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Understanding your Chinchilla  

Sounds made by Chinchilla
There are many sounds made by a chinchilla to express its emotions and needs.  It takes a little while to learn what message is carry out by each call.  There is an interesting article by Anjelo Ross,who explains the meaning of the different sounds made by chinchillas.  Each chinchilla is unique in its cry just like each human has different voice tone and pitch, so take some time now to learn them.  If you prefer to hear it, Michael Termathe has a sample of the different sounds he recording from his chinchillas. 

Chinchilla's Postures
The postures of chinchilla tell a lot about the mood, alertness, the intention and other expression of the animal. 

Holding Food

  • It is appreciating its own.
  • Let it enjoy its food.

Grooming itself

  • It is relaxed and feel at ease at home.
  • It has taken pleasure in the new home.
  • You have done a good job providing it a home.   

Standing very straight & still

  • It is very alert. 
  • It is also investigating the environment, perhaps a new scent or a strange sound, could be danger or could be just curious. 
  • It is ready to dash back to the cage.
  • Let it alone.  

Sniffing one another  

  • One chinchilla is establishing contact with another. 
    EM>Note: Beware that a fight might starts
  • If it is an adult sniffing a young one, the little one is being accepted by the adult.
  • If it is sniffing your nose, you are being greeted and accepted as another chinchilla. 
  • Perching next to each other is a sign of acceptance too.

Lying around doing nothing

  • Either it is tired and is taking a rest now.
  • Or it is bored and decide to laze around.
  • This is the best time to interact with your chinchilla.  Play with it or introduce new toy.

Standing half-erect

  • It is anticipating that something to happen soon.
  • Good time to teach new tricks and offer new food.
  • It is ready to learn new things.

Chewing & Gnawing

  • It is trying to wear out its teeth.
  • This is a good time to offer a chew block.

Waiting in front of the cage door

  • A begging gesture.
  • It is asking to be let out of the cage.
  • It is time for exercise!!

< cage the into back running & objects>

  • It has found a new toy.
  • It is going to hide the newly found treasure
  • Check to make sure the new found toy is safe.

Persistently doing the same thing

  • It is thinking of ways to achieve its goal.
  • Make sure what it is doing is safe, you don't want it to be chewing off your electrical cord here.
  • Distract by giving chew toys or treats if what it is doing is unsafe.

Withdraw in a corner of the cage

  • It is frightened and showing anxiety.
  • You should talk to it soft to calm it down.
  • If all forms of coaxing fail, leave it alone for a little while.

Hopping and jumping around

  • Playing without inhibition.
  • Let it play.

Standing straight with hind legs up

  • It is being very defensive.
  • It is ready to shoot pee at its target.
  • Better to leave it alone now.

Running around and nibbling here and there like a butterfly flying among flowers

  • It is curious.
  • It is just checking out the environment to make sure the things are in the right places or if the thing is edible.
  • It does not mean any harm.


Sounds Made by the Chinchilla

The following information is provided courtesy of the author:

Anjela Ross

Crystal Chinchillas



Getting to know your chinchilla means getting to know the various sounds made by the animal. Until you keep a chinchilla as a pet, you do not realise the range of sounds that this beautiful Rodent actually makes.

The Basic Cry

All Chinchillas have a basic cry that will be used commonly from birth. It is used as a signal to others. This is a 'clicky' sound which is almost as if one animal is telling another to stop what they are doing and to go away. For example a female will often 'click' at her young if they nip her whilst feeding or if they are fighting amongst themselves.

Fear or Pain

If an animal is nervous it will quite often let off a shrill squeal, or perhaps if it is being handled awkwardly. A variation of this is if an animal bumps itself. The squeal of pain is slightly different and will diminish in volume and tone as the pain leaves the animal.


This is a noise often made by the kits which is a loud squawk. The kit will raise its nose at its mother requesting to be fed and mothered. The mothers response to this sound and action is usually to nibble the babies ears and clean the kit. Then she may push it down to the side of her to feed. These sorts of noises may also be heard between the mother and the young, or the young to each other, as if they are holding family dicussions! Also, when the kits are not near the mother they may squawk loudly as if they are lost and the mother will then send them a soothing reply and let them know that she is nearby.


If a Chinchilla becomes angry, ie perhaps fighting over who is going to get to the food bowl first! The animal will make a rasp like snarl. This may also occur when youngsters figth over mothers teats.

Alarm Calls

This noise is usually a sequence of loud high cries which can go for anything upto around twenty cries. These are a signal that the animal is agitated or excited. The animal may also make this call if he/she sees something unusual that worries him/her. In the wild this call could have been made by the animal that was the 'look out', to advise the others of danger perhaps. For example, if two animals are seperated they may call out to each other from one side of the room to the other, they appear to be having a long distance chat!

Short Alarm Calls

This is often a short burst from a chinchilla when they hear a noise that they cannot quite locate and are not sure what it is! This is to warn any other animals. The other chinchillas will quite often leap around their cages, upon hearing this cry, trying to hide, in case something dangerous is around!

Teeth Noises

When a Chinchilla is upset it may chatter its teeth, or it could also be that the animal is miserable and wants to let others around know the mood he/she is in! Quite often, it does appear that Chinchillas also grind teeth after eating as if cleaning the bits of food from them, some chinchillas also grind teeth to keep them in condition.

Mating Call

Unless you are breeding Chinchillas you will never get to hear this strange sound, that the male emits after mating his female. It sounds almost as if he has the hiccups and will usually last for a couple of minutes.


Whilst keeping Chinchillas, you will probably come across sounds the animals make that you can understand, these sounds may just be your pet having a chat! With time, you will get to know your Chinchilla and the sounds the animal makes. You will notice how they have a vast range of sounds, similar to ourselves, being that they can also raise and lower the tones of the calls they make. You will also come to find that every Chinchilla sounds slightly different, almost like they all have different voices to match their different personalities!