LONG-TAILED CHINCHILLA

chinchilla

LONG-TAILED CHINCHILLA

DIET: Herbivore

STATUS IN THE WILD: Critically Endangered

RANGE: South America

PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS

Long-tailed chinchillas are one of two species of chinchilla. They are small rodents with dense fur that can have as many as sixty hairs per follicle. This, along with strong back legs and a tail that makes up nearly one third of the animals total body length, shows that chinchillas are built to survive in a cold and rocky environment. They come in multiple colors from brown to a nearly blue grey with the occasional deviation due to genetics.

LIFESTYLE AND REPRODUCTION

Primarily nocturnal, long-tailed chinchillas spend their days sleeping in crevasses in the mountains. At dusk they awaken and forage for food in groups of up to one hundred chinchillas, which are called herds. They communicate with each other many chirps and barks. Chinchillas are also very clean mammals and bathe often by rolling in dust, which removes impurities from their thick fur.

Chinchillas, unlike other rodents, have a long gestation period of about 110 to 112 days. After this they will have a litter of one to six babies called kits. These kits are born with fur and their eyes completely open. Kits will nurse until they are weaned at six to eight weeks old.

RANGE

Cold-arid areas on the Andes Mountains in Chile.

HABITAT

Chinchillas live along the sides of rocky cliffs with sparse grassy vegetation.

DIET

Chinchillas eat a large variety of foliage, consisting of mostly grasses and shrubbery. They will also eat bark, flower, seeds, nuts, and any small fruits.

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