Getting to know your chinchilla means getting to know the various sounds made by the animal. Until you keep a chinchilla as a pet, you do not realize the range of sounds that this beautiful Rodent can make. There are seven basic sounds:
- The Basic Cry – clicky sound – Commonly used
- Fear or Pain – shrill squueal
- Supplication – loud squawk
- Anger – rasp like snarl
- Alarm Calls – sequence of loud high cries
- Short Alarm Calls – short burst
- Upset – teeth chattering
- Mating Call – hiccups
The Basic Cry
All Chinchillas have a basic cry that they will use commonly from birth. This basic cry is a signal to others. The basic cry is a ‘clicky’ sound, almost as if one animal tells another to stop what they are doing and go away. For example, a female will often ‘click’ at her young if they nip her while feeding or fighting amongst themselves.
Fear or Pain
If an animal is nervous, it will quite often let off a shrill squeal, or perhaps if it is being handled awkwardly. A variation of this is if an animal bumps itself. The squeal of pain is slightly different and will diminish in volume and tone as the pain leaves the animal.
This is a noise often made by the kits, which are a loud squawk. The kit will raise its nose at its mother, requesting to be fed and mothered. The mother’s response to this sound and action is usually to nibble the baby’s ears and clean the kit. Then she may push it down to the side of her to feed. These noises may also be heard between the mother and the young, or the young to each other as if they are holding family discussions! When the kits are not near the mother, they may squawk loudly as if they are lost, and the mother will then send them a soothing reply and let them know that she is nearby.
Suppose a Chinchilla becomes angry, i.e., perhaps fighting over who will get to the food bowl first! The animal will make a rasp like a snarl. This may also occur when youngsters fight over mothers’ teats.
This noise is usually a sequence of loud high cries, which can go for anything up to around twenty cries. These are a signal that the animal is agitated or excited. The animal may also make this call if he/she sees something unusual that worries him/her. In the wild, this call could have been made by the animal that was the ‘lookout,’ to advise others of danger. For example, if two animals are separated, they may call out to each other from one side of the room to the other. They appear to be having a long-distance chat!
Short Alarm Calls
This is often a short burst from a chinchilla when they hear a noise that they cannot locate and are not sure what it is! This is to warn any other animals. The other chinchillas will often leap around their cages, upon hearing this cry, trying to hide, in case something dangerous is around!
When a Chinchilla is upset, it may chatter its teeth, or it could also be that the animal is miserable and wants to let others around know the mood he/she is in! Quite often, it does appear that Chinchillas also grind teeth after eating as if cleaning the bits of food from them. Some chinchillas also grind teeth to keep them in condition.
Unless you are breeding Chinchillas, you will never get to hear this strange sound that the male emits after mating his female. It sounds almost as if he has the hiccups and will usually last for a couple of minutes.
While keeping Chinchillas, you will probably come across sounds the animals make that you can understand. These sounds may be your pet having a chat! With time, you will get to know your Chinchilla and the sounds the animal makes. You will notice how they have a vast range of sounds, similar to ourselves, being that they can also raise and lower the tones of the calls they make. You will also come to find that every Chinchilla sounds slightly different, almost like they all have different voices to match their different personalities!