Strange, Stress-Related Behavior? Please advise.

Chinchilla & Hedgehog Pet Forum

Help Support Chinchilla & Hedgehog Pet Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Feb 16, 2019
In April, we had our floors redone, so I took my chin to my parent’s house for five days (in his smaller, travel cage). The second night he was there, I noticed some strange behaviors.
  • Hanging off the perch (superman style)
  • Leaning to the one side of his body, usually the right side (pausing to lean to that side and choosing not to move) --> see video, this is the most common thing observed
  • Not able to move/jump normally
  • Curling in on himself (less frequently observed) --> see video
  • “Sploot” legs
This happened in the cage and during free play, most in the evening hours. The ‘episodes’ only last about 30 seconds and then he bounces right back to normal movement, etc. He had 7 observed episodes during the first week before we got him to a vet.

I got him to the vet, who examined him and noticed he had some head shakes (although it might have been a stress response, as it only happened during the examination). Gut ok, teeth ok, otherwise in very healthy shape.

One vet is saying sinkable episodes, which isn’t well documented in chinchillas. She wants him to go for an echocardiogram. I hesitate to stress him further or put him under, if unnecessary. Our other vet is saying this is less likely and it could be a stress response.

We did some bloodwork (STILL waiting on results) and chalked this up to stress/new environment.

Last night, he had another episode, with the same sort of symptoms (the very first one I've seen in over a month, since he has been home). He’s home and all is as is normal. There has been no change in environment, the temperature is good, etc.

Throughout all of this he has, and continues, to eat, drink, poop, chew, play and behave otherwise normally. Nothing that might link or cause alarm.

I’ve searched and searched and can’t find anything that’s even remotely like what we are observing. And I’ve never seen anything like it in any chins I’ve worked with. I just want to understand what’s happening so I know how to help him.

Does anyone have advice? Or similar experiences?


  • 20220416_203820000_iOS
    5 MB
    10.3 MB
Hi did you figure out what was wrong with your baby ? My chin is acting the same way today it got me so worried now he’s back to acting normal but he just looks more aware I can see you posted videos but for some reason I can’t look at them
It kind of reminds me of the seizures we saw in our young chinchilla when he was experiencing extreme stress but those “episodes” occurred for about 5 minutes and took him about an hour to go back to normal.

He doesn’t have them anymore, but when he did he would have spasm-like movements of his legs and looked like he would basically deflate. They don’t do the sterotypical convulsing like we expect seizures to look. He couldn’t control his movement (mostly of his appendages) and his limbs would move around really awkwardly. He could not hop around normally until he was “back” in control. He usually chose to stay in a corner of the cage leaning against the bars until he had full control of his limbs.

We think our chinchilla was so young at the time (8 months) and easily stressed out by his traveler that putting him in his traveler to clean his cage was no longer an option.

He no longer has seizures even when he is stressed out but they are linked to anything from stress, heat stroke, genetics and low blood sugar in young chins.

If your chin is experiencing seizure-like symptoms they don’t seem to be as severe but it definitely reminded me of the seizure movements we saw.
Last edited: