The Ultra Velvety Soft Chinchilla: Bolivia for Kids

by Cristian

The chinchilla lives in parts of Chile, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia. It is a super cute rodent that looks like of like a rabbit but it has big mouse ears, a wiggly button nose, and a tail like a squirrel's. It's front paws are tiny and it's back ones are longer, like a rabbit's. So what exactly is this animal?

The chinchilla is a rodent. It's named after the Chincha people who used to inhabit the Andes region of South America. It has the densest, softest fur of any land animal. Their fur is so velvety soft, that it has been used for fur coats and clothing for centuries. By the 1500's chinchillas had been hunted almost to extinction. Chinchillas are small so it takes a lot of them to make a coat. Chinchilla fur became extremely expensive as well, because of how rare they were becoming. Fortunately, today only domesticated chinchillas are raised for their fur.

A lot of people own chinchillas as pets. Chinchillas are actually not the best choice of animal to keep as a pet. Chinchillas are nocturnal. They'll be up all night while you sleep and asleep during the day when you're awake. Unless you are nocturnal too, this is just not ideal. They are also quite loud when they're awake.

Video source:

Female chinchillas can be very aggressive toward males and other females, especially during the mating season. In the wild their diet consists mainly of grass, seeds, insects and bird eggs. Like beavers, their teeth never stop growing so they need to gnaw on things a lot!

There are 2 types of chinchilla: the Chinchilla lanigera which has a long tail, and the Chinchilla chinchilla which has a short tail. They are small, weighing about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds. Domesticated chinchillas can live up to 20 years! They are social animals and they get sad when they're alone.

Here's an interesting fact about chinchillas: ironically, chinchillas keep their beautiful fur clean by rolling around in dust. In fact, chinchillas should never be bathed in water. What?!?

Photo source: By Guérin Nicolas (messages) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Bolivia for Kids Blog.