Last Modified

June 6, 2022 by Umair Shahid

The chinchillas are rodents that belong to the family Rodentia. However, are chinchillas related to rats? The simple answer is Yes. The chinchillas belong to the same family as squirrels, mice, rats, hamsters, and other rodents living in underground burrows. The rodents have sharp teeth, and they love to shred the fabrics.

We can identify the rodents by their teeth. The chinchillas, like other rodents, have four incisors on the front side of their teeth. The chinchillas have two incisors in each of the upper jaw and the lower jaw. The researchers relate this trait and many other traits, proving that chinchillas are relatives of rats.

Are chinchillas related to rats?

What are chinchillas?

Chinchillas are little animals having acrobatic dexterity. Their natural habitat is in the mountains of Chile. They love to jump and play around. We relate the chinchillas to guinea pigs and porcupines. The guinea pigs and porcupines are also members of the rodent family.

The chinchillas belong to the genus Chinchilla, while the rats belong to the genus Rattus. The chinchillas are adorable little pets that people love to keep because of their soft and dense fur.

Some people also relate chinchillas to porcupines. The chinchillas are not marsupial mammals. They are the crepuscular rodents native to the Andes mountains of Chile. They are long-lived rodents with a good survival rate. They can survive up to 20 years.

The chinchillas also have anatomical similarities with the rodents. They have short forelimbs to capture the food. The hind limbs can support their jumps on elevations. Their small eyes, large ears, long tails, and thick neck makes them looks exactly like a rat but larger.

What are Rats?

The rats are medium-sized rodents belonging to the genus Rattus. These little animals act as pets for humans. They live underground forming colonies in the fields and destroying the crops. In houses, they destroy food storage and many other household items. Unlike chinchillas, they live on the ground level, not on the elevations. The chinchillas have the softest fur in the world. No other rodent has such a fur coat.

The rats range from 5 to 12 inches in size. Their habitat is all around the world, and they are nocturnal animals. They live in groups called packs, making underground burrows. The brown rats have only one leader, that is the largest male in the pack. However, other rat species can have several males and females to lead the pack.

There are many characteristics of chinchillas that are common to rats. Some of these traits are as follows:


The typical rodents have large sharp incisors that never stop growing. The chinchillas and rats both have this trait. These rodents love to shred and gnaw all the time to prevent the overgrowth of their teeth.

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The rats and chinchillas both lack canine teeth. They have two upper and two lower front incisors. There are 16 teeth in rats and 20 teeth in chinchillas. The rats do not have any premolars, while the chinchillas have 4 premolars as well.


Both the rats and chinchillas are herbivores in nature. They feed on seeds and leaves in their wild habitat. They also love fruits, but many fruit seeds can cause toxicities in both species. They mostly feed on nuts, seeds, and grains. Sometimes they also act as omnivores.


Both the rats and chinchillas love to live in colonies. They make underground burrows and tunnels joining several colonies. The hundreds of chinchillas live together on a hill. Similarly, the rats also live the same way. They employ their fecal material to make hard rocks inside the burrows. These rocks support tunnels making massive colonization spaces in mountains and fields.

Frequently Asked Question:

  1. Are chinchillas rodents or marsupials?

The chinchillas are not marsupials. They do not have a pouch to hold and feed their newborn babies. They are rodents that give birth to their babies in underground burrows. Chinchillas in captivity also need hiding dens. They are very shy animals that belong to the rodent family.

  • Do chinchillas and rats have similar teeth?

The chinchillas have teeth like the other animals of the rodent family. They have sharp front incisors. They do not have any canines because they are herbivores. However, chinchillas and rats both can behave as omnivores sometimes. The chinchillas also have premolars and molars. While the rats have only molars. The chinchillas have 20 teeth, and the rats have 16 teeth in their oral cavity.


The chinchillas are very smart pets. Are chinchillas related to rats? Having a look at all the similarities, I can say that with certainty.

The chinchillas are related to rats. We can also relate chinchillas to the other animals of the rodent family. They have the same colonization behavior. They have similar eating and playing habits. They have anatomical similarities. All these similarities point in the same direction.

Author 2

I am a proud veterinarian from Lahore, Pakistan. A passionate animal lover who pursued her passion for animal care as a career.
My eagerness to learn and my love for animals grew stronger even during my teenage days. Having a lovely pet, a German Shepherd, in my home allowed me to bond with animals in the best way.
This bonding with my pet provided me with a firm foundation to research and preach about the best animal care methods.

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