Chinchillas are fascinating little creatures with incredibly soft fur and touching their coats is an amazing experience. They are delicate animals and they need a lot of care and attention to keep them happy, content and healthy. Like all pets, chinchillas need to be handled with care and played with as often as possible so they learn to trust their owners. Fun interaction with a pet chinchilla can be very rewarding and highly amusing. The one thing you will always be sure of is that your pets will look forward to seeing you and spending some time with you whenever they can!
Here are a few fun, interesting facts about these very pretty creatures that you may not already know about.
- Chinchillas are native to the barren slopes of the Andes in South America, where they live in crevices at pretty high altitudes – 12,000 feet and over!
- Chinchillas naturally have very dense fur so they can cope with the colder weather in their native habitats – temperatures can get pretty low in the Andes!
- The pads on a chinchilla's paws are hairless and quite fleshy which in the wild enables them to get good footholds on any rocks on the mountain sides of the Andes
- Chinchilla's red blood cells can carry a lot more oxygen than any other rodent or even rabbits. This helps them cope with living at such high altitudes where the air is that much thinner
- Chinchillas are prey animals which means they have developed a unique defence when attacked by any of their natural predators. This is called “fur slip”. If a predator grabs them, chinchillas are able to lose the part of their fur they have been grabbed by which leaves their attackers with a mouthful of fur. This helps the chinchilla get away to safety
- Chinchillas are able to jump really high – well over six feet in fact!
- Chinchillas boast a hearing range that's pretty much on a par with their human counterparts which means they hear things much as we do – although a chinchillas hearing is a lot more sensitive
- These delightful creatures can sleep upside down like a bat! They developed this ability because in the wild they have to sleep in tiny crevices and holes on the side of mountains. However, they can also sleep on their sides and upright too!
- Chinchillas have a great vocabulary, lots of grunts, barking, squeals and chirps. They really know how to express themselves when they want to!
- Chinnies, as many people call them, digest everything they eat twice. They digest the food once and then excrete it so they can re-digest it a second time much like guinea pigs and rabbits do. This is a process that's called caecotrophy
- Chinchillas in their natural habitats can live in groups of up to 100 members because they are really social creatures. This is why they so much better if kept with other chinchillas in a domestic environment
- Chinnies hold their food in their front paws and sit on their haunches when they eat it – which makes them look so cute!
Keeping chinchillas as pets is fun because they are such adorably cute creatures. They have loads of character. Knowing how to look after them is vital to their well being and so is understanding their behaviour. If you get to recognise certain things your pet chinchilla does, it means when things are not going well or your pet is under the weather, you'll notice the problem sooner rather than later.
Here are a few more fascinating facts about chinnies!
- Male chinnies are called “males”
- Female chinnies are referred to as “females
- Baby chinnies are known as “kits”
- Chinchillas are what is known as crepuscular rodents which means they get busy when the sun comes up and then again when it goes down
- Chinnies have amazingly soft fur which can be white, black, beige, standard grey, sapphire or violet in colour
- Their teeth grow virtually continuously throughout their lives – much like many other rodents
- The fur of a chinchilla is the softest in the world
- Females can breed twice in a 12 month period
- A good weight for a chinchilla is anything from between 400 – 500 grams
- The average length of a chinchilla is between 10 and 14 inches long
- The normal height of a chinchilla is anything from 5 to 6 inches
- Chinchillas live a long time, anything from 10 to 15 years
- Chinnies love to eat seeds, grass, fruit, small insects, tree bark and even frogs!
- Predators in the wild are birds of prey, wild cats, skunks, snakes and even dogs!
- Chinchillas were once prized for their beautiful soft fur. It took the pelts of anything from 100 to 200 animals to make just one fur coat
- When a chinchilla is first born they weigh a tiny 35 grams with the average litter having just two kits
- Chinnies love to take dust baths – they much prefer this to water!
- Chinchillas have lovely eyes which can be dark or even ruby red in colour
- A group of chinchillas is referred to as a “Colony”
- Chinchillas don't get fleas!
If you're thinking about getting a chinchilla, maybe you'd like to consider adopting a couple of them instead. There are lots of rescue centres and sanctuaries that keep these delightful creatures safe until they can find them new owners. You can visit our chinchilla section on our Pets4Homes website to see any current adverts. Chinchillas make adorable pets and when they get to trust you, the bond that is formed between pet and owner can be hard to break, remember if well looked after, a chinchilla can live to the ripe old age of fifteen!
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