How Do Chinchillas Sleep? [Some Interesting Facts To Know]


Chinchillas are funny, loving and beautiful creatures.

They find ways to make us smile day in day out.

I’m sure any chinchilla owner would agree with this statement.

However, as pet owners, we always have certain questions that intrigue us and make us wonder about certain things. We want the best for our chinchillas and it’s ethical and important to know as much as possible about the animals we provide homes too.

Recently, I had a question to come to mind. How do chinchillas sleep?

After some research and digging, and observing my own chinchillas behavior, here is what I can tell you on this topic.

So, how do chinchillas sleep? Chinchillas are nocturnal. This means that chinchillas sleep most of the day and become awake, energetic and lively in the evening and nighttime hours. Chinchillas also sleep on all four feet most of the time. The face forward and their head will remain close to their body.

That’s the primary and most technical answer to the question.

I do, however, intend on providing you with much more information about chinchillas sleeping behaviors if you stick around for just a few more minutes.

Let’s dive into some other fun facts about chinchillas and how they like to snuggle up.

A Deeper Look at Chinchillas and How They Sleep

As stated before chinchillas are odd in the fashion that they sleep on all four feet.

Those cute ears that we are used to seeing pointing in the upward direction will now be curled over in a nice relaxed downward position almost like your chinchilla is acting ashamed of his or her actions.

Don’t worry, your chinchilla isn’t ashamed of anything.

Just getting some good days’ rest.

You may also spot your chinchilla sleeping on their sides and every now and then, you may spot your chinchilla sleeping on their back. Although rare, it does happen.

Most often you will notice this if your chinchilla has a hammock available in his or her cage.

Don’t Be Fooled. Your Chinchilla Is Always Watching While Sleeping

Your chinchilla is just like a father worried about his daughter going on her first date.

Even if your chinchilla seems to be relaxed and sound asleep, he or she is still very alert at the first sound or creaking noise that he or she hears and your chinchilla will be fully alert and ready to interact.

The Adorable Chinchilla Dreams Your Chin Has During Sleep

Anyone here also own a dog?

We all know that funny amazing moment where your dog lays on his or her side running their paws and barking or yelping in their sleep.

It’s almost like they are involved in a puppy race in their dreams?

Well, your chinchilla is the exact same way.

Or can be, to say the least.

Your chinchilla will doze off and get into some intense and fun dreams.

You may catch your chinchilla making noises or small movements while sleeping.

Don’t worry, it’s perfectly natural and honestly adorable when you are able to witness the moment or capture it on video.

Just be careful not to startle your chinchilla or you will ruin the fun for everyone.

Other Fun Facts About Chinchilla Sleeping Habits and Patterns.

Don’t be alarmed if your chinchilla is doing one of the things that creep me out the most.

Sleeping with their eyes open.


Although slightly frightening when you see this with any animal or even person, it’s 100% normal if you notice this happening

A fun fact. Although the eye appears to be open, the chinchilla still has the ability to close the iris completely so what appears to be your chinchilla sleeping with eyes wide open, they are actually still 100% blocking all light from entering into the eye.

Will A Chinchilla Sleep Through the Night? Or Should We Say, Day?

Yes, if the environment is right. Your chinchilla can easily sleep through the entire day if it’s not disturbed and isn’t awakened by any loud noises that startle him or her.

Keep in mind, however, your chinchilla will still wake up to urinate, get a drink of water or even grab a bite to eat if they are in the mood to do.

Sometimes your chinchilla can sleep 10+ hours if undisturbed during the day but usually no longer than 12 hours at a time.

Will My Chinchilla Snore While Sleeping?

No, your chinchilla should not snore while sleeping. If your chinchilla is snoring while sleeping, this could indicate that something is wrong with your chinchilla’s health and it’s advisable to contact your vet.

It could indicate a respiratory infection among many things, but it is still better to be safe than sorry if you notice your chinchilla snoring.

Snoring is also a no-no with chinchilla due to their natural habitats and how they have been raised for generations in the wild to survive.

Chinchillas in the wild are preyed upon heavily and any snoring would easily alert predators of their location.

I Want to Wake My Chinchilla Up. How Should I Do It?

If it’s necessary to awaken your chinchilla, the best way to do it is by being as calm as possible.

You don’t want to startle your chinchilla or cause to much stress.

You can quietly say your chinchilla’s name if they recognize and trust you by voice you can gently touch your chinchilla on the back or the head.

This should be a calm enough manner that it doesn’t send your chinchilla into a frenzy over being frightened or startled out of their deep chinchilla dreams.

Not worth risking your chinchilla being so scared that they decide to take a bite towards you.

Don’t worry, this is very rare and chinchillas are extremely friendly.

Your Chinchilla May Be Too Hot While Sleeping

Another reason your chinchilla may be sleeping on their side is due to heat.

If your chinchilla just wore themselves playing, exercising or hopping around in joy, it’s possible they recover by sleeping on their side.

This is nothing to worry about and 100% normal if you notice this.

Just be sure that your chinchilla is always in a room with the correct temperatures to avoid the possibility of overheating and causing potential death.

To do this effectively, make sure you read my post about the ideal temperatures for chinchillas that you can see here.

Will Chinchillas Sleep with You?

I guess this depends on you.

Keep in mind that chinchillas sleep during the day and are more awake at night.

Most would advise against sleeping with your chinchilla.

They can be very curious animals and can easily get themselves into trouble or even danger.

They can run away easily and find trouble in any room easily if it’s not fully chinchilla proofed.

In fact, your chinchilla shouldn’t even sleep in the same room as you unless it’s 100% necessary.

They will keep you up at odd hours of the night springing and hopping around the cage until you eventually go crazy.

Keep a separate room and keep your chinchillas in the cage for sleep time.

It’s the safe and best way to remain sane as a chinchilla owner.

Is My Chinchilla Sleeping Too Often?

Some chinchilla owners state that they believe that their chinchillas are sleeping too much or that they are concerned with the lack of activity that their chinchillas are displaying.

It’s important to understand that chinchillas are crepuscular.

This means that you are most likely never to notice when your chinchilla’s activity levels are the highest unless you sleep in the same room with them which I always advise against.

If your chinchilla seems to only do a few minutes of activity and return to snoozing, it’s completely 100% normal.

No need to fear with this funny chinchilla behavior.

Beware of Overheating Potential With Your Chinchilla.

One thing to be careful of, if you believe your chinchilla is sleeping too much, is to be sure that your chinchilla is not overheating.

Chinchillas can overheat easy so take it easy during playtime and save those high energy levels for those all so fun to partake in dust baths.

Outside of that, chinchillas seeming exhausted is completely normal unless it’s dusk or dawn.

Do Chinchillas Like Hammocks?

Yes, chinchillas like hammocks.

In fact, you can read my post about if chinchillas like hammocks here. 

It will break down everything you need to know on this topic.

Unless they get bored and decide to chew them.

Most chinchillas can find comfort and enjoy sleeping in a hammock.

It will depend heavily on your specific chinchilla. Some chinchillas love their hammocks, and some don’t prefer to sleep in them.

Regardless it makes a great addition to a chinchilla cage and it’s worth a shot if it ends up providing your chinchilla with that much more of a comfortable spot to sleep.

In addition, chinchillas do sleep in hammocks for one other key reason.

In the wild or in the chinchilla’s natural habitat, they will burrow or find dark places that they feel safe.

They are preyed on so heavily in the wild that this how they feel safe.

A hammock can help duplicate this feeling and allow your chinchilla to feel naturally more safe and secure while resting.

Again, it depends on the chinchilla, but that reason alone should be a good enough reason to at least give it a try and see how it goes.

Worst case scenario, your chinchilla has a new cage decoration and you have a nice excuse to clean the chinchilla cage for the week while installing the new hammock.

Seems like a win-win for everyone involved if you ask me.

Do Chinchillas Like Light When They Sleep?

No, although chinchillas do need some light, they don’t like the light during the sleeping hours.

They like dark quiet environments when they sleep that mimic their natural habitats and how they sleep.

It’s best to provide roughly 12 hours of adequate lighting per day for your chinchilla.

Outside of that, it’s perfect for your chinchilla to be in a darker, quieter environment.

This will provide your chinchilla with the best environment to get a good amount of rest.

Putting It All Together. Chinchillas Sleep When You’re Awake and Play When You Sleep

Chinchillas can do some odd things and display some odd behaviors that can worry us or maybe even make us think the worst from time to time.

In most circumstances, there is nothing to worry about.

Your chinchilla will be asleep for the majority of the time that you are awake and will get crazy when you are asleep.

It’s nothing to worry about and perfectly normal.

Do you have any stories to share about how your chinchilla sleeps or any awesome pics of weird sleeping positions you have caught your chinchilla yours in recently?

Be sure to drop a comment below.

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"

One thought on “How Do Chinchillas Sleep? [Some Interesting Facts To Know]

  1. We have the cutest little chin. His name is BFG (Big Furry Giant). Our daughter named him after the movie “The BFG – The Big Friendly Giant”. He is an absolute loving little fuzzball. He responds to his name and knows exactly when it is time for his treats and dust bath (which he loooovvves!). We’ve had him for about two years after we found him all scared and left alone in a pet shop, cramped in a corner. With lots of love and care, it took him about a week to “relax” in his new environment, now there is no stopping him. We were to concerned to introduce a second chin to him, due to fighting etc. He loves running through the house (can be a challenge to catch him sometimes) but he loves his exercise time in the bathroom. He “cuddles” with me when I’m awake at 3 in the morning (his best playtime). He loves “bum” scratches, tummy kisses (from mom), being combed and running on furniture. I would love to send you some pics of him.

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