Chinchilla Facts
Size 8.6-15 inch (22-38 cm) (body)
Speed Up to 15 mph (24 km/h)
Weight Up to 1.7 lb (800 g)
Lifespan 10-20 years
Food Grass, roots, bark, leaves, fruit, cactuses
Predators Owls, foxes
Habitat South America
Order Rodents
Family Chinchillas
Scientific name Chinchillidae
Characteristics Bushy tail, big ears
What is THIS?

Chinchillas look like a crossbreed of guinea pigs and squirrels. They are actually closely related to guinea pigs.

The Chinchilla’s Way of Life

Chinchillas are small rodents that are native to more mountainous regions of South America. During daytime, they hide in rock crevices to douse. They do not become active before dusk and at night. Therefore they are not really suitable as pets for little children by the way.

Chinchilla Chinchilla - Photo: Kuznetsov Alexey/Shutterstock


If chinchillas are attacked and held by enemies such as birds of prey, skunks, wildcats or snakes, they opt for spontaneous hair loss. The attackers then have instead of the animal just a tuft of hair "in their fingers" and the rodents escape in most cases.

Chinchilla Shampoo

Chinchillas have a very soft and thick fur. They do not need any special care products, but enjoy to wallow in the sand.

Chinchilla Chinchilla - Photo: Denis Tabler/Shutterstock

Is There Something Else Apart From Big Eyes and a Soft Coat?

You might think: No. Chinchillas seem to consist solely of fur. 60 hairs grow from every root (it’s only one with humans). Chinchillas have a rather slender physique, but you can hardly perceive it.

Exceptional Fur

Chinchillas do not only have more hairs per root, they have about 20,000 hairs per square centimeter. Humans have only about 100 hairs per square centimeter. Chinchilla hair is also 30 times thinner than human hair.

Furry Question

Chinchillas originally come from Argentina, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia. They live in the snowy Andes at heights between 9,842 and 16,404 ft (3,000 and 5,000 m). Their fluffy fur protects them from the icy cold at night. Unfortunately it has not protected the little rodents from shivering humans, and they have nearly become exterminated in order to be manufactured into warming clothes.


Between May and November, Chinchillas usually have 2-3 babies twice. They have a fur and can use their eyes directly after birth.

Chinchilla Chinchilla - Photo: olgagorovenko/Shutterstock

Chinchilla Chinchilla - Photo: icealien/Shutterstock

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