Digging into my leg? Biting?


New member
Jul 31, 2013
Champaign, IL
Hi! I absolutely love my chinchilla, Rhaegar, but I have two questions regarding his recent behavior.

1. He has recently started digging into my leg during playtime. He will come up to me and scratch at the skin on my upper leg with his front feet and nibble at me with his teeth as if he is trying to dig. Is there any reason for this? And how could I encourage him to stop? (The scratching from his nails kind of hurts!)

2. He has developed a problem with biting. This was not an issue when I got him (when he was 3 months old), but after several weeks he started biting when I would do something he didn't like (e.g. not let him go somewhere he wanted).
Now I can't seem to find any reason for his biting - he has been biting me pretty frequently during playtime for no apparent reason. I don't think he is scared of me, because he will climb into my hand from his cage and he crawls all over me when he's out. I don't forcibly hold him or pet him. He will just be running around in his playpen and he'll come over to me and bite me, often times grabbing on like he is trying to pull me somewhere. What is the best way to stop this?

Thank you so much!!


Apr 19, 2012
Seattle, WA
The biting thing gets worse when you withdraw or react to the first few bites. Basically they learn they can boss you around with biting. To break it you have to basically not give in, you can squeak at them similar to when they get up set (called a klak) and if he is holding on you can gently remove him. It takes longer to break a bad habit than form one.

Also the only time my chinchillas scratch at stuff is when she smells dust or wants a bath.