Chinchillas are rabbit-sized rodents native to the Andes mountains in South America. The name chinchilla means “Little Chincha” after the Chincha people of the Andes.
There are two living species of chinchilla, Chinchilla brevicaudata and Chinchilla lanigera and domestic chinchillas come from the langiera species.
Chinchillas weight from 600 to 800g and are up to 36cm long (including their bushy tail). They are available in a variety of colours including grey, beige and ebony.
Chinchillas are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and are awake at night. They are gentle, but very active pets and they make a variety of noises including barks, chirps and squeaks, often in the early hours of the morning. Due to their delicate bones and the fact that don’t like being held, chinchillas are not considered to be good pets for small children. It’s advisable to do your research when you’re thinking about buying a chinchilla.
Chinchillas have a normal lifespan of 8 to 10 years.