The simple answer? No, a chinchilla bond mate isn't needed for your animal to be happy. Chinchillas are, by nature, social. In the wild, they live in colonies because they’re prey animals, and it’s much safer to have lots of eyes looking to protect. However, not every chinchilla is social. In a domestic situation, your chinchilla lives in a different setting; they won’t have as strong an urge to have so many other eyes watching out for them. So, this being said, do chinchillas need bond mates?
The answer is no. As long as you spend time with your animal, socialize and interact, chinchillas can be perfectly happy with no roommate.
What if I want to add another chinchilla?
If you’re thinking of adding a new chin to the family, it’s important that you go about it the right way.
Make sure you have enough space to quarantine the new animal for a 30 day period to ensure that they’re in good health. Even when you find an exotic vet and they go for their first check up, the vet can only diagnose what they see. And we all know how talented chins are with hiding illnesses.
Ask yourself if you’re prepared to have two chinchilla setups for the duration of their lives. Even with the best efforts, it’s possible that you may not ever be able to bond your chinchillas, and you will have to keep them housed separately. And then there’s the possibility that if you do successfully bond your chins, their bond could break in the future, and they may start fighting and attacking each other. Think long and hard… double work is a huge commitment (time for cage cleaning, expenses, etc.), so be sure you’re 100% about the decision to add a mate.
So even though chinchillas don't need bond mates, I still want to add one. What next?
- You’ll need a neutral, empty, recently cleaned cage for introduction. No odors or items are recommended that belong to either chinchilla (this decreases chance of fighting over territory). The last thing we want is territorial fighting.
- Do not hold one chinchilla to the other. The less dominant chin should always have the option to back down and away from the dominate animal.
- If your chinchilla draws blood and/or causes physical harm, separate them, and do not attempt to house together. They are not compatible and our number one concern for our animals is always safety.
- Supply a dust bath to calm the nerves of your animals; they're going through a serious environmental change and this is a stressful time.
- If you notice fur slip, separate the chins and re-try bonding in a week or so.
- Do not introduce in an open area. They will likely avoid contact with each other, and could possibly feel more defensive in a large area because they are prey animals.
- Introduce during the day; chinchillas are crepuscular creatures, so they’ll be resting and less likely to fight.
Chinchillas do not need a bond mate when they have responsible human parents who treat them as family and socialize with them on a daily basis… it’s important for every person and pet to have daily interaction with someone or something.
So, do chinchillas need bond mates? No. But if you do want to add one for your chin, make sure that you realize there’s the potential for the bonding not to work. But there’s also a possibility that your chins may develop a BFF friendship like none other. Be confident in your decision and confident that regardless of the outcome, you’ll love your chins just the same.