The name “chinchilla” comes from the Spanish word “chincha”, which means little chitchat. These furry and delightful animals are native to the Andes mountains of Chile and Peru. Chinchilla is considered to be one of the easiest rodent animals in the world. Most members of the chinchilla family jump freely, but most of them usually move on all four legs. Chinchillas have nine to fourteen inches (23 to 36 inch) long bodies and up to six inch (9 centimeters) long bushy tails.
A single chinchilla has a lifespan of two years. Young chinchillas reach maturity in just one year. In the southern hemisphere, chinchilla are commonly referred to as long-tailed or pygmy rats since they are nearly two to three times longer than they are tall. They are typically gray, with white fur and short, bushy torsos. They are commonly found in high places in rain forests, alpine meadows and high altitudes.
Chinchillas usually live in rocky areas, thick forests and mountain streams. They also spend part of the year in arid deserts and grasslands. They prefer dense forests, lowland and mountainous areas. Chinchillas live in mountainous regions near rivers, springs and near river mouths where they get water for drinking, grooming and other activities. For hunting, chinchilla are often found in high places away from humans, in burrows and rocks.
Apart from their highly social and largely solitary lifestyle, chinchilla also exhibit other characteristics that make them different from other rodents. They have dense fur and a thick undercoat. They are nocturnal and most of the time they hunt by sight, following their prey using scent glands. They are nocturnal hunters and for most of the year do not eat during daylight hours.
The Andes Mountain Rats is rodent species native to south America and other parts of verdeasia. It is sometimes called the dwarf chinchilla because it closely resembles a chinchilla, however it is not a pure chinchilla but is instead a member of the mouse family. It was named this because of its small size (not more than one inch long). They are also referred to as rock mice because they resemble these creatures in both their hunting and breeding behavior. They like rocky areas and high ground because they have been observed eating soft fur tree bark.
Throughout the year, chinchilla are in the habit of laying eggs in burrows, however during the winter season they travel higher up into the mountains where they are able to winterize. During the springtime they begin to produce an oily substance called chinbum that lines their fur. This oily secretion helps them stay cool. The chinchilla’s natural enemies include both humans and some types of insects such as moths and caterpillars. Humans are usually the threat to chinchillas as they often attack the female chinchilla.