The comfort zone for chinchillas is between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It really shouldn’t exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And this is the important point.
Are chinchillas really as sensitive to heat as it sounds? Yes, they are. The danger of overheating is for chinchillas very high. The chins can die from heat stroke very easily. So, what can you do when you live in a climate where it gets really hot?
One thing you can do is to get an air conditioner of course, maybe even a back-up unit just for your chinchillas if you have more than one. You wouldn’t think of it because with guinea pigs you have no problems of overheating. You can even place guinea pigs outdoors in summer. You can‘t do that with chinchillas, not even in the shade of a tree or alike. The risk of a heat stroke is just too high.
Chinchillas tolerate cold temperature far easier than heat. Why is that? Wild chinchillas live in the Andes mountains in South America at high elevations up to 14,000 feet. This is the reason why chinchillas have also problems with high humidity. Their healthy range is about 30-40% humidity.
So, well, now a chin-chiller doesn’t sound so weird anymore, does it. When the temperatures rise chinchillas just love to hang out on chiller stones. They even love to sit on these stones when it‘s cooler outside.
How does a chin-chiller work? It is just a stone, a granite stone. It‘s not powered by any means to keep the chins cool. You know the cooling effect of granite also from kitchen countertops. You place your hand on your granite countertop and it doesn’t get warm under your hand.
The chin-chiller works like a good conductor, meaning it feels cooler to the touch because it conducts the heat from the hand or from the chinchilla‘s body. It‘s the same impression you have from a fan. It moves the air and makes it feel cooler even if the air‘s temperature doesn’t change.
So, even without knowing how it works exactly you will see the effect on your chinchillas. It keeps your chins cool and comfortable. The model I found is completely washable which is important because accidents can happen while your chinchilla is chilling.
The signs of a chinchilla being too hot are very clear. You will see bright red ears. If you look closer at their ears you might see that the ear blood vessels are swollen. If this state doesn’t change back to normal after than 10 minutes you have a strong sign that your little fluffball is too hot.
Another sign is less obvious, you might feel their bodies hotter than normal. This happens also when they were very active. It will be a sign for overheating when their body stays hot for longer than 10 minutes.
If your chinchillas get lethargic for a longer period of time or when they drool, they show that they are too hot. And the strongest signal is when your chinchilla starts to breathe heavily.
If you don‘t have a chinchilla chiller stone place immediately a portable air conditioner in front of the chinchilla cage. In any case I recommend getting in contact with your vet in order to exclude any other issues.
A chin-chiller is a very inexpensive way to keep your little chinchillas cool. They are so affordable that you might even get more than just one.
Kaytee Chinchilla Chiller Granite Stone
- Made of granite stone to keep chinchillas cool and healthy
- Can be placed anywhere inside chinchilla’s home
- Size: 6“ L x 10“ W
- Easy to clean
My chins are obsessed with this cooling stone. I bought 2 for my 3 chins. They LOVE sleeping and laying on these stones, it cools them down during this hot summer.
More importantly our chins love, love them! We bought two and they were shoving each other over the first one so had to put both in their cage.
My chins love it so much that they all huddle together to get their share of it, Guess I’m going to have to order more so they each have one of their own.