Scientific Name: Chinchilla lanigera


Habitat & Range
Chinchillas are native to South America and mainly inhabit the Andes in Bolivia, Chile and Peru. They exist only in high altitudes and live in burrows or crevices in rocks.

Name: PICHU (male); TOM (male); JERRY (male)
Born: Pichu - 09/01/2007; Tom - 04/15/2009; Jerry - 04/15/14
Arrived at EPZ: Pichu - 01/09/2008; Tom - 02/02/17; Jerry - 02/02/17

This animal is not on exhibit. It is part of our educational collection and may only be seen in programs inside or outside of the zoo.
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Chinchillas are known for their very soft, dense fur that ranges in shades of gray. Their body shape is similar to that of a rabbit, with broad hindquarters and a curved back. They have large, round ears atop their head and a long, bushy tail. They average 8 to 15 inches in length and weigh 1 to 2 pounds.

Chinchillas are herbivores and eat any available vegetation. When eating, they sit upright and hold their food in their forepaws. They prefer grass and seeds but will occasionally eat insects and eggs.

Reproduction & Lifespan
Chinchillas can breed any time of year. Their gestation period is longer than most rodents, with an average of 110 days. Litter size ranges from 1 to 6, with females usually having 2 litters per year.

The lifespan of a chinchilla in the wild is approximately 10 years, while one that is domesticated can live for up to 20 years.

Fantastic Fact
Heard Around the World
Chinchillas are used in many countries as a model in researching the auditory system because their range of hearing and cochlear size are very similar to that of a human. In addition, the shape of their ear makes the cochlea easy to access.

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