People who are considering adopting chinchillas as pets often express interest in knowing how smart these animals are. Sometimes, even people who are not thinking of keeping them as pets nonetheless express interest in knowing how intelligent they are. This is typically out of curiosity, after reading about the intelligence of chinchillas or after watching documentaries about them. In this article, we explore the subject of chinchillas’ intelligence in a comprehensive manner.
Are Chinchillas smart? The answer is that for animals of their size, chinchillas are remarkably smart. The facts that they are able to learn basic commands and to even recognize their names are evidence for their unique intelligence. Chinchillas are able to recognize their owners, and show responsiveness to items they desire (especially treats) and they are potty trainable.
Potty trainable quality for chinchillas is at least to the extent of getting them to only urinate in litter boxes. For people who happen to be looking for pets that are small yet smart, chinchillas often make a good choice.
How Smart Are Chinchillas?
We can’t exactly give chinchillas objective IQ tests. But there are ways in which we can get insights on chinchilla IQ levels. One is by taking a look at the chinchilla memory capacity. And this is where we come to learn that they have remarkable memory capacities.
The chinchilla memory span seems to be really good. A chinchilla, for instance, is able to remember its owner even after he/she has been away for some time.
The chinchilla is also able to remember what certain cues are associated with. For instance, it soon comes to learn that the owner opening the food container’s lid means that it is feeding time (and responds appropriately). So, are chinchillas smart? In as far as memory capacity goes, they really are.
Another way in which we can assess chinchilla intelligence is by checking how easily they are able to learn various things. These include fairly complex things like tricks: where, for instance, you can eventually get them to stand on their hind legs upon giving them a certain cue.
This is remarkable, for rodents. Once again, one may ask at this point, are chinchillas smart? And the answer is that they are: to the extent that they have capacity to learn fairly difficult things.
The fact that chinchillas have complex personalities is another evidence for their smartness. So is the fact that they are able to understand death and mourn recently departed cage mates in rather profound ways.
Ultimately, given the size of its skull, the chinchilla brain size may be fairly modest. But this rodent still seems to be more intelligent than other animals that have much bigger skulls. Then again, there have been studies suggesting that bigger skull size is not always an indication of higher intelligence in animals.
Can A Chinchilla Learn Tricks?
Yes, a chinchilla is able to learn simple tricks. For instance, you can get them to stand on their hind legs on cue. But being a chinchilla trainer is a task that requires patience, because these are animals that learn through repetition.
The chinchilla tricks training work can be taxing, but also very rewarding once you get them to do various things on cue. All in all, can chinchillas learn tricks? The answer is ‘yes’. With patience, you can soon or later get them to perform simple (but still fascinating) tricks.
The best way to approach chinchilla training is by viewing it as one aspect of bonding with it. Once you take this perspective, you no longer view it as a chore. It is something you will enjoy doing, however long it takes. And eventually, if you are persistent enough, you will get fascinating results.
So, one may ask, are chinchillas smart (or are chinchillas really intelligent) if they are only able to learn how to perform simple tricks? And the answer is yes – especially when you consider that there are other much bigger animals that can’t be trained to perform tricks, however hard you try.
It is worth noting that the specific tricks that are learnable vary from chinchilla to chinchilla. There are some chinchillas that are capable of learning tricks that are more complex than others. And there are some that turn out to be faster learners than others.
Furthermore, the age at which you initiate the training matters: with younger ones being typically more capable of learning than older ones.
Are Chinchillas Easily Trained?
The training of chinchillas requires patience. They soon or later do come to learn, but that is typically through repetition. There are several chinchilla training tricks (or rather chinchilla training tips) that can hasten the process a bit. But the process requires some patience.
One may ask, are chinchillas smart (in the real sense of the word) if their training requires time and patience? And the answer is yes – especially when we consider the fact that other rodents (and other pets of this size generally) are pretty much not trainable at all.
So yes, chinchilla training requires time and patience. But the fact that they are trainable at all is remarkable on its own. It is evidence for their unique intelligence.
Can Chinchillas Be Toilet Trained?
The subject of toilet training almost inevitably tends to come up, wherever the are chinchillas smart question is under discussion. So people basically want to know: are chinchillas smart enough to undergo toilet training? And the answer (surprisingly to many) is ‘yes’. Chinchillas are capable of undergoing toilet training, to a certain degree.
To be sure, the toilet training chinchilla owners typically aim for is that in which they can get them to be urinating and pooping in litter boxes. In other words, the potty training chinchilla owners typically aim for is a complete one. That is to get the chinchilla to use the litter box for both urination and pooping.
But in actual fact, the pooping bit tends to be a bit of a challenge. Getting the chinchilla to be urinating in a litter box is easy enough. But it tends to be hard to get it to poop in a litter box.
One may then ask, are chinchillas smart or are chinchillas intelligent (objectively speaking), if they are only capable of ‘partial’ toilet training? And the answer is still yes. The fact that they are capable of undergoing any form of toilet training is a big enough deal.
That is the case when you consider the fact that most other animals of this size are not capable of any form of toilet training at all. So the chinchilla is still quite remarkable in this sense.
Can Chinchillas Be Trained To Sleep At Night?
It may be hard to get them to sleep at night, seeing that these are crepuscular animals. But there are ways in which you can get the chinchilla to be quieter at night, so that you can enjoy your sleep.
Do Chinchillas Learn Their Names?
Another question that usually arises where the are chinchillas smart topic is under discussion is on whether or not they learn their names. This usually goes hand in hand with the question: can chinchillas understand humans? People want to know whether it is possible to get a chinchilla to understand (and respond to) its name the way a dog does.
So, can chinchillas learn their name? The answer is yes. Chinchillas do learn their names. This they do through a process of repetition. If you are persistent enough, you can eventually get your chinchilla to learn his name. You can then be calling him by that name, and seeing him respond to it nicely.
Do Chinchillas Know Their Owners?
Often, the people posing the are chinchillas smart question will express interest in knowing whether these animals are capable of recognizing their owners. And as it turns out, the answer is ‘yes’.
In fact, chinchillas are able to come to a point of knowing their owners so well, that they can even sniff them from afar! So you find that a chinchilla is able, at some point, to know that its owner is around even without seeing him. That is just on the basis of its sense of smell.
Can Chinchillas Understand Words?
Chinchillas seem to be capable of understanding simple commands. They are also capable of recognizing their names. This means that they do understand words – at least simple ones. And this is remarkable for rodents of this size.
Are Chinchillas Smarter Than Rabbits?
More often than not, the people posing the question on are chinchillas smart will venture into comparisons. One of these is where they endeavor to know: are chinchillas smart enough to be termed as being more intelligent than rabbits? And the answer is that there are certain things which they are able to do better than rabbits.
For instance, chinchillas are more easily trained to perform tricks than rabbits. They also seem to be more easily capable of recognizing their names.
Therefore we can assert that in certain aspects at least, chinchillas are smarter than rabbits.
Are Chinchillas Smarter Than Guinea Pigs?
Another comparison that people who have an interest in chinchilla intelligence tend to make is with guinea pigs. This is where they ask: are chinchillas smart enough to be capable of being viewed as more intelligent than guinea pigs?
And the answer, again, is that there are aspects in which chinchillas are more intelligent than guinea pigs. For instance, chinchillas seem to be more trainable, have more memory and agility than guinea pigs.
Are Chinchillas Smarter Than Cats?
Yet another common comparison is where chinchilla intelligence is compared to cat intelligence.
So the question is typically along the lines of: are chinchillas smart enough to be regarded as being more intelligent than cats? And the answer is that, at the very least, chinchilla intelligence seems to be at the same level as that of cats and dogs. And this is a big deal, more so when you consider that the chinchilla is a much smaller animal.
Are Chinchillas Really Smart?
There is really no objective way of gauging what is the IQ of a chinchilla. But going by their memory, trainability, complex personality and agility (relative to its size), we can assert that they are really smart. A chinchilla is even capable of discarding old hay from its quarters, in preference for fresh hay.
And should it go astray, your Chinchilla is able to find its way back to the cage. That is besides being capable of learning a wide range of simple tricks. How can we say that a rodent with such abilities is not really smart?
Are Chinchillas Good Pets?
Most of the people who pose the are chinchillas smart question tend to be folks whose ultimate interest is in knowing whether or not these are good pets. So, are chinchillas good pets? The answer really depends on what one’s definition of a good pet is.
If one’s definition of a good pet is one that is intelligent, sociable, easy to maintain and capable of a decent life expectancy (up to 20 years), then the chinchilla fits the bill well.
Final Verdict – Are Chinchillas Smart
As we have seen, chinchillas are remarkably smart, especially for animals their size. They have good memories and complex personalities. They are easily trainable, can recognize their names as well as their owners. Admittedly, the level of intelligence varies from one chinchilla to the next. But the average chinchilla tends to be quite smart.
With good, patient training, you can get a chinchilla to perform some feats that are rather remarkable for a rodent. In any event, the chinchilla is an animal that is smart enough to provide enjoyable company at all times.