Like a Chinchilla in the Heat
June 9, 2005 9:06 AM   Subscribe

I have a pet chinchilla (Fred). I live in Boston. My apartment has no air conditioning, and it's getting hot. How can I help the little guy stay cool?

My apartment has casement (crank-out) windows, and an air conditioner for them is unafforable - and impractical, as I may be moving at the end of August. I've been putting ice packs in his cage and keeping a fan blowing indirectly towards him, but the past couple of days have had me worried.

I'm also leaving tomorrow to visit family for ten days. My live-in boyfriend is staying here, though, so he'll be able to take care of Fred. What else can we do to keep him from a fatal bout of heat stroke?
posted by ArsncHeart to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
When this happened with my little hamster buddy, we did exactly that--ice packs in front of a fan. We iced her water and checked up constantly to make sure she was okay. She got very lethargic and even a little sweaty. It helped to keep her out of the sun, and we gave her more fresh cold veggies than usual. Picking her up occasionally and wiping down her fur to get some of the sweat off helped. She wasn't so happy and I didn't do it all summer, but it seemed to work okay. How hot will it get? You might want to talk to a vet if it's going to get superhot for a long time. Good luck, Fred!
posted by hamster at 9:20 AM on June 9, 2005

They make portable air conditioners that don't require window installation. One of the cheapest models is here and needs to be filled with ice on a regular basis.

Free standing models can start at over $100 and progress from there.

I've never used one, so I can't recommend a particular model or supplier. But they should help to cool things down quite a bit.
posted by jeanmari at 9:21 AM on June 9, 2005

I'm not positive on this but aren't chinchillas from desert areas? Or at least from hotter parts of the world? I'm not sure that you have to worry about how much heat they can withstand.
posted by Jon-o at 9:24 AM on June 9, 2005

Response by poster: Jon-o, chinchillas are native to South America, but they live high up in the Andes mountains - they are incredibly susceptible to heat. I had a huge scare last summer in a different apt. when my A/C went out while I was at work, and Fred had collapsed.
posted by ArsncHeart at 9:38 AM on June 9, 2005

When I was a kid we had a lot of rabbits (like, 30 of them). They die of heat stroke if you're not careful, so we'd freeze water in (cardboard) milk cartons and then put the whole thing in their cages. They'd just lay on them.

It worked pretty well, and if they ate the boxes- which they did- no harm done because it was just cardboard.

Might be messy in an indoor cage, though, as the water melts.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:49 AM on June 9, 2005

I don't know if this would work for a chinchilla or not, but my bunnies loved to swim around in a shallow pan of water when it was hot. I basically put a couple of inches of cool water in a cat litter box and they loved it.
posted by moosedogtoo at 10:00 AM on June 9, 2005

Chinchillas can't tolerate water.

Some ideas in the last paragraph here.

My friend has chinchillas, they sometimes freeze something metallic and leave it in the cage.
posted by dublinemma at 10:16 AM on June 9, 2005

Free standing models can start at over $100 and progress from there.

Looks like they're running a reverse sale:
Suggested Retail Price: $109.24
Low Internet Price: $544.57 - You Save: $-,435.33 (-,398.51%)
posted by 4easypayments at 10:24 AM on June 9, 2005

Off topic, jeanmari, that's quite a deal on the second page you linked to.

"Suggested Retail Price: $109.24"
"Low Internet Price: $544.57 - You Save: $-,435.33 (-,398.51%)"

I know I'll be snatching that up...

On preview, damn you, 4easypayments!
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:25 AM on June 9, 2005

Make sure that you take away his exercise things so he doesn't get overheated (sorry Fred, but it's for your own good!), and very important...brush every day at least once, to remove fluff for more air ventilation. I found a few more conversations among chinnie lovers about how to keep them cool...I like the terra cotta pot idea! One suggestion (the one in 'conversations') gave me pause...putting overheated chins in the freezer ? !
posted by iconomy at 10:49 AM on June 9, 2005

My mistake. I was thinking of some other critter...
posted by Jon-o at 11:21 AM on June 9, 2005

4easypayments and FaintofButt,

Well....hmmm. I DID say could start at $100+ and progress from there :) Good catch, btw!
posted by jeanmari at 12:58 PM on June 9, 2005

I live in Boston and I am selling a casement air conditioner.

Check out

Only $325, and 18000 BTUs. Works great, I don't need it anymore.
posted by LinemanBear at 1:35 PM on June 9, 2005

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