Chinchilla is a cute little rodent-like creature. There are two types of chinchillas: short-tailed chinchillas and long-tailed chinchillas. Chinchilla is native to South America. This animal is adapted to living in mountains and rocky habitats at elevations above 12000 feet. Chinchillas live in the Andes. They are named after the “Chincha” American Indian tribe, who used chinchilla fur to make clothing in the past. Chinchillas were nearly hunted to extinction in the previous century due to their dense and soft fur. They are still classified as critically endangered.
Chinchillas can grow to be 10 to 14 inches long. The tail is typically 5 to 6 inches long. Chinchillas weigh between 2 and 3 pounds on average.
Chinchillas have large, round ears, a bushy tail, and very soft, thick fur.
With 50 hairs growing from a single follicle, the chinchilla has the thickest fur of any land animal. Each square centimeter of chinchilla skin contains 20 000 hairs.
Because of the density of chinchilla fur, no parasite can survive. Fleas will also die from suffocation inside the fur.
The fur can be white, grey, black, beige, or silver in color. Chinchillas must occasionally roll in volcanic ash or dust to remove oil and moisture from their fur.
Chinchilla teeth, like those of other rodents, grow indefinitely. Teeth wear is caused by chewing on twigs and sticks on a regular basis.
Chinchillas eat a variety of grasses and shrubs. Chinchillas eat by sitting on their back feet and holding their food with their front feet.
Chinchillas are nocturnal animals that are active from dusk to dawn. Night reduces visibility and protects against predators.
Snakes, canines, felines, skunks, and birds of prey are the main predators of chinchillas.
Chinchillas have a unique mechanism for evading predators. When caught, chinchillas can release a portion of their fur to avoid predator claws. Missing fur will regrow over time. This is referred to as “fur slip.”
Chinchillas are great jumpers. They can jump 5 to 6 feet off the ground.
Chinchillas are gregarious creatures. They live in groups of about 100 people. They are also very vocal animals that communicate by barking, grunting, squealing, and chirping.
Chinchillas sleep during the day, usually hidden in crevices and tiny holes in the rocks. They are able to sleep in an upright position.
Chinchillas do not have a specific mating season; they can mate at any time of year. Female pregnancy lasts 111 days, which is longer than in other rodents. Babies are fully developed when they are born. Four months after birth, young chinchillas are ready to mate.
Chinchillas can live for 10 to 14 years in the wild and 15 to 20 years in captivity.