Fun Facts About Chinchillas
A chinchilla is a type of rodent native to the Andes mountains of South America. There are two species of chinchilla, Chinchilla chinchilla and Chinchilla lanigera. They are related to the porcupine and guinea pig. These animals are often kept as pets or farmed and hunted for their prized fur.
Chinchillas have rounded ears, bushy tails and thick, soft fur. Their fur ranges from bluish gray to white, silver, beige or black. The body length is about 10 to 14 inches (25 to 35 centimeters) while the tail is another 5 to 6 inches (12 to 15 cm). They generally weigh 2 to 3 pounds (0.9 to 1.3 kilograms)
Chinchillas are crepuscular, meaning they are very active at dawn or dusk. They eat and drink in small amounts sticking to desert grasses and shrubs. They live in social groups and nest in burrows or rock crevices.
Other facts about chinchillas
Chinchillas were named after a South American Indian Chincha people. Their name means 'Little Chincha.’
A chinchilla baby, or kit, is born with its eyes open and body fully covered with fur. It can start playful activities soon after birth.
Chinchilla teeth grow continuously and can prevent them from eating. Their teeth need to be worn down by chewing on sticks.
Their sensitive stomachs cannot process fatty or high protein foods easily.
In the wild, the creatures live in very cold environments. Due to this, chinchillas are not able to sweat. They dissipate heat by routing blood to their large ears.
The animals instinctively clean their fur by taking dust baths made of fine pumice. In the wild, the dust is formed from fine, ground volcanic rocks.
Chinchillas do not bathe in water because their dense fur prevents air-drying.
The thick fur resists parasites, such as fleas, and reduces loose dander, making chinchillas hypoallergenic.
Chinchillas were nearly driven to extinction for their soft fur. Most chinchillas now used by the fur industry for clothing and other accessories are farm-raised.
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