Cooling your rodent
In the hotter weather it is important to take steps to ensure your rodent can keep cool. Rodents do not perspire the same way as we do, and the key to regulating their body temperature can be quite different. Rodents with bare tails, such as rats and mice use them to thermoregulate - so it serves as a way of controlling heat loss.
Handling in the hottest part of the day should be avoided, and focus more on letting your rodent free-range and explore than any snuggling in pouches when out. Try to keep the temperature as stable as possible, since rodents do not tend to adapt well to abrupt shifts in temperature.
Make sure you have good ventilation, both for your cages and within your home. Consider moving the cage to somewhere cooler and more in the shade and that you have a good air flow.
Rodents do not perspire in the same manner as we do, so a fan is not all that effective. However, it can easily be made effective by placing a small bowl or dish of water in front of it, so that it will then distribute the moisture in the air and help cool down hot rodents.
Chinchilla cooling ledges are good for providing a cool spot for your rodent. Ceramic plant pots also resisting heat well and providing a cool shady spot for your rodents. .
Some fruit and veg can be frozen and left to defrost with your rodent to provide a cool treat for them. Pea-fishing is a particular favourite of rats, where you place frozen peas in a swallow dish of water to fish out. This also makes use of the heat-regulating properties of their tail as as they dangle in the water this will help them cool down.
Some hammocks and fabrics can be placed in a fridge and then hung up as normal. For those rodents who are not plastic chewers, plastic bottles of water can be frozen and added round their cage.
Christine, of Crittery Exotics
Crittery Exotics was setup in 2007 to provide a useful resource regarding common and exotic rodents and small mammals. It is run by volunteers in their spare time around work and family life.About Crittery