Greenwood Chinchillas
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Temperature & Humidity

Chinchillas naturally do not deal with heat well, they come from high altitude regions and are more used to cold dry climates rather than that which the experience in the UK.    The cooler it is for chins the better.  The lower the temperature the more active they generally are.

A Chinchilla’s native environment is a cool, dry region (the constant temperature is 50°F to 55°F), they do not tolerate heat or humidity well and become extremely stressed by temperatures higher than 80°F. An ideal temperature for your chinchilla is 60°F to 70°F with a humidity level of 40% to 60%.

Chinchillas do not sweat like we do - so can not cool down easily or quickly and are VERY susceptible to heatstroke - hot rooms will kill your chinchilla!  so before hot weather starts always be prepared. There are many ways that you can help to avoid this situation occurring.

Ensure the cage is placed out of direct draughts that can cause a chill and also away from direct sunlight that can cause overheating in otherwise normal temperature rooms. There are a wide range of techniques for keeping your chinchilla cool, an air con is the most effective but many different options are available.

So long as a chinchillas water bottle is not frozen, it generally cannot be too cold for them and they are most comfortable in lower temperatures, though expectant mothers and young babies do need slightly warmer temperatures than this.  Once the kits are dry and the chance of a chill is past, then the temperature can be lower.

Healthy chinchillas can handle temperatures around 80-88F (26.6C - 31C), for short periods of time  - but it is not recommended to allow them to reach this type of level, 22 Celsius being the highest recommended.  Older animals or animals with denser fur will suffer at lower temperatures.

Greenwood Chinchillas




Signs of overheating:
  • rapid or shallow breathing
  • tongue and gums bright red
  • bright red ears with blood vessels engorged
  • thick, stringy saliva
  • rectal temperature 103 degrees F or above
  • rapid pulse/heart beat greater than 125
  • lying on their side, and not responding to movement close by

In severe cases, the chin may lose consciousness and could be limp and floppy, and sometimes bloody diarrhoea.

When weather is warming up ensure that your chins have a constant supply of water, you can part freeze a bottle of water over night and then top it up in the morning before putting it on the cage.


More Related articles are shown below.  The information in these articles has been created from browsing other websites, pet forums and vet advice - if you should have any additions or find any errors please let us know so that the information can be amended

Air Conditioners

Air conditioning units are the most effective way to maintain a regular temperature for your chinchillas and avoid heat stroke - whether you have 1 or 100 chinchillas, effective temperature and humidity control is required to ensure that your animals do not overheat, which can cause death.

Air conditioning units are generally easy to locate at the end of spring and start of summer, but during the height of summer and moving into winter there are few supplies available to be had - and prices generally are a lot more expensive.

The best time to be purchasing your unit is Jan-March when they start to be reintroduced to DIY centres and electrical supplies, the prices at this time of year are generally cheaper and also additional sales and special offers can decrease the price further.

When buying your air con unit, careful attention needs to be paid to the size of room it is working in, what type of ventilation is available and whether an exhaust hose can be placed through an open window or wall needs to be drilled.

Split units generally cost more (£400-600) and are often wall mounted,  this units need a hole to be cut through the wall but then vent all heat directly out of the room into the open air outside.  This cools the room faster and more efficiently than floor mounted units, but does mean that they cannot be moved so easily..

Floor mounted units are generally cheaper (£150-300) but normally have a short exhaust hose that needs to be placed out of an open window when being used.  They can be easily moved when required.

When buying your Air conditioning unit you need to play close attention to the BTU rating that is listed, the higher this number is the better it is able to cool the room or shed in which it is placed.

When choosing the BTU rating it is possible to get too high a rating, in that case the air around the unit chills too quickly fooling the machine into switching off before the whole room is cooled.  This can be avoid by using a BTU calculator.

Tips on using your Air Con in a shed can be found on our Cool Shed article below.


It is hard work for an air con unit to cool down an already hot room, it is better to buy a model with a thermostat on it and set it to run from the morning when it is cool - that will it will keep the temperature down much easier.


You can buy combined dehumidifier and air conditioning units, this does mean that the additional heat of a separate dehumidifier is avoided in the room, but when one fails it does mean that both will be out of action. When a room is very humid, turn the humidifier on first for 20 minutes or so to dehumidify the air, this will make the air cons job easier - when doing this keep a close eye on the temperature of the room.

When using an air con unit always be sure to check the extension hose is firmly connected to the back of the unit - otherwise it will be pumping hot air into the room and raise rather than lower the temperature.


Be sure to regularly empty the water collection  vessel and ensure that the machine resets to cool rather than just fan settings.


Ensure that you have read your manual to your unit, and that you clean the air filters regularly- not doing so could cause the unit to cut out and not function.


To get the most efficient use out of your unit, raise the unit as far of the floor as you can- hot air rises and cool air sinks, so the higher up in the room your unit is the more effective it can chill the room and create air currents. Using fans to push air down from the ceiling to the floor will also help to circulate the air better and cool more of the air - this is especially important where you have rows of cages - always check the ear colour and positions of the top rows first - they will be the first to suffer if there is a problem!

Cooling Techniques

A variety of ideas to cool down your chin on the warmer days when you don't have an air con unit. This page lists ways to keep your chin cool generally, but if they fail then Emergency cooling techniques are also listed on this site. As well as temperature be very aware of the humidity of the chinchillas environment.

Don't handle even very tame animals a lot in hot weather, it will tend to increase there temperature further and could cause more stress.


Restrict or stop exercise sessions outside of the cage when the weather is hot.  Chinchillas will tend to still run around madly and over heat themselves, if this is the case it can cause a fit. 


If your Chinchilla has an exercise wheel in their cage, remove if until the hot weather passes so that your Chinchilla is not tempted to over exert itself.


Run as few electrical items in the room as you can. All electrical appliances give off heat when working - especially computers, fridge's and freezers. If these are running in the same room as your chinchillas they will increase the temperature. Dehumidifiers and air cons both create a lot of heat  on there own - so evaluate if they are helping or hindering in getting an area cool.


Keep curtains closed in the room your chinchilla is in to decrease the amount of heat entering the room, and keep windows closed, a draft helps us to cool but not chinchillas - and often the air outside is warmer than that inside.


Where possible avoid transporting or moving Chinchilla’s great distances in warm weather.  If it has to be done, then pack cold frozen items around the carry cage and use a vehicle with air conditioning if possible.



Environment Changes or Additions to Cages
Ice blocks from Cool boxes can be frozen and placed in metal biscuit tins into the cage - the more cool blocks in the tin the longer it stays cool over all.  Another way to use cool blocks is to place them in a clean sock or wrap them in a towel which can then be tied up tightly so that the chins cannot chew the plastic.


Terracotta tiles, marble slabs and flower pots can be placed in the freezer to chill them and then placed in the chins cages. (Wipe any frost off this type of item before placing in the cages to ensure that the chins cannot get a freezer burn off them)


The sand baths can be placed in the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes in order to chill down the sand and make a cool relaxing bath for your chinchilla to enjoy.  Be careful when doing this that the sand does not become damp.


Tupperware type plastic tubs can have water frozen inside them and be placed in the cages - but ensure that the chins do not chew the plastic - if they do try placing the tubs next to the cage and have a fan blow air across it into the cage - this can also be done with freezing water in pop bottles (leave an inch gap when freezing things so that the water can expand as it ices and the lids can still fit)


Placing a cool damp or frozen towel over the cage will cause cold air to sink into the cage as the heat rises from cage and touches towel to then sink back down as it cools.  Having a fan blowing across the top of the towel will increase the speed of evaporation and cool the cage beneath further.  Placing damp or frozen towels over a cage WILL increase the humidity -so a cool draft of air is necessary to not make the situation for your chinchilla worse.


Peel the label of cheap tins of beans or such items, and place in the freezer to go solid.  These tins can then be placed in the cages (as with terracotta items wipe of any frost).  The density of the items mean that they take a very long time to cool down again.



Cooling Foods / Drinks
Fans whilst not helping to cool the chinchillas directly will circulate air which is marginally better than nothing, Chins not being able to sweat means that they do not cool via the evaporative process of sweating as we do so this does not cool the chins themselves, but the movement of air may assist in cooler air moving to the cages.


Ice cubes can be placed into the cage on a saucer (freeze the saucer first as another aid to cooling) for your chinchilla to lick at - before placing in the cage place under a running tap to remove the external "dry" ice that could cause ice burns.


Small pieces of apple can be frozen and offered as treats  - though do not give more than one piece a day as this could affect the digestive system causing loose droppings.



Transporting Chins in Hot Weather
If it can be avoided DO NOT try and move or collect chinchillas in hot weather - even if your vehicle has air conditioning.  In the time you take them from your home to the car, and the air con warms up they can suffer from heat stroke - which can at times be fatal.

If you must travel then try to do so at the earliest or latest time possible, pack the travelling cage around with frozen ice packs, and drab a damp chilled towel over the top of the cage.

Cooling Your Chin Shed

If you have a shed set up for your chinchilla then it has its own problems in the summer in trying to maintain a suitable level of heat and humidity.

When placing your shed you should have tried to place it in the place where the least direct sunshine is likely to fall upon it, this will make it much easier to maintain a lower temperature and assist in keeping down the running costs of maintaining the unit.

Placing thick insulation in the walls and packing the roof space and placing in a false ceiling will reduce the effect of the heat projected onto the roof increasing the internal temperature.

Adding a False roof to the outside of the shed by placing new boards on batons 2 inches above the existing roof will create an effective sun shade for your unit.  The top roof will heat up the air in the gap between the false and real roof - rather than the internal of the shed.

Another tip often mentioned is to paint the top of the shed white or reflective silver, this will effectively reflect sunlight and heat back up off the unit where as dark colours will absorb up the interior more.  For this tip be aware that neighbours who over look your area may complain, and check for any planning permission restrictions in your area that could effect this.

Another speedy and effective way to cool down your shed is to hose down the roof regularly with water to reduce the temperature.  At times when there is no water restrictions, it may be possible to set up a garden watering hose of the roof so that their is a permanent slow trickle of water taking away the heat.

Paint the windows with greenhouse paint as a way to stop the sunlight increasing the internal temperature. Screening off the windows as well will decrease the amount of heat that is transferred internally through the windows.

Install an air con unit with the extraction hose venting externally through the shed wall.  This ensures that you can keep the doors and windows closed when the unit is running effectively creating better use of the unit - if doors or windows are open then hot air is permanently entering the building and increasing the work that the unit has to do.  Also set  up the collection tank with a hose that empties directly outside the shed, this will enable the unit t keep running and will require less intervention to keep it running.


Emergency Cooling Techniques

If your chinchilla is slow to respond, immobile or has laboured breathing, or suffering from diarrhoea then contact a vet BY PHONE immediately - in many cases moving the animal will only stress it further so try to get a home visit or telephone advice.

The following techniques can be used to help to cool your chinchilla down rapidly - but be warned cooling them down TOO fast can cause shock and further problems!  Should your animal need these treatments then always ensure that you do get it to a vet for a check up as soon as possible afterwards.

If your chinchilla is inactive due to the heat and lying down on its side and not moving a lot it is necessary to get it up on its feet and moving about again.  Where possible get it to drink, offer an ice cube or piece of frozen fruit.

Move the chin into a small carry cage and place in front of an open freezer, if you have a large chest freezer you may place the animal in the cage down into the freezer for a few minutes.

Chins lose heat through there feet and ears so keep a close eye on your chinchilla at all times when they are like this, DO NOT close the doors on freezers when animals are in them.

When you remove the chin in carrying cage from the front of/inside the freezer place it inside an open box in to the base of which you have placed  bags of frozen vegetables, frozen tiles or anything else to reduce the temperature.    Place the box in the coolest area of your home - often this may be in cupboards.

Leave the animal to rest, place a piece of frozen fruit or raisins in the cage and ensure there is a fresh water supply.   This will encourage eating and drinking as it does awaken and recover more.

This "cool box" can also be used if transport to the vets is required.


In EXTREME cases you can immerse the animal, all put its head, into warm water - NOT COLD!   This will lower the animals body temperature, do not use cold water as this could cause the animal to go into shock.  Start off with hand warm water to place the chin in, then slowly add cold water to SLOWLY bring down the temperature - this could take some time if the chin is very hot.

Dry the chin off using a towel and a hair dryer on a cool setting once this is complete - do not leave the animal to dry on its own - this can cause a chill even on hot days as the fur is so thick and can trap water close to the body

Heat is not the only major environmental problem that chinchillas face in the UK.   Humidity also plays a huge part in keeping them well and healthy.

Humidity is the amount of water in the atmosphere. The higher the humidity the more dense and muggy it feels for us and our chinchillas.  Higher humidity traps more heat in the air and creates a higher atmospheric pressure.

Humidity when combined with heat can be a killer, and on its own can lead to fur fungus and other such diseases being caused by bad conditions and claggy fur which is not clean and standing straight from the body. This promotes conditions in which fur fungus spores can easily take root and spread rapidly.

In looking at Heat and Humidity a calculation such as the following is often used as a means to identify what is safe for chinchillas or not.

Temperature (degrees F) PLUS humidity (percentage) should not be 150 or over. Higher than this level, then their is serious danger of your chinchillas overheating and suffering heat stroke - in pregnant animals, youngsters, or animals with thicker fur then this level could be even lower.

If the total is over 100 then this could still lead to problems if it is not only for a short period, so efforts should be made to lower the temperature and humidity.

Dehumidifiers are relatively cheap and are very effective but do raise the temperature of the room in which they operate, so it may be necessary to run it in conjunction with an air con unit.