Chinchilla

Chinchilla

Chinchilla
Chinchilla lanigera


CLASS
Mammalia
ORDER
Rodentia
FAMILY
Chinchillidae

Range

Northern Chile


Habitat

Barren and arid foothills of the Andes Mountains at elevations between 9 - 15 thousand feet


Diet

Maily seeds and grass; sometimes insects and bird eggs

Weight

1 - 2 lbs.

Length

12 - 21 in.

Gestation

About 3 months

Young

Avg. 2 - 3 kits

IUCN Status

Critically Endangered

Facts

  • The long-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera) is also known as the common chinchilla or lesser chinchilla.
  • Their extremely dense fur has about 60 hairs per follicle. (Compared to one hair per follicle for humans.)
  • Chinchillas are social rodents that live in colonies of up to 100 animals.
  • Chinchillas maintain their soft, thick fur by bathing in volcanic ash.
  • Their dense fur keeps them well insulated from the cold and can repel water.

 

Conservation

Habitat loss and illegal hunting has pushed the current population to a level that is too low to be self-sustaining in the wild. It is illegal to trap or hunt chinchillas throughout their range, but enforcement is difficult in such remote areas.

Critically Endangered
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