Are Chinchillas Nocturnal? [Not Exactly + Details]

Chinchillas are on the most entertaining and energetic pets you can choose to adopt.

They have a lot of spring in their step and love social interaction.

However, many individuals who are not familiar with chinchillas often wonder what they can expect and when these peak activity times during the day occur.

This leads me to a common question I wanted to cover in today’s brief post.

Are chinchillas nocturnal?

After years of owning a chinchilla, here is what I can tell you about this topic.

So, Are chinchillas nocturnal? No, chinchillas are not nocturnal. Chinchillas are crepuscular. This means chinchillas are most active at dusk and at dawn.

Yep, unfortunately, that’s the way it is with chinchillas.

Don’t worry, it really doesn’t have a significant impact on how you raise a chinchilla or on chinchilla ownership in general.

However, chinchillas also adapt to their environment quickly.

This means that they can grow to recognize and become accustomed to your schedule relatively quickly.

Don’t worry, I’ll cover all these details in this post today.

I’ve created easy to navigate links directly below that break down what I plan on covering today.

Feel free to skip around if you choose.


As stated previously, if you only need limited information or you are in a hurry, feel free to skip around in this post by using the links directly above.

Here are the details to understand this topic.

Are Chinchillas Nocturnal?

This is a common misconception about chinchillas.

Chinchillas are not nocturnal (we will cover the differences later in this post)

Chinchillas are considered crepuscular.

As stated previously, crepuscular means that a chinchilla is going to be the most active during dusk and dawn.

Most of the time, the active periods of the day for an animal-related to the times in the wild that the animal needs to avoid being hunted and when the animal has the most opportunity to hunt for their own survival and food needs.’

This is only looking at the chinchilla from the non-domesticated side of the table.

When it comes to a chinchilla being a domesticated pet, the crepuscular behavior won’t be as noticeable, and it’s still entirely possible to get your chinchilla active and playing during your regular schedule.

Before diving into those specifics, let’s cover the primary differences between crepuscular, nocturnal, diurnal, and matutinal.

Nocturnal, Diurnal, Matutinal and Crepuscular Animals

To eliminate all confusion, I wanted to give you a quick breakdown of the differences between the 4 most common classifications you will find with common animals and rodents.

Here is a look at them.

Nocturnal- Nocturnal would indicate that an animal is most active at night or after sunset.

Diurnal- Diurnal is the opposite of nocturnal. This would indicate that the activity takes place during the day.

Matutinal- Matutinal is when peak active hours occur in the morning.

Crepuscular- Crepuscular (the class chinchillas fall into) indicates that their peak active hours occur at dusk and dawn.  This is going to be in the early morning and in the evenings.

Crepuscular and nocturnal can sometimes be flipped and confused.

Primarily because other rodents would be classified as nocturnal.

However, if you plan to adopt a chinchilla soon, it’s essential to understand the differences.

What Do Chinchillas Do During Peak Activity Hours?

Okay, now that we know that chinchillas typically like to get more active and crazier at dusk and dawn, you may be wondering what this entails and what you can expect.

For the most part, you aren’t going to notice much of a difference.

It’s recommended that you don’t keep your chinchilla in the same room where you sleep.

Primarily due to them hopping and climbing around their cage during these odd hours.

Unless you don’t like sleep or need a new substitute for your alarm clock, keeping your chinchilla in the same bedroom as you is probably a terrible idea.

This is also why you won’t really notice much of the additional activity taking place.

For me, it’s something that never even comes to mind.

This is mainly because my chinchilla has adjusted to our own personal routine.

She still gets excited when I come down to her room to sweep and clean out her cage her day.

She also knows that this means it’s time to come out and play for a few minutes each day.

The point here is simple.

Although chinchillas are crepuscular and will be active during those 2 peak times per day, they still adjust and get excited to interact during other times of the day.

If you build this routine with them, a chinchilla being crepuscular will not be something that even crosses your mind during your time owning them.

Understanding Sleeping Patterns and Behaviors

Now that you know a chinchilla is crepuscular, it’s essential to understand what this looks like and what behaviors you can expect.

To get you started, you can view my post about how chinchillas sleep here.

It’s going to break down these time frames of when chinchillas typically sleep and how they do it.

When a chinchilla is not out and socializing with you, they will spend most of the time inside of their cage and playing with the accessories you have provided them inside of their cage.

This includes the much-needed nesting box, hammocks, and other tunnels and toys.

During the crepuscular peak activity times (dusk and dawn), your chinchilla may be out jumping around inside of their cage and enjoying the chew items and other toys you have provided.

Outside of this, your chinchilla is going to be hanging out and taking nice long naps during the middle of the day.

Here is how you can accommodate your chinchilla accordingly.

Accommodating Your Chinchilla Accordingly

The next most important thing to understand about chinchillas is that you do need to accommodate their natural personalities.

Although they will be active at those two times of the day, I assure you that they still get plenty active during other times of the day as well.

Ensuring that you provide a large enough cage and plenty of accessories inside of the cage is imperative.

This keeps them occupied and mentally stimulated.

A chinchilla with nothing to do inside of their cage when not interacting with you can cause depression or even cause a chinchilla to a bit more chewy or destructive.

Ensure you have one of the better chinchilla cages and that you provide plenty of ledges, tunnels, and items that are safe for your chinchilla to chew on during the hours that you can’t interact with them.

Doing so promotes healthy activities and allows your chinchilla to behave as they are intended to.

Don’t Ignore Playtime with Chinchillas

The last topic I want to discuss in today’s post comes down to your duty to ensure that you do some socializing with your chinchilla as much as possible.

You don’t have to get your chinchilla out of the cage during the crepuscular hours that we discussed previously.

Trust me, when you have time to let them out, they will enjoy it regardless of the time of day.

My chinchilla took a few days to adjust, but it wasn’t long until she understood the routine and is ready to come out and show some love regardless of what time of the day it may be.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, yes, your chinchilla is crepuscular, not nocturnal.

However, this has little to no impact on you as the owner unless you mistakenly place the chinchilla cage in the same room where you sleep.

Afford your chinchilla plenty of items to play with for hours.

Interact with them and ensure to socialize with your chinchilla as much as possible, and you will be in great shape.

Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla.

Share Your Thoughts

What times of the day do you prefer to interact with your chinchilla?

What else can you share on this topic for the readers?

Be sure to share your thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading.

Thanks again, and we will catch you next time.

Closely Related Chinchilla Topics You May Enjoy

I always like to provide a few additional posts that you may enjoy reading that are strictly related to the topic we are currently discussing.

Simply use the links below to navigate to those posts on this site for further readings.

Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 4 year-old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know. I'm the Author of the eBook "The Ultimate Chinchilla Care Guide, From Adoption and On"

Recent Posts