Chinchillas are a genus of furry animals of the family of chinchilla detachment of rodents. Homeland of chinchillas is South America, namely dry rocky, preferably northern regions at an altitude of 400 to 5000 meters above sea level. These small beautiful rodents inhabit the mountains of the Andes of Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Argentina.
Chinchillas grow in length to 22-38 cm, and their tail has a length of 10-17 cm. The head is rounded, the neck is short. The body of the chinchilla is covered with thick and durable fur, which warms this animal in the cool highlands, and the tail is covered with rigid coarse hairs. Weight in adults reaches up to 800 grams. Chinchillas have large black eyes with vertical pupils, due to which they easily navigate at night. Whiskers grow to 8 – 10 cm, and ears to 6 cm, and have a rounded shape. The ear shells of chinchillas have special membranes, with which the animals close their ears when they take the sand baths; Thanks to this the sand does not get inside.
The chinchilla skeleton is able to contract in a vertical plane, which allows animals to penetrate into narrow cracks in the rocks. The forelimbs are five-fingered: four grasping fingers and one little used twice as long as the front five-fingered. Hind legs four-toed. Strong hind legs are twice as long as the forelegs and allow high jumps, and a highly developed cerebellum provides good coordination of movements necessary for safe movement along the rocks. Chinchillas live up to 20 years. The standard color of the animal is greyish-blue (ashy), except for the white abdomen.
Sexual differences of chinchillas. Female chinchillas are larger than males, so if an adult female weighs up to 800 grams, then the males do not exceed 700 grams by weight. In boys, chinchillas at the age of 4-5 months there are secondary sexual characteristics (testicles under the tail). And at the age of about 7 months the genitals are easily discernible and with the female it can not be confused. By behavior, males of chinchillas as a rule – sublimation, i.e. More manual. An interesting fact is that if there is a male and female in the cage, and if you take the male first in your arms, the female may take offense at you, which means that she will turn her back on you.
Chinchillas were, and are still the object of intense hunting because of the valuable fur from which fur coats are made, which led to a strong decrease in their numbers. At the moment, chinchillas are listed in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
Long-tailed chinchillas are bred on fur on farms in many countries, and are also distributed as pets.
Chinchillas publish very interesting sounds: when they do not like something, they make a sound like a quack or chirp. If they are angry very much, then they start to make sounds like a growl or a blow, and sometimes very quickly click with their teeth. If they hit hard or get very frightened, they can be very loud. But chinchillas are not defenseless – they can attack when threatened. They attack quite funny: they stand high on their hind legs, begin to growl, start a stream of urine, and then grasp their teeth.
Chinchillas belong to herbivores, and are not fastidious to food. The basis of their diet consists of various herbaceous plants, mainly cereals, legumes, as well as seeds, mosses, lichens, feeding chinchillas, bark of trees, small insects.