What Does a Chinchilla Look Like?

One of the most amazing of all chinchilla facts is that each hair follicle may have between 60 and 80 hairs growing out of it! The chinchilla is a small, highly social rodent native to the Andes mountains of South America. The family chinchilidae includes 2 species of chinchilla and 4 (some recognize 5) species of vischachas, all quite similar in appearance.

Their exquisite coat is a product of that brutal mountain life, where, at elevations of 12,000 feet temperatures may plunge and harsh winds are nearly constant. The chinchillas beautiful fur is soft, thick and silky, and became a highly desirable commodity in the 1700″s when European travellers began exporting the pelts home.

Fur traders headed up into the mountains with dynamite, and when they found a large colony they would destroy their homes and hiding places by blasting the rocky outcroppings into rubble. In the early 1900’s, pelts were exported out of South America to Europe and the United States by the hundreds of thousands, and since it takes nearly 100 skins to make just one coat, the little animals were hunted nearly to extinction. Today, chinchillas are domestically raised on farms for their fur, but the wild populations were so severely damaged that their continued survival is in peril.

The domestic chinchilla has been selectively bred in captivity for over a century, and has changed quite a bit from the original wild creatures. At close to 2 pounds each, adult domestic females, who are 30% larger than males, are also nearly 2 times the size of wild chinchillas. Chinchillas are adorable, soft, little animals, and they have occasionally been kept as pets for hundreds of years by different cultures including the Incas.

Many people don’t notice any cage odor at all, and no musky scent from the chinchilla either, which you may find in rats, mice and most certainly ferrets. Chinchillas may appear to be sturdy like guinea pigs, but they are easily distressed by rough or clumsy handling, and so are not recommended for smaller children. Chinchillas can reproduce very quickly not just because they may have 2 or even 3 litters a year, but also because they reach sexual maturity at as early as 6 months old.

They do not sweat or pant when overheated, but blood will flow to their large, hairless ears to be cooled in warmer weather. In the wild, they regularly roll in soft collections of volcanic dust called pumice, which keeps the fur fluffy and standing away from the skin, which allows for the best insulation. The available plants in the Andes mountain range are low in nutritional value, so chinchillas engage in coprophagy, which is the habit of eating their own droppings.

They actually have two different types of excrement, normal droppings that have no remaining nutritional value, and cecotropes, which are formed from fecal matter that still has some nutrients. Chinchilla -animalstats- MALEFEMALEYOUNGSOCIAL
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LENGTH20 mphyes1-2
pounds8-11 inches ESTRUSGESTATIONBIRTH
LENGTHBIRTHWEIGHT1 x month 111
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inches4-6 ouncesRAISED
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BIRTHWALKmother 2-4
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open1/2 hourWEANEDINDEPENDENTMATURITYLIFESPAN6-8 weeks2
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months15-20 years

Are chinchillas friendly?

Chinchillas are naturally very skittish creatures and generally do not like to be held, although they can become very attached to their owners. … However, chinchillas can be very friendly animals if sufficiently acclimated to human touch as kits (babies), making them excellent pets for patient owners.

Do chinchillas bite?

With no escape route available, the chinchilla may bite the threat (often the owner’s fingers). This type of biting is most common if the pet owner tries to reach in suddenly to grab the chinchilla. Chinchillas have long and extremely sharp front teeth. A bite can be severe, deep and painful.

What does a real chinchilla look like?

With short forelimbs and long, muscular hind legs, chinchillas resemble rabbits, but their ears are much shorter and rounder. They have large, black eyes and bushy tails. … Chinchillas are typically 9 to 15 inches (23 to 38 centimeters) long, but the tail can add another 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm) to their length.

Chinchillas in nature can be found at elevations between 9 and 15 thousand feet along the rocky slopes of the Andes Mountains in western South America. These highly social cuties come in an array of colors, including gray, ebony, white, beige, violet and sapphire and make engaging companions. They have a wide range of vocalizations and can jump up to 5 feet.

Chinchillas are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk Chinchillas have very thick (approximately 60 hairs per follicle) and soft fur that will come out easily if they are restrained by their skin Care DifficultyIntermediate; good for pet parents who have time to socialize them and can handle them gently with great careAverage Life SpanUp to 10+ years with proper careAverage Adult Size12 inches longDietHerbivore Minimum Habitat SizeMinimum floor space of 2 x 2 with as much height as possible for climbing; multiple levels are recommended

A large, multitiered habitat with ramps and shelves to rest on is recommended because chinchillas love to jump, climb and play. Wire habitats for optimal ventilation with a solid bottom are required to protect their feet from developing pressure sores on their soles. Provide the largest habitat possible with the space between the wires being no bigger than 1 inch.

Plastic habitats are not recommended, as chinchillas can easily chew through them with their sharp teeth. Chinchillas acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to exceed 80F, as their thick coats make them prone to overheating, which could lead to fatal heatstroke. Ingested wood shavings can cause an intestinal blockage and should be avoided.

Cedar-based products are also not recommended, as the oil on cedar can cause skin and respiratory tract inflammation Dcor – Chinchillas like to hide and should be provided with hiding places in their habitats to feel secure. Commercially available hide boxes, some of which are made of edible materials, are ideal for chinchillas to seek shelter in Toys – Chinchillas should have an exersaucer or solid wheel in their habitat in which to run to get exercise. Wheels should be solid inside to prevent tiny chinchilla toes and legs from becoming entrapped

Spot clean your chinchillas habitat daily as needed to remove soiled bedding and leftover food. Damp, soiled bedding left in the habitat can lead to foot sores and inflammation and other health concerns. Clean and disinfect the habitat and its contents completely at least once a week:

Clean, fresh, water, changed daily and provided in a small animal water bottle A limited amount (1-2 tablespoons/day) of high-quality chinchilla pellets and fresh vegetables with smaller amounts of fruits. Appropriate vegetables to offer chinchillas include deep leafy greens, carrot tops, squash and bell peppers Provide timothy hay or other low-calcium grass hay such as oat, meadow or orchard grass at all times as this makes up the majority of a chinchillas diet. Hay provides fiber to the normal bacteria that live in chinchillas gastrointestinal tracts to help them digest food properly Alfalfa hay should only be fed regularly to young, growing chinchillas or nursing mothers, as its high calcium content can lead to the development of bladder stones in adult, non-lactating chinchillas Occasionally, chinchillas may be offered a small amount of high-fiber treats such as commercially available chinchilla treats, a few unsweetened whole-grain Cheerios, a pinch of dry oatmeal or a couple of pieces of dry shredded wheat cereal.

Treats should never exceed 10% of a chinchillas diet Do not feed foods containing chocolate, caffeine or alcohol, as these are toxic and can lead to death. Avoid sugar and high-fat treats such as dried fruits, raisins, nuts,and seeds, as these items may upset the normal bacteria in chinchillas gastrointestinal tracts and cause diarrhea and bloating Hay and water should always be available A limited amount of pellets (1-2 tablespoons/day) plus vegetables and smaller amounts of fruits can be given daily but should not exceed 10% of their total diet Vegetables and fruits not eaten within 24 hours should be discarded, as they are likely to spoil

Chinchillas require dust baths a couple of times per week to help keep their fur clean and oil-free. Remove dust after 15-0 minutes Fur may be brushed with a soft brush Avoid getting your chinchilla wet, as it takes a long time for their thick fur to dry and underlying skin can become inflamed under damp fur Chinchillas are born with white teeth, but over time their teeth turn yellow as minerals such as calcium and iron deposit in their tooth enamel; this discoloration is normal, and cleaning is not necessary As chinchillas teeth grow continuously, they must be supplied with wooden blocks, mineral chews or other wood toys to gnaw on to keep their teeth growth in check. As wooden sticks and branches from outside may contain parasites or fungus that is toxic to chinchillas, it is best not to offer them wood from outside but instead to provide commercially available, safe wooden toys on which they can chew Consult a veterinarian if a chinchilla‘s teeth seem too long, particularly if they are dropping food as they eat or they are salivating excessively Chinchillas have a very fragile rib cage and legs.

Be gentle when handling them and do not squeeze their rib cage or hold them by their limbs Active, alert and sociable Eats and drinks regularly Healthy fur and clear eyes Breathing is unlabored Walks normally Fur around mouth and chin is clean and dry Nose free of discharge Weight loss Abnormal hair loss Diarrhea or dirty bottom Lack of fecal pellets Distressed breathing Lethargy Eye or nasal discharge Skin lesions Overgrown teeth Drooling or wet fur on chin Lameness/limping Loss of fur Bloated appearance

Untitled Document Health IssueSymptoms or CausesSuggested ActionHealth Issue DiarrheaSymptoms or Causes Loose stool caused by a low-fiber/high-carbohydrate diet, stress, gastrointestinal parasites, unclean housing or other illness. symptoms include heavy panting, collapse, seizures, loss of consciousness.Suggested Action Can be fatal; consult your veterinarian immediately.Health Issue MalocclusionSymptoms or Causes Overgrown teeth; salivation; wetness on chin.Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian to possibly have teeth trimmed regularly.Health Issue MitesSymptoms or Causes Patchy hair loss; itchy skin. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian for treatment.Health Issue RingwormSymptoms or Causes Patchy hair loss; excessively dry and flaky skin Caused by skin infection with fungus.

They are compact-bodied with large, upright ears, very thick soft fur and a brush-like tail. Because all small pets are potential carriers of infectious diseases such as ringworm, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus and salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your small pet or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of disease. Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing or caring for small pets and should consider having a pet other than a chinchilla.

Chinchillas are closely related to porcupines a guinea pigs, with strong, muscular hind legs that resemble those of a rabbit. The chinchilla is a common exotic pet, but is also largely used in the fur industry for fashionable clothing. Wild chinchillas are only found in Chile, but historically lived in areas of Argentina, Peru and Bolivia. Read on to learn about the chinchilla.

The Chinchilla lanigera is the opposite, possessing a thinner body frame, paired with a longer tail and ears. All chinchillas sport a velvety, thick fur coat that can be seen in various colorations, including brown, black, and white.

The chinchilla is native to the Andes Mountains in South America, favoring high elevations up to 14,000 feet (4,270 m) above sea level. Today, wild chinchillas are only found in Chile, but historically lived in areas of Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia. The two species of chinchilla are native to South Americas Andes Mountains, but can be found worldwide as they have been distributed as a popular pet.

For many years, the chinchillas only interaction with humans consisted of being hunted, and later bred in captivity, for their exceptionally soft fur. As chinchillas are common hosts (the bacteria, virus or parasite lives inside the animal without causing harm) of these illnesses, so studying them will help humans to create better medicine to fight the infections. Chinchillas are commonly housed in roomy cages, with appropriate hiding places, bedding, and food and water dishes.

Chinchillas commonly live in burrows, huddling together to maintain warmth in the high elevations of the Chilean Mountains at night.

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 .

Habitat size

A large, multitiered habitat with ramps and shelves to rest on is recommended because chinchillas love to jump, climb and play. A habitat with a minimum of 2’x2’ of floor space should be provided. Wire habitats for optimal ventilation with a solid bottom are required to protect their feet from developing pressure sores on their soles. Provide the largest habitat possible with the space between the wires being no bigger than 1 inch. Plastic habitats are not recommended, as chinchillas can easily chew through them with their sharp teeth.

Cleaning your chinchilla’s habitat

Chinchillas acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to exceed 80°F, as their thick coats make them prone to overheating, which could lead to fatal heatstroke. Be cautious of extreme temperature changes. Their habitat should never be in direct sunlight or in a drafty area.

Where to buy a chinchilla

A well-balanced chinchilla diet consists of:Things to remember when feeding your chinchilla:

Description of the Chinchilla

There are two living species of chinchilla today: the Chinchilla chinchilla (short-tailed chinchilla), and the Chinchilla lanigera (long-tailed chinchilla). The Chinchilla chinchilla has a shorter tail, shorter ears, and a thick neck and shoulders. The Chinchilla lanigera is the opposite, possessing a thinner body frame, paired with a longer tail and ears.All chinchillas sport a velvety, thick fur coat that can be seen in various colorations, including brown, black, and white. These small creatures have bushy tails, and large, black eyes. Chinchillas have only four, clawed toes on each foot. These cute little animals are typically 9-15 inches (23-38cm) long, its tail adding another 3-6 inches (8-15cm) to their total body length. The chinchilla’s average weight is lbs (0.5-0.8 kg).

Habitat of the Chinchilla

The Chinchilla is named after the Chincha people of the Andes Mountains. This group of people once wore this small creature’s velvety, dense fur as coats and hats. The chinchilla is commonly known for its soft fur coat, but this small creature has a number of unique traits.

Distribution of the Chinchilla

Today, wild chinchillas are only found in Chile, but historically lived in areas of Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia. The two species of chinchilla are native to South America’s Andes Mountains, but can be found worldwide as they have been distributed as a popular pet.

Diet of the Chinchilla

In captivity, the chinchilla is fed commercial feed pellets. Wild chinchillas have been known to consume a diet of small insects, seeds, fruits, and the leaves of plants.

Domestication

For many years, the chinchilla’s only interaction with humans consisted of being hunted, and later bred in captivity, for their exceptionally soft fur. The chinchilla’s pelt is still used in the fur industry today, in the creation of fashionable clothing, but these chinchillas are farm-raised, rather than wild. In recent times, some have made pets of chinchillas.The chinchilla is widely used for research and health studies. Common chinchilla health studies include:As chinchillas are common hosts (the bacteria, virus or parasite lives inside the animal without causing harm) of these illnesses, so studying them will help humans to create better medicine to fight the infections.

Does the Chinchilla Make a Good Pet

The chinchilla is a popular pet to own, especially for children. Keep in mind that chinchillas are fragile creatures, that should only be owned by adults and children over the age of 10 years. In addition, the common health problems these tiny pets are prone to should be taken into consideration before welcoming one into the home.

Chinchilla Care

Chinchillas are adaptable creatures, but in captivity they require great , and should only be kept by experienced owners. Due to the inability to sweat, this small animal’s habitat must maintain a temperature of 65-75 F° (18-24° C). Chinchillas are commonly housed in roomy cages, with appropriate hiding places, bedding, and food and water dishes. The chinchilla also requires veterinary upkeep, as their teeth continue to grow throughout their lives, and require regular check-ups.Chinchillas do not bathe in water. Instead, they take dust baths, rolling in pumice dust a few times a week. If the chinchilla gets wet, fungus could grow on its fur, causing a skin infection. These dust baths aid in controlling dander, fleas, and parasites. Despite rolling in dust, the Chinchilla is hypoallergenic, meaning most people will not have allergic reactions.

Behavior of the Chinchilla

Chinchillas are highly sociable animals, living in colonies (sometimes called “herds”) of up to 100 chinchillas. These large colonies are both for social interactions and protection from predators. Chinchillas commonly live in burrows, huddling together to maintain warmth in the high elevations of the Chilean Mountains at night.

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.