These native South-Americans can safely compete for the title of the cutest pets around the world. While the chances are you might not be able to see them in their natural habitat unless you travel to northern Chile, in the Andes Mountains, that should not stop you from learning more about these fantastic animals.
You may know well that chinchillas are often grown for their fur, but you may not be that well aware that they make quite excellent pets. Here are some interesting things about them.
Chinchillas can chew through almost anything
It is imperative to provide for your chinchilla if you don’t want everything you have around the house to end up chewed and destroyed. Because their teeth grow all the time – around 12 inches each year of their lives – they need to adjust the size of their dentition by chewing on things. The type of food you should give your chinchilla should stave this chewing craving, too.
Their fur is so soft because of the numerous hairs growing on each follicle
Even the locals living in the Andes Mountains used to hunt chinchillas for their furs, their soft coat being famous for a long time. One reason why people love to pet chinchillas is due to their fantastic soft fur. To give you an idea why their coat is so fabulous, let’s see some numbers.
From one follicle, a chinchilla will grow around 70-80 hairs. In comparison, human hairs grow only two or three from the same follicle.
Grooming consists of dust baths
A chinchilla will never be too fond of water, because of the long time it would need to have all that long and fluffy hair dry out. However, they are fantastic self-groomers, and they do not like their soft hair to remain unkempt and ugly. To get rid of all the dirt and extra oil from their fur, chinchillas take dust baths.
Chinchillas don’t see well
If you take a good look at your chinchilla, you will notice those big cute eyes. However, you should know that these animals don’t have excellent eyesight. Instead of using their eyes, on which they cannot count too well, they ‘see’ with their whiskers, which are almost as long as half their bodies.
Climbers and jumpers
You might not suspect this just by looking at a pack of chinchillas, but these animals are amazing climbers and jumpers. Don’t forget where they come from. In their natural habitat, which is the Andes Mountains, they climb with ease on rocky formations, and they can jump from heights as high as 6 feet.
They are extremely lovable creatures
We’re not talking here only about how cute they are, or how soft their fur is. Between them, chinchillas are very affectionate. In other rodent species, you may encounter cases in which males kill babies, but, male chinchillas can even stay and babysit their young when the mother is away. Also, lactating chinchillas will adopt the babies of other females, if the mothers of those young ones do not have enough milk of their own.