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Chinchilla Housing Rules

Chinchillas living in a group must be the right mix of gender and numbers for safe housing.

By Marty Hull
Posted: December 13, 2009, 5 a.m. EST

Q: If I house three mated pairs of chinchillas together in the same cage will they continue to mate with their original mate or will they all mate with each other?

A:  Chinchillas are not herd animals like prairie dogs. It would be unwise to ever house more than one male chinchilla with one or more female chinchillas. On rare occasions, one male and two females chinchillas may be compatible for a while, but that compatibility can suddenly disintegrate if one of the females becomes pregnant. A pregnant female chinchilla may attack and kill any male chinchilla showing unwanted interest, whether it is the chosen mate or not.

If two male chinchillas are housed together and a nearby female chinchilla comes into heat, whether in the same cage or not, the males may fight, resulting in severe injury or death. This is instinctive behavior. It can't be trained away, and it can't be hoped or wished away. It is just the way chinchillas are.

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