When it comes to chinchillas, they often raise more
questions than answers especially with the general public. If
you start talking about chinchillas most will ask the question we've
heard many times, "What is a chinchilla?" As with any exotic
animal, this question can be answered many ways and can fill pages
and pages of documentation.
We will attempt to answer some of your questions
about chinchillas here on this site but please note that due to the
nature of the animal the more details revealed the more there is to
explore. First along with a few photos of the chinchilla let's
look at the origin of the species and some basic facts.
Chinchillas are rabbit-sized, nocturnal rodents native to the Andes
mountains in South America. They belong to the family Chinchillidae. The animal (whose name literally means "little Chincha") is named after the Chincha people of the Andes, who wore
its soft and dense fur.
Domestic chinchillas can be kept as pets. Chinchillas
are naturally skittish and are nocturnal, thus mostly active for
play in the evening. They also have delicate bones and generally do
not like to be held. Because of this they are not considered to be
good pets for small children.
Chinchillas can also be very friendly animals, making them excellent
pets if their trust is earned by the owner. Also, unlike other small
domestic rodents, chinchillas' excretions are easy to clean up
because of their small, dry nature.
Chinchillas commonly live 15 years, but some have been known to live
up to 20 or more. Chinchillas make many noises, including
barks, chirps, and squeaks. They use this variety of vocalizations
to express themselves, from a calm, loving chirp given to a
potential mate to a loud, aggressive bark when spooked. Since
they are active at night, it is not uncommon for them to vocalize in
the early hours of the morning.