Chinchilla Sleeping Habits (How They Sleep, When, & How Much)

Chinchillas are small pets with thick fur that are native to the Andes Mountains in South America. They are very social and love spending time around other chinchillas and with their owners.

But apart from socializing, chinchillas also need to spend time resting and regaining their strength.

How do chinchillas sleep? Are they nocturnal animals?

In this article, we have pooled together the most important information about your chinchilla’s sleep behavior so you are aware of its patterns and can give it the care it needs.

Key Takeaway:

Chinchillas are crepuscular animals and are most active at dusk and dawn. They sleep during the day for about 10 to 12 hours with their ears curled downwards. Some chinchillas sleep on their side, some on all fours, and others on their backs.

Are you ready to create the most comfortable environment for your chinchilla to sleep in?

Then make sure you check out the rest of this article, where we will be showing you tips on how to prepare the most cozy sleeping area. We will also let you in on what kind of behavior is normal while your chinchilla sleeps.

featured chinchilla night 1

The Sleeping Habits of a Chinchilla

Chinchillas are energetic and social animals that love spending time with their owners and with other chinchillas. But these super cute furry pets also need time to rest.

Coming up next in this article, we are going to get to know the sleeping habits of a chinchilla better. This will help you give your pet chin the care it needs.

How Do Chinchillas Sleep?

There’s nothing cuter than a sleeping chinchilla. These animals have unique sleeping positions.

Chinchillas sleep with their ears curled downwards. Some chinchillas sleep on all fours, others on their sides, and even some on their backs.

If you have more than one pet chinchilla, you might even find them sleeping curled up next to one another.

When Do Chinchillas Sleep?

Many people think chinchillas are nocturnal animals, but that is not entirely true. Chinchillas are crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active at dusk and dawn.

It is at these times that a chinchilla will be running around, socializing with other chinchillas, and eating.

When will your chinchilla sleep?

Chinchillas sleep during the day. During the night, however, they will be awake and up and about.

How Long Do Chinchillas Sleep?

Chinchillas are up and about from dusk to dawn and are very active during these times. That is why they need long sleeping periods to be able to recharge their batteries.

How much sleep do they get?

If you leave it undisturbed, a chinchilla will sleep for about 10 to 12 hours in the daytime. While it sleeps, a chinchilla might wake up briefly to eat something, drink water, or urinate.

Apart from that, your chinchilla will spend the entire day sleeping, and this is completely normal.

sleeping chinchilla

Where Do Chinchillas Sleep?

Pet chinchillas mimic the same sleeping patterns they have in the wild in their enclosures. For example, they like to squeeze themselves into tight places to sleep as they would in the wild.

It is rare for you to find a chinchilla sleeping exposed out in the open.

In the wild, chinchillas are prey animals, so they have to tuck themselves away into hidden crevices to sleep without getting caught by their predators. To make your chinchilla feel extra comfortable while it sleeps, consider providing it with a nest box or a chinchilla hammock for it to nestle itself into.

Pad out the nest boxes with fleece liners and hay to make your chinchilla feel even more at home. (You'll find more tips on how to do this in just a mo.)

Do Chinchillas Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Now this might seem a little freaky, but it is perfectly normal for chinchillas to sleep with their eyes open.

How is this possible?

The chinchilla has the ability to close its pupils so it is not disturbed by the light. To do this, it contracts the muscles in its irises.

Having the ability to sleep with their eyes open is a skill that is very useful for wild chinchillas as they have to appear alert in order to ward off predators. So do not be alarmed if you see your pet in a deep sleep with its eyes open, as this is perfectly normal chinchilla behavior.

Although chinchillas can sleep with their eyes open, they can sleep with them closed, too. Your chinchilla might alternate open-eye sleep with closed-eye sleep whenever it wants to.

What Do Chinchillas Sleep In?

Your chinchilla sleeps for 10 to 12 hours in the day. It will rarely wake up during this time, perhaps only to get a bite to eat and then go back to sleep.

But your chinchilla will not sleep just anywhere. Let’s find out more about where these rodents sleep.

Small Spaces

You will often find a chinchilla sleeping in a small space. Chinchillas love to nestle themselves into tight spaces where they feel safe and cozy.

In the wild, chinchillas will sleep between rock crevices in order to protect themselves from predators. They have kept this behavior and still like to sleep inside awkward spaces, curled up even in captivity.

Nest Boxes

Chinchillas like to sleep curled up in nesting boxes. These are cozy boxes full of hay and bedding and lined with fleece liners.

Make sure your chinchilla’s cage contains some of these boxes for your pet to sleep in. You will find these boxes available for purchase from good pet stores, but if you want to save money, consider making some of your own.

To make your own, do the following.

  1. Cut a window into a cardboard box.
  2. Then fill the box with sufficient hay and bedding.
  3. Put the hide box into a dark corner of the enclosure.
  4. Put two or three hide boxes in the enclosure for your chinchilla to feel even more comfortable. Replace the boxes when your chinchilla chews through them or when they become soiled.

Chinchilla Hammocks

If you have a modern chinchilla cage that is equipped with a hammock, your furry friend will love sleeping in it.

chinchilla hammocks

Chinchilla hammocks are usually included as an accessory in some of the more expensive cages. But even if your cage didn’t come with a hammock, they are available to purchase separately from good pet stores and online.

These hammocks are easy for you to attach to the sides of the enclosure and give your chinchilla a comfortable place to sleep. They normally have many different entry holes and hideouts that give the chinchillas various options and places to sleep.

The best quality hammocks are layered with super soft flannel that is comfortable for your chinchilla. Machine-washable hammocks are ideal for you to wash them once a week when you clean out the enclosure.

Some hammocks even come with hanging chew balls that will keep your chinchilla entertained all throughout the day.

Chinchilla Sleep FAQs

Are you a chinchilla owner? Do you have some concerns about your chinchilla’s sleep schedule?

Then, coming up next, we are going to answer some of the most asked questions about these crepuscular creatures and what is a normal cycle of sleep for them.

Do Chinchillas Snore?

Chinchillas are not active during the day and will spend most of the daylight hours fast asleep.

A quiet environment will allow your chinchilla to enjoy a very deep sleep, and it will not make a lot of noise while it sleeps. If your chinchilla snores, you must take it to the veterinarian for medical attention, as there may be something wrong with it.

If your little pet makes loud noises while it sleeps, it might have a respiratory infection and be wheezing rather than snoring. Getting medical attention as soon as possible is essential for it to remain healthy.

When your chinchilla is very comfortable, it will have a deep, stress-free sleep and might even dream. When dreaming, some chinchillas make soft baby noises and move about as they dream.

Why Is My Chinchilla Sleeping So Much?

Chinchillas are awake only a few minutes during the day, the time when we are most active. Because they spend most of the day asleep and the nighttime hours awake, it may seem like they are always sleeping.

When you find your chinchilla sleeping during the day, do not disturb it unless it is really necessary.

But if your chinchilla’s sleeping pattern has recently changed and it is spending a lot more time asleep than it used to, you must take it to the veterinarian for a check-up. There are several illnesses that can cause a chinchilla to feel lethargic that a specialist will be able to check up on.

Are Chinchillas Nocturnal?

If you walk past a chinchilla cage at night, you will see your furry pet running about, eating, and socializing with the other chinchillas in the enclosure. But just because they are active at night and sleep throughout the day does not make them nocturnal.

These rodents have a crepuscular nature.

What makes chinchillas crepuscular?

The fact they are most active at dusk and dawn. These are the peak times of their activity.

Do Chinchillas Need a Light on at Night?

Your chinchilla perceives the time of day by the light conditions in its enclosure.

In the wild, a chinchilla will avoid going out in direct sunlight, where it will be most easily seen by predators. Chinchillas in captivity follow these same patterns and adapt their sleep schedules to sleep during the day and be awake at night.

As long as your chinchilla's enclosure is getting roughly 12 hours of natural light and 12 hours of darkness a day, there is no need for you to keep a light on in the enclosure at any time. The natural sunlight in the chinchilla's environment will tell it when it needs to be awake and when it needs to go back to sleep.

Pet Chinchilla Sleep Summary

Chinchillas are not the most common small animal pets, which is why many people are unsure about the sleeping behavior of this rodent. Thanks to this article, we have got to know its sleep cycle a lot better.

Chinchillas sleep throughout the day for about 10 to 12 hours. They sleep on their side and sometimes on their backs or on all fours.

Did you find this article interesting?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide all animal lovers out there with the best articles about how to look after a chinchilla, what to feed it, and how to give it a dust bath. For more information on taking care of chinchillas, guinea pigs, hamsters, and other animals, check out our website.

Thanks for reading!

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