Powernubby.com – Are Chinchillas Rodents? Chinchillas are members of the rodent family that are native to the jungles of the Andes. The word chinchilla is Spanish and means “little chincha.” Though chinchillas resemble fat little hamsters, they are actually quite fast and agile.
Most Americans are familiar with chinchillas as a source of high quality fur. Chinchillas have a thick, bushy coat that can be found in a variety of colors. Unfortunately this beauty has led to the chinchilla being listed as an endangered species in their native habitats. If something isn’t done to save them, the chinchilla will soon disappear from the Earth.
Though chinchillas are closely related to both hamsters and guinea pigs, they do not make good pets. They have a natural desire for freedom and do not do well in a cage. If you insist of trying to keep one of these energetic animals as a pet, make sure you provide it with plenty of space to move around. The chinchilla is a natural climber and needs to be able to exercise this instinct in captivity. Make sure the cage provides it with ladders or pieces of wood for it to climb on. As much as possible, let the animal out of the cage to take advantage of an opportunity to exercise its energetic tendencies. Usually, chinchillas are not considered good pets and do not do well in that sort of captivity.
The chinchilla originated in the cool jungles and forests of the Andes Mountains in Peru and Bolivia. They eat fruit, seeds and small insects in the wild, but can be given hay in captivity. Chinchillas live in burrows or under rocks in the mountainous terrain of their native habitats. Natural enemies such as birds and snakes present a problem and much of a wild chinchilla’s time is spent seeking protection from such threats. Dogs also pose a threat to these furry and evidently tasty rodents and if you keep one as a pet, make sure that your pet dog cannot get to it.
Besides needing space to play, chinchillas also need privacy. They are used to living in burrows that are protected from intrusion. A captive chinchilla should have a place where they can seek shelter to rest and breed if that is what you desire. Keep in mind that like all rodents, chinchillas need to gnaw in order to keep their perpetually growing teeth under control. If you don’t provide them with something, they will take it upon themselves to chew to pieces anything within their reach. A captive chinchilla can quickly chew his way out of most cages if left to his own devices.
Are Chinchillas Rodents? The answes is YES. But chinchillas are not the best of pets, but if properly cared for they can do fine in captivity. Try to keep their natural environment in mind when providing them with their living area and the animal should have no problems.