A very popular question in the chinchilla pet world “Should I get more than one chinchilla so they aren’t lonely?”. I typically wean my animals in pairs, so they are well-socialized. While chinchillas are by nature social animals, the do NOT need to be with another chinchilla to have a good life. A chinchilla can be happy as a single pet with a large cage, healthy diet, wood shelves to occupy them and a hidey house.
Introducing another chinchilla is most times successful when done properly. Once you have bonded your chinnies, it is important to avoid stressful situations that can break the bond between two chinchillas. Just recently, I successfully bonded 2 males. They were happy together for several weeks, until the girl next door moved in. One day happy little boys; the next day mass chaos. There are many stressors that can cause animals to no longer get along: adding another chinchilla, separation from each other for any length of time, a new cage, a new environment, etc. It’s important to always have a second cage in the event they don’t play nice in the dust box.
Whether or not you decide to have one or multiple chinchillas is entirely your decision. If you know you want two from the beginning ask your local reputable breeder if they have a set of siblings or a bonded pair available.
A few tips if you decide to grow your little band of chinbandits:
Never put opposite sex chinchillas together; even if they are siblings. Yes, you will get babies, along with all the unwanted drama that comes with breeding. It can be very devastating and costly when things go bad and should be left to the professionals.
When first bonding, make sure you completely clean and re-arrange the cage. Now it becomes a new environment for both of them.
Prior to placing them in the cleaned / rearranged cage, it can be helpful to put them in a small travel carrier together where they don’t have a lot of room to move (and hence fight) for a few hours. Watch them carefully.
Another method I’ve been successful with is putting two cages side by side, touching each other. This way they can become accustom to each other through the safety of their cages.
Chinchillas are like people, some will never get along, no matter what method you try. I would say this is the exception, rather than the rule, but it happens! Some chinchillas simply don’t want to have chinchilla friends and would rather the company of their human companion.
A little bit of chasing and small fur pulls is normal. If you start seeing aggressive chasing, any type of biting, or chunks of fur being pulled, remove them immediately as you don’t want your chinchilla to get injued. You can try again in a few days.