Happy New Year – Did Your Chinchilla Watch TV?


From all of us here at SPS, here’s hoping you and your chinchillas had a great holiday, and wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

You might well think that the title of this blog is a little strange, but did you know that many chinnies find the TV fascinating?  And using the TV as an aid for keeping your chinchilla stimulated when you’re not around can prove to be an amazing success in many cases.

The reasons behind this are many, and include the following:

  Chinchillas are extremely intelligent.  If they end up spending many an hour alone, with no company or stimulation, then this can lead to all kinds of behavioral problems.  These can include fur biting or other kinds of anti-social actions.

—  After playtime is over, your chinnie might well spend a lot of hours with nothing to keep his interest.  And this can result in him literally becoming bored out of his (or her) mind.  Having the TV on for him to watch can provide mental stimulation, rather than just staring mindlessly at the four walls around him.  After all, there’s only so much playing with toys that you can do on your own…

—  Many chinchillas, especially ones that come from rescue centers or have been poorly treated, are nervous and worried about such things as strange visitors, noises, thunderstorms, upset to their routine and simply interacting with human life around them.  A TV, if correctly utilized, has been proven over and over again to help stressed chins re-adjust and become calmer and happier.

Much as you might find this a little daft, many chinchilla rescue centers take advantage of TVs to help nervous or badly treated chins become more accepting of humans once more.  And even if your chinnies are perfectly happy with life, it never hurts to give these intelligent little creatures as much mental stimulation as possible.

Picture by evilmonkey76 and reproduced under attribution licence courtesy of Creative Commons & Flickr

If you do want to consider using a TV to keep your chin amused, make sure you take the following into consideration:

—  Have the TV playing a channel that doesn’t show violent shows or those with loud bangs or noises.  Think a kiddie’s cartoon channel, or gentle music channel – something along those lines.

—  Keep the volume low.  In fact, it only needs to be loud enough so you can just hear it.

—  For older chinchillas, have the TV about 4 feet away from the cage (chinnies’ eyesight diminishes with age).  For younger ones then it needs to be about 5-7 foot away, due to the brightness and to protect their eyes.

We’d love to know if anyone uses a TV on a regular basis with their chins, and of any of your personal experiences.  Have they got any favorite programs?  We’d love to hear about them.

So for now, give your chinchillas a kiss from us, and tell them that the team at SPS wish them all a very Happy New Year.

Oh – and for your information, from next week we’ll be posting our new blogs every week on a Monday at 8am EST.  So be sure to sign up and have our latest info delivered directly to your inbox.

Till next time – love those chinnies.

Oh!  And I almost forgot…  We’d love it if you’d help us in our mission to make the nation’s small pets the best kept in the world.  If you’ve enjoyed this blog then it’d be awesome if you could share it on Twitter or Facebook.  And if you fancy leaving a comment then we’d love to hear from you.

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  1. says

    My old chinchilla Chuck used to LOVE watching tv. He used to jump up on my bed and stare at the screen until I turned it on for him. My chinchilla I have now, Zippy, will watch it for a few minutes and then want to take off….he would much rather be chewing up something or digging on the floor, lol! About them being afraid of loud noises, I have to disagree that it comes from being abused or mistreated. I have had Zippy since he was 12 weeks old and he is now almost 11 years old. His whole life, he has been afraid of loud noises. He cries or runs away when he hears a loud noise or one he has never heard before. When I lived with my parents and it would rain, he would go crazy running all over his cage when he heard the rain hitting the roof. He has always been very high strung, even now! And the tv doesn’t help because he’s not interested in it :) I’ve just accepted the fact that my chin is a scaredy cat, and I try to keep any noises at a minimum so he doesn’t get stressed out. Sometimes he freaks even when I’m sleeping at night and I turn over in bed. The sound of the bedsheets moving scares him. I don’t know why he is this way, my other chin certainly wasn’t. In fact, I used to joke that you could explode a bomb from under my house and Chuck wouldn’t even bat his eyes, lol!

    • says

      I agree with you that it is the individual and not just their previous circumstances. I currently have 3 and they were all rescues. Riley came from a young lady in the military that realized she couldn’t keep Riley in the base’s housing while she was stationed here. She loved him very much and took very good care of him, but he has always been very high strung and will “freak-out” at the least provocation or unfamiliar noise.
      His cage mate, Timmy, came from a rescue. He had previously been housed with another male and a female in a too-small cage before all three were placed with the rescue. I can’t imagine a more stressful situation for a chin. But Timmy is as easy going and laid back as any chin I have ever seen. Most of the time, he acts as if he just can’t be bothered by anything. It is funny to see the looks he will give Riley when he is on one of his tears around the cage. He will usually find a ledge he can sleep on while he waits out the cage-quakes.
      My third is Lucky. I have absolutely no history on him. A co-worker happened to see a picture of my very first chinnie, Capt Cage, on my desk and asked if I wanted another. He knew some people that had one they were wanting to rehome. I gave him my number to have them call me. I was planning on giving them the number of the rescue I got Timmy from. Low and behold, my co-worker called me the next day at lunch to ask if I still wanted the chin. He worked nights and would bring him to me when he came to work. He said he had the cage in his car. I freaked out! It had to be 80+ degrees outside! I couldn’t say no at that point. He didn’t know anything about him. No name, no age…..he couldn’t even tell me if he was a boy or a girl. Thank goodness I know a little about chinchilla anatomy! Lucky seems to be in the middle of my other two. He can be timid sometimes and very curious at others. There are times he will climb up the side of his cage looking for a belly rub and other times he will bark at me just for opening the cage door. He is also the only one that doesn’t mind being held sometimes. Riley completely loses his mind and will go into a frenzy to get away. Timmy just doesn’t like to be touched….period. The occasional scratch under his chin is ok but don’t touch him anywhere else.
      As far as the TV watching goes, Riley is the only one that seems to do it. He likes anything with a lot of movement and bright colors. He watches cartoons like Sponge Bob or Looney Toons and he seems entranced by football. We have caught him sitting up on his perch on a Sunday afternoon (when he should be napping), watching NFL football. Haven’t figured out who he pulls for but I told my husband it can’t be the Panthers cause that would be just silly! LOL!!!

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