Chinchillas are squirrel-like rodents found in South America. Just like squirrels, they are amazingly cute. And you do know what you want to do with a cute animal, don’t you? Of course, keep them as pets, what else!
Yes, let us think of it this way. Today, pets don’t just mean cats, dogs and birds. The choice of pets that one can keep has increased a lot over time. Rodents and reptiles are also preferred pets these days. In fact, you will see many people keeping a snake as their pet too. Keeping snakes as pets before was well, something the folklore of the East said but today, people all over the world love it. One such exotic pet ) that is not really dangerous like keeping a snake) is the cute and cuddly chinchilla. Yes, chinchillas are cute and you are sure to love them.
1. Chinchillas are rodents native to the Andes in South America. This variety is mostly found in Bolivia, Chile and Peru. These extremely cute looking rodents are slightly bigger and robust than the ground squirrels smaller than rabbits. These animals are most active during dusk and dawn. Chinchillas means “little chincha”, a name derived from the Chincha people who wore the fur of these animals.
2. These little rodents are about 10-14 inches long and weigh about 1.1-1.5kgs. The tail is about 4-5 inches long. They have an average life span of 18 to 20 years.
3. With gentle handling they bond well and can be tamed. The females are more active and aggressive in nature as compared to the males. Same sex pairs can be kept together, however, the females can sometimes end up having aggressive fights.
4. Chinchillas are crepuscular by habit, i.e.; their activity is at its peak during the dusk and the dawn, therefore care should be taken to keep them in quiet places during the day. This also means that their feeding times should be kept in mind and taken care of.
5. Chinchillas are vegetarian by diet and should be provided with a lot of roughage. Fresh green grass is what they prefer. Treats can be given once a day.
These rodents require a good amount of time to adjust to their new surroundings. Care should be taken while handling them as they require some time to get acclimatized and tamed. These cute rodents make great pets; however, they are not suitable in homes which have toddlers.