchilla though.

[Related Article: 11 Signs Your Chinchilla Likes You And How To Bond With Them]

Holding The Chinchilla

Once the chinchilla gets used to the environment and your touch. And you see a certain bond between you two, you can move on to hold it. There is a right way to do this, and that’s what I will explain now.

  1. Have the chinchilla in a sitting position. 
    You should try lifting your pet only when it’s calm and still. Don’t try to lift it when it’s moving or hopping. You hold the chinchilla a certain way, this is best done when the chinchilla is sitting down with its stomach on the ground.
  2. Put your hands on the chinchilla’s chest. 
    When the chinchilla is sitting, the best way to grab is by placing both hands on its chest. From there, you slightly slip the hands under its belly. Actually, half of your hand should be on its back and half of it on its belly. So, you hold it from the sides. Relax your fingers and hold the pet with your palms. [Source]
  3. Lift the chinchilla onto your arms.
    Slowly and gently lift the chinchilla while switching your arms into a position like you are holding a baby. Your hands should go from the belly to the back legs and the chest.
  4. Hold the chinchilla between your arms and chest. 
    How you hold the chinchilla once you lift it depends on what position it likes to be in. If it likes to lay, hold it with one palm supporting its back feet while the other supports its chest. If the chinchilla likes to stand, move the other hand from its chest to support its front feet.
  5. An alternative way of holding.
    You can also try holding the chinchilla with one hand. Place the chinchilla between your chest and one arm. Press the hand against your chest and extend your arm so your palm will hold the chinchilla’s chest. This is especially good for holding baby chinchillas.

Be careful when holding a pregnant chinchilla or an injured chinchilla. You should avoid holding the pet in these situations. If you must do it, be especially careful. Hold a pregnant chinchilla in a laying position, with one hand support its tail base and the other hand supporting the chest gently.

That’s about it. You will get better at this with time. Just be patient and calm. Don’t force the chinchilla, and let it get used to you.

Related Questions And Other FAQs

Do Chinchillas Like To Be Held

Chinchillas usually show their affection in ways we are not used to. They are in fact very playful and they are able to build a strong bond with their owner. Cuddling and holding isn’t exactly something they want to do. They just tolerate being held by their favorite human.

Is It Bad To Hold A Chinchilla

Holding a chinchilla is not necessarily bad nor good. Chinchillas aren’t exactly cuddlers but they are fine with being held by someone they trust. In fact, sometimes you must hold the chinchilla to clean the cage, for a dust bath, etc… As long as you are holding the pet the right way,  you are not doing something bad.

Tim Adams

Tim has experience of 15 years with a wide variety of pets. Anything animal-related is his passion, so he is here to share some good practices to know about owning pets.

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