Chinchillas are Crepuscular rodents. These Chinchillas are more robust and slightly larger than those of ground squirrels. Chinchillas are mostly found in Andes Mountains located in South America. In other words, these Chinchillas are the natives of Andes Mountains.
The name of Chinchilla is of Indian origin. It has been named after little chinta. Chinchillas belong to mammal family. These Chinchillas originated in South America. They were extinct during early 1900s because they were killed for fur for making coats. About 100 Chinchillas are used to make a single coat. In the year 1918 a gentleman Mathias F. Chapman who was working in Chile decided to save this species from extinction. Chapman and other 23 men worked for 3 years to trap Chinchillas but they were able to capture 11 Chinchillas only. It took them about 1 year to bring these Chinchilla down the Chile. Chapman and others took necessary precautions to save these Chinchillas from fluctuations in temperature. Those 11 Chinchillas became the first breeding stock of Chinchillas in USA.
2. Physical appearance
These animals belong to the category of mammals. They have large eyes, elongated head, round and large ears. Their legs are short with five toes on the back feet and four toes on the front feet. The length of a Chinchilla including its head and body is between 6 to 10 inches. The length of its tail is between 2.4 to 7.2 inches. They weigh between 7.1 and 10.6 ounces.
The fur of Chinchilla is soft and thick. The color of his fur is gray-brown or silver-gray on the upper body and cream, yellow, white or light brown on its underside.
They spend most of the day in sleeping. You will find them active only when there is something interesting going on around them. Chinchillas hate noise, therefore, they should be protected from disturbance and noise during their sleep. You can play with it only in the evening because they are habitual to sleep during daytime. They are mischievous, intelligent and need your love and gentleness. Their nature is sociable. But chins differ in temperament. It is difficult to make an angry Chinchilla calm or to make him pleasant when he is in bad mood. They are sensitive to noise and stress, so try to keep them in a quiet place. They will bite you only when they feel threatened.
It is very easy to keep Chinchillas clean. They are noticeably odorless and also their fur is so thick that it is impossible for the parasites and insects to make home therein. Chinchillas don’t need regular bathing and most of them hate water. You can give dust bath to them which is known as Chinchilla dust. This dust powder is natural and it helps in eliminating extra moisture from the coat of Chinchilla leaving them healthy and clean.
5. Ideal living conditions
They can’t resist heat because they are the natives of high altitudes where they use to live in cold climate. They are active in cold temperatures. If you keep Chinchilla in hot place it will die. A Healthy Chinchillas can survive in temperature up to 31 degree Celsius. When the weather is warming up, ensure to provide more and more water to your Chinchilla. It is to be ensured that the degree of temperature does not exceed 22 degree Celsius in normal conditions while in extreme conditions they can tolerate temperature up to 30 degree Celsius.
6. Life expectancy of Chinchilla
The average life expectancy of a Chinchilla is between 10 to 20 years.
7. Health issues
If Chinchilla is cared properly then it can live upto 20 years. There are certain health problems associated with Chinchillas.
a. The most common problem of these Chinchillas is associated with their teeth. The problem may arise due to overgrown teeth, root elongation etc. Normally, the teeth of Chinchillas should be yellow colored. They should chew all the time in order to prevent their teeth problems which may be caused due to overgrowth of teeth.
b. Heat stroke can also cause health problems to Chinchillas. Excessive heat, sunlight or poor flow of lair can cause heat stroke. Try to keep them cool by making available a fan or a cooler in their room so that they are not exposed to heat which is fatal to them.
c. Seizure can make the Chinchilla unbalanced and making it difficult for him to stand. It can even cause his death. This type of problem often occurs in pregnant Chinchillas or young ones due to lack of vitamins and minerals. If you are rearing a Chinchilla, try to nourish it with natural food. A nutritious food will help to overcome this problem in Chinchillas.