Introduction of Chinchillas in Collony

 pink white chinchilla and dark tan tov chinchilla on a cage platform
11 May 2020 Pets4Company

How to introduce chinchillas in the same habitat? Observed behaviors and practical advice.

The ideal space, behaviors and introduction of two or more Chinchillas

In the wild, chinchillas live in colonies of several individuals. However, in captivity , and taking into account that the space that we can provide them in our homes is always too tight (even if we manage to provide them with a large cage / nursery), their behavioral pattern will be changed, creating more stress and disagreements between all the elements that cohabit in the same enclosure.

These behavioral "deviations" can often lead to intolerances and conflicts sometimes ending up with one or more chinchillas wounded and in extreme cases it can be fatal.

Therefore, before introducing two chinchillas, we should pay attention to their own behavior and predisposition. When one or more chinchillas are too dominant or territorial, the introduction should be done slowly and in stages so that the other is not seen as a threat or target to be slaughtered.

It is important that they are kept close together, each in its own space, so that they can see and smell each other. At bath time, the same sand can be shared and transported from one cage to another, mixing the smells. This way it will progressively cease to be strange.

In chinchillas, dominance is common to both males and females, being a behavior more observed in females since they are genetically predisposed, in the wild, for the defense of kits and burrow. Regardless, whether we are presenting two elements of the same sex or a couple we have to keep in mind that each individual is different and has its own pace.

After completing the first steps, it is possible to try a little play time outside the cage in a controlled environement and under watch. This way the chinchillas can smell and get to know each other. If there are signs of hostile behavior (noise of discontent, urine, and direct attack with loss of hair or wound), the play time should be canceled and the whole process restarted.

WARNING: The introduction and cohabitation of two or more chinchillas may never work. Some individuals should even be kept alone without causing any harm to their psychological condition as long as the owner provides comfort and company.

In the early days, extra attention is needed to all behaviors, and even later, the relationships between perfectly adapted individuals can change.

When together in pairs or trios, we can enjoy all the affection and companionship that these little friends are able to offer.

Life in a colony

After the introduction phase of two or more chinchillas has successfully passed, then life in a colony begins and we can witness precious moments when the various elements eat and sleep together. If we have a bonded couple the predisposition may be to mate which will undoubtedly lead to an increase in the number of individuals in the colony.

After the birth of the kits, both will engage the role of keeping them clean and warm since in the first hours or days they may not be able to maintain body heat, succumbing to low temperatures. The female also has the role of breastfeeding, which can last up to nine weeks.

This stage of life also entails risks and it is essential to consciously consider the entire genetic backgroud of the parents, the problems that may arise during pregnancy and childbirth, the possibility of having to assist both the mother and kits, conflicts that may arise between parents, among others so, with regard to the chinchilla breeding this is not a decision that should be taken lightly.

We therefore recommend that, if you want to provide a company for your chinchilla, consider choosing two elements of the same gender first.