Where do Chinchillas Live? Chinchilla Facts for Kids

  • Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents.  Crepuscular meaning they are active during twilight hours.
  • Chinchillas live across the Andes Mountains of Peru and Chile.
  • They live in altitudes up to 15,000 ft above sea level.
  • They sleep in tiny holes in the sides of the mountains.
  • There are two different types of chinchillas: Long-tailed chinchillas called Lanigera Chinchillas and short-tailed chinchillas called Brevicaudata Chinchillas.
  • Chinchillas are a little bigger than squirrels.  Their bodies are 10-14 inches long and their tails are 5-6 inches long.
  • They weigh between 2-3 pounds.
  • Chinchilla’s have large round ears, busy tails, large eyes and long whiskers.
  • Even though their eyes are large, they cannot see very well.  Chinchilla’s  use their whiskers to help them see by feeling things around them.
  • Chinchilla’s fur is very thick.  They have the thickest and softest fur of any land animal.
  • They grow 50-80 hairs per hair follicle, humans grow 2-3 hairs per follicle.
  • Their fur can be a variety of colors including sliver-grey, beige, black and white, tan and sapphire.
  • Chinchillas do not get fleas because their fur is so thick.
  • Their fur is also hypoallergenic.
  • Chinchilla’s will roll around in volcanic ash or dusk to free their fur of oils and moisture.
  • This is why chinchilla’s were hunted for their fur.
  • Chinchilla’s are now on the endangered species list and can no longer be hunted for their fur.
  • When a chinchilla is feeling threatened or being attacked, they will shed a large amount of hair.  This is called a fur-slip.
  • Predators to chinchilla’s are snakes, mountain lions and birds of prey.
  • Mother chinchillas give birth to 1-6 babies called kits.  They give birth twice a year.  Chinchilla’s are ready to mate when they are between 7-8 months old.
  • Chinchilla’s eat grasses, leaves, twigs, hay fruits, seeds and small insects.
  • They digest their food twice in a process called caecotrophy.  They poop then eat the small pellets.
  • Chinchilla’s are very social animals.
  • They live in groups called herds in colonies of up to 100 chinchillas.
  • Chinchillas communicate with each other by making grunting, chirping, squealing and barking sounds.
  • Chinchillas are sometimes kept as pets.
  • They make good pets but are very active and like a lot of attention and toys to play with.
  • Chinchilla’s teeth never stop growing.  It’s important that if they are kept as pets to give them something to chew on or they might start chewing on wires or things that are unsafe.
  • Chinchillas can overheat very quickly, they don’t respond well to temperatures over 80 degrees.
  • Chinchillas live between 10-12 years in the wild and 15-20 years in captivity.
  • If you are thinking of buying a chinchilla as a pet make sure you care for them properly and feed them the right diet.