As most owners will tell you, there is never a dull moment when owning a Chinchilla. They are full of life and enthusiasm that we could only hope for ourselves.
One question prospective owners always want to know is are Chinchillas active and exactly how active they are likely to be.
So, are Chinchillas active? Chinchillas are very active. They love to jump, play, and rebound off solid surfaces. They are quick on their feet and require regular daily exercise outside of their cage to manage activity levels. Chinchillas are most active at night, but will generally sleep for much of the day.
Read On to Learn…
Are Chinchillas Active (more info)
Chinchillas are very active creatures. They have enormous amounts of energy that are likely to tire you out just watching them.
You will often see them rebounding off the walls of their cage and jumping from their wooden perches.
This isn’t a species that stays still for long and they will be sure to keep you on your toes. They require a particular type of care to stay happy and healthy.
Chins love nothing more than to have some exercise time outside of their cage where they can play with toys and venture out into the big wide world (your living room) and cause some mayhem.
They can be described as little troublemakers at times, we wouldn’t have them any other way.
Are Chinchillas Active During The Day?
During the daytime, Chinchillas are generally quite sedate. They are both crepuscular and nocturnal which means they are active at dusk and dawn but will sleep for most of the day.
During the daytime, you will usually find your Chin having a snooze on their perch or tucked away in their favourite hiding place. They really do like to chill out. This is not a time they will be leaping around or looking to exercise and play.
Chinchillas are looking to do as little as possible during daylight hours. If you find they are awake or moving around it is usually only for a few reasons:
- To grab something to eat (pellets or hay)
- For hydration reasons (drinking from their water bottle)
- Or to have a toilet break
Never try to force your Chinchilla to play or interact with you during daylight hours and avoid scheduling exercise out of the cage during the bulk of the day. Your Chin will not thank you for this.
Are Chinchillas Active at Night?
Chinchillas are the most active during the night. This is the time when they come alive and tend to make as much noise as possible.
For a Chin, the day is night and the night is day and you will notice they have a completely different body clock to that of your own.
Activity tends to begin around dusk and will continue throughout the whole night until dawn. Once dawn kicks in Chinchillas will usually begin to chill out and get themselves prepared for nap time throughout the day.
Some example of Chinchilla night time activity can include:
- Jumping from perches
- Climbing & jumping off walls
- Rebounding around the sides of the cage
- Playing with toys
- Using an exercise wheel
- Eating and drinking
Here’s a video that shows a chinchilla climbing and jumping off the walls…
This is just a short example of types of activity that will take place overnight and you should expect these behaviours to be reasonably noisy. Chins don’t seem to do anything quietly or by halves.
You may now be wondering if chinchillas make a lot of noise at night?
Well, we have written a full post about this from our own experiences and how to minimize any noise with some clever tips…
Are Chinchillas Active As Babies?
If you thought your fully grown Chin was highly active, wait until you see the babies! Baby kits are extremely highly strung. They have tons of energy from a very early age and can almost be quite destructive at times.
Everything is a new experience for them and they revel in the excitement and uncertainty. New surroundings, new objects, and new types of feed are all highly interesting to a baby kit.
You will find that healthy baby kits are active very soon after birth. It doesn’t take them long to find their feet and the ways of the world.
As your baby kit continues to grow and mature you will see that this type of behaviour decreases somewhat and they gradually start to chill out.
At around 8 months old you will start to notice a difference in their behaviour and the amount of energy they exhibit.
Are Chinchillas Active As Adults?
Chinchillas are still pretty active as adults, but less so compared to baby kits. As Chins age so do their energy levels and this cycle continues the older they become.
You will find Chinchillas in older age to be much less active and more sedate than younger Chinchillas.
They love to chill out more and take the easier life. This, however, does not mean they are stationery during the night as they still have that little buzz about them well into adult life.
Are Chinchillas Active In The Wild?
Chinchillas are generally very active in the wild and they still mostly exhibit this behaviour at night in the same way our domesticated friends do.
They will emerge at dusk from crevices and holes in the rocks of mountains where they have taken refuge during the day.
It is thought that the energy levels of Chinchillas in the wild are slightly less concentrated than those that are domesticated.
This is partially due to the freedom to do as they please in the wild rather than the confines of a cage. Domesticated Chins have a lot of energy to burn and very little time and space to do so sufficiently.
It is therefore apparent that the energy levels are pent up for long periods.
In the wild Chinchillas have the freedom to let out that energy gradually over longer periods and have much more space to roam.
Are Chinchillas Less Active After Exercise?
Giving your Chinchilla plenty of exercise can help calm their temperament down. Most of the vigorous activity we witness boils down to pent up energy that needs to be released.
Letting your Chin out several times a day can get rid of that built up energy and after a good run around they may be feeling quite tired.
It can often be difficult to know exactly how much time chinchillas need out of their cage.
You should expect after allowing your Chin out for exercise for them to be more tired and less active however, lethargic is rarely a word you would use to describe them unless you are referring to their day time nap antics.
It is a wise idea to let your Chinchilla out of their cage for a couple of hours a day, ideally first thing in the morning and last thing at night before you go to bed.
This will ensure they have released enough energy for them to become manageable.
How Much Time Do Chinchillas Need Out Of Their Cage?
The simple answer to this is, as much as practically possible. A couple of hours a day is ideal, but if you can provide them with more than we say ‘go for it!’ Being cramped up in a cage all day is not ideal, but unfortunately cannot be avoided for domesticated Chinchillas.
The more exercise you can provide them with the more they will love you for it. This will also help to keep noise to a minimum at night when you are trying to sleep.
You must, however, be aware that due to opposite sleep patterns timing is crucial. Do not expect your Chin to want to come out at play at 11 am in the morning or for an afternoon session.
This is the time when they need to sleep, rest, and relax. They will likely not be happy by this rude awakening.
If you want a guide that explains exactly how much time your chinchilla should spend out of their cage, then head over to our new post here…
Is It Unhealthy If My Chinchilla Isn’t Active?
During the daytime, it is acceptable for your Chinchilla to be somewhat inactive. This is the time they are catching up on precious beauty sleep and get a chance to chill out. There is nothing to worry about here. This is completely normal behaviour.
At night time this is a different story and if you find your Chinchilla inactive after about 9 pm in the evening it is fair to say something may be wrong.
This falls into the most active time of day for Chinchillas and if your Chin is lethargic or moving very little you may want to seek some veterinary assistance. It is not uncommon for Chinchillas to have a multitude of health issues.
If you are at all worried about the state of your Chinchilla the best idea is to speak to your vet.
They will likely ask you to bring your Chinchilla into them so they can check them over and run some tests. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
In conclusion, Chinchillas are very active creatures at night and you should expect them to be jumping, climbing, bouncing off the walls, and generally making a lot of racket.
In the day time, they will usually be sleepy, sedate, and withdrawn with the exception of moving for food, water and toilet breaks.
Make sure you provide your Chinchilla with plenty of exercise early morning and late evening to help curb this excessive form of activity.
The more exercise you provide the more manageable your Chin will be.
Always remember, if your Chinchilla is not active during the night there may be a problem and it is a sensible idea to seek veterinary advice to put your mind at rest.