Keeping warm

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Well-known member
Feb 21, 2021
London, UK
Hi All,
I hope you are doing well.
I have a quick question re chinchilla housing needs.
My cages do not have chinchilla houses in them. Chinchillas sleep on the ledges or hammocks.
Over night during autumn and winter the temperatures on the ground floor are about 17-18 Celsius.
I was thinking if I provide them the house will they sleep in it during the night or they simply don't care?
I know that they have thick coating and are adapted to cold climate but I reckon any chinchilla would prefer to spend a night in a barrow rather than out in the freezing open.
I don't watch my females all the time but I can see them cuddle to exchange heat. Chins that are on their own do not have this advantage.
I think in any case they spend more calories (have to eat more) if they cannot get extra insulation or a heat reflector.
What are your thoughts?
The issue I see with no house or hideout is not them being too cold (17-18C isn't cold), it's that chins naturally sleep in rock crevices where it's dark as well as feel protected from danger. I really wouldn't worry too much about them getting cold until it's below about 10C, or if your chin is sick, very young, or very old. I realize not all domestic chins will sleep in a house for various reasons, but it's a good idea to at least provide one in case they do want to sleep in it or even run into if they want to hide. They likely wont use it much during the night, since chins are more awake at night but they likely will use it during the day unless you keep it dark in the room all day (which is not advised). Just like most people prefer to sleep in a dark bedroom, the hideout house gives the chin(s) a dark "bedroom" in the cage without having to make the whole room the cage is in unnaturally dark during the day.

The house I have in my cage is also fairly large, 16 inches (41cm) long by 9.5 inches (24cm) wide by 9 inches (23cm) tall, it gives my one chin plenty of room to stretch out while sleeping if he wants to. I originally bought it for two chins to share before my other one passed away but even with two chins I doubt it traps much heat, and you can always go with a smaller house if you only have one chin in the cage. I do notice a lot of chins don't seem to like the tiny roughly 8 inch by 6 inch (20cm x 16cm) huts sold "for chinchillas" though, unless your chins are fairly small they tend to be too small for a lot of chins, the ones for rabbits tend to fit them better. On colder mornings I find him sleeping in his hammock so I'm guessing the fleece hammock is likely warmer then the hideout house.
In my case there are blankets on top of the cages and the hammocks hang just below so the chins have the shade. They also have "pipes" to hide into but they sleep there rarely.