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Chinchillas and the heat

As with any new addition to your family it is important to research and ask questions about whatever it is you and your family have an interest in.  One fact often overlooked when purchasing and caring for a chinchilla is their susceptibility to heat stroke. For the most part care of chinchillas is quite basic and much like other rodents.  With the appropriate caging, food, bedding and placement in the home chinchillas will thrive with minimal care for as long as 10-20 years. 

Chinchillas originally come from the high Andes mountains in South America  where they live among rocks, caves and cliffs. They have adapted to live in a cooler climate so care must be taken in areas where the temperature exceeds 75 degrees. Chinchillas can not sweat or pant to lower their body heat.  A chin uses the blood flow through the many small vessels in their ears to cool off.  (This is the same method used by elephants.)  You will be able to see the enlarged blood vessels in the ears of a over-heating chin. 

Signs of heat stroke: 
-slow or little willingness to move    
 -open mouth breathing    
 -high body temp    
-drooling (which can be excessive)   
 
A basic rule of thumb for a possibility of heat stroke is:  If the temperature of the room plus the humidity in the air equals 150 or above your chin is in extreme danger.  The outside air in Boise is rarely humid when its hot but every house has different variables so we must always be aware of the environment. When keeping a chinchilla cool in hot weather it is important to actually cool the air around it.  Fans blowing on the animal or its cage is not adequate, this only blows the warm air around.  As with many other animals exposure to drafts of warm or cold air is not good for them. 

If air-conditioning is not available you will have to use other means of cooling such as ice packs wrapped in towels or frozen water bottles to put inside the cage. A chinchilla can suffer heat stroke in less than 15 minutes time in a hot environment. As with all animals they cant very well tell us what they need or when they feel uncomfortable, so it is up to us to know and be prepared for the care and maintenance of our pets.

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By ZamzowsAdmin on 1/16/2006 |
Small Animals | 2963 View(s) | 0 Comment(s)
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