Our newest Animal of the Week is often very popular, because they are believed to have the softest fur of all animals on the planet! Can you guess who it is? That’s right Defenders, it’s the cute & cuddly Chinchilla! These adorable animals are part of the rodent family, along with the capybara, mice, guinea pigs, and even more. So just like all those rodents, the teeth of a chinchilla will never stop growing! This means they need a lot of hard things to eat in their diet to keep their teeth in shape, like nuts & seeds. Chinchillas are often popular as pets, and that soft feel is attributed to them having the densest fur of all land animals…however the sea otter beats them in the water for this trophy.
Are They A Friendly Rodent?
Chinchillas are definitely active animals and love to play and explore. When handled gently from a young age, they often form very close bonds with humans they come into contact with regularly. However like any animal, each individual has their own personality, and some will bond easier than others. Sometimes a chinchilla will not want to be held so it’s important to respect their space when they want to be alone, as they can revert to biting if they are uncomfortable.
Why Can You Not Get A Chinchilla Wet?
Many people have heard the rule that you shouldn’t get a chinchilla wet, and usually that is the truth. Unlike us humans or many other animals, chinchillas do not bathe in water to clean themselves, but instead take dust baths. These dust baths are similar to us bathing & showering – it helps the chinchilla keep their fur coats clean & healthy. They won’t magically turn into gremlins if they get wet though, so it’s OK if they get a little wet while drinking water or tasting ice cubes.
Do They Stink?
Unlike many critters, a chinchilla is generally an odorless animal. If you notice a weird smell around a chinchilla, it might have a health issue so it’s important to take them to a vet soon. Sometimes a chinchilla can have dental issues because of those ever growing teeth. There housing needs to be cleaned regularly, and sometimes just like humans animals can get sick from daily interactions. So if you come across a chinchilla that’s a little stinky, make sure the owner knows so they can get the animal cared for!
Where Can You Find A Chinchilla In The Wild?
These rodents native to South America, and at one time were found in various countries. Wild chinchillas have been historically found in Argentina, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, as well as the Andes Mountain. Nowadays they are only found in the wild in Chile, and the wild species are actually listed as endangered.
Do They Have Sensitive Hearing?
Like many rodents, and animals with larger ears in general, chinchillas do have more sensitive hearing than us humans. In their natural habitat this hearing helps with identifying predators and staying safe. While their hearing isn’t the most sensitive of all animals, it’s always important to be mindful of the volume when around smaller animals with bigger ears.
Thanks for checking out our newest Animal of the Week! If you think you’re a chinchilla master, come test yourself with our quiz, and remember to keep exploring and defending wildlife! See you next time, Defenders!