Although they don’t look like it, chinchillas are agile animals. Something to keep in mind when adopting a pet chinchilla. When preparing a home environment for a chinchilla, you need to take into account the jumping.
Are you worried about the chinchilla cage you are getting being too small? Or, are you worried about the chinchilla reaching some shelves or countertops? How high can chinchillas jump?
Chinchillas are natural jumpers. Their back legs are long and shaped like a spring which is ideal for jumping. Similar to rabbits, chinchillas can jump up to 6 feet from a still position. They are able to climb surfaces easily because of their precise jump.
You will want to learn all about the physical abilities of pet chinchillas, keep reading.
Why Do Chinchillas Jump So High
Most rodents are prey. Before we domesticated rabbits and chinchillas, they didn’t exactly enjoy their environment. Because of their small figure, they were easy targets for many types of predators.
So, they evolved in a way that helps them avoid predators. That means that they developed certain defensive tactics to stay alive. This includes thick fur that protects them from parasites. They can also release fur something bites them. [Source]
Another defensive tactic is the ability to spray urine to scare off predators. But the most useful thing to avoid animals is the ability to jump 6 feet in height.
Not only that, but their jump is really accurate as well. They can jump to a narrow surface with ease. More so, they can do it from a still position, without having to run first.
This allows them to easily avoid predators. They can either get to a safe location or avoid ambush animals. This is specifically good for avoiding snakes and felines.
Despite this, predators were still able to hunt wild chinchillas. These defensive tactics allowed them to stay a part of nature for a long time. Until human hunters decided to hunt them.
That’s why nowadays we only see domesticated chinchillas. These domesticated chinchillas still have those instincts and they are still able to jump that high.
How Do Chinchillas Jump So High
To understand why chinchillas have such amazing jumping abilities we have to take a look at how they are built. Chinchillas live in burrows or rock crevices. This is how they avoid their main predator, birds.
Because they have to dig in tight narrow underground spaces, they are kind of compressed. I’m talking mostly about their back legs. If you take a look at a picture of an adult chinchilla skeleton, you can see that their legs are perfect for jumping. [Source]
They have long bent back legs. The same way kangaroos’ legs are bent. The same way we bend our legs when we prepare to jump from a standing position.
Compressed long legs are perfect for jumping, the kangaroo is an example of that. That’s why chinchillas are able to jump so high. In fact, because of that, you will notice them hopping even when it’s not necessary.
Chinchillas have big and long feet and toes as well. This also plays a part in their jumping capabilities. The big feet and toes allow them to spring from the ground with strong force. More so, this also allows them to jump from narrow surfaces and perform a perfect landing.
Do Chinchillas Hop Or Run
Some new chinchilla owners are surprised by the way the pet moves inside the cage. I agree, chinchillas have some weird movements. It’s sort of like they are hopping like rabbits but not exactly, it also looks like they are running.
So, do chinchillas hop or run? Well, the answer is something in between. Chinchillas don’t run, they don’t have the physical ability for it because of their bent long back legs.
They don’t hop in a sense as rabbits do either. Their movement is really specific. If they are not jumping or climbing, they move by springing their back legs. This results in something that looks like a hop but it’s not exactly that.
[Related Article: Do Chinchillas Climb Trees Like A Monkey]
Do Pet Chinchillas Like Jumping
The ability to jump high comes from chinchillas evolving their defensive capabilities. However, domesticated chinchillas don’t really need that. So, some pet owners may be asking: Do chinchillas like jumping?
Although chinchillas full-spring jump only when in trouble, they like to jump all day around. They consider that as playtime, entertainment, and exercise. Happy chinchillas are active chinchillas which means they jump quite a lot.
The thing is, most domesticated animals use their natural instincts to play. It’s the same with dogs and cats. While they are playing they exhibit their hunting instincts.
Vets advise on always keeping your pet chinchilla active. The average chinchilla will like to do tasks, climb, and jump. That’s why you need to get a cage that will allow the pet to jump on platforms. Make sure there’s enough space to perform the jump. [Source]
Encourage jumping for your chinchilla during playtime. A good trick is to make the chinchilla jump on a platform to get food.
Chinchillas Jumping At Home
Now, a chinchilla jumping in its cage is nothing to worry about. However, the chinchilla jumping at home, on furniture and shelves is a different thing. Should I allow my chinchilla to jump at home?
You should encourage your chinchilla to jump on objects at home from time to time. Keep in mind though, you have to take extra care. The chinchilla can easily get hurt from a bad jump.
You need to set up a safe environment. Never let your chinchilla roam around the house unsupervised. This should be an organized playtime if you want your chinchilla to jump outside its cage.
Can Baby Chinchillas Jump
Baby chinchillas are able to jump as well, not as high as the average chinchilla though. That doesn’t mean that they should be allowed to jump.
Baby chinchillas should be kept in a safe environment where they can’t roam or jump around that much. Their bones are still not fully grown, so they may get hurt when they are landing.
Can Chinchillas Get Hurt From Jumping
Although chinchillas are really precise and balanced when jumping, they can get hurt if they fall. This only applies in a home environment.
First of all, the probability of your chinchilla getting hurt from jumping in the cage is really low. Most cages are built to protect the chinchilla from stuff like that. More so, the chinchillas know every nook and cranny of the cage, so it knows where to jump at.
The problem is with jumping on objects at home. Since some objects are unknown to the chinchilla, it can’t be sure that it can jump there safely. Although chinchillas avoid unknown territories, there is a chance that they may get hurt from jumping.
Related Questions And Other FAQs
Can Chinchillas Jump Down
Yes, chinchillas can also jump down. They are able to jump from some high surfaces. They are able to estimate whether they can land safely or not.
How Fast Can Chinchillas Run
Chinchillas are not exactly runners. With their hopping-like movements, they can reach a speed of up to 15 miles per hour.
Why Do Chinchillas Jump Off Wall
Chinchillas jumping off walls or running up and down a wall is most of the time a good thing. This is a way to show happiness and excitement.