What Does It Mean When a Chinchilla Wipes Its Nose?


Have you ever noticed your chinchilla washing the front of their face with their paws, almost as if wiping their nose on a small furry sleeve? Have you ever questioned if this is something to be concerned about or if it’s simply normal behavior?

When a Chinchilla wipes its nose, it could mean it’s cleaning itself, or it may have dust in its nostrils. It could mean it’s friendly with you, or it has a runny nose or an itchy nose. Maybe it’s irritated with you or, you have a fan on in the room – it doesn’t like that. It’s always best to check that it is in good health.

Chinchillas, like humans, rub their noses for a variety of reasons. They could have dust in their nose, be tickled, have a runny nose, or simply be grooming their fur. Depending on how they conduct the motion, nose rubbing can be a sign of enjoyment or discontent.

Here are some of the possible reasons as to what it means when a chinchilla wipes its nose.

Clean Up After Themselves

Chinchillas groom themselves by cleaning their faces. This is usually followed by a ‘head-tuck,’ in which they groom the whole of their head and behind their ears.
Chinchillas have a habit of sticking their noses where they should not, which some people may find quite disgusting.

Yet, they usually clean up after themselves, attempting to wipe away anything they have smeared on their faces. If it doesn’t easily come off and still keep trying to clean it, you may need to assist them.

The best thing to use is a baby wipe on the area that is hard to clean by gently stroking the fur till it’s clean. You should then let the chinchilla clean off the dirty baby wipe on its own. They will be upset with you otherwise, so just let them do it! When they are dried, give them a dust bath so it does not attach to their damp fur.

Cleaning themselves could be a chinchilla wiping the fur around the nose and mouth. If they do it more once, likely, they are just trying to correct their fur. If this behavior becomes recurrent and lasts for an extended amount of time, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian. This is to figure out what is causing it.

Get Dust Up Their Noses

As previously said, chinchillas are spotless animals. One of the primary ways they maintain cleanliness in the wild is by taking a ‘bath’ in volcanic ash. They roll and roll until they are entirely covered in extremely fine powder.

Dust bathing removes any debris, loose fur, oils, or moisture that has accumulated between the follicles. In captivity, some people mimic this with chinchilla-specific dust, which allows them to toss and turn in the privacy of their own homes.

This is frequently a strenuous task with a lot of dust. Because the dust is in such fine particles, it can get up our noses as well as those of the chinchillas. Thus, allergy sufferers are frequently impacted.

The most expected moment for a chinchilla to wipe its nose is right after it has had a dust bath. They could wipe away dust, but they shake to remove it from between their fur. However, this does not always work for the face as the dust is so fine, it can get up their nose and occasionally into their eyes.

Then they will sneeze and/or wipe their nose or face to relieve the itching, just like we would. So, if they massage their nose after a dust bath, it is likely that they are only dealing with some dust and nothing to be concerned about.

Their chins are sensitive to dust, and if they inhale some of the minute particles. They may make a nose-clearing sound, wipe their nose, or acquire watery eyes. If the symptoms appear only after dust bathing, try a different brand/type of dust to see if they are only susceptible to that one.

However, keep an eye on them because these symptoms could suggest the development of a respiratory disease like pneumonia. Contact your veterinarian right once if these symptoms persist or worsen.

Just Being Friendly

Chinchillas show their friendliness by softly caressing their noses with their paws – their equivalent of saying “hello.” If you are lucky, they will come over and touch your nose with their paws, which is a sure sign that your chinchilla adores you.

Chinchillas frequently greet one another with a nose contact, which is the chin counterpart of an Eskimo kiss. After a quarrel, they often ‘nose kiss’ to make up and signal that everything is well.

Get Runny Noses?

A runny nose and/or eyes in a chinchilla could indicate a cold or another respiratory condition, such as pneumonia. If you observe this, take them to the veterinarian right away. Look to see if the chinchilla is drooling or has a damp area beneath its chin if it is wiping its mouth.

Does either of their eyes seem to be watering? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, they should consult a veterinarian right away. This is because they may be showing signs of malocclusion. Which is a disease that chinchillas in captivity get due to poor breeding or food, and it can be fatal.

Just Having an Itchy Nose

If the chin is only stroking their nose from time to time, there may be some loose fur or something tickling their nose – this is nothing to be concerned about. Allergies can affect chinchillas in the same way they do humans and other animals. And this can manifest as a runny nose and/or eyes.

Unfortunately, without having your veterinarian examine your chinchillas. There is no way to determine if this is something more serious, such as a respiratory ailment.
Your vet may take a sample of the nasal discharge to see if it is infected with germs. However, this will not tell them if they have a virus. So, your veterinarian will need to inspect the chinchilla to determine the diagnosis.

Your Chinchilla Is Irritated with You

Chinchillas, on the other hand, can use a nose wipe to express their displeasure or annoyance. It is more of a swipe than a wipe in this scenario, and they will do it while looking directly at the offending individual.

There is no denying it, and while it is amusing to watch, it is worth looking into to see what sparked this behavior. It might be as simple as refusing them a second raisin. Or it could be something in their environment that they do not like, so it is worth looking into.

Other Reasons Which Cause Chinchillas to Rub Their Nose

A chinchilla will occasionally react to having a fan in the room by rubbing its nose because it appears to tickle them. If they are rubbing their eyes, the fan may be drying up the air near them too much. Move the fan away from them.

Fans should never be placed directly next to chinchillas because they are sensitive to draughts. And keep an eye on them to check if they are wiping their eyes. If they do not stop, or if it starts to feel like they’re pawing at their eyes, it is time to take them to the veterinarian.

Final Thoughts

There is usually nothing to be concerned about if there is no runny nose or watery eyes. If you have any concerns about your pet’s health, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.

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