Thanhvy Tran period 3 5.16.16

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Chinchillas live in rock crevices and burrows under rocks or the base of shrubs (Student animal life resource 1177). They live in colonies of up to six individuals but colonies live very close together as close as 59 feet(Student animal Resource 1178). There are 4 species of chinchillas, Bennett's chinchilla lives in the high plains of the Andes mountains in Chile; Bolivia chinchilla found in central Bolivia; ashy chinchillas found in the high plains of Andes in Bolivia, Chile and Peru; and the Cuscomys ashaniki chinchilla found in Peru (student animal life research).
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Chinchillas have long hind limbs which are adapted for leaping. They can jump over six feet in height (RSPCA).
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Body Covering

Chinchillas are famous for their beautiful bluish-grey fur, which is extremely soft and dense(short-tailed chinchilla) .As many as 60 fine hairs grow from each hair follicle(short-tailed chinchilla).The underside of a chinchilla is a light brown,cream, white,or yellow(student animal life resource) .Chinchillas have large round ears, large eyes, an elongated head (student animal life resources 1177). They have short legs with four toes on the front feet and five toes on the back feet (student animal life resources). A chinchillas head and body length is 6 to 10 inches, and the tail length is 2.4 to 7.2 inches, they weigh from 7.1 to 10.6 ounces(student animal life resource).
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Chinchillas are primarily herbivores (plant-eaters); they eat tree bark, grasses, seed, fruit, grain, and herbs. Occasionally, they will eat insects. Like all rodents, their two front teeth continue to grow throughout their lives, and the chinchilla must gnaw and chew to wear these teeth down. In a sitting position, chinchillas gnaw on their food while holding the food in their hands. They do not drink much water(Chinchilla).
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Females give birth to 1-6 young (usually 2 or 3) after a gestation period of around 3-4 months(short-tailed).Newborns are fully furred and have their eyes open. The young are weaned at around 6-8 weeks. Females usually produce two litters annually. Both males and females reach sexual maturity at around the age of 8 months, although this can occur as early as 5.5 months (short-tailed chinchilla).


Owls,foxes, cougars, and mountain lions are all predators of chinchillas (Chinchilla). If a chinchilla feels threatened, a high and loud bark will be heard, much like a squirrel can bark. A last resort will involve the chinchilla standing on hind legs and emitting both a bark and a stream of urine(Characteristics and appearance).

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Other Info

  • The Cuscomys ashaniki chinchilla was a single dead body found
  • They live up to 15-20 years old
  • They take dust baths to keep their fur soft

work cited

"Appearance." Sheppard Software. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2016. <>.

"Chinchilla." Enchanted Learning. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016. <>.

"Chinchilla." World Book Advanced. N.p., 16 May 2016. Web. 15 May 2016. <>.

"Chinchillas." Ecotarium. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2016. <>.

"Chinchillas." RSPCA. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2016. <>.

Jiménez, Jaime E. "Short-tailed Chinchilla." EDGE. incorporated by Royal Charter, n.d. Web. 10 May 2016. <>.

"Long-Tailed Chinchilla." Utah's Hogle Zoo. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2016. <>.

McDade, Melissa C., ed. Mammals. N.p.: n.p., 2005. Print. Vol. 5 of Grzimek's Student Animal Life Resource. 20 vols.