|| Chinchillas are rodents, the two species types are: Chinchilla
Lanigera (Lanigera) and Chinchilla Brevicaudata (Blue Bolivian Chinchilla).
| Life Span:
Standard adult chinchillas weigh around one and a half pounds (450 grams).
Their head and body are a total of about 9-11 inches (25-28 centimeters) long and their tail
is about 7-8 inches (17 centimeters) long.
All chinchilla types live approximately 15 years, but some have been
known to live over 20 years.
For those with allergies, chinchillas are great pets, because they don't
have any dander and they are odorless. Also, because their fur is dense and full of lanolin,
fleas do not infest them.
The reason their fur is so lush and thick is that they have as many
as eighty (80) hairs for each follicle. Sadly, that is why their fur has been so popular
for coat manufacturing and that the wild Chins are now on the endangered species list.
Chinchillas are NOT loners, in the wild they are part of colonies that
grow to an average of twenty members and they recognize each other by their scent.
One of the healthy aspects of chinchilla socialization is their mutual
grooming and cleaning, this interaction brings them great pleasure and contentment. To keep
your chinchilla happiest it is important for them to have at least one companion.
| Activity Level:
Chinchillas are nocturnal creatures, but you can still play with them
during the day. They are curious and active (love their wheels!) and will run, hop, and ricochet
off of walls.
Chinchillas need to grind down their constantly growing teeth. Make sure
you have pine wood shelves, houses, and tunnels for them to chew. Chew Blocks are NOT as
Chinchillas are sensitive to smells and sounds around them. It is important
to keep their environment clean and to not play loud music or to make sudden or loud noises
around them, as this may startle and upset them. Strong perfumes or cleaners in or around
their cage can cause them distress and discomfort.
| Sexual Maturation and Sexing:
Chinchillas become sexually mature at around eight months. Their gestation
period is around 111 days. The domestic chinchilla gives birth to an average of two babies
Their sexual organs are on the exterior of their bodies and it is easy
to differentiate between males and females. Their sex is determined by the size of the space
between the anus and the genitals.
Males have a space between their anuses and their penis and females
have no space between the vagina and anus.
Since chinchilla's natural habitat is dry, arid, and sandy and they
do not use water to bathe. Instead they have great fun rolling around in volcanic ash found
in their natural habitat.
Much to the amusement and delight of their owners domestic chinchillas
love to play and roll in pans of dust. We recommend that they have the chance to dust once
a day. But, two times a week is the absolute minimum. Also, make sure dust bowls are large
enough (at least 12 inches) for them to stretch and roll in.
The area of the Andes that the chinchilla comes from is a semi-desert
biome with only two types of seasons: a dry hot one and a mild wet one. The area is dotted
with flora such as cacti and other succulents.
For their homes, chinchillas tunnel burrows in a plant called Puya Berteroniana,
which is a succulent bromiliad. Or they wiggle into narrow crevices in rocky clumps.
They are vegetarians and in the wild their diet consists of: roots,
bulbs, and mosses.
| Besides man, the chinchilla's
other predators are foxes and numerous birds of prey.