Chinchillas are among the loveliest pets that you can have, they’re friendly, cuddly, and enjoy bonding with their caregivers throughout the day! However, a lot of people also claim that chinchillas are surprisingly intelligent when compared to other pets and rodents. So how smart are chinchillas?
Surprisingly, chinchillas are quite intelligent animals and they can show that in a variety of ways. You can also teach them several skills, such as potty training. Their intelligence also extends to social and emotional capabilities that are quite rare in animals from the same class.
If you want to know more about chinchillas and how intelligent they can be, this article has got you covered with some of the most notable examples. Let’s jump right in!
How Smart Are Chinchillas?
Although it’s quite challenging to measure the level of intelligence of any animal that you can have at home, there are many examples and cases that show how intelligent chinchillas can be.
A lot of chinchillas owners have noticed the unique level of intellectual capabilities that chinchillas can have.
However, some pet owners who have multiple chinchillas have noticed that the level of intelligence can vary according to each individual chinchillas, as some of them are simply smarter than others.
Based on that, it’s safe to assume that chinchillas pack a noticeable level of intelligence that caused many of their owners to notice how smart they can be.
Like many smart animals, chinchillas can learn a lot through repetition, whether it’s a behavior or a task, it’ll quickly make the connection and understand what it should do.
It’s also worth mentioning that chinchillas aren’t only “task smart” but they’re also emotionally and socially smart as well.
10 Examples That Show How Smart Chinchillas Can Be
As previously mentioned, there’s no clear scientific way to test the limits of chinchillas iQ.
However, there are certain situations and examples that can give you an idea about what chinchillas can and can’t do when it comes to problem-solving and other related skills. Let’s check them out:
They Have a Strong Memory
In nature, having a strong memory is highly correlated with intelligence. This is because no matter how witty the chinchilla is, it can’t do tricks unless it remembers them. Luckily, this is the case with chinchillas.
A lot of chinchilla owners have noticed that chinchillas do have enhanced memory. They remember faces, places, sounds, and react to them according to their previous experiences.
For example, chinchillas take a very short time before they’re completely familiar with their habitat, whether it’s a cage or a playpen.
They quickly figure out that this is their home and quickly find a suitable spot to urinate to avoid making a lot of mess where they live.
Not only that, but they also understand the concept of doors and where to find everything, such as water and food.
When chinchillas are scared of a certain voice once, such as the sound of a vacuum cleaner, they’ll quickly retreat to their houses as soon as they hear it once again.
Moreover, their good memory helps them learn tricks in a significantly shorter time when compared to other pets, such as rabbits and hamsters. In fact, some owners believe that they’re almost as smart as cats and dogs!
They Recognise Their Owner’s Voice and Respond to Names
Speaking of memory and intelligence, the chinchilla’s strong memory doesn’t only stop at being able to recall places and experiences, but it also extends to recognizing names and even responding to them!
Just like they identify sounds that are scary, they also identify the sounds that mean love, care, and food.
As an owner of one or more chinchillas, you should expect them to get instantly excited as they hear you approaching them and calling their names.
In fact, with enough time, they will remember their own name. However, you should know that their response to calling them will vary depending on the individual personality of each chinchilla.
For example, some will simply stop and turn around to look at you while others will come running to you when you call them, even if they’re busy playing or rolling it dust bath!
You Can Potty Train a Chinchilla
Potty training is one of the few skills that make cats and dogs the most common pets on the planet.
If you have one from a young age, you can train them to urinate in a specific spot at certain times of the day to keep the house mess-free.
Surprisingly, such a skill isn’t only exclusive to dogs and cats. Since chinchillas have a relatively close level of intelligence, you can actually train them to urinate in a litter box.
As previously mentioned, chinchillas like to urinate in a specific spot anyway. If you want them to transition to a little box, all you have to do is place the litter box where they usually urinate.
After that, move the box around 1 inch every few days, you’ll notice that the chinchilla will urinate in the box wherever it is.
This makes the cleanup process a lot easier. In fact, keeping chinchillas’ habitat clean is the key to a happy chinchilla!
You Can Teach Them Several Skills
Not only can you teach them to urinate in a litter box, but you can also teach your chinchilla tens of cool tricks.
Since chinchillas are intelligent and have a good memory, they take a surprisingly small amount of time before they learn a new trick!
For example, with enough patience and a bag full of treats, you can teach your chinchilla to stand on hind legs, balance themselves, hold things, pause and pose to the camera, lie down, come to you, and much more!
Moreover, chinchillas might develop a few tricks on their own, such as throwing old hay on the floor to let you know that it’s time for some fresh hay, such as sitting on your lap for a longer time when you call them.
They Know When It’s Time to Play
Since chinchillas are great at figuring out and understanding patterns, they’ll quickly understand that playtime is not always convenient for you.
If you consistently show up for playtime at a specific time or while holding specific toys, you’ll be able to notice their unusual excitement to see you.
They Can Retrace Their Way Back
Chinchillas are excellent pathfinders. They have a good grasp of their surroundings and how to trace their way out of a maze by memorizing their pace and the shortest way through it.
This doesn’t only come down to their unique level of intelligence but also due to their powerful sense of smell, which is augmented by their strong memory to remember their way in and out of places.
They Form Excellent Social Bonds
Chinchillas are extremely social and friendly by nature. They tolerate not only their owners and their family members but also other chinchillas and even different pets in the house who aren’t constantly terrifying them.
Some pet owners of multiple chinchillas also noticed the advanced social connections that chinchillas make among themselves.
For example, they typically avoid eating each other’s food and mourn the death of older chinchillas when they pass away.
They Enjoy Having Personal Items
One of the main reasons why chinchillas respect other’s items is that they have a strong sense of favoritism when it comes to personal items.
Chinchillas like to have a favorite water bottle, favorite food, favorite toys, etc. Such behavior is typically common among intelligent communities, such as humans and apes.
They Know Treat Spots and Check it Regularly
If you constantly keep chinchilla treats in your pockets, you’ll find chinchillas checking them regularly as soon as you let them climb on you. They will also check the places where you keep their food and water in their habitat.
They Don’t Bite Their Owners While Playing
Last but not least, chinchillas understand the difference between self-defense and being playful. Most chinchilla owners have noticed that chinchillas will only nibble softly on your fingers and hands while playing so they don’t hurt you.
Not only that, but they also use a different approach for self-defense on those that they trust. For example, a chinchilla in the wild would try to bite any animal that harasses it or poses a danger to it.
However, in a safe house environment, they will only nibble on your hand to back off without hurting you with a hard bite.
There you have it! A complete guide with everything you need to know about chinchillas and how smart they can be.
As you can see, chinchillas are capable of understanding concepts that most animals in their class wouldn’t.
They have the mental capacity to understand their concept of names, whether it’s their name or the owners’. They can also learn a few basic commands with persistent training, which allows you to bond greatly and feel more connected to your furry little friend!
If you’re looking for a snuggly, lovely, intelligent pet to give all your love to, chinchillas fit the bill just right!