General Information About Chinchillas


Recently it has become a popular occupation breeding chinchillas at home. Many parents believe that the cute fat-assed chinchilla will be a good friend for their child. Most often, children are really thrilled with these exotic animals. Before you get a furry pet, it would be nice to know how chinchillas live in nature, how chinchillas sleep, what indicators their sizes achieve, how the animal looks, how many teeth rodents have. All this information, as well as the characteristics of the species, its description and interesting facts about chinchillas are contained in this article.

General Information About Chinchillas

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There are several erroneous beliefs in the question: what kind of chinchilla belongs to. Many people think that chinchilla is a squirrel, rabbit or rat. In fact, this is an animal related to:

  • To the kingdom – animals;
  • Tipu – Chordates;
  • Class – Mammals;
  • Infraclassus – Placental;
  • Squad- Rodents;
  • Suborder – Porcupines;
  • To the superfamily – Chinchilloids;
  • To the family – Chinchilla;
  • Sort – Chinchillas.

General Information About Chinchillas

The genus of chinchilla is divided into 2 types:

  1. Chinchilla lanigera – small long-tailed or coastal;
  2. Chinchilla Brevicaudata – Short-tailed or large.

General Information About Chinchillas

There are mutational species that differ in the color of the hairline.

General Information About Chinchillas


The homeland of the animals is South America. Long-tailed individuals are widespread in the mountains of Chile. Short-tailed – live in the Andes and northwest of Argentina.

The habitat of rodents is rocky areas, preferably the northern slopes. You can meet a rodent at an altitude of up to 5,000 m. As a dwelling, animals choose narrow crevices and openings between stones, they can dig a hole.

General Information About Chinchillas

External signs

  • The body length of the chinchilla is 22-38 cm. The tail is from 9 to 17 cm. The mustache (vibrissa) is 8-12 cm.
  • The weight of an adult does not reach 1 kg. – an average of 0.5 kg, more than 0.8 kg. They will not grow. The weight of the female is usually greater than the weight of the male.
  • Round head and short thick neck.
  • The eyes are round black, the pupils are vertical.
  • The length of the rounded ears is up to 6 cm. The ears have special membranes to protect the ears during sand baths.
  • The fur on the whole body is thick, the hairs on the tail are stiff.
  • The color of the fur is most often gray, but there are other varieties (black, white, beige, brown, pink, purple and others). The abdomen is white.
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General Information About Chinchillas

Animal skeleton

The body structure of chinchillas provides them with reliable shelter and makes it possible to survive in the conditions of rocky mountains. The skeleton of a chinchilla tapers if necessary. The need may arise when the animal is hiding in narrow crevices from predators and bad weather. There are 5 fingers on the front legs of rodents, and 4 on the hind legs. The hind limbs are longer and stronger than the front, which allows animals to bounce high.

General Information About Chinchillas

Rodents have a set of 20 strong teeth that grow throughout life. Newborn babies have developed dental systems: immediately there are 12 teeth.

General Information About Chinchillas

How to determine the age of a chinchilla?

By external signs, it is easy to determine the age of the animal. Definition is possible in several ways:

  • By weight: at two months of age – up to 300 grams, in six months – up to 500 grams, per year – up to 800 grams.
  • On the heels: young individuals have delicate skin on the heels. To determine the age more precisely, the legs of an individual whose age is not known can be compared with those who know this indicator.
  • In the face: with age, the muzzle extends.
  • In size: at 3-4 months, the chinchilla is close to the size of a guinea pig, at 6 months and after the animal can be compared to a rabbit.
  • By the color of the teeth: up to 2 months, the teeth are white, and when the chinchillas grow, the color of their teeth turns orange.
  • By sex: in males, the testes appear by the fifth month of life, by the age of seven months the genitals are already easily distinguishable from the female.
  • For cannons: in chinchillas with a beige gene, cannons appear on the ears by 5 months. In a year there should be more than 2, and in an adult at the age of 3-4 years, all ears are strewn with spots.
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General Information About Chinchillas


Today, chinchillas are on the verge of extinction. Over the past three generations, the number of rodents has declined by more than 80%.

In nature, their wide distribution is recorded only in Chile. The number of animals in nature is less than 10,000 individuals.

Since 2008, animals are listed in the Red Book.

Attempts to populate rodents in other areas favorable to them have failed.


Chinchillas in the wild

These rodents are monogamous and prefer to settle in groups of up to 10 individuals. The whole group sleeps during the day, and is awake at night. An “observer” stands out in the flock, who informs the rest of the community about the approaching danger. In the colony, females occupy a leading position.

Chinchillas are vegetarians. The basis of their diet: plants, seeds, fruits, lichens and cacti.

From succulent and green fodder, they receive a sufficient amount of moisture, so they practically do not consume water. Can feast on dew.

Animals are able to express their attitude to something with the help of sounds. If the animal is unhappy, then he quacks or tweets. An angry rodent bangs his teeth and growls. A frightened individual beeps.

Enemies of chinchillas are birds of prey and mammals. In case of danger, the animal can attack the enemy: it rises on its hind legs, starts a stream of urine and clings its teeth to the offender.

Chinchillas like to swim in the sand, fine dry dust or volcanic ash. Thus, they manage to keep their fur dry, clean and silky. Hairline renewal occurs annually during the warm season.

The average life span of the animal is 20 years.

How do chinchillas sleep

The peak of activity in the chinchilla falls on the night hours, and during the day the animals sleep. A rodent living in pairs or groups sleeps in an embrace or one individual can pile up on another.

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Even the slightest noise can awaken an animal. Therefore, when keeping chinchillas at home, it is better to develop a clear routine for cleaning and feeding, so that pets go to bed at the allotted time. During this period, it is recommended not to make noise.

General Information About Chinchillas

A pet living in a cage alone sleeps on its stomach or side. If the animal has collapsed on its side, the owner can conclude that the chinchilla completely trusts him.

As chinchillas see

Chinchillas have a nocturnal type of vision, but rodents can clearly see during the day. These animals have panoramic vision, that is, have a wider view than humans. This feature gives rodents an advantage over predators – the chinchilla is able to see the enemy from any direction.

The large pupil of the animal allows you to see in the twilight, and the mobility of the pupil does not allow to go blind in the bright sun.

The animals do not differ in perfect vision, at a distance of more than a meter the picture will be blurry. But sensitive hearing and vibrissae compensate for this drawback.

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