How to Hold a Chinchilla

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After hand taming and with continuing proper care, your chinchillas bond with you and increasingly become interested in physical interaction like being held and petted. Adults typically weight 1 to 1.5 pounds, but that doesn't mean they are always easy to pick up. They are finicky about how they are held and can be quite quick and squirmy. Pick up and hold your chinchillas using the appropriate technique. This minimizes the risk of stressing or injuring your pets and of you getting bitten.

Step 1

Begin taming your chinchillas by introducing them to your hands. Hold chinchilla-safe treats in your open palm and hold your hand still in the middle of the cage. Let your chinchillas investigate you and take the treats at will. Once they are comfortable with this, progress to offering treats from your fingers. Hand-feed each chinchilla once a day for at least a few days.

Step 2

Wash your hands with unscented soap and warm water before holding your chinchillas to ensure your hands don't have germs or the scent of food on them. Dry them thoroughly before handling your pets.

Step 3

Speak reassuringly to your chinchilla and move in slowly when you are going to pick her up. Pet her back a few times if she stays still for it.

Step 4

Put both hands gently but securely around your chinchilla's body, with your palms under her and your fingers wrapping upward around her torso toward her back. Support her rear and legs as you lift; don't let her butt or legs dangle, or she will become upset and struggle.

Step 5

Move your chinchilla slowly against your chest. Hold her securely between your chest and your hands. See to it that her rear is fully supported and that her legs aren't dangling.

Items you will need

  • Treats
  • Unscented soap

Tips

  • Pick up your chinchillas one at a time.
  • Try not to pick up a pregnant or sick chinchilla -- neither wants to be handled, and they may be particularly resistant. If you must hold your pregnant chinchilla, be careful not to exert pressure on her abdomen. Make sure she doesn't turn upside-down, as this can cause a spontaneous miscarriage.

Warning

  • Never pick up a chinchilla by her tail because it can break off.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

Author

Jon Mohrman has been a writer and editor for more than seven years. He specializes in food, travel and health topics. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for English literature and San Francisco State University for creative writing.