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Chinchilla Exercise 101: A Guide To Promoting Physical Activity

chinchilla exercise

When we talk about chinchilla exercise we’re not talking about a HIIT workout at the gym. We’re talking about the space to get their bodies moving the way you do every day! 

You open your front door and take a walk down the street without always considering this exercise. This is just the basic movement needed in a day. And it’s something that you would crave if it was ever taken away from you. 

Now, don’t let your chin walk down the street. But they do need to be let out of their enclosure every day and go for a walk “outside” their usual room. We’re talking supervised and in a chinchilla-safe space! This is essential for both their mental and physical health.

chinchilla exercise

And there’s a lot you can do with their spaces to encourage them to get moving. To make them excited about their physical world! 

What Chinchilla Exercise Does For Their Mind

Wild chinchillas spend their days running around the Andes mountains. They have important jobs to do! One, stay away from predators, and two, get enough plants into their bodies. This keeps their minds pretty busy as they’re constantly problem-solving. 

With domestic chinchillas, both of those jobs are taken care of by their fantastic human parents. They’re provided a safe place away from danger and as much hay as they could ever want! 

They have a great life. But what’s left to think about?

chinchilla exercise

Chinchillas need their minds stimulated. They need to get curious about what’s around them. With the proper toys and setup, they can even live out some of their natural instincts to forage

Give your chinchilla a reason to climb and move about. The reason is what keeps their mind healthy. 

We will talk more about exactly how you promote chinchilla exercise in a minute! 

What Chinchilla Exercise Does For Their Body

Chinchillas are athletes. They are capable of jumping 6 feet into the air! So while I’m sure you know the benefits of exercise for your own body. Consider all it does for these athletic animals! 

Exercise keeps your chinchilla fit, strong, and heart healthy. It also helps keep their digestive system healthy. Activity increases blood flow to the muscles in their digestive system. This helps move everything along. 

So if they can keep their body moving on the outside, things will keep moving on the inside too! And we all know how important a chinchilla’s digestive system is. 

Chinchilla exercise really keeps the whole body working as it should!


What Encourages Your Chinchilla To Get Moving?

Now we can’t force our chinchillas to sign up for a gym membership or chase them around to get them moving. 

So, what can we do?

We give them something to move for! A wild chinchilla spends their day searching for food and trying out new tastes and textures. If you’re able to create an environment that mimics this even a little bit then you will have a chinchilla that wants to get out of bed.

How To Set Up An Enclosure For Foraging

Wild chinchillas are pulling and tugging to get vegetation broken off. A chinchilla won’t get these same movements with a pile of hay (we love you giant pile of hay). But if you’re able to attach toys (yummy toys) to their cage then they will have an opportunity to pull and tug at it mimicking their natural movements in the wild. 

This Hanging Mobile is attached to a platform (which chinchillas also love!) that attaches to the enclosure. This mobile has fun hay cubes and branches that a chinchilla will love to nibble and tug on. 

Other toys like this Buckwheat Chain can also be set up where it’s attached to the cage. But if you have sticks and logs then you can wedge them in the corner of the cage to give your chin something to tug on. 

Curiosity plays a big role in foraging and chinchilla exercise. It’s a treasure hunt. What will they find? When you have hideouts and tunnels then you can hide treats around their enclosure. 

Setting Up A Chinchilla Gym

What? You said we weren’t sending the chinchillas to the gym! 

Yep! We’re bringing the gym to the chinchillas. 

But first, you need a large enough cage for your chinchilla. If they don’t have the space to jump around then they won’t be jumping around! 4’ X 4’ X 3’ is the minimum space a single chinchilla should be in. 

Bigger is always better so if you have more space available then give it to your chinchilla! 

Platforms going up their cage gives them more areas to explore (foraging win again) and gives them the space they need to show off their jumping skills!

You can also have an exercise wheel for your chinchilla. Just make sure that it’s specifically designed for chinchillas. It should be around 14-15 inches in diameter.

chinchilla exercise

That way if they want to do some sprints on the treadmill they can!

Exercise Time Outside Of Their Enclosure 

Getting your chinchilla out is a great way to not only let them stretch their legs in a new space but to bond with your chinchilla. 

It’s important that you do this in a room where the temperature stays cool, there’s no water around for your chin to get wet, and you have cords or other human toys that are unsafe for chinchillas out of the way. 

Create an obstacle course for your chin! Get some treats out and have fun with them. If being a chinchilla parent makes you feel like a kid… you’re doing it right! 

Make Sure Your Chinchilla Feels Well Enough To Stay Active

A chinchilla’s diet plays a significant role in their activity levels. When they’re fed a healthy high-fiber diet they will have more energy and more room to be themselves! 

Make sure you have hay available to your chinchilla 24/7 as a free-choice food.

Chinchillas can have a small amount (1-2 TBSP) of pellet food a day. Make sure the pellet is grass-based and doesn’t have any dyes or fillers.

If you’re ever unsure if you should give something to your chinchilla, check with your vet!

If you’re looking for treats for your chinchilla then check out simple hay treats. Dried goji berries are another safe option for chinchillas, but keep them as treats, and don’t overdo it! 

If your chinchilla is ever acting “off” or straying from their normal habits then check with your exotic vet to be sure everything is okay with your fur baby. There could be something else going on that’s keeping them from their chinchilla exercise.  

With a healthy diet, your chinchilla will be all ready to train for the high jump. Focusing on diet and chinchilla exercise together creates a great life for a loved chinchilla.


Chinchilla research is continuously growing! If you have any doubts or concerns contact your exotic vet.

We are not veterinarians, and none of our information should be construed as veterinary advice.

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