Why Do Chinchillas Sleep On Their Side?

Chinchillas are a member of the rodent family. At a glance, you may confuse them with rabbits, but chinchillas have unique features that make them stand out among their rodent cousins. The Chinchillas originated from South America. They were usually found in the rocky parts of the Andes and spent their time burrowing into the ground or finding cracks and crevices in the rocks in which to stay.

However, the question of ‘why do Chincihillas Sleep on their side?’ can best be answered with this information: maybe they’re comfortable at home and feel safe. Pregnancy or simply a bloated stomach could be the cause. They could be tired after exercising or just overheated. It’s always best to have it checked first by your Vet.

As with other rodent members, Chinchillas are social animals which means they prefer to live in colonies and do not work well alone. They enjoy the company of other Chinchillas so that they can groom each other and snuggle together to sleep. Another reason for keeping to live in a colony is they feel safer.

Furthermore, there are several things to know when domesticating a chinchilla, particularly their body language. A few examples of their body language are that they make different sounds when they feel different emotions—their playful side shows when they start hopping and jumping. Sitting up on back legs indicates alertness, and biting things, including fingers – possibly yours – will help them determine if they’re edible – so watch out!

But our main concern for this segment is their sleeping position because they sometimes sleep on their side. When Chinchillas sleep on their side, there are few reasons why they do so. We will discuss each possible reason in the following section.

Chinchillas Sleeping On Side: What Are The Reasons?

Chinchillas often sleep sitting up on all four legs, but they also sleep on their side on certain occasions. When you notice that your lovely chinchillas are sleeping on their side, which they usually don’t, it could mean your chinchillas are in trouble. Chinchillas sleeping on the side is a pretty alarming health concern, but there are cases wherein it is not a health concern.

Hence, it is relatively difficult to know the exact reason why your chinchillas suddenly sleep on their side because you do not understand what is exactly is happening. Whether or not you have to feel worried about it. Nevertheless, here are the five reasons why chinchillas sleep on their side.

1. They Are Simply Comfortable At Home.

Even though chinchillas usually sleep on all four legs, some of them prefer to sleep on their side, especially when they feel safe and relaxed inside their homes. In this case, sleeping on their side is a good sign, and owners have nothing to worry about.

However, when your Chinchilla is suddenly sleeping on their side, and you notice they had not done it before, that is when you should take them to the nearest vet office in your area. To ensure that everyone is safe and your Chinchilla is healthy – that leaves you as a happy owner.

2. Your Chinchilla Might Be Pregnant

This might not be a big problem, but this is still a health concern. Another reason why chinchillas sleep on their side is when they are pregnant and they do such things to remedy the discomfort of carrying babies inside their tummy.

You can determine if your chinchillas are pregnant by evaluating their nipples. If you notice tiny red nipples that stuck out from the fur, that is a perfect sign your Chinchilla is pregnant. You can also detect they are pregnant when their tummies are larger than normal.

In such cases, quickly schedule your pregnant chinchillas for a prenatal visit and keep an eye on it. If your chinchillas are not pregnant and they sleep on their side, the following reason might be happening to your chinchillas.

3. Your Chinchilla Is Just Having A Bloated Stomach.

Another possible reason why chinchillas are sleeping on their side is when their stomach is bloated. This might be tricky because you might be deceived into thinking that your Chinchilla is pregnant, so be sure to check the nipples first. A bloated stomach could mean that your chinchillas changed their diet or have overeaten.

A bloated stomach happens when the gas has build-up in their abdomen, and that can be very painful for them. We also feel pain when gas has build-up in our abdomen, and chinchillas will try to get rid of the pain by stretching or rolling themselves.

There are also instances that a chinchilla can be bloated when they are nursing. It is because of the imbalance of calcium metabolism which can be life-threatening. Hence, when your Chinchilla is bloated, take them to the Vet’s office as soon as possible for a further checkup.

4. Your Chinchilla Is Just Tired After Exercising

Chinchillas have a very extreme exercise in the wild because of the terrains and other obstacles they may encounter. They usually sprint and jump from different levels in the wild. With this in mind, owners who domesticate them should design their homes so they can run freely and jump playfully.

After exercising, your Chinchilla just wanted to release internal body heat, which usually resided around the belly region. Hence, sleeping on their side will expose their belly as compared to sleeping on all four legs.

This is not a bad sign because exercising is necessary for their health. When they sleep on their side after exercise, it is simply a signal that they are cooling down. But do not be tricked into thinking that sleeping on their side is always safe, so you should perform other assessments.

5. Your Chinchilla Could Be Overheated.

The last possible reason why your chinchillas are sleeping on their side is due to overheating. Chinchillas are not survivors when it comes to high temperatures, and they can die if the temperature will reach 80 degrees. Suffice it to say, their natural enemy is the sun, and owners must observe the ideal temperature when domesticating chinchillas.

Their weakness in heat is caused by their thick fur. But their thick fur is ideal from where they came from. Their thick fur safeguards them from cold temperatures in the mountains and acts as a defense mechanism when attacked by predators because the thickness of their fur disables predators to reach the Chinchilla’s vital spot.

The ideal temperature for chinchillas should be under 72 degrees, and anything above this will cause heat exhaustion. Hence, when they are overheated, they will sleep on their side to release the heat from their bodies. When their large ears are very red, that is a sign that they are experiencing severe heat exhaustion.


You have to remember all the reasons why chinchillas sleep on their side. Do not panic when you notice them sleeping on their side. Please take it as an opportunity to know more and get more accustomed to your chinchillas?

Also, always consult your nearest or trusted veterinarian to guide you about the condition of your chinchillas. You may never know what is happening with them when they sleep on their sides. Thus, it is best to receive advice from an expert.

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