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Chinchilla on the run!

I’ve had Walter for about a month now and he’s adorable! A right little character!

In the evenings, I have to remove his food bowl from the cage for the night or he pulls it off the side of the cage, throws it to the floor of the cage and then jumps into it – as it’s a metal food bowl and the floor of the cage is bars like the sides; it makes a godawful noise!

He’s very sociable and comes to me whenever I open the door, will eat from my hands and most of the time; I can stroke him (especially if I distract him with food).

But I can’t pick him up!

He’ll sit on my hands & chew my sleeve or jewellery or food if I have some in my hand, but if I try to hold him; he jumps away. I’ve watched Mel – she puts her hand in and just grabs hers, he struggles a bit, but then calms immediately. I asked Auntie Ruth how she holds hers (she has four), she puts her hand in and picks them up under their bellies – if I try that; Walter just jumps over my hand.

I can catch him, but it takes a minute or two of chasing him around the cage and then when I’ve got hold of him, he struggles. He’ll relax for about 10 seconds, then struggle, then relax for a bit longer.

I tried giving him a treat when I’ve got hold of him, but he won’t take it.

Should I just stick to putting my hands in the cage for now, or should I persevere with chasing, catching and holding him – when will I know when I can pick him up? If I persevere with catching him, should I hold him until he’s calm (kinda like flood therapy) or just hold him for a few seconds?

As I’ve said, other than trying to hold him, he’s adorable! He chitters to me and loves when my hands are in the cage, if I could climb into the cage, he’d be all over me – but I’m too scared to get him out of the cage unless I can hold him in case he jumps down and runs away!

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