How To Handle A Chinchilla

If you own one or more Chinchillas, you will begin to notice how they all have their own personalities. Some love a fuss, some a tickle behind the ear, while others are more independent or grumpy when they are woken up! About animal falls into. Whether he is grumpy or loving, you will at some stage need to handle your animal and keep him tame. With practice and time, you will handle well, making sure he feels secure in your arms.

  1. Firstly, don’t be nervous. Let him know that you are the boss. The animal may become stressed if he senses that you are not in control. Coax him out of his cage with a raisin if necessary, or you may have one of those animals who readily leaps out of his cage as you open the door!
  2. Carefully place your hand under the animal’s tummy and lift him onto your chest and then position him. Try sitting in a fairly empty room, where there are not too many places he can hide if he escapes. The bathroom is sometimes quite suitable with a small open space allowing you to recapture him easily. While sitting down allow him to sit on your knees. If he feels awkward or nervous, he may let off a smell similar to that of burnt almonds. This is produced by a small gland just inside the animal’s anus but is not particularly unpleasant and hardly happens if your animal is used to being handled. The animal may also release tufts of fur if nervous. Under no circumstances grab the animal by the fur, but if it does happen, do not worry as the fur will regrow again in around 90 days.
  3. The best way to control the Chinchilla is to place your fingers gently but firmly around the tail closest to the body, fairly close to the root of the tail. The chinchilla does not seem to mind being held by the tail. If you hold the tip of the tail, this can cause the animal distress and can even break the tail. Place your other hand on your pets back, stroking the fur downwards towards the tail to soothe him. Make sure your hands are clean and dry, as dirt and sweat can affect the animal’s fur.
  4. When carrying your Chinchilla, instead of holding the tail make your hand into a cup shape and support the rear end of him with your hand, supporting the whole weight of the animal. You will find that your pet will wriggle and squirm at first, but with time your pet will get used to being handled and will quite happily sit in your hands or be cradled in your arms. Do not expect overnight results, getting your pet used to being handled can take time. But with time, comes results!

Do Chinchillas Bite?

Chinchillas usually don’t bite; unless they feel threatened or scared, they may nip you.

How Do I Hold My Chinchilla?

Holding your chinchilla close to your chest will make your chinchilla feel secure. Do not hold your chinchilla too tight as they are not like dogs or cats that can be cuddled. Chinchillas also have a very thin skeleton and holding a chinchilla too tight risks bone fracture or breakage.

What Else Do I Need To Know

Many new chin owners are unsure how to handle their chins. Well, chins sort of come with a built-in handle…  It is acceptable and good to hold the chins tail gently when handling it. Holding the tail prevents fur slipping, and especially injury! It is instinct for people to tighten their grip on something that is slipping away from them, this might cause you to injure your chins delicate bone structure without meaning to. You can grab the tail where the fur on the body stops, grab it firmly with your thumb and hand. Be careful not to grab too far down as you can hurt the tail. NEVER use the tail to pull the chin out of a crevice that it has “jammed” itself into trying to escape. This can injure the chin in several ways!  Holding the tail while letting your chin sit on your other arm is comfortable for both you and your chin, and will help prevent injury if the chin attempts to base jump from your arm! Your chin may hide it’s face in the crook of your arm to help it feel safer if it’s scared.

Handling your chin is a very important part of ownership, and can be as important as food and water! Many people say “my chin doesn’t like to be held,” which is often true. But with enough time your chin will accept that this is just part of what happens and even begin to enjoy it. There are many reasons you should have your chin accept being held, including but not limited to:

  • Vet visits
  • Administering medications or hand feeding
  • Hair ring check
  • Emergency Evacuations

The list is endless! Here are some suggestions to help get your chin used to being held:

  • Only give a daily treat when holding your chin
  • Let your chin hide in the nook of your arm
  • Do NOT let your chin go if it struggles unless injury will occur if you do not. This will encourage the chin to do it every time

Many times owners are concerned about their chin “liking” them. Like children, chins do not always know what is best for them. Until they are used to being handled, it will be something that they do not enjoy. Humans are very large to chins, and even small children who stare and point. Being prey animals naturally, chins are very concerned about being eaten. Teaching your chin to be held is a very important part of socializing them, and it will make your life much easier in case of an emergency or situation where you must get the chin quickly. It may take time, but your patience will pay off. The best way to teach your; my about being held is to quickly catch it, the longer you chase it before catching it, the more stressful it will be on the chin.

Often I see people who ask when they should start handling a new chin, my answer is RIGHT AWAY! This will help them adjust more easily instead of just watching them from two weeks then changing their routine and treatment. Like a dog or cat, you should treat you chin from day one the way you plan to treat it for the rest of its life, including handling it.

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