The chinchilla in the wild has adapted to live in a rugged terrain, where nightly and winter temperatures may drop well below freezing.
Being crepuscular/nocturnal creatures by nature, during the day when temperatures may rise, they may rest amongst rocks, boulders, fissures and “scrapes,” which would shelter them from the extremes of temperature.
A pet chinchilla should be kept in a safe and clean environment where the temperature and humidity are controlled. Temperatures higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit are already too hot for the animal, and the humidity level should also not go beyond 80 percent. If these conditions are not met, the chinchilla can suffer from heat stroke and even from a heart attack.
Anyone who wishes to take care of a chinchilla should know the basic things about the animal. One of these is the fact that the chinchilla has the thickest fur among all animals on land. Although this keeps them safe in a cold and harsh outdoor environment, it can become quite a problem in an environment that is hot and cramped.
Pet owners who want to take care of a chinchilla should highly consider using an air conditioning unit for their pet. This will make sure that the desired temperature is maintained and will, therefore, keep the animal from suffering any stress or dangers caused by too much heat. It will also be best if the air conditioner has an auto function that lets it turn off by itself once the desired temperature is reached. Not only will this save on energy, but it will also help create a controlled environment for the chinchilla where the animal can feel relaxed and comfortable.
Chinchilla owners may be tempted to just use a fan instead of an air conditioning unit. While a fan is good to have around the chinchilla so that the cold air may be circulated, it may not be enough to keep the desired level of temperature that a chinchilla needs for it not to feel stressed.
Those who want to make sure that they have the right level of temperature for their pet chinchilla should have a room thermometer handy. This will make it easier to keep track of and monitor the heat and will be an effective way of keeping your pet chinchilla safe. Similarly, an instrument that measures humidity should also be used, especially if the chinchilla is kept in a closed space such as the basement. These precautions will save much headache and stress, not only for the chinchilla but for the chinchilla owner as well.
If your pet chinchilla still suffers from too much heat and humidity, you should be able to tell the signs and respond right away. The chinchilla will often lie on its side with its chest moving erratically due to labored breathing. This condition is referred to as heat prostration and is a sign that the animal is suffering from too much heat or humidity.
When this happens, pick the chinchilla up very carefully and try to keep it moving so that it does not surrender to the heat stroke. Of course, while this is happening, make sure that adjustments to the temperature and humidity are already being made to make the environment more ideal for the animal. Putting the chinchilla in the chiller or even the freezer is also a good idea, but make sure that you keep all foods out of the way and that there is a layer of clothing between the freezer itself and the chinchilla – DO NOT LEAVE HIM IN THE FREEZER! Use Common Sense