Why Do Chinchillas Ears Turn Red?[Avoid Overheating + Tips]

Overheating is a significant concern when you adopt a chinchilla and understanding what signs to look for is imperative to understand.

It led me to a specific question when I first adopted my chinchilla.

Why do a chinchilla’s ears turn red?

I have now been raising my chinchilla for the past 5 years and here is what I can tell you on this topic.

Chinchillas release heat through their ears which can cause the veins to enlarge and can cause the skin on the inner ear to appear pink or red. Chinchillas release heat like this due to having such dense fur and the inability to sweat.

I know this may seem like something to be frightened over, but it’s not.

It’s very easy to avoid, and we are lucky that are chinchillas at least present us with this physical sign that they may be overheating.

Here is how I intend to break down this post and information regarding your chinchilla’s ears turning red:


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Why Your Chinchillas Ears Are Turning Red And What You Need To Do

Like I stated previously, your chinchillas’ red ears can be a telling sign if they are too hot.

Chinchillas do not possess the ability to sweat like other animals are capable of.

Also, a chinchilla’s fur is extremely dense with over 80 hairs per follicle.

This makes the concept of overheating that much more likely.

Since your chinchilla can’t sweat, they release heat through their ears.

When they do so, it becomes easy to see the veins enlarge and the skin on the ears may turn pink or red.

This is an indication that you need to cool your chinchilla down one way or another.

It’s essential that when you notice this, you spot check the temperature, and ideally, you want the room to be under 70 degrees and over 50 degrees.

Once you start passing 75 degrees, you run the risk of your chinchilla overheating and potentially even passing away.

Chinchillas simply just can’t handle heat and humidity well.

They aren’t naturally meant to do so and in their natural environments, they deal with very little rain and very mild temperatures which allows them to survive.

Always be sure the room you keep your chinchilla in is at the correct temperatures.

What Do Red Chinchilla Ears Look Like And How Can You Keep An Eye On Them?

A chinchillas ears turning red can either be very easy to recognize or more difficult to spot depending on which color of a chinchilla you currently are parenting.

If your chinchilla has a light-colored inner ear, the redness will be easier to identify and you will be able to notice the veins are more dilated or expanded.

This in addition to the pinkish-red color is your indicator that they may be getting too hot.

If, however, you have a chinchilla that a darker inner ear, you may have more trouble spotting this red ear and overheating indicator.

If this is the case, it is even more imperative to always ensure that the room you keep your chinchilla is always kept at proper temperatures and that playtime is never too wild or crazy.

Active Steps to Take To Prevent Red Ears and Overheating With Your Chinchilla

Now that we understand we may have our chinchilla in a position to overheat we have a few additional steps we need to take to protect our chinchillas and make sure they are okay.

First and foremost, if your chinchilla begins showing signs of overheating or red ears, it’s time to end playtime if that’s currently when you are spotting this issue.

Secondly, you need to get ahold of your chinchilla and feel their ears to ensure that they are in fact just hot and need to cool down.

It’s also been known that chinchillas’ ears may turn red if they are in deep sleep or resting.

Additionally, some of the lighter colored chinchillas appear to have more of a red or pink tint to their ears more easily and more frequently than some of the darker breed chinchillas.

Double-checking to see if you can feel any heat will help narrow down the issue even further.

Next, if your chinchilla ears are red and you are positive, they are just hot, grab a damp cold cloth and gently touch to it to their ears to cool them down.

You can also ensure that you provide granite stone (Link to Amazon) inside of your chinchilla’s cage.

This gives them a small platform to sit for a moment which helps them cool down.

Also ensure they have plenty of cold water and nobody is around making them jump, climb or remain in an active state so you can bring their body temperature back down.

If you are struggling to get ahold of your chinchilla or you are new to owning a chinchilla, refer to the base of tail pickup technique for assistance.

You can also read my post about how to get your chinchilla to enjoy being held here.

And lastly, be sure to read my post about how to get your chinchilla in and out of the cage here.

It’s the easiest way to get ahold of your chinchilla if they continue to run away or hide in corners from you.

Adjust If Necessary, To Keep Your Chinchilla Safe in The Future

Since I’m not aware of the exact circumstances that placed your chinchilla in a possible state of overheating, it’s hard for me to narrow down what may have caused it and how to fix it.

I can, however, try and touch on several items to make sure you do go forward.

First and foremost, if the room your chinchilla is kept in is too hot, simply change places in your home and ensure you have the correct temperatures for him or her to remain safe.

Additionally, if it was playtime or another family pet scaring your chinchilla or causing them to run around, be sure to isolate the animals so this doesn’t happen in the future.

Sometimes our other pets and chinchillas just don’t mix well, and you must adjust.

Sometimes this isn’t the case, and dogs and chinchillas can get along or intermingle without issues.

It just depends.

Next, consider something such as a dehumidifier to keep humidity out of the room where your chinchilla sleeps and has their cage placed in.

This alone can remove the sticky factor in the air and help prevent your chinchilla from overheating in the future.

You can also consider limiting the space your chinchilla has to use for playtime by utilizing a chinchilla playpen.

I have a post breaking down the best chinchilla playpens here.

I have personally been using one for the past 4 years and love using it for many different situations.

It creates a closer interaction for you and your chinchilla, eliminates the need to chinchilla proof the room, and will not allow your chinchilla to run so freely potentially causing overheating.

I currently use the Jespet 61 inch (Link to Amazon) and have been for 4 years and absolutely love it.

If you think that overheating or too much space during playtime is causing your chinchilla’s ears to turn red, be sure to consider the playpen approach.

Other Tips to Keep Your Chinchilla Safe and Healthy

The tips we have discussed thus far into the post should help you dramatically to keep your chinchilla safe.

The temperature of the room alone is probably the most significant factor to keep in mind outside of worrying about the wires and other dangerous items in the place that your chinchilla may decide to bite or chew on.

That’s okay.

Do your best, and as time goes on, you will become a better chinchilla owner.

Sometimes we just need some help and practice to get these things down.

Additionally, don’t be afraid of moments like these.

They happen.

All the time with all pets.

Chinchillas are friendly loving animals and extremely incredible to own as pets.

I don’t want something like the potential of overheating potentially swaying you into thinking chinchillas are too high maintenance to care for because that’s 100% false.

They are perhaps one of the most relaxed animals to care for if you are wanting my honest opinion.

Don’t Use Fans and Don’t Get Your Chinchilla Wet If They Are Overheating

My last few pieces of advice are never to use fans to cool your chinchilla down.

Not only will this not work but it can also make them very sick.

The air blowing on them will not be enough to cool them down due to their thick coats of fur.

The only outcome you can gain from blowing a fan at a chinchilla is either illness or no results at all so definitely do not attempt to do this.

Lastly, do not get your chinchillas wet.

Getting your chinchilla wet due to overheating should be your absolute last resort.

If you are at that point, then you can do so but always try the other recommendations I have laid out in this post first.

Chinchillas take dust baths for a reason and can’t dry adequately due to their dense fur.

Only allow them to cool down by moving to a colder room or using a damp cold cloth and poking their ears with it gently.

Outside of these tasks, just sit back and keep an eye on your chinchilla.

Likely everything will be just fine, but it’s essential to learn from the issue and make the proper adjustments for the future of your chinchilla.

Remember, chinchillas can live up to 20 years so learning the best practices is certainly better to do now than learning these mistakes in the future.

Don’t worry, it gets much easier, and I assure you that you won’t have any regrets about being a chinchilla parent.

It’s awesome, to say the least.

If Your Chinchillas Ears Are Red, Take Active Steps to Cool Them Down Quickly

Hopefully, this post didn’t scare you too much because that certainly wasn’t the intention and I was only wanting to break down what you need to do if you notice your chinchilla’s ears turning red indicating overheating.

I was trying to be completely clear that your chinchillas’ ears turning red could be a very dangerous issue but that you do have plenty of actionable advice you can use to remedy the situation.

Stay calm, cool the room down, and check the temperature of the room and make the proper adjustments and everything will be just fine.

This is one of the few scares chinchillas will likely give you so don’t hesitate to adopt one if you are still on the fence or debating it.

Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla and the journey you have ahead of you.

What Is Your Experience With Your Chinchillas Ears Turning Red?

I’d love to hear your stories as well.

What’re your thoughts on the best practices of how to handle your chinchilla when you notice their ears have turned red?

Any further recommendations that I didn’t layout in this post?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today and we will see you again next time.

Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 4 year-old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know. I'm the Author of the eBook "The Ultimate Chinchilla Care Guide, From Adoption and On"

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