Chinchilla owners may be tempted to house their chinchillas in cages with other small, similar rodents like guinea pigs. But despite their physical similarities, putting chinchillas and guinea pigs together may not be the best idea.
Can chinchillas and guinea pigs live together?
Chinchillas cannot live with guinea pigs because they have vastly different requirements when it comes to food and housing. Allowing chinchillas and guinea pigs to live in a cage together can eventually lead to detrimental issues in both animals.
Despite what you may have heard, it is not safe for chinchillas and guinea pigs to live with each other. Understanding the unique needs of each of these animals will help explain why chinchillas do not do well living with guinea pigs.
Why Can Chinchillas and Guinea Pigs Not Live Together?
Chinchillas and guinea pigs cannot live together for a variety of reasons. Not only do each of them have different diets, but they also require special housing as well as social considerations.
Keeping chinchillas and guinea pigs together makes feeding them their specific individual diets impossible.
A chinchilla’s digestive system works best with dry foods like hay, leaves, dried fruits, and dried vegetables instead of moisture-filled foods.
Guinea pigs need dry foods as well as daily fresh fruits or vegetables that naturally contain moisture. Chinchillas that are housed with guineas risk eating foods that contain too much water for proper digestion.
Chinchillas and guinea pigs both eat pelleted food, but it has to be specifically made for their own species. Chinchillas cannot eat food made for guinea pigs and vice versa.
Chinchillas and guinea pigs cannot live in the same cage because they have vastly different housing requirements.
Chinchillas like to run, jump, and play so a vertical cage with multiple levels is ideal. A cage that is at least 4 feet high and 4 feet wide is recommended for chinchillas.
Guinea pigs are not jumpers, so multilevel cages can be dangerous for them. A guinea pig’s cage can be one level and only a foot tall and about 3 feet long.
Chinchillas also require regular dust baths, which means they need an area in their cage with a special sand and dirt combination.
Guinea pigs do not need to take dust baths and the dust in a chinchilla’s cage may cause guinea pigs to have breathing issues.
Neither chinchillas nor guinea pigs appear to thrive when living with animals besides their own species. Both animals tend to be fearful of unfamiliar animals.
The presence of a completely different animal in either of their cages can lead to malnutrition, sickness, fighting, and unnecessary stress.
Both animals also prefer to live with their own species or alone as opposed to living with others.
Can Chinchillas Live With Other Chinchillas?
Most chinchillas can live in cages with other same-sex chinchillas that they grow up around. Chinchillas enjoy being social with one another and often prefer living with familiar chinchillas of the same gender.
A castrated male chinchilla can live with a female chinchilla that it is familiar with. Chinchillas from the same litter seem to do the best living together, as long any males have been neutered.
Occasionally adult chinchillas will exhibit aggressive behavior towards other chinchillas. It is important to monitor any chinchillas housed together for any signs of aggression.
Like humans and other pets, not every chinchilla does well living with other chinchillas.
Should Chinchillas Just Live Alone?
Chinchillas should only live alone if the only option is living with a guinea pig or other small-sized animal.
Chinchillas often enjoy living with familiar chinchillas because they are naturally social within their species. In the wild, chinchillas can live in herds of up to 100 individual chinchillas!
It is never recommended to just put any two chinchillas together, especially if they are already adults. They should either have grown up together or they should be acclimated slowly to one another.
Can Chinchillas Hurt Guinea Pigs?
In the right situation, a chinchilla can hurt a guinea pig, however, it is often unintentional.
Chinchillas that live with guinea pigs can accidentally hurt them because of how rambunctious chinchillas normally behave. Chinchillas are extremely active by nature and simply love to run around and jump off of things.
Guinea pigs are the opposite of chinchillas and prefer a calmer, less active existence. When caged together, chinchillas can jump onto a guinea pig and hurt or frighten it so much that they accidentally hurt it.
Will Chinchillas Kill Guinea Pigs?
It is very unlikely for chinchillas to kill guinea pigs because both species are prey animals that are usually nonaggressive. Both chinchillas and guinea pigs tend to hide from potential predators, not seek them out.
While they both have large front teeth, most of them will not bite each other. Some chinchillas can be aggressive, so a fatal wound could be possible but is improbable.
Should Chinchillas Live Close to Guinea Pigs?
Chinchillas should not be kept too close to guinea pigs because it can cause unneeded anxiety and stress to both animals. It is best to place their cages far enough away from each other so that neither of the animals appears stressed.
Chinchillas usually can be kept in the same room as guinea pigs, as long they are not right beside each other. Always remember, a stressed chinchilla is an unhealthy chinchilla!
While it would make things easier, chinchillas cannot live with guinea pigs under any circumstances. Even if they appear to get along, there are issues under the surface that can cause irreparable damage to each animal.
For the health and benefit of all involved, including their owners, it is best to keep chinchillas and guinea pigs in separate cages designed especially for their species.
Learning about nutritional differences and the social variances that exist between chinchillas and guinea pigs is vital when raising both animals. Here are the sources that were used to write this post.