A good chinchilla owner must be cautious when introducing a new chinchilla to the herd, even with seemingly friendly chinchillas. If your chinchilla has been solo for some time, you will want to take precautions against territorial or defensive behavior when the new chin arrives. We recommend using two cages to start, allowing your chinchillas to smell and see each other before you put them in a cage together. Having their cages side by side will allow them to interact without risking any injury. They may “talk” to each other and try to get a good feel for what the other one is all about. However, chinchillas can be surprising aggressive toward one another, even to the point of pulling limbs through cages, so leave some space between the cages at first, and never leave the chins unsupervised during these initial meetings.
If your new Chinchilla seems anxious at first, do not fret. Chinchillas don't like moving to a new location, and may be nervous at first. Keeping them in a separate cage will also help them to become more familiar with their surroundings and less anxious before they meet their new friend. House them separately for at least one night before they meet face to face. Once they get used to another chinchilla in the vicinity, it will be easier to introduce them. Watch the two chinchillas as they interact with one another. A little chasing is normal, and some teeth chattering (a warning behavior that chinchillas use to tell you to back off) is acceptable, but if either becomes overly aggressive remove the chinchillas immediately. If one of them is loosing fur, it would probably be best to go back to step one for awhile. If their first introduction doesn’t go well, don’t panic. It may take time for your Chinchillas to be comfortable with one another.
Here are a few tips that have worked for us:
• Introduce the Chinchillas During Play Time
Try allowing your Chinchillas to play together and take a dust bath together. Having them play in a Chin proof room may be a nice way to break the ice, and give them enough space to keep their distance if they are feeling threatened.
• Use a New Cage
If you put them both into a new cage, they are on equal ground, and neither has “ownership” of the habitat. If it is not time to upgrade to a new or larger cage, try cleaning the cage really well and all of the cage accessories to get rid of as much scent as possible.
• New Chinchilla Hiding Box
Buying a new Chinchilla house may help reduce the territorial behavior as neither chinchillas' sent will be prevalent
Chinchillas are social creatures and live together in herds in the wild. While there are certain pairings that work well together, others can be fatal.
Having 2 or more females living together is great.
Having a male and a female live together is great, if you want baby chinchillas and have read up on proper breeding.
Having a male and 2-3 females’ works well enough, again if you are looking to breed.
Having two or more males living in the same cage together is great as long as there are no females around.
- Having two male chinchillas living together with any females in the same cage or even in the vicinity should be avoided!
In the wild when a female chinchilla goes into heat, the dominant male, or the female's mate, will chase off other males as far as a mile away from the herd. It is impossible to chase another male nearly far enough away if they are in the same cage together. Your dominant male Chinchilla may harm or even kill another male chinchilla if they are in the same cage as a female in heat. Even if they have been buddies in the past, the scent of a female chinchilla in heat can turn your males into monsters.
Remember that last bit; consider it the 'golden rule' of chinchilla housing. You may think that adorable fluff-ball of cuteness is the friendliest chin on earth, but under the right circumstances even the nicest chins will kill another male. It can't be helped, so structure your herds accordingly.