a girl holding a cute chinchilla

How to Train a Chinchilla to Be Held

While they are energetic and agile, chinchillas are delicate animals and they must be treated as such. So, whenever you are handling them in any way, ensure utmost care.

Can you train a chinchilla to be held?

You can train a chinchilla to be held.

However, before one attempts to train a chinchilla in any way, it must first become safe and comfortable around its owner.

Little gray-white chinchilla sits on the hands

Unlike typical domestic pets (cats and dogs), there is not much you can train chinchillas to do. But for sure, with a lot of patience, you can teach them to be held within a short time.

Read the rest of the article to learn how.

How to Train a Chinchilla to Be Held

As we already mentioned, training your chinchilla requires patience and a lot of treats.

The key to training your chinchilla to be held is ensuring that your pet is happy. If your chinchilla is unhappy, teaching will be difficult since it will not want to spend time with you. 

To begin training your chinchilla, you have to earn its trust. You can do this by calmly approaching your chinchilla when it is outside its cage and letting it sniff your hand. This way, your chinchilla will get used to what you smell like.

Once you notice your chinchilla is comfortable sniffing your hand, you can pick it up by the torso for a few seconds and then put it down.

Remember we said the training will require treats? Well, after putting the chinchilla down, you can reward it with a treat for letting you pick it up. 

Next time you try training your pet, repeat the above steps. But this time, try holding your chinchilla longer than before. You can follow up on this action by giving it another treat.

Keep following these steps when trying to pick up your chinchilla, and do not forget to reward each time you do so. Rewarding it also increases the possibility of your chinchilla letting you pick it up and holding it.

The girl is holding a chinchilla

Do Chinchillas Like to Be Held?

Chinchillas generally do not like to be held.

Although most chinchillas will want to interact with you from time to time, not all chinchillas like being held. Chinchillas would rather run off to play and explore instead of being in your hands. 

In the wild, chinchillas are prey to larger animals. So being picked up could mean they are about to be dinner.

So if you use the wrong technique to handle your chinchilla, it will feel nervous and threatened. When your chinchilla feels threatened or scared, it can sometimes bite to defend itself. 

If the need arises for you to hold your chinchilla, ensure you use the appropriate holding technique for its safety.

How to Pick Up a Chinchilla

Learning how to safely pick up your chinchilla is essential so that they do not get injured.

When you try to pick up a chinchilla, approach it gently. This way, you will avoid startling it. Be patient and let it trust you. 

Once the chinchilla is comfortable, use one hand to reach out for its torso, then use your other hand to lift and support its hind legs. However, do not let its feet dangle when you pick it up, so it does not get frightened. 

Once you pick your chinchilla up, gently hold it close to your body. Then ensure you keep it in an upright position because of its delicate spine.

To prevent your chinchilla from getting loose, hold it firmly but be gentle and cautious. You want to prevent your pet from falling and getting injured.

But you also do not want to hurt it by squeezing too hard. Chinchilla bones are delicate, and applying too much pressure may cause fractures.

man holding cute chinchilla

How to Hold a Chinchilla

As we already mentioned, chinchillas do not like being held, and they can be pretty squirmy.

You need to know how to pick up and hold your chinchilla with the appropriate techniques. Else, you may frighten and injure it in the process.

As usual, before you can hold your chinchilla, you need to get them to trust you. Make your chinchillas comfortable by using your hands to offer them treats regularly. 

Ensure your hands are properly washed before you hold your chinchilla. Use warm water and unscented soap and ensure your hands don’t have another scent on them.

Once all is in place, you may slowly pick your chinchilla up and hold it against your chest.

While holding your chinchilla, ensure its hind legs get full support. Else the legs will dangle, and that is not okay.

Do Chinchillas Like to Cuddle?

Chinchillas are not lap-pets, and it is rare for them to want to cuddle with people. Chinchillas know how delicate they are, which is why they do not like being held too close. 

However, chinchillas are intelligent animals and, over time, will learn to trust you. Once your chinchilla knows you will not hurt it, it may tolerate cuddling. 

When it is playtime, your chinchilla would prefer to climb over you and explore than sit still. Only a few chinchillas will want to come up to you and snuggle.  

The best time to know if your chinchilla will like cuddling is when you wean it from its mother. This is usually at around 8 weeks. At this time, the chinchilla misses its mother and will naturally look for someone else to bond with. 

Are Chinchillas Friendly?

Chinchillas are generally friendly, especially if you are friendly to them. 

However, chinchillas are usually less friendly with their new owners while adapting to their new surroundings.

When you meet your chinchilla for the first time, it will look to avoid you since it sees you as a threat. It will also not allow you to pick it up or hold it. 

Still, chinchillas are social, friendly, and docile animals. They tend to show affection by licking you and interacting with you. Some will even let you pick them once they believe they can trust you.

Final Take

Chinchillas generally do not like to be held, but they can learn to accept it. Training your chinchilla to be picked up and held is not at all complicated. With enough time and patience, you will build the needed trust.

Remember, chinchillas are delicate and must be handled with care to avoid injuring them. 


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