Can Male Chinchillas Live Together?

Two chinchillas in a cage
photo credit: ilya_ktsn DSC_0123

If you are thinking about adopting a chinchilla, do you need to adopt multiple?

Chinchillas are social creatures. In the wild, they can live in herds of 100 chinchillas. But don’t worry, you don’t need to adopt a large herd. In fact, pet chinchillas can live alone.

But if you do want to adopt multiple chinchillas, you need to decide what genders to adopt. Can male chinchillas actually live together or will they fight too often?

Male chinchillas can live together if they are introduced properly. And in this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about chinchilla cohabitation.

Can Chinchillas Live Alone?

Chinchillas live in the rocky Andes Mountains. To survive this harsh terrain (that is filled with predators), they often live in large herds. Sometimes 100 or more chinchillas live together. These chinchillas adopt different roles, including a “guard chinchilla” that watches for potential predators.

Although wild chinchillas live in herds, pet chinchillas actually can live alone. But keep in mind, chinchillas are social creatures. If you only adopt one chinchilla, you need to make sure you can give your chinchilla plenty of attention. You should plan to spend 1-2 hours a day playing/socializing with your chinchilla.

If you don’t think you can devote this amount of time to your chinchilla, consider adopting two chinchillas. Two chinchillas can keep each other company and fill their need for socialization.

Can Multiple Males Live Together?

If you plan to adopt multiple chinchillas, should you adopt males or females?

Female chinchillas are very territorial. If you adopt two female chinchillas, they might fight frequently.

Male chinchillas might also fight, but they are less territorial than females. Male chinchillas can successfully live together under the right conditions. Male chinchilla cohabitation can be successful if:

  • They are introduced properly
  • There are no female chinchillas living in the same area
  • Only one chinchilla wants to be dominant

How to Introduce Multiple Chinchillas Together

The key to successful chinchilla cohabitation is a successful introduction. Without the right introduction, chinchillas will not enjoy living together and fights will likely occur.

When introducing chinchillas, you need to be patient. This is not a quick process.

Below is a video that discusses chinchilla introductions. Although this video focuses on introducing two females, the process is similar for introducing two males. Feel free to review this video before continuing on to our how-to guide below.

Are you ready to introduce two chinchillas? Follow these step-by-step instructions for successful cohabitation:

Step 1: Keep Chinchillas in Separate Cages- When you are first introducing chinchillas, it is important to keep them in separate cages. If you introduce them too quickly, fights are likely to occur. For a few days, place each chinchilla in its own cage. Keep the cages in the same room (about 1-foot apart). This will help them get used to each other’s smells.

Step 2: Switch the Cages- After a few days of side-by-side living, you can switch their cages. This is an additional step that helps the chinchillas get familiar with the new smells. Another way to do this is to let the chinchillas share dust baths. Instead of cleaning out the dust, let each chinchilla bath in the same dust (just not at the same time). Let the chinchillas share 3-5 dust baths before moving to the next step. At this point, they should be very familiar with each other’s smells.

Step 3: Arrange a Play Date- Now it is time for the chinchillas to meet. Let the chinchillas share a very supervised play-date. Allow them to play together outside of their cages. Make sure you watch closely to prevent any fights. If a fight does occur, try to separate them quickly.

Step 4: Cohabitation- If everything goes well up to this point, you can now let the chinchillas share a cage. Make sure the cage is large enough for two chinchillas (it should be at least 18 cubic feet). Observe the chinchillas closely, especially at first. If you notice any fighting, separate the chinchillas and try a play-date again in a few days.

How to Handle Fights

Unfortunately, some chinchillas simply won’t get along. Even if you are patient and slowly introduce the chinchillas, there are just some chinchillas that don’t want to cohabitate. Ultimately, it comes down to each chinchillas personality. You can’t predict a chinchilla’s personality, so you need to take some time to get familiar with their traits and habits. Some personalities are simply less conducive to cohabitation.

If your chinchillas start to fight, you need to be prepared to handle this situation. Some chinchilla fights are very dangerous. These rodents have very sharp teeth, which can cause severe damage. Other fights are more emotionally than physically damaging. Fighting can cause some chinchillas to become anxious or fearful. They might decide to stop eating or drinking.

Female chinchillas are very territorial and are likely to fight with other chinchillas in their cage. It is important to spend extra time introducing female chinchillas.

Male chinchillas are less territorial than females. But, males are likely to fight with other males if a female chinchilla is also present.

If your chinchillas start fighting, try placing them in separate cages. You may need to try the introduction process again. Let your chinchillas have some space and then slowly allow them to try another play date. Hopefully, with patience and time, your chinchillas will be ready to cohabitate again.

Final Thoughts

Chinchilla cohabitation can be tricky.

In the wild, chinchillas live in large herds. Pet chinchillas don’t have to live in groups. But, they are still social creatures and they need socialization.

If you are going to adopt multiple chinchillas, you need to plan for plenty of time to introduce these chinchillas. With a proper introduction, chinchillas (especially male chinchillas) can live together. If fights occur, separate the chinchillas for a few days before planning another play-date. With patience and the right introduction, chinchillas can cohabitate (and possibly even bond).

Have you tried to introduce chinchillas? Was this successful? We would love to hear your story! Share it in the comments below.

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