You can never just buy a pet.
Whichever animal you decide to get, you’re going to need a number of accessories to ensure your pet stays happy and healthy.
Chinchillas are no different.
So, do chinchillas need a bed like dogs or cats do?
The truth is: chinchilla beds don’t even exist. When people talk about chinchilla beds, they generally mean one of two things.
We’ll get into that in a minute. First, let’s answer the original question in a bit more detail.
Do Chinchillas Need A Bed?
No, chinchillas do not need a bed. In order to sleep comfortably, they need a large enough cage, a hiding box, and either wood shavings beneath the cage bottom or fleece liners on top of them.
While we call the wood shavings or the fleece liners “bedding”, they are not actually beds. Chinchilla simply don’t need a bed in the traditional sense.
Although chinchillas do not need a bed for sleeping, it is essential you provide the other items we just mentioned. Without those, your pet will never feel comfortable.
Now let’s take a closer look at why a chinchilla bed is not necessary and what exactly you need to provide instead.
Why You Don’t Need A Chinchilla Bed
Here’s the first thing you should know about chinchilla beds.
They don’t really exist.
As mentioned when someone refers to a chinchilla bed, they are usually referring to bedding, in the form of wood shavings or fleece liners.
They could also be referring to locations where chinchillas like to sleep. So perhaps a better way to word this question is if chinchillas need something special to sleep on inside the cage.
The answer to this question is also no a solid “yes.” They can just sleep anywhere in the cage.
But they do prefer to have a somewhat hidden location where they can feel safe. This means a nesting box, which is something you absolutely must have in the cage, no matter what.
My chinchilla actually ends up sleeping in her nesting box most of the time. When she’s not in there, she sleeps in her hammock. These two things are really the closest things that exist to a “chinchilla bed.”
Nesting Boxes And Hammocks Make For The Best Chinchilla Beds
I highly recommend you place both of these items inside your chin’s cage. As mentioned, the nesting box is a must-have. No chinchilla will ever feel comfortable without a hiding place in the cage.
Hammocks (or “hanging beds” as some may call them) aren’t necessary, but chinchillas love them. Some even prefer hammocks for sleeping.
But make sure you don’t get a hanging bed that’s not safe for your chinchilla. Read my post about the most recommend chinchilla hammocks for help in finding one that is safe, cozy and inexpensive.
I also have an article on choosing the right wooden nesting box for your chinchilla. As mentioned, these are critical to ensure your chinchilla feels safe.
And 9 out of 10 days (at least with my chin), the nesting box will serve as your chinchilla’s bed. It’s their safe spot and they love to sleep somewhere they feel safe..
Not to mention these nesting boxes are cheap and take about 15 seconds to put together.
I’m sure you may be wondering why exactly these nesting boxes and the feeling of safety they provide are so important.
Here’s the deal.
Chinchillas in the wild are preyed upon by just about every other animal. That has instilled a natural instance to run and hide. They do not feel safe exposed out in the open.
Although our chin may love you and recognize you as safe, it will still want to feel extra safe and hidden while sleeping. My chinchilla never sleeps anywhere except her hiding box and her hammock.
You will not catch my chinchilla catching some ZZZ’s anywhere else in the cage. Ever. The hiding box and hammock only.
It allows them to feel safe, and away from all the commotion and outside noise taking place around the home. It also provides a dark environment.
While chinchillas can sleep without issues with lights on, they prefer a somewhat dark environment while resting. A hiding box takes care of this issue.
In addition to the hiding/nesting box inside of your chinchilla cage, you also need a few other things to provide the correct environment for your chinchilla, which we will touch on next.
Better Options For Bedding And The Cage
As stated before, your chinchilla does not need a bed inside of its cage because chinchilla beds don’t really exist.
Something else I recommend to make your chinchilla sleep happy is to invest in fleece liners as your new bedding option, as opposed to using a wire bottom cage with wood shavings underneath.
The fleece provides a soft surface for your chinchilla to rest inside of their hiding box. It also reduces injuries and problems within your chinchilla’s small foot bones.
Ultimately it even saves you money in the long run, by eliminating the need to keep buying new shavings or other bedding material.
Fleece is simply one of the best chinchilla bedding options you can choose. Period.
I use these specific fleece liners for my chinchilla cage.
- Designed specifically for Critter Nation Cage
- Includes: Two large pan liners (one with a notch/cut-out for the ramp opening, Two small shelf liners and three ramp covers
- Available in various designs
They come pre-fitted for the Critter Nation 2 Cage, which is one of the most popular cages and the one I use and love.
If you still are in the planning process or haven’t purchased a cage yet, you can refer to my post about the best chinchilla cages here.
These cages provide the right amount of space and allow for all the upgrades we have been discussing this far into the post.
These cages can even support adopting a second chinchilla in the future.
In addition to the fleece and an adequate size cage, it’s also essential to always provide plenty of shelves.
Here’s a quick post breaking down the best chinchilla toys, if you need further information.
Outside of the items we have discussed, you don’t have much else you need to do to provide the perfect environment for your chin.
- Make sure you keep the room where your chinchilla is located at ideal temperatures.
- Always allow your chinchilla some form of light so it can see as it moves throughout their cage.
- Always provide love and affection.
If you do these things, you will be off to an excellent start with your chinchilla.
How I Structure And Set Up My Chinchilla Cage
Like I stated before, I currently use the Critter Nation 2 Dual Level Cage for my chinchilla. As of today, I have it structured the way I know my 2-year old female chinchilla prefers.
On the next level, I have hanging chew items for her to play with.
On the next level up (platform 3 of the cage) I have more hanging chew toys and her potty-training area I’m currently working with.
*Update* November 25th, 2019
I was able to successfully potty train my chinchilla to urinate in her litter box. If you need information about the best chinchilla litter, you can see my post here.
You can also see my post about litter boxes here.
On the 4th and final platform of the cage, I have her purple chinchilla hammock, in case she does decide or prefers a change of scenery and somewhere to relax and sleep.
She’s been using her hammock much more often lately.
I think this is partly due to the fact that she is used to it and more comfortable with her surroundings.
And yes, in case you are wondering, the hammock I use is the number 1 ranked hammock in the post I referenced a few paragraphs back.
This setup plus regular cage cleanings for my chin has kept her happy and flourishing.
If you provide the few things they do need and make time for bonding and love, your chinchilla will be happy for the next 15-20 years, barring any illness or other unfortunate events.
Chinchillas Don’t Need A Bed: Final Thoughts
Chinchillas are a friendly, relatively low maintenance pet that makes things easy on us. If anything, all chinchilla’s really do is bring joy and smiles to our faces daily.
This is the way it’s been for me, at least this far into my chinchilla parenting journey.
Let’s re-emphasize briefly: chinchillas do not need a bed.
Chinchillas need a hiding/nesting box and an adequate sized and clean cage, and they will be content and happy.
I would, however, love to hear your feedback on this topic.
Does your chinchilla have a bed?
Do you provide your chinchilla anything that we haven’t covered in today’s post?
What kind of chinchilla beds have you ever seen or used outside of nesting boxes and hammocks?
How did it work out?
Be sure to share your thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.
As always, thanks for stopping by and reading. Chili and I appreciate you and will see you next time!