Are Chinchillas Fragile? (Answered)

One of the questions to ask before choosing a pet is whether the pet is fragile. This concerns, first of all, whether and how you can interact with your pet. But also its food tolerance and general health are important questions to ask before buying. And also for chinchillas, there is this question. Are chinchillas fragile?

Chinchillas are not that fragile if they are kept and fed incorrectly. They do not like to be picked up and cuddled and can get hurt when you try to. Therefore, chinchillas do not make good pets for children. However, as far as diseases are concerned, chinchillas are considered quite robust. Fortunately, they rarely fall ill.

Even though chinchillas are relatively robust pets, there are still some things to keep in mind. You should be aware of these potential problems beforehand so that you can make a good decision if chinchillas are right for you.

That’s why we’ll go into more detail about if and when chinchillas are fragile. We also discuss whether chinchillas like to be picked up and cuddle. And we explain the best way to pick up chinchillas when necessary.

In addition, we also discuss the most common chinchilla health problems and how you can recognize them. But all in all, you do not need to worry too much about their robustness.

Are Chinchillas Fragile?

Chinchillas are actually relatively robust pets. They are known for the fact that they rarely get sick.

However, chinchillas are of course small animals that should be handled and carried with care. Their small bodies can definitely be damaged if you grab or squeeze them too tightly.

Chinchillas also don’t really like to be held. They are not cuddly animals. This also makes them a rather poor choice as pets for children.

It can be easy for children to squeeze or squeeze chinchillas too hard. In that case, chinchillas may very well be fragile and suffer physical damage.

Especially their tail is quite sensitive. Never try to pull your chinchilla up by the tail. It could tear off otherwise.

Are Chinchilla Bones Fragile?

The bones of chinchillas are naturally less stable than, for example, human bones. This is simply because chinchillas are small. Their bones are accordingly smaller and thinner.

If you grip your chinchilla too tightly, its bones may break. This happens especially often when people want to pick up chinchillas and the chinchillas try to escape in the process.

If you instinctively tighten your grip at such a time, you may break your chinchilla’s bones or otherwise injure it.

Do Chinchillas Like to Be Held?

Chinchillas are nocturnal animals. They usually rest during the day and become active only at the onset of dusk.

This also means that you should rather leave chinchillas alone during the day. If anything, the evening is the right time to play with them.

However, chinchillas do not particularly like to play and cuddle. They are definitely not cuddly animals! They also do not like to be picked up and carried.

However, they can learn to at least tolerate it if you have a lot of patience with them. Still, they will never really appreciate cuddling with you.

How To Pick up and Hold Chinchillas

Chinchillas are not pets that like to be taken and carried. Since these animals do not naturally fly, it should be clear that they do not like to take off. So you should rarely pick them up.

Sometimes it is necessary to take his chinchilla up. Especially if you are checking your chinchilla for health problems or if you are going to the vet.

Before you pick up your chinchilla, it should possibly have already lost its fear of you. So it should be at least hand-tame.

You must hold your animal so that it has no chance to jump down. Try to do this with one hand if possible. Since the little balls of wool have a lot of thick fur, it is difficult to hold the animal safely. You should hold it firmly, but not too tightly.

Place your chinchilla on one hand and place your thumb on the base of the tail. By holding the base of the tail, you will prevent it from jumping away unexpectedly.

Use your second hand to help with this. You can place the second hand under the front feet and belly.

Be consistent and firm in your approach. If you are too timid or uncertain, this will be transmitted to your animal. It will immediately jump down.

Especially in the beginning, it is quite normal that the animal loses tufts of hair when you pick it up. This will subside over time when your chinchilla knows that nothing will happen to it with you.

Never grab or hold your chinchilla by the tail end. Not only the hair, but the entire sensitive tail end can break off!

What Are Typical Diseases in Chinchillas?

There are some typical diseases that affect chinchillas more often. In this chapter, we would like to present some of the common diseases and their symptoms.

When we say that these diseases are common, it still does not mean that every chinchilla will be affected by them at some point. In general, chinchillas are rather robust concerning diseases.

You can do a lot yourself to keep your chinchillas healthy with good and proper care, good nutrition, and regular checkups.

However, it is important to familiarize yourself with the common diseases. This way you will know what to do if an illness does occur.

  • Digestive problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Regurgitation
  • Coccidia (intestinal parasites)
  • Giardia (intestinal parasites)
  • Mouth and throat
  • Dental anomalies
  • Jaw abscesses
  • Inflammations in the mouth
  • Respiratory infections
  • Colds
  • Infections
  • Pseudotuberculosis
  • Eye diseases
  • Bone fractures
  • Sprains, bruises and strains
  • Skin infections
  • Fungal diseases
  • Apathy
  • Bladder stones
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Diabetes
  • Heat stroke
  • Foot pad infections

How to Tell if Chinchillas Are Sick

bowl and tries to participate in the social life of the group.

These are normal behaviors because the animal needs to eat to stay alive and the pack offers it protection. That is why illnesses usually remain hidden from the owner for a long time.

Often owners notice a disease only very late then. They notice it only when it is already so far advanced that the chinchilla shows over clear signs.

These signs include a visible weight loss and weakness up to apathy. Usually, it is then already too late for successful treatment of the disease!

For this reason, it is very important that you watch your chinchillas very closely to detect pathological changes in time!

A daily health check is vital for chinchillas:

  • Do all chinchillas come to the food bowl or to feed?
  • Do they eat normally and at the usual rate?
  • Are they lively and interested in their surroundings?
  • Do they run and jump normally?
  • Are the fecal pellets normal in shape and size?

These are questions you should ask yourself daily. If one of your animals behaves differently than normal or you notice signs of illness, see a veterinarian immediately!

You should also examine your chinchillas more closely at least once a week to detect worse diseases in time.

Take the chinchillas out of the enclosure and perform the following examinations:

  • Weight check: Weigh your chinchilla and write down the weight. If the chinchilla does not keep still in the kitchen scale, then take a transport box to help, weigh the box first and then the animal in the box. Then subtract the weight of the box.
  • Sensory organs: Look in the ears, in the mouth, between the teeth and in the eyes. Remove any food debris from between the teeth if necessary.
  • Palpate the animal: Look for tumors, thickening, and regurgitation.
  • Coat check: Examine the chinchilla coat. While doing this, stroke against the grain, look for bald spots, lesions, and other abnormalities.
  • Anus check: Look at the anus, watch for sticky and moist areas.


Chinchillas are generally relatively hardy pets. They are not considered fragile.

However, you must be careful not to hurt your chinchillas, especially if you have to pick them up. Their bones and tail are very delicate.

As far as diseases are concerned, chinchillas are known to be quite healthy pets. They do not get sick very often.

Nevertheless, it is good to know the typical diseases that can hit chinchillas. This way you are prepared for any problems and can react accordingly.

It is also important to take care of your chinchillas regularly and properly. This includes proper nutrition and a regular dust bath. You should also check your chinchillas regularly for signs of disease.