Interesting and Sad Chinchilla Facts
While many people have heard of a chinchilla, fact is that most people would be unable to pick one out of a line up.
Chinchillas are a type of rodent, but some find them to be much cuter than mice, rats or hamsters. They are around 12 inches long and usually weigh between 18 and 20 ounces.
Below are some chinchilla facts to help you learn more about this animal.
Where They Are From
The chinchilla’s native habitat is in South America. They dwell in the Andes Mountains where they have plenty of crevices in which to burrow and hide.
In the wild, chinchillas have many natural predators including:
To survive, they use a variety of defenses including spraying their enemy with urine and the ability to shed clumps of fur onto which the enemy has latched.
The diet of a chinchilla in the wild is quite different from one who is being kept as a pet. While a pet chinchilla will eat mostly hay, in the wild they eat:
The live in small social groups called herds.
While, as mentioned above, they have many natural predators, it was man that almost wiped them off the face of the earth.
Chinchillas were almost made extinct thanks to the men and women who desired their fur. These animals were slaughtered in huge numbers in order to collect enough fur to meet the demands.
The wild population has never fully recovered. It remains illegal to hunt or trap these creatures. Sadly, the hunger for the fur of these animals continues. To meet the demand, chinchilla farms raise and slaughter these animals just so that people can wear fur trimmed coats or boots.
Because chinchillas are so small, it takes between 100 and 200 animals to make one fur coat. That makes it easy to understand how many hundreds of thousands of animals must be bred with the sole purpose of slaughtering them for their fur.
Chinchilla farming will continue to be popular as long as there is a demand for the fur and the hunting and trapping of wild chinchillas is illegal.
Pet Chinchilla Facts
Happily, there are many people who look at domestic chinchillas not as something to be used for fur, but as a wonderful pet.
Like any type of pet, a chinchilla is not right for everyone. They tend to sleep all day, and would rather not be bothered during this time.
Chinchilla facts include information about how naturally jumpy the creatures can be. This means that not all chinchillas will enjoy being held and petted. That being said, the animals do often get very close to their owners and do enjoy some interaction with those that they know well.
Chinchilla facts are not all pleasant. The truth is that far more of these animals are slaughtered in one day than are kept as pets. Hopefully, more and more people will wake up to the fact that they are causing needless suffering just so that they can adorn themselves in those animal’s skins.
For those chinchillas that are being kept as pets, the owners should take the time to learn all about their proper care and feeding so that the animals can live a long and happy life.