Male BALB/c mice were injected intraperitoneally (i.p.) with nickel chloride (0, 5, 10, and 15 mg/kg) or cadmium chloride (0, 2, 4, and 6 mg/kg) while preferred ambient temperature (Ta) and activity were measured. Both metals caused drastic reductions in preferred Ta and activity within 30 min postinjection. Preferred Ta and activity were depressed for up to 90 min following nickel and cadmium injection. In a second experiment, body temperature was measured 60 min following the injection of nickel or cadmium chloride at a Ta of 20, 30, or 35 C. Nickel and cadmium caused a drastic reduction in body temperature when injected at a Ta of 20 and 30 C but produced either no effect or only a slight elevation in body temperature at a Ta of 35 C. In a third experiment, metabolic rate was measured continuously for 60 min following the i.p. injection of a relatively large dose of nickel (15 mg/kg) or cadmium chloride (6 mg/kg) at a Ta of 20, 30, and 35 C. Both metals caused significant reductions in metabolic rate at Ta's of 20 and 30 C.