One of the biggest concerns when it comes to owning a chinchilla comes down to their very dense fur and their capability of getting too hot too quickly. I’m not talking about fur slips or shedding either. That’s an entirely different topic. What I’m referring to is a question that carries much more significance. What’s the ideal temperature for a chinchilla? After owning a chinchilla, doing diligent research and trying to find the perfect temperature for my chin, here’s what I can tell you.
So, what’s the ideal temperature for a chinchilla? The ideal temperature for a chinchilla is between 60 degrees F and 70 degrees F. Chinchillas also need humidity levels to be between 40-60%. When a chinchilla is exposed to temperatures higher than 80 degrees F, you run the risk of your chinchilla overheating or becoming overly stressed and potentially dying.
Now, these are the basic and more strict guidelines about the ideal temperature for your chinchilla. However, you do have other considerations that you need to cover. I wanted to take the time to break down when a chinchilla is too hot, too cold or in an environment that’s just not comfortable in general.
Here are the details.
Ideal Temperatures for Chinchillas and Best Practices
Okay, let’s recap. Chinchillas need to be kept between 60 and 70 degrees at your home. Ideally, closer to 60 degrees if possible. Chinchilla’s natural environment consists of cool temperatures and is consistently dry. Chinchillas have been conditioned not to tolerate heat or heavy levels of humidity.
Not in the wild and not in your home. It’s essential that you consider both factors when creating the perfect chinchilla environment within your home.
Not taking the proper steps and considering the environment from multiple angles can ultimately lead to your chinchilla passing away due to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
But why is this, why do they overheat so easily?
Chinchillas Can’t Sweat Like Humans
Chinchillas don’t have the ability to sweat as humans can. Sweating is the primary way we cool ourselves down and regulate body temperatures. Put simply, sweating keeps us alive when we are hot. If we couldn’t sweat, we would run into issues as well.
Chinchillas have the highest fur density of any land animal. A chinchilla has more than 20,000 hairs per square CM and more than 80 hairs per follicle compared to a human that has one hair per follicle.
This is one of the reasons common pest for animals such as fleas can’t even survive on a chinchilla. They will overheat and fry to death to put it simply.
Without the ability to sweat and the dense fur, they are openly asking to overheat. This is when it becomes time to start understanding your chinchilla and learning to find ways to recognize if your chinchilla is at danger for overheating.
How Can I Tell If My Chinchilla Is Overheating?
This is tough to recognize most of the time. Two ways that may give you an indicator if your chinchilla is potentially too hot is by looking on the insides of their ears. If they have dark fur, you have no choice but to look on the inner ear. You’re looking for the veins to be showing or more dilated.
If your chinchilla has little to no fur on their ears exterior, you can likely spot the veins showing without needing to look on the inside of the ear. This can make things a bit easier.
In addition, you can usually tell if your chinchilla is tired or too hot during playtime just by monitoring and watching their breathing. As their stomach comes in with inhales and out with exhales, you should be able to notice if the breathing is becoming more rapid.
If it appears to be very rapid and they aren’t quite as active or more lethargic, play time needs to come to an end so your chinchilla can cool down.
Sometimes, even in the right temperatures, your chinchilla can be at risk of overheating purely because of stimulation, fear, excitement or too long interacting and playing, jumping and running around.
Limit Playtime, Use Common Sense and Keep an Eye on Your Chinchilla
Therefore, it’s typically advised to do playtime once a day, and there is no need to go overboard. It doesn’t need to be 1-2 hours. 30 minutes to 45 minutes is plenty fine and 1 hour is about the maximum I allow my chinchilla out for and this is when she’s calm and collected.
Not when my son if finding a ton of different ways to stress her out or when she’s jumping off the walls every 2-3 minutes.
Checking for overheating in your chinchilla comes down to simply paying attention and keeping an eye on your chinchilla when out for playtime and diligently checking on them even when they are in their cage. Especially during the summer time.
Basements and Humidity for Chinchillas, does it Work Well?
Yes. Basements are ideal for chinchillas. They remain cool compared to the rest of the home. They also don’t have direct sunlight that can also be a factor that causes a chinchilla to overheat. A basement with 1 de-humidifier or multiple de-humidifiers works fantastic for chinchillas.
It’s almost the exact set-up that I use for my chinchilla.
A Few Caveats of Using Your Basement to Keep Your Chinchilla Cool
This post is designed explicitly about how to keep your chinchilla at ideal temperatures. However, it’s important to understand that with good situations, you usually have a trade-off or two.
Mine came when I decided to use my basement for my chinchilla. When you first get your chinchilla home, it’s all about safety first and respecting their boundaries. It doesn’t matter how friendly of a chinchilla you have or much they recognize you in the beginning.
They must get used to noise, smells, and the environment. The trade-off with using a basement is they are typically loud with lots of sounds, so you may extend the break-in period slightly.
The furnace, AC, de-humidifiers and natural sounds of the home may add a little more time to your chinchilla adjusting.
Again, safety comes first, so just go with the flow and choose the best area of the home. Read on a little longer and I’ll explain the exact set up I use now and the set up I intend to use on the house we are moving into in the next few weeks.
Additional Precautions You Can Take to Keep Your Chinchilla Safe
Alright. Are we clear so far through this post? Chinchillas have dense unique fur with many hairs per follicle. Additionally, they overheat quickly and can die. That sounds crude but’s it’s the honest way to phrase it. Basements are great, and we understand the best temperatures for our chinchilla.
So, what else can we do to make our chinchilla safe and comfortable when it comes to temperature and eliminating the risk of overheating?
Let’s look at the additional steps you can take.
Working Air Conditioning Is Best Practice as a Chinchilla Owner
This is obvious. However, it is often overlooked. Especially for individuals that leave on trips often and may be living in a house with an air conditioning unit that is beginning to age.
This is a huge risk for your chinchilla. If you’re not home when the weather shifts and gets too hot or when an A/C unit on the home goes bad, it, unfortunately, may be the end for your chinchilla.
My advice is to aim for an area of the home like the basement like I currently use. First, if the A/C does go out on you at your home, the basement won’t get nearly as hot as quickly. In addition, basements are typically shaded, out of light and darker environments.
Remaining out of rooms that draw a lot of sunlight in can also help keep the temperatures cool just in case. I mean, let’s think about this from another angle. What if you don’t even leave town but you’re A/C goes out while you’re at work?
Have you ever been inside a home on a summer day when the A/C wasn’t turned on? Its gets hot quickly. I like it cool as well so I noticed this very quickly.
Always ensure your air conditioning Is working and that if it did happen to fail, you have time to fix the problem without running the risk of your chinchilla passing away.
Keep Your Chinchilla Out of Direct Sunlight
We just touched on this briefly, but it’s a big important factor. Your chinchilla doesn’t need to tan in the sun and doesn’t need the natural light to be happy. They need your love, attention, some light to see and a cool environment and they can live 15-20 years.
That’s all there is to it. If this is the case, there is no need to have your chinchilla cage positioned where it takes in direct sunlight. It’s just another form of heat passing onto your chinchilla that may result in death, and it’s not necessary for any reason.
Again, the basement is ideal but if that’s not possible, use shades or other mechanisms to ensure you are blocking heat sources. I get that not having natural light in a room you enjoy being in is no fun in the sun but unfortunately, having a dead chinchilla is also no fun.
Which would you rather have?
A chinchilla in a separate room or the risk of death?
Always Have a Plan B, Just in Case
Sometimes we must plan and always have an escape plan or something to fall back on. Let’s assume that you use the basement and you feel comfortable that your chinchilla is safe.
Well, the A/C still may go out or you may need to leave town. If this is the case, have a backup pet babysitter that can check in to make sure your chin is safe.
It’s not overly challenging to prepare someone on what to expect or what to do. Leave the vet’s phone number, advise them to check the food and water, and to verify that the chinchilla is alive and kicking.
Outside of that, you should be good to go.
Leaving Your Chinchilla Alone for Extended Periods
Leaving your chinchilla alone for extended periods can also pose some dangers. I did however just mention an easy solution. Make sure to have someone stop in and check on the chinchilla from time to time. That’s your best bet to ensure your chinchilla is always safe, fed and has plenty of water, which leads me to my next point.
Always Have Water Available for Your Chinchilla
Water is a must with a chinchilla. My chinchilla goes through a water bottle about every 4-6 days or so.
Well, if you need to leave and don’t want to risk lack of fluids or to overheat, always make sure that either you or the babysitter we discussed checks your chinchilla’s water bottle and ensures they have access to plenty of fluids.
News flash. Sometimes this involved checking for clogs in the water bottle spout as well. A full water bottle for more than a day could indicate that your chinchilla is trying to drink water but can’t get it to release from the water bottle.
What Setup Do I Use at Home for My Chinchilla?
Alright, now let’s have some fun and let me explain the setup I use for my chinchilla. First and foremost, I researched for weeks before getting my chinchilla and considered all the options from every angle.
I ultimately decided on the basement in my current home, and my chinchilla will also be in the basement at my new home. I did this for a few reasons that we have already discussed.
• The basement remains cool and at ideal temperatures for my chinchilla (64 degrees F).
• It’s where my home office is located, so I get to bond and interact with my chinchilla all day.
• It’s out of direct sunlight and direct light for that matter.
• I can run 3 de-humidifiers on the loudest, highest setting to keep the air perfect for her.
• I don’t have to worry about poop pellets falling out of the cage.
After ultimately debating between a spare bedroom, a living area upstairs and the basement, it just naturally clicked to me. It seemed to be the safest spot to place her. It’s also away from where she needs to hear my son screaming all day long and keeps her isolated from my 100-pound yellow lab.
All these factors naturally just made sense to me and I went with my gut, and it’s turned out great this far into owning her.
It’s also been quite the experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything nor do I regret getting a chinchilla. Chinchillas make fantastic pets. Plain and simple and I doubt any chinchilla owners would disagree.
Putting It All Together, Some Easy Precautions May Save Your Chinchillas Life
To sum things up, I want to re-emphasize the point that chinchillas can overheat very quickly and experience death from it.
With the precautions and knowledge that we have discussed in this post, you should be well set to be an ethical chinchilla owner who knows the ins and outs of what temperature chinchillas need to survive and thrive.
What’s your current set up in your home to make sure your chinchilla is comfortable, safe and never in danger of overheating? Be sure to leave a comment below and don’t forget to check out the related questions section of this post below.
I like to throw those in just in case you have one or two more lingering concerns that I can help address. See you all next time. Thanks for reading.
Do Chinchillas Like It Hot or Cold?
Chinchillas like it cold. If the chinchilla’s water bottle isn’t frosting or freezing, your chinchilla will remain warm enough due to their dense fur. Residential homes can’t be kept this cold, so you should always aim for between 60 degrees F and 70 degrees F for your chinchilla to remain comfortable and to have no risk of overheating.
Do Chinchillas Get Too Hot?
Yes, chinchillas get too hot very quickly. In fact, any temperature over 75 degrees F and 80 degrees F will immediately place unnecessary stress on your chinchilla and risk your chinchilla dyeing from heat stroke. This happens easily, so it’s important always to stay alert and check on your chinchilla
How Do Chinchillas Cool Down?
Unfortunately, chinchillas can’t cool down like humans. They can’t sweat. They must naturally come back to normal temperature slowly and without the help of sweat. Drinking fluids can help, but if your chinchilla overheats, it can become hazardous very quickly so always exercise extreme caution when it comes to ideal temperatures for your chinchilla.
What Temperature Is Too Cold for A Chinchilla?
Your home will likely never reach a temperature that’s too cold for a chinchilla. A chinchilla can survive in temperatures below 50 degrees F, but they do begin developing respiratory infections below 50 degrees F which can result in death if it progresses to pneumonia or rapidly gets worse.
What’s the Lowest Temperature a Chinchilla Can Survive or Live In?
50 degrees F is the lowest temperature your chinchilla should be exposed to inside your home or where their cage is located. Hotter than 75-80 degrees F you risk heat stroke and death and below 50 degrees F, your risk sickness, infections, and your chinchilla may also pass away. Staying between 50-75 degrees F is advised and the best temperature for your chinchilla.
Do Chinchillas Need a Heat Lamp?
No. Chinchillas need the temperature to remain cool and humidity-free. Your chinchilla should not be in a garage or exposed to elements that would require heat lamps to be used to keep them warm. Heat lamps may even overheat your chinchilla ultimately resulting in death.
Can Chinchillas Die from Heat?
Yes. Chinchillas can die from heat, and it happens quickly. When temperatures reach above 80 degrees F, your chinchilla may pass away from heat stroke rapidly, and your chinchilla will begin reaching high levels of anxiety and stress if the temperature reaches above 75 degrees.
How Do I Keep My Chinchilla Cool in Hot Weather?
Keep your chinchilla in the home in a room outside of direct sunlight with temperatures between 50 degrees F and 70 degrees F to keep your chinchilla cool in hot weather. Consider running de-humidifiers to lower the overall humidity in the home or room where your chinchilla is located.
Your chinchilla should never be outside, so you shouldn’t be too concerned with the actual outdoor temperatures. Only be sure to exercise caution with your chinchilla as frequently as possible.