Chinchillas are highly sociable animals. In the wild they live in colonies of over 100 individuals.
- Type: Mammal
- Diet: Herbivore
- Lifespan: 10-20 years
- Size: 18-20 cm
- Weight: 400-500 g
- Habitat: Mountanous regions
- Range: South America
- Scientific name: Chinchilla Lanigera
Amazing Facts About the Chinchilla
- Chinchillas originate from the Andean Mountains of South America.
- Wild chinchillas are endangered, primarily due to hunting pressure from humans who prize their pelts. Over 100 chinchillas are required to make just one coat.
- Chinchillas are very inquisitive and love to explore their surroundings.
- Chinchillas have particularly dense fur. This allows them to survive in colder regions. Humans have one hair per folicle, while chinchillas have between 60 and 90 per folicle.
- Chinchillas have adapted to live in rock crevices and holes in mountains up to and over elevations of 4,000m. Their red blood cells are able to take up far more oxygen than other closely related species e.g. rabbits. This helps them to survive at such high altitudes.
- Chinchillas are extremely agile, being able to jump up to six feet in the air!
- Chinchilla’s hearing ability is very similar to humans.
- Chinchillas are nocturnal, being more active during the night.
- Like rabbits, chinchillas perform a behaviour called caecotrophy, where they ingest specific droppings in order to ensure they get the required level of nutrition from their food.
- Chinchillas are sometimes kept as pets though animal protection organisations such as OneKind are concerned that their needs cannot be met fully in captivity.
Clancy's comment: Pretty cute, eh?