Is a Chinchilla a Rodent?

Chinchillas are either of two species (Chinchilla chinchilla and Chinchilla lanigera) of crepuscular rodents of the parvorder Caviomorpha. They are slightly larger and more robust than ground squirrels, and are native to the Andes mountains in South America.[3] They live in colonies called “herds” at high elevations of up to 4,270 m (14,000 ft). Historically, chinchillas lived in an area that included parts of Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Chile, but today, colonies in the wild are known only in Chile.[4] Along with their relatives, viscachas, they make up the family Chinchillidae. They are also related to the chinchilla rat.

[5] The chinchilla is named after the Chincha people of the Andes , who once wore its dense, velvet-like fur . Formerly, chinchillas occupied the coastal regions, hills, and mountains of Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia.

Overexploitation caused the downturn of these populations and, as early as 1914, one scientist claimed that the species was headed for extinction. Five years of fieldwork (published in 2007) in Jujuy Province , Argentina, failed to find a single specimen. Populations in Chile were thought extinct by 1953, but the animal was found to inhabit an area in the Antofagasta Region in the late 1900s and early 2000s.

The animal may be extinct in Bolivia and Peru, though one specimen found (in a restaurant in Cerro de Pasco ) may hail from a native population. Predators in the wild include birds of prey , skunks , felines , snakes and canines . Chinchillas have a variety of defensive tactics, including spraying urine and releasing fur if bitten.

[12] In the wild, chinchillas have been observed eating plant leaves, fruits , seeds , and small insects . In nature, chinchillas live in social groups that resemble colonies, but are properly called herds . Herd sizes can range from 14 members up to 100, this is both for social interaction as well as protection from predators.

Due to this long pregnancy, chinchillas are born fully furred and with eyes open. A short-tailed chinchilla, classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN , in Chile in 2007Both species of chinchilla are currently listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to a severe population loss approximated at a 90% global population loss over the last 15 years. The color is usually very even, which makes it ideal for small garments or the lining of larger ones, though some large pieces can be made entirely from the fur.

Though it is illegal to hunt wild chinchillas, they are now on the verge of becoming extinct because of continued poaching. Therefore, domestic chinchillas have thinner bodies, longer tails and larger ears. Chinchillas are popular pets, though they require extensive exercise and dental care, [19] due to their teeth continually growing throughout their life span, and since they lack the ability to sweat, they require a temperature-controlled environment.

Their thick fur resists parasites, such as fleas, and reduces loose dander. Convulsions are a symptom that can have many causes, including a brain problem such as hemorrhaging, a vitamin or dietary element deficiency in the diet, or some kind of nervous system injury. Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections are widely distributed in nature and can affect chinchillas like many other animals.

Constipation in chinchillas is difficult to observe in groups because it may not be obvious than an animal is not contributing to the population’s waste. If it is identified, mild treatments include feeding paraffin to soften the feces. [34] Fur-chewing can sometimes be alleviated through changes in living environment, but is regarded by some experts to be passed genetically from parents to offspring.

Chinchillas which live in communities are especially sensitive in their breeding seasons of February to March and August to September. ISBN 0-8160-3229-7 ^ Chinchillas Endangered Species Handbook Archived 2009-12-08 at the Wayback Machine .

Are chinchillas considered a rodent?

Chinchillas are social rodents that live in colonies of up to 100 animals.

Is a chinchilla a rat?

Chinchilla rats or chinchillones are members of the family Abrocomidae. This family has few members compared to most rodent families, with only nine known living species. They resemble chinchillas in appearance, with a similar soft fur and silvery-grey color, but have a body structure more like a short-tailed rat.

What animal class is a chinchilla?

Chinchilla / Class

What are chinchillas closest relative?

Chinchillas and their closest living relatives, the mountain viscachas, along with the more distantly related plains viscacha, constitute the family Chinchillidae of the suborder Hystricognatha within the order Rodentia.

A few reasons may have led you to this post. Either you are just flat out curious about our furry, adorable pet chinchillas, or you are considering adopting a chinchilla soon.

Ive owned a chinchilla for several years now at this point, and heres what I can tell you on this topic. A Chinchilla is considered a crepuscular rodent in the parvorder family and considered larger than a ground squirrel.

Thats the boring and more direct answer to the question. Instead of just tossing that dry and non-compelling answer at you, I wanted to answer your other frequently asked questions in addition to providing a few fun facts about chinchillas in the process. You never know, may one of you reading will decide that you are ultimately going to adopt a chinchilla soon.

Use any of the links directly below to skip around in this post as you please. Heres what I intend on covering for you in todays brief 2-minute post: As stated previously, skip around using the links directly above if need be.

If, however, you have those 2 minutes to spare, I recommend you read the full post directly below. Chinchillas are considered a crepuscular rodent-like we mentioned previously. You may be in for some early wakeups if you decide to go this direction.

Herbivores are animals that feed primarily on plants. The common confusion with this topic stems from the popular chinchilla rat, which belongs to the Abrocomidae family. This is due to the intentional breeding of chinchilla rabbits, which are bred to resemble a chinchilla and possess the desirable, thick, and ever so soft fur coats.

You can read more about the differences between these two in my post that discusses how big a chinchilla will get. Chinchillas will typically grow to roughly 1.5-2 pounds in weight and around 15 inches long. Chinchillas also have large eyes, long ears, and most commonly are gray.

You can see my post discussing the colors that you can potentially adopt a chinchilla in here. No, a chinchilla is not a marsupial and is not carried or suckled into a pouch before birth in the mothers belly. Especially for those of you considering making a chinchilla your next family pet.

I have a video that you can see here where my chinchilla is out and about and getting ready for her dust bath. If you are planning to adopt one soon, trust me, it will be a close bond and chinchillas are a pet worth considering. Chinchillas currently have the densest fur of all land mammals.

Its also the softest, and the primary reason chinchillas were hunted so often and nearly became extinct. Hunters desired to capture and kill chinchillas in order to get profits from the fur coats they could sell. Compared to other rodents, chinchillas live a very long time.

If you are looking for a bond and relationship that can last nearly two decades, a chinchilla is a pet for you. The only relationship chinchillas have with mice is that they are both considered rodents. For the most part, this was designed to be nothing more than an educational post for all the curious individuals considering adopting a chinchilla soon.

Chinchillas are native to the semiarid mountainous areas of South America, particularly the countries of Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile.1,2 Most of the chinchillas kept in the United States are descendants of a small group of animals imported into California in the 1920s.1 Because of overhunting for its beautiful coat, the chinchilla is believed to be nearly extinct in the wild. Wild-type chinchillas have a silver-gray coat with black ticking. Today, there are a number of different coat color variations that have been developed as a result of the fur, show, and pet chinchilla trades. Because the captive chinchillas found in the United States originated from a very small number of animals, a genetic component is suspected in many of the commonly seen disease processes.

Gorham and Farrell (1955) reported that the chinchilla could serve as an intermediate host for Taenia serialis, T. pisiformis, Echinococcus granulosus , and Hymenolepis nana . Records should function to meet regulatory requirements, aid in providing adequate husbandry and veterinary care, and facilitate research objective.

They are 400800 g in size, females weighing more than males, with compact bodies and long, strong hind limbs and dense fur coats (Alworth et al., 2012). The large inner ear anatomy is of specific note as chinchillas are the traditional model for auditory studies (Shofner and Chaney, 2013) and otitis media (Morton et al., 2012). In general, chinchillas have increased mechanical sensitivity to low-frequency acoustic stimuli relative to other animals with similar hearing ranges (Fay, 1988; Miller 1970).

Having additional hands available to help restrain the chinchilla may be of use in some circumstances (Donnelly and Brown, 2004), but may be limited by the body surface area available to hold the animal. It should be noted that when performing restraint techniques that require the hand to be placed around the chinchillas thorax, care should be exercised so that respiration is not inadvertently limited. The King and Orcutt article also provided situational perspective on chinchilla research by explaining that breeding pairs cost over $1000 and thus limited their use.

Late in the 1970s, chinchillas appear to have become established as an important model in acoustic research based on the rapid increase in frequency and numbers of published papers involving their use.

Smaller than a house cat, with large, dark eyes, velvety rounded ears, and plush, grayish fur, the chinchilla is perhaps one of the most enchanting rodents around! They are wildly social, living in family groups, which can form vast colonies, called herds, of over 100 individuals. Unlike other rodents, male chinchillas help raise the youngsters if needed. And if a female is unable to nurse her own kits, another female may come to rescue and feed her young. Now, thats being neighborly!

He was careful in the transport, taking over a year to slowly acclimate the chinchillas to a lower altitude, and he brought along their natural food for the journey. The chinchilla may appear bulky, but that thick, silky fur hides the physique of a remarkably athletic rodent!

With a dense fur coat and being unable to pant or sweat, chinchillas can easily overheat in human care. According to the IUCN: Typical habitat is rocky or sandy with sparse cover of thorny shrubs, few herbs and forbs, scattered cactuses, and patches of succulent bromeliads near the coast. Their diet changes seasonally, with its most common food being the perennial Chilean needlegrass, but it consumes ferns, a succulent bromeliad, and cactus, which is likely its main source of water.

But threats to chinchillas persist, including illegal hunting, quality habitat loss from grazing by cattle and goats, mining, and firewood extraction.

Chinchilla

The chinchilla has the densest fur of all mammals that live on land. In the water, the sea otter has a denser coat.

Distribution and habitat

Formerly, chinchillas occupied the coastal regions, hills, and mountains of Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia. Overexploitation caused the downturn of these populations and, as early as 1914, one scientist claimed that the species was headed for extinction. Five years of fieldwork (published in 2007) in Jujuy Province, Argentina, failed to find a single specimen. Populations in Chile were thought extinct by 1953, but the animal was found to inhabit an area in the Antofagasta Region in the late 1900s and early 2000s. The animal may be extinct in Bolivia and Peru, though one specimen found (in a restaurant in Cerro de Pasco) may hail from a native population.In their native habitats, chinchillas live in burrows or crevices in rocks. They are agile jumpers and can jump up to 1.8 m (6 ft). Predators in the wild include birds of prey, skunks, felines, snakes and canines. Chinchillas have a variety of defensive tactics, including spraying urine and releasing fur if bitten.In nature, chinchillas live in social groups that resemble colonies, but are properly called herds. Herd sizes can range from 14 members up to 100, this is both for social interaction as well as protection from predators.

Conservation

Both species of chinchilla are currently listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to a severe population loss approximated at a 90% global population loss over the last 15 years.

Fur industry

Chinchilla fur trade on an international level goes back to the 16th century. Their fur is popular due to its extremely soft feel, which is caused by the sprouting of 60 hairs (on average) from each hair follicle. The color is usually very even, which makes it ideal for small garments or the lining of larger ones, though some large pieces can be made entirely from the fur. A single, full-length coat made from chinchilla fur may require as many as 150 pelts, as chinchillas are relatively small.

As pets

The domestic chinchilla is descended fromChinchillas are popular pets, though they require extensive exercise and dental care,The animals instinctively clean their fur by taking dust baths, in which they roll around in special dust made of fine pumice, a few times a week; they do not bathe in water. Their thick fur resists parasites, such as fleas, and reduces loose dander.

In scientific research

Chinchillas have been used in research since the 1950s. Since the 1970s, the prime interest in chinchillas by researchers is their auditory system.

Fractures

Chinchillas live active lives and can recover well from minor physical injury.

Convulsions

Chinchilla breeders sometimes report seeing their animals have convulsions. Typically this happens only irregularly and then only for a few seconds, and not more than a few minutes at the most.

Infectious diseases

Listeriosis is not a typical chinchilla disease, but in group housing conditions it can spread as a digestive tract disease in a community.Respiratory tract infections can be caused by many pathogens, but, regardless of cause, usually result in difficult breathing and a nasal discharge.Gastrointestinal disorders are observed as either constipation or diarrhea.

Mental health

Chinchillas are easily distressed, and when they are unhappy, they may exhibit physical symptoms.Sick chinchillas may stop eating if they are stressed, which can make them even more weak.

Pharmaceutical treatment

Chinchillas may be treated with chloramphenicol, neomycin, or spectinomycin for digestive problems.

Are Chinchillas Rodents?

One of the biggest questions of the day.
Chinchillas are considered a crepuscular rodent-like we mentioned previously.This simply means that chinchillas are most active at dusk and dawn with natural light cycles.For those of you considering adopting a chinchilla soon, think twice before allowing your chinchilla to sleep in your bedroom.You may be in for some early wakeups if you decide to go this direction.Chinchillas are also considered an herbivore like many rodents.Herbivores are animals that feed primarily on plants.You can read more about what a chinchilla should eat in my post here.For the most part, a chinchilla’s diet will consist of timothy hay and chinchilla formulated pellets.For those of you planning an adoption, you can read my post about the ideal hay for chinchillas here.Additionally, you can read about ensuring your chinchilla is consuming the proper pellets here.

What Family Is the Chinchilla In?

According to Britannica.com, the chinchilla belongs to the chinchillidae family, which is a suborder of hystricognatha within the rodent family.Chinchillas, although rodents are not in the rat family.The common confusion with this topic stems from the popular “chinchilla rat,” which belongs to the Abrocomidae family.Chinchillas also get confused about being in the rabbit family, although they are not.This is due to the intentional breeding of chinchilla rabbits, which are bred to resemble a chinchilla and possess the desirable, thick, and ever so soft fur coats.
Chinchillas are most closely related to the guinea pig due to being a hystricomorphic rodent.

Some Physical and Personality Characteristics

First and foremost, you have two kinds of chinchillas.
You can read more about the differences between these two in my post that discusses how big a chinchilla will get.You can see that post here.Chinchillas will typically grow to roughlyChinchillas also have large eyes, long ears, and most commonly are gray.
Chinchillas are now bred in more than 30 colors.You can see my post discussing the colors that you can potentially adopt a chinchilla in here.

Are Chinchillas Marsupials?

No, a chinchilla is not a marsupial and is not carried or suckled into a pouch before birth in the mother’s belly.

Fun Facts About Chinchillas

Just for fun and entertainment, I thought it would be enjoyable for the readers to getEspecially for those of you considering making a chinchilla your next family pet.

Chinchillas are expert climbers and jumpers.

A chinchilla can jump nearly 6 feet and it’s always advised to use a proper sized chinchilla cage in order to promote a healthy amount of climbing and jumping inside of their habitats.

Chinchillas Bath in Dust

This is extremely entertaining to watch if you haven’t seen it before.I have a video that you can see here where my chinchilla is out and about and getting ready for her dust bath.Chinchillas are not supposed to get wet under any circumstances.To remain clean, odor-free, and healthy, a chinchilla bathes in specially formulated dust that resembles the dust/ash they are accustomed to in the wild in the Andes Mountains.

Chinchillas Are Smart and Affectionate

Chinchillas are extremely smart animals.
They can also respond to specific training and begin to recognize their own name.Heck, potty training to urinate in a litter pan is even a possibility with chinchillas.Chinchillas are also very loving and affectionate towards their owners over the course of time.If you are planning to adopt one soon, trust me, it will be a close bond and chinchillas are a pet worth considering.

Chinchillas Live A Very Long Time

Compared to other rodents, chinchillas live a very long time.In fact, they live nearlyYou can read more about a chinchilla’s lifespan in my post here.If you are looking for a bond and relationship that can last nearly two decades, a chinchilla is a pet for you.

Are Chinchillas Related to Mice?

The only relationship chinchillas have with mice is that they are both considered rodents.Outside of this, a chinchilla is not related to mice nor in the same family.

Is A Chinchilla A Rat?

No, a chinchilla is not a rat, although there is such a thing and species as theThe chinchilla rat is a rat that strongly resembles a chinchilla and has a short tail like a chinchilla.No actual relation to a chinchilla, however.

HABITAT AND DIET

A real hole in the wall. Living in the barren, arid, rugged areas of the Andes of northern Chile at unforgiving altitudes of 9,800 to over 16,000 feet (3,000 to 5,000 meters), chinchillas hole up in rock crevices or dig burrows at the base of rocks.According to the IUCN: Typical habitat is rocky or sandy with sparse cover of thorny shrubs, few herbs and forbs, scattered cactuses, and patches of succulent bromeliads near the coast.Greens and seeds. Despite their harsh environment, the Chilean chinchilla

FAMILY LIFE

Chillin’ chinchillas. Chinchillas are nocturnal or crepuscular. In the open—and their harsh habitat is mostly open—they sit upright while sunbathing in the morning, grooming, or eating. They must gnaw on things keep their ever-growing incisors in check. They rarely squabble with neighbors. To maintain a healthy coat, chinchillas take dust baths regularly, leaving a whispered circle of light, fine pumice dust.After an estrous cycle of 38 days, females may have two or even three litters per year. The breeding season is November to May in the Northern Hemisphere. Litter size ranges from one to six, but two is the average number of offspring. They are born fully furred and with their eyes and ears open. Young become sexually mature at around eight months of age.Unlike other rodents, males stick around and may assist with parental duties like babysitting. Should a female be unable to nurse her offspring, another female may step up to feed the youngsters.