Chinchilla Sleeping Habits: Are Chinchillas Nocturnal?

Chinchillas do not follow the usual sleep-wake cycle. Thus, technically they are not nocturnal animals and are said to be crepuscular. Crepuscular animals are usually most active during dusk and dawn or the twilight hours. Thus, you won’t find them sleeping only at night or only during the day. Instead, they sleep during some hours of the day and some hours of night.

Why Are Chinchillas Crepuscular and Not Nocturnal?

Chinchilla sleeping indoors

Crepuscular habits in animals develop due to many reasons. Such instincts are closely related to hunting. Chinchillas can be killed by foxes, skunks, oils and other creatures easily. Illegal hunting is also a major concern. Their sleep-wake cycle helps them to be safe and away from larger animals and hunting.

Besides, Chinchillas get overheated quite quickly if they are too much active during the day. Thus, it may be one of the reasons why they are active during some dark hours or during cool hours of the day. Wild chinchillas often look for dark cool places to sleep when summers are hot and sunny.

What Are the Consequences of Being Crepuscular?

Chinchillas have a crepuscular nature, but they are social animals and love to live in colonies with hundreds of others. Being crepuscular, there are a few consequences which one needs to be aware of, especially when you are planning to have a little one at home.

Here are some facts you need to keep in mind:

  • They sleep for short durations and between activities in the day.
  • If their sleep is interrupted, they tend to get grumpy.
  • They might sleep throughout the day in phases.
  • They are the most active during dusk and dawn.
  • Chinchillas can sleep even 11-14 hours in a day.

What is the Difference Between Crepuscular, Nocturnal, and Diurnal?

Most animals stay active during certain times of the day. Based on this, they are classified as –

How are they different from one another?

Crepuscular creatures:

  • Crepuscular animals are active during dusk and dawn. Thus, they are mainly active during twilight.
  • Their schedules help them to survive and help them in finding food for a healthy diet. Chinchillas may have this schedule to stay safe from predators.
  • Crepuscular creatures have this schedule to keep themselves away from heat or direct sunlight. Animals like Chinchillas get overheated quite quickly and hence to keep themselves cool, they are mainly active at dawn & dusk or during cool temperatures.

Nocturnal Creatures:

  • These creatures sleep throughout the day and are active at night. They love darkness.
  • Nocturnal animals usually have large eyes that help to see clearly in the dark.
  • They have extraordinary senses of hearing and smells that helps them in hunting.

Diurnal Creatures:

  • These creatures sleep at night and are active during the day.
  • Such creatures tend to fall sick if their sleep schedules are changed due to some reason.

Can You Transition Your Chinchilla to a Diurnal Schedule?

It is not possible to transition your Chinchilla to a diurnal schedule. They are not diurnal animals. Chinchillas are strictly crepuscular animals which means they are active mainly during dusk and dawn. They are not nocturnal animals though they are often mistaken to be. During their active hours, they love to run around, jump, play, chew, & eat. They do make a lot of noise. It will be very unhealthy and risky for them if they are made to adopt a diurnal schedule.

What Are Their General Sleeping Habits?

Chinchillas sleep in small intervals. For them, night is like day and day is like night. They can even spend the whole day sleeping. If you have a pet chinchilla, you can expect it to be sleeping mostly during the day, being active for short durations to eat. As adult chinchillas age, they tend to spend more hours of deep sleep. At home, just ensure that they have a comfortable cage.

How long do chinchillas sleep?

Chinchillas can sleep 11-14 hours a day sleeping. Any normal chinchilla sleeps in intervals and might even spend the entire day sleeping. They need several hours of sleep to stay healthy and active.

Where Does Your Chinchilla Sleep?

Wild chinchillas love to sleep in rock crevices or burrows. They feel safe in such places as they provide adequate cover and protection. At your home, your pet chinchilla will have a stress-free sleep, if it gets an enclosed comfortable sleep area. You can have a hammock for your chinchilla to sleep. You can easily find all of these in pet stores.

You can build a safe hideaway for your chinchilla at home using wood or plastic. Plastic cages are also easily available. Chinchillas love to nibble and if it’s a wooden hideaway, your chinchilla will love it. Ensure that this hideaway is in a dark and cool place in your chinchilla cage. Chinchillas love to stay in such small houses and come out only when they need to urinate or drink.

Chinchillas need undisturbed sleep and thus, you must ensure that your little pet is not bothered.

  • Do not keep the chinchilla cage in your bedroom.
  • The cage should be in a room where there is natural sunlight during daylight hours. However, warm temperature is not recommended as it can make the chinchilla uncomfortable.
  • The cage shouldn’t be near the window, or it might get overheated fast. Summertime temperatures can soar which can cause them distress.
  • Ensure that it is a roomy cage that allows comfortable movement. A tall cage can help your chinchilla stay happy and active.

What Do They Do During Their Peak Activity Hours?

Chinchillas are active and fun playful animals. During their peak activity hours, they love to play, jump around, eat, and have fun. They love to play with hanging chew balls, chew toys and woven carrots. Chinchillas love all items which they can chew safely.

Happy chinchillas do a number of things that are unique and fascinating.

  • Eating & Drinking

During their peak hours, they love to eat and drink. They drink a lot of water and is quite necessary for them as well, as it keeps them hydrated and cool. Thus, ensure that your chinchilla has enough of food and a water bowl nearby.

  • Hopping Around

When in good mood and in their active hours you will find chinchillas hopping around. In their natural terrain in South America, chinchillas love to climb and hop around rocky terrains quite comfortably. They are agile creatures and love to show their excitement as they run here and there.

In a tall cage, you will find a happy chinchilla squish his face through the cage. However, ensure that you have a tall cage so that your pet gets a lot of space. Loud and unexplained noises can all be about a happy chinchilla bouncing in the cage during active hours.

  • Produce a Lot of Sound

Chinchillas can create a lot of sounds and happy chinchillas are often found chirping around and squeaking. If a chinchilla tries to get attention, squeaking is the common trait. In their active hours, when they investigate something, you will find them happily chirping around. This reveals their curious nature and chirping is always a positive sound that the chinchilla is happy.

How To Accommodate Your Chinchilla’s Sleep Behaviors

Domestic chinchillas often cause a bit of disturbance because their active hours are a bit different from humans. If you have a chinchilla at home or planning to bring home one, you might have to adjust a bit with the sleep behavior of the little animal. Since chinchillas are most active during dusk and dawn, they can cause disturbance in your sleep. Depending on the cage and mood of the chinchilla, they can create a lot of noise as they climb and jump around.

Playing with Your Chinchilla

If you play with the chinchilla in the day, it can help it to feel better and even use a lot of its energy. This also means that the chinchilla will be quiet at night. If you allow your chinchilla to move out of the cage and play in the open during the day, it might not keep you up for hours at night. It might not disturb your regular schedule at night.

Is the cage rattling?

At times it is seen that it is not the chinchilla that is making the loudest noise that can wake you up, but it’s the cage that is making the noise. Check the cage and take measures to ensure that the cage is quieter and doesn’t create much noise with the movement of the chinchilla.

Sleep in Another Room

If you find it difficult to sleep in the room where your chinchilla is active, you can keep the cage in another room. Thus, your chinchilla can easily play through the active hours without causing you any disturbance.

Also, if you find that there is too much noise or sudden noises from the cage, and its not normal, get in touch with the doctor, just to ensure that everything is fine. A sick chinchilla or a distressed one can make extra noises in pain.

Domestic chinchillas are fun loving creatures that are bound to bring in happiness and joy to your home. Ensure their safety and well-being and as you start loving their presence, you will easily accommodate your chinchilla’s sleep behavior. No extra effort might be needed to accommodate a fascinating chinchilla.

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Hi, my name’s Elena Coolidge, and this is my site. Chinchillas are so cute and such intelligent animals that make great pets. They’ve become the subject of fascination for many animal lovers who enjoy their antics. I blog about their care, where to buy them, breeders, and more. Shoot me an email if you have a question!

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