Chinchillas are adorable pets that owe a lot of their charm to their luxuriously thick fur coat. However, this coat also makes them sensitive to temperature changes. If it gets too cold or too hot, your chinny pal can get seriously sick.
So, what is the ideal temperature for chinchillas?
In this article, we will look at all the details of chinchilla care temperature. It’ll help you keep your furry friend safe, happy, and comfortable in his crib.
A chinchilla’s normal body temperature range is from 98-100°F. Chinchillas can stand heat up to 75°F and cold up to 50°F, but the optimum range is between 60°F and 74°F. If a chinchilla gets too hot, he’ll die of heat stroke. Extreme cold can lead to hypothermia, which is equally dangerous.
How can I cool my chinchilla if he gets a heat stroke? Or how can I tell if he’s feeling cold?
Let’s get you the details!
Table of Contents
What is the Best Temperature for Chinchillas?
What temperature do chinchillas need to stay comfortable?
The sweet spot for chinchillas is anywhere between 60°F and 74°F. They can’t tolerate high temperatures, and humidity makes them very uncomfortable.
At what temperature do chinchillas have to live in the wild?
Chinchillas come from the Andes Mountains in South America. Their natural habitat is cool, dry, and rocky. Up in the high peaks, it can get as cold as 23°F during the chilly season and as hot as 95°F when it’s scorching.
But chinchillas usually hang in the lower areas where it's a bit cozier. So, in the wild, they vibe somewhere between a crisp 50°F on a regular winter day and a breezy 68°F when summer is in full swing.
How do chinchillas brave the cold in the Andes?
Their fur is the secret weapon. Chinchilla fur is like their superpower; it’s thick, dense, and silky soft. It can trap air close to the skin for insulation against the cold.
But when it gets seriously chilly, chinchillas don’t tough it out. Nope, they’re smart cookies. They head back to their cozy homes and hang tight until things warm up. They’ll also snuggle up with their chinchilla pals to share some warmth. Teamwork, you know!
Do Chinchillas Like Heat or Cold?
Chinchillas prefer cool and dry environments, much like their native Andes mountain range. You can keep them at room temperature, and they'll be happy. They can tolerate heat up to 75°F, but anything higher and they'll start feeling uncomfortable.
Well, look at all that fur! A chinchilla has about 60 hairs per follicle. It helps him stay warm in the chilly Andes but also makes it difficult for him to cool down if it gets too hot.
So, can’t he just sweat?
That’s part of the problem. Unlike us humans, who can sweat away our problems (at least temperature-wise) in the summer heat, these cute little furballs don’t possess the ability to sweat.
There are two main reasons for this:
- They have to conserve as much water as they can in their dry native habitat.
- Sweat would get trapped in their thick fur and make it damp.
What is the Highest Temperature a Chinchilla Can Live In?
Chinchillas can tolerate temperatures up to 75°F, as long as it’s not for an extended period. Anything higher can be dangerous for them and cause heat stroke.
But because they can tolerate 75°F, it doesn’t mean you should keep them in such temperatures.
The warmer the temperature, the higher the humidity should be. And chinchillas are pretty picky about humidity. These little furballs prefer it dry – no frizzy fur, please!
What is the Lowest Temperature a Chinchilla Can Live In?
Okay, chinchillas enjoy cooler temperatures. But how much cold can they bear?
50°F is the minimum temperature a chinchilla can survive in.
But again, don’t push it. Your pet chinchilla doesn’t have to live in extreme temperatures. Anything below 50°F can cause the little babies to develop respiratory problems. They can even get pneumonia and die of hypothermia.
The good news is that your house will never get too cold for your chinny pal.
Signs Your Chinchilla Has a Heat Stroke
Chinchillas are excellent at hiding their health issues. So, you won’t be able to tell if your pet is starting to get overheated unless he gets a heatstroke.
What is a heatstroke?
Heatstroke is bad news. It’s what happens when a chinchilla (or any animal) is exposed to hot weather for an extended period. It can mess up their insides and even damage their brain. Heatstroke is life-threatening.
So, how can I tell if my chinchilla is suffering?
You’ll be able to tell your chinchilla has a heatstroke by closely observing his behavior and his little body.
We’ve made a checklist for you:
Red and Veiny Ears
As discussed, chinchillas can’t sweat to cool down. Instead, they have big ears with plenty of blood vessels that help them dissipate heat. When your chinny pal is feeling too hot, the veins in his ears will become dilated (look popped-out) and red. They’ll also feel hot to touch.
This is easier to detect in light-colored chinchillas who have little fur around their ears. Chinchilla owners with super fluffy, dark-toned babies will have to look deep inside the ear to be sure.
Changes in Breathing
Chinchillas breathe through their noses. When they're feeling their best, they take about 40-80 quick and shallow breaths every minute.
When a chinchilla is dealing with heatstroke, his breathing goes into overdrive. It’ll become heavy and sound more like panting or gasping for air.
Observe your chinchilla’s tummy. If it’s heaving up and down too frequently, that’s a sign.
Chinchillas are active creatures. They enjoy jumping on the ledges in their cages, running on their exercise wheels, and bouncing around in the playpen.
However, a sick chinny will avoid any physical activity. So, if your chinchilla is lying on the cage floor and seems too tired to move even after you’ve offered treats, he’s probably dealing with something.
If it’s hot outside, chances are you have an overheated chinchilla.
Drooling is a common sign of illness in chinchillas. It usually signals bad dental health, but if that's not the case, heatstroke could be to blame.
When a chinchilla’s body temperature rises too high, he’ll try to cool down with his saliva. He’ll start drooling and might even foam at the mouth. This can be problematic because his fur (around the chin and on his chest) will get wet. And we know dampness is a big no-no for chinchillas.
Ways to Keep Your Chinchilla Cool
Keeping your chinchilla cool is a preventative measure to avoid heatstroke. You can use any or all of the tips below to keep your chinny pal comfortable in the summer heat.
Always Have Air Conditioning On
The best way to keep your chinchilla cool is by keeping the air conditioning on. This will help maintain a steady and comfortable temperature in the room where your pet’s cage is.
Make sure the AC isn’t blowing directly onto his cage, as this can make him feel too cold. You can also use fans to circulate air in the room, but avoid placing them too close to the cage.
Use a Chinchilla Chiller Stone
A chinchilla chiller stone is basically a slab of granite (or any other natural stone). You can keep it in the freezer overnight to chill it, and when needed, place it in your chinchilla’s cage. Your little furry friend will sit or stand on it to cool down on a hot summer day.
Since these slabs are made of stone, cleaning them up is a breeze. Just wipe them down after your chinchilla is done, and you’re good!
Plus, they won’t turn the whole cage into an icebox, which is a good thing because you don’t want to overdo it with the cooling.
Tip: Don’t use chinchilla chiller stone as a regular fixture in your chin’s cage. It can cause them to develop arthritis.
Place Your Chinchilla’s Cage in the Basement
Sometimes, keeping the air conditioning running for long hours isn’t the most economical option. If you’re in an area that gets too hot for too long, like Arizona, consider moving your chin’s cage to the basement.
The reason the basement is a good place is that it doesn’t get direct sunlight. So it stays cooler than any other room in the house.
But yes, you’ll also have to deal with a few challenges, like keeping the humidity low and making sure your chinchilla gets enough light (natural or artificial).
If you don’t have a basement, you can keep your chinchilla’s cage in any room that doesn’t get too much direct sunlight. Spots next to a big window or against a wall (with outdoors on the other side) are good options, too.
Make Sure There’s Always Enough Cool Drinking Water
A healthy chinchilla will sip about 1-2 ounces of water a day. But when he's feeling too hot, he'll drink more. So, make sure his water bottle is always full, and the water stays cool.
You can also include frozen treats in your chin’s diet to help him stay hydrated and cool at the same time. Just blend some fruits (berries are a great option) with water, freeze them in ice trays, and give them as treats. These delicious chinchilla-friendly bites will keep your little one cool from the inside.
Another way to use cool drinking water is by dropping a few drops on your chinny’s ears.
Limit Playtime During Power Outage
Power outages aren’t uncommon, and they can be frustrating for more than one reason. When power goes out on a hot summer day, you’ll have to watch your chin’s energy levels.
Keep checking the temperature in his immediate surroundings (the cage or playpen), and if it gets too hot, limit playtime. You don’t want your chinchilla to overheat while running around and having fun.
Ways to Deal with Heat Stroke
Sometimes, in spite of all your efforts, your chinchilla might end up suffering from heatstroke. It is an emergency, and you need to act fast.
Not sure what to do? Here are some things that will help:
Use Ice to Bring Down the Temperature
When your chinchilla’s temperature is too high, you need to bring it down quickly. The best way to do this is by using ice cubes. Feed some to your chinchilla to lower his internal body temperature. You can also place some in the cage to lower the temperature around him.
Put Your Chinny in an Open Fridge
Another way to bring down your chinchilla’s body temperature is by placing him in an open fridge. The cool air will help reduce his internal temperature and give him some relief.
Don’t leave him there for too long, though. As soon as he starts showing signs of feeling better (calmer breathing, less drooling, etc.), take him out and monitor his condition.
Wrap Your Fur Baby with a Cold Damp Towel
If your chinchilla is feeling too hot, you can wrap it up in a cold, damp towel. This will help cool down his body temperature and reduce discomfort.
Make sure the towel is only slightly damp. Also, only use this method as your last resort.
Take Your Chin to a Vet
Heatstroke can be dangerous for chinchillas, and it’s always best to have a vet check on your little one after he’s had one. They’ll make sure there are no underlying issues and provide any necessary treatment.
Signs Your Chinchilla is Feeling Cold
Just like overheating can be a problem, so can chills. Okay, chinchillas are used to living in cool temperatures, but if they get too cold, it can cause problems for them.
So, how can you tell if your chin is feeling cold? Here are some signs to look out for:
Huddling in a Corner of the Cage
Chinchillas are social creatures, and they love snuggling with other chinchillas. But if you notice your chin huddled up in one corner of the cage alone, it could be a sign that he’s feeling too cold. This behavior helps him conserve body heat and stay warm.
Shivering and Trembling
Just like us, chinchillas shiver when they feel cold. If you notice your chin trembling or shaking, check if the temperature in his cage is too low.
Cold Belly Skin
If your chinchilla’s belly skin feels cold to the touch, it could be a sign that he’s feeling too cold. You can use your hands or a thermometer to check his body temperature. Insert the thermometer gently into his rectum to get an accurate reading.
Changes in Activity Level
Cold temperatures can make your chinchilla feel sluggish and weak. If you notice a decrease in activity levels and overall energy, it’s probably too cold for your fur baby. He’ll also not be interested in eating or playing, so keep an eye out for these changes.
Ways to Keep Your Chinchilla Warm
If you’re living up in the chilly north or anywhere that winter throws some seriously frosty punches, you’re probably wondering how to keep your furball warm and cozy.
Here are a few things you can do for the little champ:
- Add extra fleece to his crib. It’ll provide insulation and keep your chinchilla warm.
- Provide plenty of hay to create a cozy nest for your chinchilla to burrow in.
- Make sure the hay and other bedding materials are dry. Wet materials can cause respiratory issues for chinchillas.
- Seal up drafty gaps with towels or blankets.
Some chinchilla owners also turn on the heater in the room where they have placed their chinchilla’s cage. But it can be dangerous if left turned on for too long. Remember, we’re aiming for comfy, not sauna-level sizzle.
If you have a few chinchillas sharing a cage, they’ll huddle up to keep each other toasty. Let the adorable munchkins be.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Cool My Chinchilla With a Fan?
Nope! Fans only mix the ambient temperature; they don’t blow any cold air. All that air movement makes you evaporate sweat, so you can feel cooler. The problem is that chinchillas can’t sweat. So, a fan won’t do any good for your chinny pal. It’ll just make the little one uncomfortable.
Can Chinchillas Play in the Snow?
Although chinchilla can bear cold up to 50°F, playing in the snow isn’t a good idea. Snow will melt and make their fur wet. And damp chinny fur is a recipe for hypothermia.
Do Chinchillas Need Heat Lamps?
No, they don’t. Chinchillas can thrive in cold temperatures, but they cannot tolerate heat. Heat lamps can make their cage too hot and put your pet at risk of a heat stroke. It’s best to keep them away from any external heating devices.
Can I Give My Chinchilla a Quick Bath When He’s Too Hot?
You can, but only if you know what you’re doing and if it’s an absolute emergency. Wet chinchilla fur can cause respiratory infections and other health issues. Make sure you dry your chinchilla thoroughly and keep him warm afterward. But it’s always best to avoid such situations in the first place by keeping your chinny’s environment at a comfortable temperature.
Temperature Tales: Chinchilla Edition
Chinchillas are adorable little furballs that can’t stand extreme temperatures – hot or cold. If it gets too hot, they’ll get heatstroke. And if it’s too cold, they’ll get hypothermia. Both conditions can kill your furry friend.
So, what’s the temperature chinchillas respond to best?
The perfect temperature for a chinchilla is anywhere between 60°F and 74°F.
But even if things get a little colder or hotter, there are always ways to keep your chinchillas safe and happy. Just make sure to monitor their behavior and adjust the temperature for chinchillas accordingly.
Did you find the information in this article helpful?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide helpful and entertaining content for pet owners. If you want to learn more about caring for your chinchilla, check out our other articles and stay tuned for more!
Thanks for reading.