Do my bonded males need to be seperated after fighting?


New member
Jul 12, 2017
I have two male chinchillas, a five year old and a six year old. I recently adopted them as a bonded pair and was told they had never fought before. They have gotten along fine and have acted like brothers until just now. They fought over the food bowl and started barking and making loud noises as well as wrestling, sort of. I opened the cage and they stopped but then started again. For tonight I separated the two levels so one is on the top and the other the bottom, both with food and water. I don't want to have to keep doing this because they normally get along well, but I'm scared to put them back together. What should I do? I'm new to owning chinchillas and I don't know what to do or how to handle this!! Thanks!


Staff member
Jan 28, 2009
South Dakota
Do you usually have two feeding bowls in the cage when they are together? Sometimes that's enough to solve it. As for whether or not you can keep them together, that isn't something we can tell you. Generally once chins start fighting, it escalates; however, if it was just a scuffle over the food dish, you "might" be able to get them back together.

Before you do, I would trim their whiskers back to about an inch long. It helps them forget to fight over dominance. once they fight though, you are taking a risk putting them back together, so watch them closely.


Staff member
May 7, 2012
It depends on how bad the fighting was, if it was just barking, a little tussling, but no actual blood shed or fur pulling, it was likely just an argument and it's fairly normal. It's a warning sign though that you need to keep an eye on them, but if that is as far as it goes they don't need to be separate. However if it got to the point of fur being pulled out, excessive chasing, and especially if blood was drawn, it's not really safe to put them back unsupervised again. Once they get to the point of drawing blood, it shows intent to kill, and chins can and do fight to the death, so they can't safely be together anymore ever again.

As tunes said, if you don't already you should have two of everything in the cage for them, it helps prevent resource guarding, so two food bowls, two water bottles and hay in at least two different places. I have a food bowl at the top of the cage and one at the bottom. It's physically impossible for one chin to claim top and bottom at the same time. It's also good to have more then one hiding house or tunnel for them to sleep in, so they can sleep alone it if they need/want some space.

If it was more an argument then a full blown fight, I would just give them a day or so to calm down. I can take up to a week for some to settle down though, so wait until they are calm, you want them to miss each other and forget why they were mad.

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