Chinchilla belongs to the rodent family, and is a popular indoor pet. What people like most about the chinchilla is its soft and thick coats. Another likable quality of these small-sized pets is their sweet and friendly nature. They get along with other pets in the home really well.
These rodents are odorless and because of their thick fur they do not attract fleas or pests. One of the most interesting facts is that the chinchilla has got the softest fur in the world which happens to be thirty times softer than human hair.
Chinchilla Facts for Kids
Here are some interesting wild chinchilla facts for children related to its habits and characteristics:
- Chinchillas are native to the Andes Mountains in South America. They got their name from a South American Indian tribe which means 'Little Chinta'.
- There are several fur colors. Some of the most common fur colors of chinchilla are gray, beige, ebony, white, black, violet, and so on. The length of their body is 9 - 12 inches and they weigh around one or two pounds. Their eyes are typically dark or ruby red in color.
- They have such a dense fur and in each and every hair follicle, there are almost 80 - 100 hair.
- In general, a female chinchilla breeds two times in a year. On an average, their gestation period is around 111 days.
- The cute little babies of chinchillas are known as kits. When they are born, they have their eyes opened, their body is fully covered with fur and they start their playful activities soon after birth.
- Interestingly, chinchillas are nocturnal creatures. That means that they sleep throughout the day and the nighttime is their play time.
- A unique feature of chinchillas is that they tend to release a part of their fur when they feel scared. However, the fur grows back on its own. This helps them to mislead their predator when they are under attack.
- An average lifespan of a chinchilla is somewhere between 10 - 20 years.
Chinchillas as Pets
If you want chinchillas as pets, you should be aware of its basic requirements in order to make them comfortable in your home environment. Here are a few important facts that will help you in pet care:
- A wire cage is most suitable for chinchillas. It should be spacious enough so that the chinchillas can be accommodated even when it grows larger in size. It should have a number of shelves as these tiny creatures love to jump and play around.
- Chinchillas should be kept at temperatures below 75 degrees F. They hate warm climates as their body tends to get overheated. So, keep them in a moderate temperature.
- The primary food requirements of chinchillas are hay, pellets, and water. The quality of these foods should be of high grade in order to maintain the health of this tiny rodents. They should be supplied with fresh water everyday.
- Wild chinchillas bath in dust and not in water because their fur has lots of oily substance and moisture in them. Therefore, you have to make arrangements for dust bath for your favorite pet. You can get this chinchilla dust from the local pet stores. Pour the dust in a bowl of appropriate size and put it inside the cage. You will enjoy watching chinchillas rolling and flipping around in this dust. It should be given a dust bath of about 15 minutes 3 - 4 times a week.
- As they sleep during the daytime, they should not be disturbed and provided a quiet environment. Otherwise, they may get frightened.
Finally, I would like to share with you some not so pleasant chinchilla facts. There was a time when these cute little creatures were hunted in large scale to obtain fur from their skin. As a result, the species was almost on the verge of extinction. Today, trapping or hunting of these lovely creatures is banned. If you have them as pets, then it is your responsibility to ensure proper care, protect them from predators and give them a chance to live a healthy, happy life.