How To Handle A Chinchilla? And Do Chinchillas Like To Cuddle?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Let’s be honest and acknowledge that owning a pet is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially when it’s a Chinchilla.

So, how to handle a Chinchilla? And do Chinchillas like to cuddle? Chinchillas have very frail anatomy because of their excessively sensitive ribcages, so to handle them properly, lift them by the base of their tail and then gently place your other hand beneath their belly. Chinchillas are prey animals and are not pets that like to cuddle.


As humans have distinct individual personalities, so do Chinchillas, and this is why they have much more to them as individuals than it is already known.

The Proper Way of Handling A Chinchilla

For as unique pets as Chinchillas, there are equally unique ways to handle them.

If Chinchillas don’t like to be held, it does not mean that you stop trying as its pet owner.

Keep in mind:

You should keep trying and touching them so that your Chinchilla gets familiar with your touch.

Moreover, take note of the following while handling your Chinchilla:

  • Do not put pressure on their bodies while picking them up for it will result in a fracture or an injury
  • Do not lift them directly by their abdomen
  • The moment you feel that they are settled in your palm that is the time to pick them up gently
  • Always use your second hand to provide your Chinchilla a balanced position
  • You can also place your Chinchilla’s hind legs on your hands and its front legs to your body to lift it safely with stability
  • Do not be rough while handling your Chinchilla; it might end up biting you out of fear
  • Do it regularly and get them used to it for there will come a time when your touch will help them express their playful and friendly nature


Chinchillas do not enjoy cuddling.

They don’t like their space to be invaded.

After some time of gently handling your Chinchilla, it may get frank with you but to accept your cuddles will take a bit longer for your Chinchilla.

Make sure that your Chinchilla feels safe with you and free of any sort of threat; only then your Chinchilla will be ready for warm cuddles.

Providing Space For Your Chinchilla

As a pet owner, it is crucial for you to know that some Chinchillas are friendly by nature while others are not.

As a pet owner, it is upon you to provide your Chinchilla with enough space where they don’t feel invaded and threatened.

Providing your Chinchilla with space will ensure your Chinchilla feels secure.

You need to handle your Chinchilla calmly; don’t use a loud voice when your Chinchilla is around because your voice might evoke fear in it.

Give as much space as necessary to Chinchillas so that they get accustomed to their new environment.

Treat them with a soft and soothing voice and touch.

Feed your Chinchilla daily and clean its cage.

If you detect any signs of stress in them, then don’t hesitate in changing your pattern of treating them.

You should be able to meet their needs, be it their space or their not-so-cuddly nature.

Don’t Hold Your Chinchilla For A Long Period

Chinchillas like to play around you, but when it comes to holding them, they are not very welcoming of that.

Even a Chinchilla who is more friendly does not like to feel contained and be in your hands for a more extended period.

Chinchillas are explorers by nature, and they have tons of curiosity inside their little bodies, so they prefer exploring and jumping rather than sitting on your hands.

Be alert in case your Chinchilla is sending some signs to you.

If your Chinchilla squeaks or squirms, you should take that sign and distance yourself from it.

Hold your Chinchilla for a couple of times that is for a shorter period, rather than holding it for a single and more extended period.

Don’t introduce your Chinchilla to new people in the few weeks when your Chinchilla is making efforts to get accustomed to you.

Once your Chinchilla is at ease with you, you can start introducing it to other people. Give it some time to sniff the other person’s hand to decide whether to climb on that person’s palm or not.

Be Patient With Your Chinchilla


So now you know that every Chinchilla has an individual personality and all Chinchillas cannot behave in a certain way.

As a Chinchilla owner, it is vital for you to cater to its needs.

You have to be patient while handling your Chinchilla because if yours does not like to socialize much, you will have to invest most of your energy to tame it.

And then there are times when your Chinchilla would become so rigid that all your attempts to tame it would go in vain.

A lot of people ask me, “are Chinchillas affectionate.”

When you bring a young Chinchilla as your pet, it can be tamed easily according to your wishes.

But if in any case, you bring an older Chinchilla who has not been appropriately socialized, then you will have to do a lot more to make it feel secure.

If they are not willing to be tamed after many efforts, then let them be in their cage.

The best you can do is to feed them properly and keep giving them the space they are most comfortable in.

Detect Common Signs of Stress in Your Chinchilla

To tame your Chinchilla, it is imperative for you to know when your Chinchilla is under stress and when it needs extra attention.

To detect the most common signs of stress in your Chinchilla, notice if your Chinchilla is squeaking, barking, squirming, trembling, or hiding.

If it is, know that your Chinchilla is under stress and it wants you to be extra patient.

Quite a few times, people have asked me, “do Chinchillas like to play?”

I often tell people that they do like minimal play, but only when they’re comfortable with you.


There are other ways to know whether your Chinchilla is stressed or not.

While young Chinchillas are likely to urinate everywhere, spraying urine or peeing all over the place by Chinchillas is an indication to you that they are stressed and feel threatened.


If your Chinchilla is biting its fur or harming its own body, take the hint that your Chinchilla is stressed.

If there is a change in your Chinchilla’s sleeping pattern and it is not sleeping at all, it means that your Chinchilla is stressed. It’s probably trying as hard as possible to be alert in case of any threatening encounter.

Training Chinchillas To be Held

As a diligent pet owner, you can train Chinchillas not to get frightened when they are being held.

To do this:

  • You must gently place your hands in your Chinchilla’s cage.
  • Let your Chinchilla sniff you.
  • Once you feel that it is comfortable with your hand, pick it by its torso for a few seconds and then put it down.
  • Give it a treat.
  • Repeat these steps.

There are chances that after following these steps, your Chinchilla might wait for it to be held by you.

Related Questions

Are Chinchillas affectionate? Chinchillas are affectionate by nature.

It depends on you how you reciprocate their affection and give them a reason to become more affectionate with their pet parent.

What human food can Chinchillas eat? Chinchillas can eat specific vegetables and fruits.

For instance, carrots, parsley, dandelion greens, turnip greens, lettuce, collard greens, kale.

In fruits, Chinchillas can eat apples, strawberries, pears, and bananas.


Chop and cut vegetables and fruits in tiny bites to give your Chinchilla.

Do Chinchillas bite? There is a difference between a bite and a nibble when it comes to a Chinchilla.

If a Chinchilla smells an especially yummy smell on your hands, it might start nibbling or even bite your hand.

This type of bite is different from the bite; it might give you out of fear and threat.

Do Chinchillas Stink? Unlike many other animals, Chinchillas do not stink, and they are odor free.

If they start leaving a smell, then either you are not cleaning their cage as correctly as it should be or they are sick.

If you feel that your Chinchilla has developed an odor, you should take it straight to the vet for any further diagnosis.

What Chinchillas like to Play With? Chinchillas are rodents, and every rodent needs to chew things to wear down their teeth that continually grows.

This is why Chinchillas like to play with things they can chew on.

Chew toys are fun for them for it will be good for your Chinchilla’s dental health.

For instance, wooden blocks, twigs, etc.

Other Sources

Leave a Comment