Chinchillas are indigenous to the western part of South America. They reside in the rocky slopes of the Andes Mountains at elevations between 9 to fifteen thousand feet. The landscape is dry with little vegetation and lots of rock over. Chinchillas once dotted the entire western coast in South America, but are nowadays restricted to the areas that are Bolivia, Peru, and Chile.

Chinchilla are among the animals featured in the Maryland Zoo’s Animal Embassy collection. Texas Birds  Zoo trainers introduce the chinchilla as well as other Animal Ambassadors to visitors through educational programs in and off the grounds.

“How I can I be there”

Chinchillas are well-adapted to their dry and cool mountain habitat. Their fur is very dense 80 hairs per hair follicle on average, in comparison to just 1 hair for each follicle of humans. It also ensures that they are well-insulated from cold. Their strong, long hind legs carry them across the terrain, rocky, to search for food but also to keep them safe from predators! Their big eye and ear are designed for nighttime vision as well as hearing.

Chinchillas can be described as social rodents which are found in colonies that can contain between 100 and 200 animals. At day, they tend to sit in rocky crevices or caves, out of the reach of predators. They might emerge from their caves to relax in the sun, have an afternoon bath or wander around the rocks, but they’re most active during dawn as well as at dusk and in the evening. Outside at the very least, a Chinchilla will keep an eye out for the colony and scream alarms. They will all remain close near their burrows’ entrances to flee back inside if needed.

Chinchillas hunt for food during the night. While they eat, they sit in a straight position on their backs and hold their food with their fronts. They consume grasses, bark herbaceous, as well as other indigenous Andean plants. The water supply is limited in their area, however the chinchillas are designed to obtain the amount of water they require from the plants they consume.

“Making the mark”

When you mention the word “chinchilla” and the majority of people instantly envision the soft, thick, blueish-grey fur. The fashion-forward popularity hasn’t been a blessing for the Chinchilla. They’ve been confined close to extinction due to their furs. Andean tribes hunted chinchillas for centuries for their furs and used it to create blankets and clothing.

The practice of sustainment hunting was not a threat to the survival of wild populations, however eventually and continuous commercial hunting did. At the end of the 19 the century, chinchilla’s fur was becoming a lucrative trader for Europe, North America, as well as other regions, and was becoming increasingly in demand. Chinchilla populations began declining and the remaining populations are threatened by hunting, even though it is now it is illegal.

Raising Young

Chinchillas are typically monogamous, meaning they will mate for the rest of their lives. Females have two litters per year , on average, and have two to three children each litter. Small mammals have a lower rate of reproduction, which is considered to be a low reproduction rate. The breeding season is between May through November. Incredibly, females are known to be extremely aggressive towards males and towards females during the

breeding season. Females are born after a gestation time of approximately four months. The babies – also known as kits are fully developed when they are born. They have eyes that are open and they’re covered with fur, and weigh approximately 35g (slightly more than one 1 ounce!)Mothers care for and nurse their children for about six up to 8 weeks. The teen years are sexually mature at around eight months old.

“What do I eat”

Hawks, eagles Skunks, humans, and hawks consume Chinchillas. How Long Do Birds Live Chinchillas will attempt to escape, and when trapped, might try to scare predators away by sitting on its hind legs to appear larger. Chinchillas can also puff up their tails, which are already fuzzy, to appear more terrifying. If nothing else

works it will attempt to bite its adversary and, if successful will cause a painful bite. As with all rodents, the incisor teeth of a chinchilla will never stop growing! Chinchilla fur can also be used as its own protection – it is so dense that predators, trying to bite its prey might end up with only one bite of fur.

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