Scientific Name: Chinchillidae laniger

Habitat: AndesMountainswith elevation of up to 17,000 feet

Diet: Grass, herbs, bark and leaves.

Life Span: 10 years in the wild, 15/20 in captivity

Nature Notes: This incredibly soft rodent has been hunted nearly to extinction because of their incredibly soft fur. It takes over 100 Chinchillas to make a single fur coat.  Currently there are over 3,000 chinchilla farmers in theU.S.  Chinchillas are listed on the endangered species list in their native land. Their fur is made up of soft, dense hairs.  Each follicle grows 60 to 80 hairs, and each hair is split into 10 to 20 hairs at the top. Chinchillas are nocturnal animals, with long whiskers that help them feel their surroundings. They have a long tail that aids in balance.  Chinchillas do not bathe in water.  They take a dust bath instead.