Last Modified

June 11, 2022 by Umair Shahid

These pets are rodents that are native to the Andes Mountains of northern Chile and they belong to the same family as mice, rats, and other similar creatures. Chinchillas are exotic rodents belonging to the Chinchillidae family. The suborder group is Hystricognatha and is related to guinea pigs and degus.

These pets are social rodents that live in a community of up to 100 animals. They have the same characteristics that are found in rodents. These pets are good-looking animals with large heads, large hairless ears, and bushy tails and they have some teeth which are unique to all rodents.

Is Chinchilla a rodent?

These pets are rodents and belong to the Chinchillidae family and are associated with guinea pigs and degus around 40% of all these mammals are rodents. Most rodents are herbivores and some are omnivores.

They share all the characteristics that are used to define a rodent. Chinchillas have sharp and continuously growing teeth like other rodents. So, to prevent dental problems they need something chewable all the time. You can provide them hay or wooden chewable toys all the time to avoid the overgrowth of their teeth.

Normally, rodents are identifiable by their teeth. They have four middle teeth in front of their mouth. Two of these teeth are present on the upper jaw and the other two on the lower jaw. Chinchillas are adorable and unique pets that are long-lived rodents.

Taxonomic classification

Chinchillas belong to class Mammalia. The order is Rodentia, family is Chinchillidae. The subfamily and genus are also Chinchillidae.

Species of chinchilla

Chinchillas have two species. Don’t forget that they belong to the rodent family but now I am talking about their species. These little creatures are endangered and now they have only two living species. One specie is Chinchilla chinchilla formerly known as brevicaudata and chinchilla langiera.

 Chinchilla brevicaudata have thick necks, short tails, thick shoulders, and short ears. Chinchilla lanigera has longer tails, ears, and thicker neck and shoulder than C.chinchilla.

 The species formerly called Chinchilla brevicaudata are on the verge of extinction. The latter specie is also rare but it can be found in the wild. Domesticated chinchillas are thought to be of the Chinchilla lanigera family.

Chinchillas are herbivores

Chinchillas are those rodents that are herbivores and they feed exclusively on plant materials like seeds, stems, leaves, flowers, and roots. Chinchillas love to eat any vegetation that grows around them. They eat fruits, flowers, hay, grasses, and leaves.

They have chewable habits because of their continuously growing teeth. They need something to chew all the time. Otherwise, they will face dental problems. There are times when they can eat insects, but only when their food is scarce in dry areas in the wild.

The cellulose-eating rodents have a structure called the cecum. This pouch is capable of processing and breaking down tough plant material into digestible form.

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Chinchillas have teeth like other rodents

They have specialized teeth for chewing and gnawing. They have a single pair of incisors in each jaw and they also have a large gap called diastema present between molars and incisors.

The incisor teeth of chinchillas like other rodents grow continuously and can only be maintained by proper use. By chewing continuously, their teeth remain of the correct length. They also have multiple pairs of molars and premolars.

Reproduction

Female chinchillas give birth to their kits two times a year. Most chinchillas breed between May to November in the northern hemispheres and from November to May in the southern hemisphere.

The pregnant female chinchillas carry their embryo in the womb for 111 days. The interesting fact is that chinchillas can give birth to up to 6 kits. You should take well care of your pregnant chinchillas as per the advice of a veterinarian. They normally give birth to 2 kits.

FAQS

Which species of chinchilla is kept as a pet?

The specie of chinchilla called Chinchilla lanigera is rare but it is kept as a pet in various regions. This organism of this specie is therefore called domesticated chinchillas.

What are Chinchillas related to?

Chinchillas are related to guinea pigs and porcupines. Chinchillas appear like mini-eared rabbits or small baby kangaroos. Chinchillas have front short legs and long energetic hind legs. There are two species of Chinchillas.

Conclusion

Chinchillas come with unique notions and belong to Class Mammalia and order Rodentia. Chinchillas have two species Chinchilla brevicaudata and Chinchilla lanigera. The former species is now endangered the latter one is rare but it can be still found in wild.

The domesticated specie of Chinchilla is Chinchilla lanigera. Chinchillas are herbivores and they love to eat leaves, stems, fruits, and vegetables. Even hay should be present all the time as they need something to chew 24/7.

Chinchillas have teeth like other rodents. Their teeth continuously grow especially incisors. They contain a pair of incisors in both jaws. They also have multiple pairs of premolars and molars.

Female Chinchillas can give birth two times a year. They keep their younger ones in their womb for 111 days. They normally have two little kits.

Author

I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.

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