When researching chinchilla care, a lot of would-be chinchilla owners are often conflicted about whether or not an air conditioner is necessary. Although many humans are capable of adapting to life without air conditioning, chinchillas most definitely are not.
As a chinchilla caretaker, it’s important to understand the reasons why chinchillas are different from other pets and how to address their specific needs. Chinchillas are very unique animals, and one of their most important requirements is a reliable cooling system.
In this article, we will discuss why an air conditioner is necessary when owning a chinchilla.
Summary of today’s article:
- Reason 1: Heat stroke is the number one chinchilla killer
- Reason 2: Chilled chinchillas have beautiful fur
- Reason 3: Temperature control at your fingertips
- Reason 4: Clean air and dehumidifying
- Reason 5: Heatwaves are unpredictable
- Reason 6: Some states in the US have warmer daytimes
- Reason 7: If you cannot afford air conditioning, you probably shouldn’t own a chinchilla
- Reason 8: Happy chinchilla
A Chinchilla’s natural habitat is the Andes mountain range of South America where the temperatures are cool and downright frigid at times. Chinchillas have a tremendously dense coat of fur which acts to insulate them from cold temperatures.
Although you can remove your coat if a room becomes too warm, your chinchilla does not have that option. Therefore, the climate you provide for them must always be maintained with a temperature that is not only tolerable but comfortable as well.
The ideal temperature for chinchillas is 60°-70° Fahrenheit. It should be noted that heat stroke becomes a very real threat once temperatures climb to 75° Fahrenheit.
Chinchillas do not have sweat glands and are unable to perspire. Since they can’t cool themselves down, warm temperatures can kill them rather quickly.
When a chinchilla is experiencing a heat stroke event, you may notice redness of the ears, drooling, rapid breathing, or fever. Should you suspect that your chinchilla is overheating, take them to a cooler room immediately and call your veterinarian.
Heatstroke is the number one cause of accidental death in chinchillas and should be taken very seriously. The good news is that this type of tragedy is easily avoidable by keeping your home cooled with an air conditioner.
One of the most well-known attributes of a chinchilla is their gorgeous fur. Besides diet and regular dust baths, chinchillas require an environment that is free of excess moisture to keep their fur properly groomed.
If a chinchilla comes into contact with humidity, water will become trapped in their extremely thick, fluffy coat. This moisture leads to matted, damp fur that is difficult to sort out.
Humid environments will wreak havoc on a chinchilla in more ways than just unattractive fur. Humidity can lead to fungal infections and even severe illness.
Luckily, a fantastic side effect of air conditioning is the removal of moisture from the air as it cools down. Air conditioning prevents your home from becoming too humid, which means your chinchilla’s fur stays nice and dry.
Keeping an air conditioner running will not only maintain your chinchilla’s lustrous coat but is a vital step in maintaining their health.
Air conditioning is ideal for chinchilla care since it allows you to control the climate within your home at all times with very little effort. Air conditioners work by removing the heat from the inside of your home and transferring it outdoors.
An air conditioner can be adjusted with the press of a button and the ability to prescribe specific settings for various rooms or times of the day is extremely beneficial. Still, some chinchilla owners will try to rely on fans instead of air conditioning to keep their pet’s living quarters cool.
There are multiple issues with this approach and going this route can have deadly consequences for your chinchilla. Cooling a room with fans has many limitations and it’s not uncommon for the air being blown around to disrupt other items in the space.
Dust, allergens, and even lightweight objects can be stirred, causing air quality and overall tidiness of a room to be disturbed. Fans are also noisy, with ceiling fans having the typical problem of wobbling overhead.
Most importantly, while fans can affect the ambient temperature in a room and circulate the air, they will do little to cool down a chinchilla. Since chinchillas are not capable of sweating, they do not benefit from fans the way that people do.
In the case of humans, moisture from sweat is wicked away from the skin by airflow, which is why even a warm breeze can make you feel cooler if you are perspiring. Using a fan for cooling a chinchilla can be deceiving since the air may appear brisk to you, but your chinchilla is not having the same experience.
When it comes to efficiency, air conditioning is the clear winner to cool a room and keep your chinchilla happy.
Clean air is essential and air conditioners are incredible at improving air quality. An air conditioner filter is capable of removing dust, pollution, and various allergens from inside of your home.
Without a filter component, indoor air can become up to ten times dirtier than the air outside. The key to maintaining excellent air quality indoors is to use high-quality air conditioning filters that are changed regularly.
Such a simple and effective solution! Additionally, an often overlooked aspect of air conditioning is its ability to dehumidify.
As discussed earlier, humidity is detrimental to your chinchilla’s health, therefore having a dehumidifying element in your home is crucial. A wonderful byproduct of air conditioning is that moisture is automatically removed from indoors.
During the air conditioning process, air sheds some of its excess moisture as it is cooled, thus making the room less humid. Amazingly, air conditioners can remove up to 91% of moisture from the air that flows through their system!
The fact that an air conditioner not only cools a room but also dehumidifies it makes air conditioning the best choice for providing a comfortable climate for both you and your chinchilla.
As we are all painfully aware, the weather is unpredictable, which makes planning for heat waves impossible.
Attempting to outsmart the weather by not having a proper cooling unit in your home is time-consuming, infuriating, and produces poor results.
Since many areas of the United States, primarily the West coast, are experiencing heat waves, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your chinchilla is not exposed to sweltering temperatures.
With some regions reaching temperatures of over 120° Fahrenheit, it’s not worth the risk to gamble with a potential heatwave. In recent years, heatwaves are being experienced in parts of the United States that had previously exhibited mild temperatures.
This is problematic as many structures in those newly affected areas do not have adequate cooling systems to successfully battle excessive heat. A heatwave can seemingly come out of nowhere and it’s ideal to be prepared ahead of time.
Many of us are away during the day and don’t pay attention to the climate inside of our homes when we are not present. A myriad of regions in the United States have extremely warm temperatures in the daytime hours and air conditioning is the best way to combat high indoor heat.
Modern dwellings can reach excruciating levels of heat if air conditioning is not in use. Due to the insulation in your home, the indoor temperature can climb up to 30° Fahrenheit higher than outdoors.
This means that your home is susceptible to becoming extremely hot, even if you live in a climate with mild weather. In their natural habitat, chinchillas intentionally sleep during the day to avoid warmer temperatures.
They keep cool by resting in rock crevices, underground tunnels, and have even been spotted hiding beneath certain types of plants. A chinchilla’s body has evolved to retain heat and their instinct is to avoid contact with warmth.
When housing chinchillas in a domestic environment, it’s easy to replicate the weather conditions they are accustomed to by utilizing an air conditioner.
Owning a pet comes with many challenges and responsibilities. By becoming a chinchilla caretaker, you have agreed to provide the best life possible for your pet.
Caring for any animal requires sacrifices at times, and in the case of chinchilla ownership, the sacrifice you are called to make might be springing for an air conditioner.
Although some air conditioners are expensive, they are essential to a chinchilla’s health and should never be considered optional. Air conditioners are a fantastic investment from every angle.
They provide a better environment for you as well as your chinchilla in multiple ways. When examining expenses involved with owning a pet, air conditioning is at the top of the list when it comes to chinchilla care.
Last, but not least, your chinchilla will be happier in an air-conditioned environment. Chinchillas bring us so much joy with their adorable disposition and bubbly personalities.
By giving your chinchilla a properly cooled home, you are providing an essential component to the creation of a long and healthy life!