One of the many talents of chinchillas is that they are capable of making different sounds – even barking! Indeed, it’s a surprise that those small bodies of chinchillas can produce barking sounds.
Chinchillas bark when they’re upset, frightened, or threatened. They also signal danger to their fellow chinchillas by barking. They bark when injured, ill, or perhaps annoyed with some changes. If having a bad day, they will bark, or even in the middle of a disagreement with another or more chinchillas, there is barking.
Like any other animals, chinchillas produce these sounds as a way to communicate with their fellow chinchillas. But chinchillas can display different sounds aside from barking.
This article will discuss why chinchillas bark and other noises they make together with their meanings.
Let’s begin with:
Why Do Chinchillas Bark?
Essentially, it is not a good sign when chinchillas are barking. The sound they make when barking is a deep but fast squeak and varies in volume. When you start to hear them barking, you have to take note of the following reasons:
1. They Are Upset, Frightened, Or Threatened
Chinchillas will bark to express or show their nervousness and uneasiness with their environment.
They tend to feel upset, frightened, or threatened when they sense any danger near them.
They bark to signal other chinchillas of the danger that is coming towards them.
There are many things that chinchillas recognize as a danger, even your pet dogs and cats. Hence, you have to be attentive to your chinchillas to calm them when they start barking immediately.
Aside from the presence of other animals, chinchillas can get upset or frightened by loud noises like thunder and airplane noises. You will observe that they will bark after hearing such loud noises, but this only happens occasionally.
Moreover, you have to avoid triggering their nervousness to minimize the chances of the barking they produce.
You can start by isolating them from your other pets – if you have them – by placing them in a soundproof room where they cannot hear loud noises. You will notice changes in their mood if you do this.
2. Your Chinchilla Could Be Injured
Even after isolating them from other animals and placing them in a soundproof room, you still hear your chinchilla barking; that could signify they are injured.
You will also know that a chinchilla is injured if only a single chinchilla is barking even though they are in a secured place.
If your chinchilla is injured and starts barking, do not grab the chinchilla suddenly because it will stress them, and they will act aggressively towards you and bite you.
You need to leave them until they calm down but watch them prevent the injured chinchilla from damaging other chinchillas.
If the injured chinchilla has calmed down, get a towel and slowly wrap it around them. Don’t put too much pressure when holding them, and make sure you don’t touch the injured part of their body. Carefully scan their body to find any sign of bruising, swelling, or blood.
Send them immediately to the nearest vet office in your area and ask for appropriate medication.
3. Your Chinchillas Could Be Ill
If your chinchillas are not injured yet, they still exhibit barking sounds and slow movements; this could be a sign that your chinchillas are ill. You will know if they feel unwell just by looking at their eyes, nose, and mouth and seeing any dribbling from their mouth or saliva or moisture.
The same process in the previous section applies here. Grab them with utmost care to prevent stressing them. Afterwards, take them immediately to your nearest vet office and ask for appropriate medication.
4. They Don’t Like The Changes In The Environment
Sometimes, changes in their environment are the reason why they bark to show discontent. They will continuously bark as long as they want until they are fully adjusted to their new environment.
This can happen by moving their cage or play area from one place to another. Also, changing their routine causes stress on your chinchilla, so better expect them to bark.
When this happens, you have to wait until they have adjusted to their new place or routine.
If they continue to bark for many hours, return them to their original place or another place better with which they are familiar to see if they will stop barking.
5. Your Chinchillas Are Having A Bad Day
Those cute little creatures can also experience bad days, just like we humans do.
Chinchillas tend to be grumpy when having a bad day and prefer to stay alone for quite some time.
Don’t approach them if this happens, and just let them be where they want to be. Give them some space during their bad days, or you will only stress your chinchillas who’ll show aggressive behavior.
They only need some time alone and someone that will watch over them. After a few hours, you’ll notice that everything went back to normal, and that’s when you can approach them again.
6. There Is A Conflict Between Your Chinchillas
Sometimes, your chinchillas will bark to show dominance to other chinchillas aside from the usual function of barking as a signal for danger. Hence, you have to be cautious when they start to bark because it could mean a conflict is arising and not sending signals.
The common reason why chinchillas fight one another is the issue of territory. One chinchilla will bark against other chinchillas to show dominance and ownership in a certain area. If the opposing chinchilla takes the challenge, both chinchillas will brawl and will surely end up themselves injured.
You will know that there is a conflict arising by simply noticing the movements of your chinchillas. If they are showing unusual movements and there is tension between the two chinchillas, you have to separate them quickly.
In the end, if your chinchillas are happy and healthy, you won’t be hearing the noise of barking sounds very often. Instead, you will frequently notice their playful and loving side.
Other Chinchilla Noises and Meanings
Chinchillas are relatively quiet animals but they do use different sounds to communicate with their fellow chinchillas. They typically do so to express their emotions like anger, fear, or happiness. Owners need to know the variety of sounds chinchillas make to get an idea of what is happening around those beautiful animals.
1. Low And Gentle Squeak
This is a sound of a good sign. When you hear a low and gentle squeak often done irregularly and characterized by the high-pitched sound, the chinchillas are telling you that everything is going smoothly. This is their natural sound when they are happy and contented.
2. Continuous Squeaking
This sound can be both a good sign and a bad sign. Usually, they will produce continuous squeaking done gently but sound quite urgent when they feel the excitement. Chinchillas get excited when they see another familiar chinchilla or seeing their owner or by being fed.
Aside from the sound of excitement and happiness, they also make a similar sound when they are in distress. It could be that there is a danger to other animals, the temperature is not correct, or everything is not customary in their world. Hence, owners should be very keen enough to spot the reason why they squeak continuously.
3. Teeth Grinding
Aside from the previous two sounds they produce, teeth grinding is also a good sign. They usually grind their teeth when they are happy and contented. It depends on the chinchillas: either grind their teeth or squeak continuously, or low and gentle squeak to express happiness and contentment.
You will commonly hear this sound when you cuddle them or giving them treats. That is because cuddling and giving them treats are few of the reason that makes them extremely happy.
Chinchillas’ screaming is not similar to other animals when they scream, given the size of the animal. When they call, the sound of chinchillas is a loud and more urgent sound than squeaking that is characterized by high pitch. You have to know that they are screaming because this is a sign that your chinchillas are in danger.
In general, they will scream when they are in great distress or extreme pain. It could be that they feel threatened by the presence of your other pets or they heard a loud noise, or they injured themselves. Once you listen to them scream, you have to check on them immediately and make sure they have calmed down before approaching them.
Chinchillas also spit and this sound is characterized by sudden and sharp spitting or coughing noise. You have to be very careful when your chinchillas are making this sound because it means that they are angry or in defense mode. You will get this sound if you try to approach them while angry or in defense mode.
There are several reasons why chinchillas are angry, but it could also happen that they are just a little grumpy at times. They are in defense mode when they see potential predators coming their way. Thus, you better keep your other pets away from them and leave your chinchillas for a while until they are back in their friendly attitude.
6. Teeth Chattering
This sound should not be confused with teeth grinding, and owners should be wise enough to know this. Rapid teeth chattering is also a sign that they are angry and in self-defense mode. They are telling you to stay away from when they make this specific sound.
However, this doesn’t apply to all kinds of chinchillas. Some will chatter their teeth to express happiness and contentment. Hence, the owners must decide whether or not the chinchillas are angry or happy when they chat their teeth. Besides, owners can quickly know by simply observing the body language of chinchillas.
7. Fighting sound
Chinchillas produce a noise similar to barking when they fight, but it sounds more frantic and urgent, often irregularly, and differs in volume and rhythm. They usually clash over territory, food, and especially females. When this happens, you have to make your way in and settle the tension down in a very calm manner to avoid stressing them.
When it comes to the sounds of chinchillas, owners must know the context of the sound they produce. This is achieved by spending time with them to learn more about your chinchillas’ specific attitude and character. Just like humans, chinchillas are also unique in their ways.
Once you become familiar with your chinchillas and the sounds they produce under different circumstances, it will be easy for you to know what kind of response to give them.