Are Chinchillas Intelligent? (Things They Can Do)

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Chinchillas are great pets that can last for 15 – 20 years. They can learn their name through repetition and have a great memory, but how smart are they?

Are chinchillas smart? Chinchillas have a great memory and can learn through patience and repetition which suggests a high intelligence.

Chinchillas are quick learners and adapt quickly to routines.

How Smart Are Chinchillas?

Chinchillas learn through repetition. If you repeat a task over and over, eventually the chinchilla will begin to learn how to do it.

a chute chinchilla drinking water, are chinchillas smart to drink using a plastic glass?

It’s hard to measure an animal’s intelligence. Some chinchilla pet owners say it varies depending on each individual chinchilla.

Nobody truly knows how smart chinchillas are. They do a few things that suggest they have high intelligence, though.

They Have a Great Memory

Chinchillas have an excellent memory and can recognize your voice and your appearance.

They’ll remember where their water and food bowl is and can quickly learn the positioning and layout of their cage which allows them to navigate around the cage very quickly.

Some chinchillas are able to learn how to use a litter box for when they urinate. Although you can’t train a chinchilla to use a litter box for their droppings as they poo so often.

They Can Calculate Jumps Perfectly

Chinchillas are agile and fast. They are able to calculate the distance between each jump perfectly.

It is very rare for a chinchilla to miss a step.

They Can Navigate Their Cage With Ease

They can remember the placement and the layout of their cage, which allows them to jump and run around extremely fast without bumping into anything.

They Urinate in the Same Area of Their Cage

Chinchillas will urinate in the same area of the cage so that they don’t get their cage dirty.

Here are some more intelligent behaviors traits of a chinchilla:

  • They recognize you without having to smell you
  • They can learn their names
  • If you turn on a TV in a room, the chinchilla is aware and will sometimes watch the screen
  • Chinchillas will come to you for treats
  • Chinchillas have much longer memories and may take considerable time to forgive you for an offense
  • They’ll know what it means when you shake the box of food

Chinchillas memorize where things are placed around the room and its cage.

Once it knows the layout of the cage, it will be able to zip around with extreme efficiency.

It will also learn where its food is stored.

If you keep treats under the cabinet across the room from its cage, every time you walk by the cabinet, it will know you are getting a treat.

Because chinchillas are creatures of habit, you must keep them on a set routine.

Chinchillas are also able to learn basic tricks. Below is a video that demonstrates the type of tricks you can treat chinchillas.

READ MORE: All About Chinchilla Size

Can Chinchillas Learn Their Names?

Chinchillas can learn their name through repetition.

Over time, your chinchilla will get used to you calling it a certain name by recognizing the tone and pitch you use.

Can Chinchillas Be Litter Trained?

Litter-box training is difficult for chinchillas, and will rarely be successful.

However, chinchillas will urinate in the same spot in their cage for years. You can put a litter box in the same spot your chinchilla likes to urinate, and it will go in the box.

If you move the box, the chinchilla will continue to urinate in its habitual urination spot. Using a litter box makes cleaning easier.

Every chinchilla is different. Some will learn things that others won’t.

The important thing to remember is that training a chinchilla takes time.

If you want to know how to potty train them, check the video below:

READ MORE: Do Chinchillas Purr?

What Can Chinchillas Learn?

Chinchillas can easily learn their names and will respond by waking up and/or coming when they are called.

Some chinchillas are capable of being litter box trained for urinating. Chinchillas often urinate in the same spot in a cage.

Placing a small metal container with litter in it in that spot and then giving your chinchilla a treat if/when he urinates in the litter box can help get the chinchilla started with litter box training.

Some chinchillas will adopt the litter box after repeated reinforcement with treats while others may just go urinate somewhere else.

Some chinchillas can be taught several tricks, such as reclining on their backs, looping through boxes, etc. These are all learned responses that are often reinforced with treats.

an owner trying to train chinchilla, are chinchillas smart

Often owners want to train their chinchilla to sit on their laps for long periods. This type of training isn’t likely to work well with a chinchilla.

You may be able to encourage your chinchilla to sit on your lap for short periods, but it is unrealistic to expect your pet to sit on your lap for hours at a time.

Chinchillas are both extremely curious and also have the unfortunate role of being prey in the wild. Even though they have been domesticated, these traits are still very strongly ingrained.

Chinchillas can learn come and other commands.

READ MORE: All About Chinchilla Smell

Chinchillas Can Recognise When Something is Wrong

Chinchillas form strong bonds with their cage mates. If one chinchilla dies, you will see major changes in the remaining chinchillas.

a sad is sitting sad in his cage

Changes include withdrawal, refusing to drink, vocal calling, loneliness, and listlessness.

What you need to do is to take care of the surviving chinchilla.

If you’re interested in getting a chinchilla as a pet, it’s important to understand the chinchilla cost and the various factors that can impact it. To make an informed decision, be sure to read up on the different costs associated with owning a chinchilla, such as food, supplies, and veterinary care.


Do chinchillas have a good memory?

a chinchilla eating walnut

Chinchillas have an excellent memory and can remember their name and the appearance of their owner without smelling them.

Are chinchillas smarter than hamsters?

Chinchillas are able to learn and recognize commands unlike hamsters and are thought to be smarter.

Are chinchillas smarter than rabbits?

Chinchillas are able to learn more tricks and be trained more obedient than rabbits and are thought to be smarter.

a smart chinchilla, how smart are chinchillas

Are your chinchillas smart? Let us know the things you noticed about them in the comments below!

Andreea Juganaru
Andreea Juganaru

Andreea is a very passionate content creator and her purpose is to provide you with the most interesting articles, while constantly discovering new facts. She’s been freelance writing for the past five years and has created numerous articles and educational materials while managing her own mom blog.
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