Chinchillas

By: Bella Guarino

Chinchillas Characteristics

Did you know that Chinchillas have the softest fur on earth? Their extremely soft and thick fur helps them stay warm in cold temperatures. They have 60 strands of fur per follicle! Because of their fur, there have been fewer and fewer Chinchillas because humans are using their fur to make coats. These coats would cost about $100.000! Aside from their fur, they are born with their eyes open and have long ears and bushy tails. Also, they have very good hearing. They have short forelimbs and muscular hind legs. Chins are about 9-15 inches and their bushy tails add another 3-6 inches. They weigh about 1.1 lbs.-1.8 lbs. Don't Chinchillas have amazing features?

Chinchillas Habitat

In the Andes, they can live in elevations 3,000-5,000 meters. Up there, it is very cold. that is why they have such thick fur. Chins can't live in temperatures higher than 80 degrees fahrenheit because high temperatures and humidity can cause heart stroke. in addition, Chins are nocturnal so, they will be active at dawn or dusk and will be sleeping all day. They make their homes by burrowing underground tunnels or nestling in rock crevasses. They are very social and live in colonies of hundreds of Chinchillas. Chinchillas have a very interesting habitat.

Life Cycle of a Chinchillla

Newborns:

Newborn Chinchillas are called Kits. When they are first born, they are covered with fur. Then, soon after they are born, they will open their eyes. When Chins are first born, they weigh about 1.2 ounces, and after just one week, they can eat solid foods.

Six to Eight weeks:

Next, when Chins are 6-8 weeks of age, they stop drinking their mother's milk. They must stay with their mother until they are at least 8 weeks of age. Young Chins can have babies, but they are too young to be good parents. Because of this, males and females should be kept apart.

8 Adult Chinchillas:

When Chins are about 8 months of age, they will become adults, and are ready to have babies. A mother will carry her babies for 111 days. She will have 2-3 babies per liter. When Chinchillas are adults, they will grow to about 10 inches long, and will weigh 1-2 pounds.

Mature Chinchillas:

Finally, Chins become mature. Chinchillas mature at different times. As Chins become older, their coats begin to dull. They may loose their fur too. Also, they sleep longer and play less. When Chins mature, it's more likely for them to become ill.

Baby Chinchilla

Chinchillas vs. Mice

Similarities:

Chinchillas and mice both belong to the rodent family. Not only are they mammals, but they are both nocturnal! So, they will be energetic at night, and sleepy during the day. Also, they both have poor eyesight, but have excellent hearing and large ears. In addition, they both build burrows when they are living in the wild. They are very social with other animals. Did you know that both Chinchillas and mice can jump high? Most importantly, they are both very friendly to humans.

Differences:

Mice can live up to 6 years as a pet, but chins can live up to 20 years also as a pet! In addition, mice have hairless tails and chins have big fuzzy tails. Mice can grow up to 7 inches. In contrast, Chinchillas can grow up to 10 inches. A mother mouse will carry her babies for 19-21 days, while a Chinchilla mother will carry her babies for 111 days. Lastly, mice give birth to 3-14 babies at once, and chins give birth to 2-3 babies at once.

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Chinchillas have the softest fur on earth! Because of this, they are being hunted for their fur to make coats. These fur coats would cost about $100.000 on average. Now Chinchillas have smaller numbers because they are being hunted, and are very rare in the wild. Although there is no solution yet, the government could make it illegal to make fur coats out of Chinchillas, and if anyone breaks the law, they will be sent to jail! This isn´t a real law yet, but we could always try! If this law doesn´t work out, we could also make Chin hunting in certain areas where Chins live illegal. Let´s save the Chinchillas!!!!!!
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Chinchilla Fun Facts!

*Their teeth never stop growing, so they have to gnaw. If they don't, their teeth would grow 12 inches per year!


*They can see with their whiskers. Even though they have giant eyes, Chins don't see very well!


* They take dust baths instead of water baths. They take dust baths to help get rid of oils and dirt!


*Chinchillas can shed their fur in large clumps if they feel threatened or under attack!


* They're natural acrobats! They use their tails for balance and are high jumpers and prolific climbers!


*Chinchillas are very compassionate animals!


*Have the softest and thickest fur on earth!


*They are nocturnal creatures, so they are awake at night!