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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-26-2010, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Will chinchillas always prefer each other over an owner?

I have had a female chinchilla for about 4-5 years now. I had grown up with rodents and loved them, and when I researched and found out about chinchillas I couldn't resist. I absolutely love her, I have to say out of the rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils I have owned growing up, chinchillas are by far the most fun. She has gotten increasingly social and tame over the years, she likes to cuddle in my neck and arms and often greets me at the door of her cage when I come to see her. When I scratch her neck, chest and cheeks and in return likes to nibble my hand back as if to "repay" me. I notice my boyfriend's bonded couple will take turns nibbling each other's faces and necks, and it is very much like that. I adore this chinchilla and she takes so much priority over anything else.

I have read on websites that if you bond two chinchillas, they will always "like" each other more than the owner. I have been considering getting her a male, and I have done a lot of research in this, but I don't want to lose her either. My boyfriend's bonded couple came bonded when he got them, and they very much prefer each other over contact with us. They scarcely let us scratch them, and only the male will be held. I don't know if this is because they were already bonded beforehand, or if this is just what happens when chinchillas bond. My chinchilla lets me pick her up, I scoop my hand under her belly and she leans into my hand so I can lift her. If I am near her cage she is usually sticking her nose through the bars at me wanting attention and to get her neck scratched. I am worried I will lose a great pet if I get her a companion. Would getting her a companion risk losing my chinchilla's attention?

Also, a few months ago she broke a front arm and we had no choice but to get it amputated. Her fur has grown back and it is completely healed, she is a little clumsier (but improving very well), she can't run very efficiently on her saucer wheel anymore, but she is healthy and strong otherwise. Would missing an arm be in issue if she were ever mothering kits?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-26-2010, 08:53 PM
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I don't find it to be the case that chinchillas bond with each other and then ignore people -- rather that it takes chinchillas a while to bond with their owner. I have a single that recently came into our rescue who acts similar to your bonded pair. He simply hasn't had time to bond with me yet.

On a related note, I often wonder why people ask if this is true and then ask if they should deny their animal a partner. If your chinchilla truly did bond more closely and get more social satisfaction with a member of it's own species, it seems unfair to purposefully keep your chinchilla alone for years and years and years just so it will like you the best instead of a friend.

I would also strongly discourage getting a mixed sex couple. Casual breeding of animals like this is why we're starting to see issues with chinchilla overpopulation. Either get a male and have him neutered or get a same sex partner.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 07:06 PM
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I agree with Jennicat.

I have 6 chins at the moment.
One pair (breeding pair) likes me just as much as they do each other.
In out other breeding pair, the female has no problem with us, but she's one of our own animals. The male, however, is just getting to know us, and he's not as comfortable with humans as out girl is. But he's learning.

If you have a tame chin and you put a not so tame chin in with it, the not so tame one will learn how the tame one acts and pick up on it.

But you have to spend a lot of time on them. I think that may be the biggest problem. People stop spending as much time on their animals when they get a pair... Then it's kinda hard to get a very tame animal


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Owned by chinchillas since 1997
Breeding since 2005

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 07:15 PM
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I agree with the above.

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