Chinchillas are the ultimate fluff balls with more hairs per inch than any other land animal on this planet. This makes it super tempting for new chinchilla owners to cuddle with their new fuzzy pets. But the question is, can you sleep with your chinchilla?
In short, chinchillas can’t sleep with humans. Not only is it unlikely that they’d ever fall asleep outside their cage, but it also increases the risk of accidents and lost chinchillas. For a relaxed and well-rested chinchilla, always have them sleep in their cage.
If this was something you’re considering with your new or future pet chinchilla, you might want to read on and understand why this would be problematic.
Do Chinchillas Sleep All Night?
Chinchillas are sensitive creatures. After all, they’re a bit of easy prey in their natural habitat. Their livelihood in nature depends entirely on how vigilant they are. So, when it comes to their sleeping habits, they can be very particular.
That’s why a lot of new chinchilla owners can feel unsure about how their pet is behaving. In some cases, they might be doing things that stress out their chinchillas.
While some chinchillas can get accustomed to their owners’ schedules, the majority of pet chinchillas are actually most active at night. This makes a lot of people think that chinchillas are nocturnal creatures, but that’s not entirely accurate.
Their night-time activity means that your own sleep will be interrupted by their frequent chewing and hopping around. For that reason, it’s not advisable to even keep your chinchilla’s cage in your bedroom.
Chinchillas Sleep Cycle
Despite the fact that some chinchillas are more active at night, they’re not nocturnal. Chinchillas are crepuscular, which means they become active in twilight. This means that they’re most active around sunrise and sunset.
This is not set in stone, though. The sleep cycle of your chinchilla will mostly depend on its environment. You can definitely expect them to sleep during the hottest part of the day, but their night-time behavior varies from one chinchilla to another.
How Much Sleep Should They Get Per Day?
A lot of chinchilla owners might get a little concerned if they see their pets sleeping more often than not. But this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Chinchillas sleep around 16 hours a day.
That said, it’s important to know that chinchillas, like most rodents, sleep in intervals. They don’t generally sleep for hours at a time. Instead, they’ll sleep for small intervals from minutes to an hour at a time, then wake up and go about their cage for a drink of water or a bathroom break.
What Is the Best Setup for Their Sleep Time?
Let’s establish that chinchillas need their beauty sleep. It’s not optional for a chinchilla to have a good sleeping environment.
Much like humans, a sleepless chinchilla will become anxious and aggressive. That’s why these are required things to do for your chinchilla.
Give Them Safe Spots
As we mentioned earlier, these critters find the tiniest nooks to sleep in their natural habitat. So their cage needs multiple items that give them the same feeling.
Igloos, hammocks, tiny chinchilla beds, and nest boxes are all great examples for the kind of space chinchillas need.
Keep Their Room Dark
Just like humans, chinchillas need darkness to get some quality shut-eye. Of course, the best time to dim the lights is when it’s naturally dark outside.
You may consider covering their cage like you’d do with a bird, but that won’t fly with chinchillas. Having a cover on their cage can give them strong anxiety, especially when there are sounds in the room.
Play Some Relaxing Music
Chinchillas’ sense of hearing is quite close to that of humans, and they’re actually intelligent enough to enjoy a good tune.
Music is good for chinchillas, in general, but one of the best ways to use music is to help them relax around bedtime. Alternatively, you can just make sure that their room is very quiet.
Maintain a Routine
Dimming the lights, playing calming music at certain times, and scheduling playtime right before bedtime are some of the ways you can create a routine for your chillie.
This structure will contribute to when and for how long your chinchilla sleeps. That said, you should never try to change their natural sleep schedule, especially if they were adopted as adults.
Attempting to change your chinchilla’s sleep cycle can give them unnecessary stress, which shows up in harmful behavior.
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What Is Normal Sleep Behavior?
Chinchillas do all kinds of weird stuff when they’re asleep. If you don’t know what to expect, some of these might get you a little concerned about your little buddy.
Here are some of the common adorable and weird behaviors that new chinchilla owners usually don’t know about:
If you thought nothing can be more adorable about chillies, imagine them moving their little paws while fast asleep. Chinchillas dream and can sometimes react to their dreams by moving their feet and twitching about.
Speaking in Their Sleep
Another thing that chinchillas might do in their sleep is squeaking, which is the chinchilla version of sleep talking.
When speaking to each other, chinchillas make high-pitch sounds that most of their predators wouldn’t be able to hear, so you might find your furry friend sleep talking during a very active dream session.
As heavily preyed rodents, chinchillas in nature can only sleep in peace in stony nooks. This is why they’re almost exclusively comfortable sleeping in tight dark spots in their cage.
The most common position you’ll find them in is simply curled up in their nest or hammock. They’ll try to remain out of sight while they’re asleep, especially if they haven’t bonded with you yet.
In some cases, though, you may find them sleeping on all four, which generally means they’re feeling insecure and are ready to flee. They might also sleep on their side although it happens very rarely. Pay attention; this might mean that they’re overheating.
Sleeping With Their Eyes Open
What’s crazier than the fact that chinchillas can actually sleep with their eyes open? These awesome creatures can actually close their pupils!
Yep, chinchillas can turn off their eyesight without actually having to close their eyes. So despite it being a little creepy, they’re not giving you a death stare.
Can I Wake My Chinchilla for Playtime?
During the early stages of your relationship with your chinchilla, you should never attempt to wake them up unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Waking them while they still don’t trust you is a sure way to startle them and hurt your chances of befriending your chinchilla.
If you don’t have a strong relationship of trust with your chinchilla yet, you’ll probably be met with a bark or even a bite if you tried to wake them up. This can be damaging to your bond with them.
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Since they’re fearful rodents and fragile creatures, sleeping with a chinchilla can be dangerous for many reasons. You may accidentally crush them, they might try to escape, or they might end up being scared of you. In all cases, this will not be fun for them. This is why they should always sleep in their own cages.
Chinchillas sleep 16 hours a day in small intervals and they’re most active during twilight. Make sure to provide them with adequate sleeping spots in their cage and quiet time.
Never try to wake them unless there’s a strong reason like a vet’s appointment.