Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Rodents > How Smart Are Chinchillas? What You Need to Know

How Smart Are Chinchillas? What You Need to Know

smart chinchilla looking at the camera

Don’t underestimate the intelligence of an animal, especially the smaller rodents like chinchillas. After all, if rats can memorize their way through a maze, why can’t chinchillas do the same? Animal intelligence is crucial for a species to adapt to a new environment and use its surroundings to survive. Chinchillas are an intelligent species when you look at all that they’re capable of.


How Smart are Chinchillas?

Chinchillas are a type of small rodent and are more intelligent than most people imagine. They have many different abilities that prove what brainiacs they really are. They learn social skills, answer to their names, and even pick up on new commands during training. You might not be able to give these animals an IQ test, but it’s easy to see that they are perfectly capable of using their brains to the best of their ability.

Image Credit: Luniaka Maria, Shutterstock

Can Chinchillas Have a Good Memory?

Intelligence goes hand in hand with memory. The more you remember, the easier it is to learn from past mistakes and adapt to new situations. Chinchillas have a fantastic memory when it comes to faces and voices. Chinchilla owners often express how excited their pets get when they walk into the room or hear their voices.

These animals are also capable of memorizing their spatial surroundings. Put one in a cage, and they’ll have the entire layout memorized in a short time. They’re also smart enough to keep their cage clean. Chinchillas often urinate in the same spots of their enclosure to keep the area hygienic.

Related Read: Chinchilla For Sale: Breeders List in the US, UK, & Canada

Do Chinchillas Learn Their Own Names?

Just how a dog learns its name, chinchillas are capable of the same. Over time, these animals associate the specific sound with a type of positive reinforcement. In the wild, identifying different sounds or voices has helped to protect them from predators.

fluffy chinchilla
Image By: Luniaka Maria, Shutterstock

Is It Possible to Train a Chinchilla to Learn Commands?

Training is a crucial part of owning any type of animal. It might surprise you to learn that chinchillas are capable of picking up on new commands and tricks. For example, some owners choose to teach their chinchillas how to use the litter box. If they have lots of positive reinforcement, their brains are willing to pick up on the command.

Are There Pets That Are Smarter Than Chinchillas?

You can’t deny that chinchillas are intelligent creatures. Between their memory, trainability, and hygiene practices, they are much wittier than some other animals out there. In general, they are much smarter than animals such as rabbits or squirrels. Some experts even believe that their intelligence is equally matched with cats and dogs.

Tips for Training Chinchillas

Training chinchillas isn’t quite the same as training your dog. Here are a few tips to be successful:

  • Train them in a spacious or open place inside your house that allows them to run around or play during the session.
  • Always train them in an environment that they’re comfortable in.
  • The time it takes for animals to grasp something varies from one animal to another. Remain calm and patient during your training sessions.
  • Use treats during a short training session to build trust between you two and reinforce good behavior.
  • Only give treats when your chinchilla has done something good. Do not raise your voice or discipline your chinchilla at all. It could make them less open to sessions in the future.


Final Thoughts

Just because they’re small doesn’t mean that chinchillas aren’t intelligent. After spending some time with them, you’ll quickly pick up on how incredible and wise they are. It only takes a short time before you’re able to see just how impressive these animals can be.

Featured Image Credit: AJSTUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets