Chasing a chinchilla sounds like a lot of fun. But would your chinchilla enjoy chasing as much as you do? And can chinchillas chase each other?
Do chinchillas like to be chased? They like to chase each other, but don’t like being chased by people. That’s because being chased by a big animal reminds a chinchilla of being hunted in the wild. As such, you should avoid chasing your pet wherever possible, e.g. to get it back into its cage. Instead, choose alternative methods like treats, or if your pet escapes, a humane trap.
The guide below is only a short one. It explains why chinchillas sometimes do and sometimes don’t like being chased, then makes some recommendations on how you can catch a chinchilla without stresing it out.
Do Chinchillas Like to Be Chased?
Chinchillas can enjoy being chased, but only in certain contexts. So, for example, chinchillas can play by chasing each other; but it can also be a part of how they fight. As such, if your chinchillas are constantly chasing each other, you should try to find out why.
Chinchillas Chasing Each Other
Your chinchilla may enjoy being chased by its cage mate. As chinchillas are social animals, they enjoy playing. One way in which they might play is by chasing each other. So, for example, when they’re both out of the cage they may chase each other around their play pen. Chasing around the cage isn’t as common as there’s less room to run around in, but it’s not unheard of either.
But the context of the chasing makes all the difference. Chinchilla cage mates can fight, and when they do, one might chase the other. You can easily tell if the chasing is because of fighting or playing. The chinchilla being chased clearly won’t want to be chased, and will be frightened, making alarm calls and trying to hide. There will be large tufts of fur and possibly bald spots on the chinchilla that’s always being chased.
But during play, both chinchillas can take turns chasing. They will sprint around at full speed, stop when they catch each other, then run off again. When they stop, they would have time enough to fight, but they don’t. And when they’re not playing, they’ll be normal around each other (cuddling, sitting together, and not visibly stressed).
Chasing Your Chinchilla Around the Room
There are also certain times at which you might chase your pet. The most common is when it won’t go back in its cage after play time. To get ahold of it, you have to chase your chinchilla around the room. In some scenarios, you can’t help chasing your pet, for example if it tries to escape. But your chinchilla won’t enjoy being chased no matter how important it is for you to do so. As such, you should avoid chasing your pet wherever possible.
Of course, there will be exceptions that prove the rule. Perhaps your chinchilla is so happy with you that it plays with you, chases you, and you can chase it (slowly and carefully!) back. But this is unnatural and uncommon behavior, so it’s likely that your pet wouldn’t like you chasing it.
Chinchilla Chasing Tail
Chinchillas don’t typically chase their tails, at least not like other pets do. So you won’t see yours spinning round in circles chasing itself. Chinchillas can get excited and jump/run around, quickly changing direction, which can look a little like your pet is chasing its tail, though.
Why Don’t Chinchillas Like Being Chased?
The problem with an owner chasing their chinchilla is that the chinchilla sees the owner as a threat. While chinchillas can grow to trust their owners, they still have certain instincts. So, even if your chin is normally content around you, if you started chasing after it and making loud noises it would run the other way.
Why Does My Chinchilla Run Away from Me?
The problem is that you remind your pet of a big predator.
Think from your chinchilla’s perspective for a moment. They don’t mind being chased by each other because they recognize the signs that they’re only playing. They know that they’re not really fighting and chasing each other. Even if they were fighting, the weaker chinchilla can always leave (or at least it could if it lived in the wild). So one chinchilla chasing another won’t make your pets stressed.
But there’s no context in which a large animal would chase a wild chinchilla other than if it were a predator. As such, your chin has a built-in instinct to run away when chased by something big. If it didn’t, the long-tailed chinchilla would have long died out! This applies even if your chinchilla trusts you.
What makes this such an issue is that chinchillas have good memories! If you chase your pet around frequently, it will remember that, and it won’t want to spend any time around you. It could even start biting whenever you try and pick it up to get you to leave it alone.
Why Do Chinchillas Chase Each Other, Then?
That’s a good question: if chasing is so stressful, how come chinchillas chase each other as play?
Some scientists think that play is a form of practise for real situations. So, chinchillas might chase each other from a young age to develop their fitness and learn how to dodge threats. This would serve them well if they ever got into real danger in the future. This explains why a chinchilla might enjoy being chased by another chinchilla, that it can recognize isn’t a threat, but not being chased by you (a much bigger animal).
How to Catch a Chinchilla Without Chasing It
If you have no choice but to capture your chinchilla somehow, you should do so in a way that doesn’t involve chasing where possible. There are lots of ideas you can try that won’t cause your pet anywhere near as much stress.
Leave The Cage Door Open
Just because your pet doesn’t want to be around you, that doesn’t mean it won’t want to go back to its cage. Its cage has its favorite shelters, and it smells like your pet, too. Most importantly, it’s the only place your chinchilla knows where to get food. So, there’s a good chance that your chinchilla will get back into its cage of its own accord if you just give it the chance. This might not be the most convenient option for you, but it’s certainly the easiest.
Lure It With a Treat
Whether you want to get your pet back in its cage, or just play with it a while, a treat is a good choice.
If play time is over, you can put some treats in your chin’s cage to entice it back. The more frequently you do this, the more your chinchilla will get used to having a treat after it plays; eventually, it will learn to go back in its cage on its own. You can also sometimes lure back an escaped chinchilla by leaving its favorite treats in its cage.
Your chinchilla will enjoy treats like rose hips and herbs. You shouldn’t use fruits and vegetables as they’re too high in sugar and water.
Use a Humane Trap
If your chinchilla has escaped and won’t come back, your only option is to trap it. There are humane traps that don’t hurt animals you could use. These have a treat inside to lure the animal in, and when it goes inside, a gate slides shut behind it. It’s possible to poison the bait to kill the animal that gets trapped, but you obviously don’t have to do that for your pet.