Do Chinchillas Need to Be in Pairs?

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Written by: Celestine Gomez
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Chinchillas are close relatives of the porcupines and guinea pigs. They’re known to be highly intelligent, gentle, and one of the cleanest kinds of pets you can own.

Moreover, these adorable pets are considered pretty social. Yet, do chinchillas need to be in pairs?

From our point of view, it makes sense to put them in pairs so that they can keep each other company. Yet, the truth is chinchillas do quite well on their own.

Keep reading to find out more.

Do Chinchillas Need to Be in Pairs?

No, chinchillas don’t need to be in pairs to thrive. Their only stipulation is that you, their owner, provide them with the care and attention they need to be happy.

Even though chinchillas are social creatures, they’re not exactly warm and fuzzy towards other chinchillas that share their cage.

Even in the wild, they’re used to being on their own. It’s true that they live together in large colonies, or ‘herds.’ Though it’s more of a defensive measure against predators.

The reason is this:

By nature, chinchillas are independent. They do well on their own and don’t need help finding food or shelter. Plus, they know how to keep themselves busy and entertained most of the time.

Another factor is that chinchillas like things to be a certain way. They don’t really care much for change. So, they take time getting used to their surroundings until they feel safe and at ease.

In addition, these fuzzy pets find it challenging to share living quarters. They don’t connect easily with others, which leads to disagreements, often ending in full-blown fights.

So, why put them through all that stress? Just get one chinchilla and shower it with as much love and adoration as possible.

Taking Care of a Single Chinchilla

Hand holding chinchilla

I mentioned that chinchillas are independent. Still, they need a lot of attention from their owners.

In other words, they like it when you spend quality time with them and shower them with love and affection—not so much fellow chinchillas.

Yet, don’t rush to stick your hand in their cage and pick them up. Chinchillas don’t like to be held or cuddled.

Plus, they’re extremely shy around humans. So, give your pet time to get used to its new surroundings. When it feels safe, it’ll let you know.

However, rather than holding or petting them, chinchillas prefer it if you just set up some obstacle courses and watch them play.

So, remember that owning a single chinchilla requires more effort on your part than most pets. Yet, it’s so worth it when your furry friend jumps and plays and has the time of its life! That’s when you know your chinchilla loves you.

When Is It Okay to Pair Chinchillas Together?

Chinchilla Babies sitting on hands

There might be times when you’ll want to get two chinchillas rather than just one. When this time comes, make sure you look for a reputable breeder.

Avoid getting a pair of chinchillas from a pet store. They’ll fight repeatedly and may even injure one another.

It’s worth mentioning that chinchillas are biters. If they feel threatened or in distress, they’ll give a sharp nip to protect themselves and their home.

That’s why experts recommend you keep them in separate cages for the first week, just until they get used to being around one another.

Then, at the end of the week, put them in a neutral area that doesn’t belong to either one and give them the chance to play and interact.

Limit their playtime to under 20 minutes. Keep a close eye on them during this time, and at the first sign of a disagreement, separate the two immediately.

Repeat this every day until they’re comfortable with each other. Then, when you feel they’ve genuinely bonded, consider buying a bigger cage that they can share.

Breeding Partners

As an owner, you might want to breed chinchillas. In this case, you’ll need to get a male and a female, preferably from a breeder.

I’ve been raising chinchillas for a couple of years now. From my experience, I can tell you that when you buy from a breeder, you have a higher chance of getting two compatible chinchillas.

They’re usually born and raised in a safe, well-kept environment. This makes them more pleasant and welcoming towards chinchillas they’re familiar with, rather than complete strangers.


If you’re not looking to breed your chinchillas and just want a couple to raise together, it’s better to get two animals of the same sex. Either two females or two males; it doesn’t matter as long as they’re from the same breeder and have been living in similar conditions.

Even so, they may still not bond straight away. In this case, keep them in their individual cages until they’re ready.


With their thick fur, rounded ears, and small bodies, chinchillas are the perfect pet. They’re also smart and easy to care for.

Yet, do chinchillas need to be in pairs? In general, they don’t mind being on their own. In fact, they actually prefer it as long as they have a doting owner and are living in a safe environment.

However, you can get a pair if you want to breed them or just want to raise more than one chinchilla. Just make sure you get them from a reputable breeder. Also, give them time to get used to each other before sticking them in one cage.

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Celestine Gomez

I'm Celestine Gomez, worked for 5 years in an animal shelter in Los Angeles, California. Having noticed the inherent passion and zeal in me to care for pets, I took a step further to create a team of I and like-minded individuals to provide an informative resource in order to broaden the knowledge base of a regular pet owners.