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Chinchillas are one of the longest-living rodents native to the Andes mountains of Northern Chile, in the family Chinchillidae. Often kept as pets, chinchillas are prized for their extremely soft bluish-grey fur and were nearly driven to extinction because of the demand.
See the fact file below for more information on the chinchillas or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Chinchilla worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The chinchilla is named after the American Indian tribe “Chincha” of the Andes, known for wearing dense, velvet-like fur. First appearing 41 million years ago, their ancestors were some of the earliest rodents known to inhabit South America.
- There are only two (2) living species: Chinchilla chinchilla (short-tailed chinchilla) and Chinchilla lanigera (long-tailed chinchilla).
- Related to guinea pigs and porcupines, chinchillas have a velvety, thick fur coat (as many as 60 hairs per follicle) in brown, black, white, or a mix of these colors. They have bushy tails, large eyes, short front legs, well-developed hind limbs, and forefeet with four toes. Chinchillas also have bristles to help provide traction on rocky terrain.
- Chinchillas are primarily folivorous, feeding on any type of vegetation, mainly on grass and seeds. There may be times they feed on insects and bird eggs. The animal sits up on its hind legs to eat, using its front paws to bring the food to its mouth.
- They need a high fiber diet due to their sensitive digestive system. Hence, a low protein diet will result in a dull and thin coat.
- In dry habitats, they depend on morning dew and the flesh and fruit of cacti for water.
- Living in the barren, arid, rugged areas of the Andes of northern Chile at altitudes of 3,000 to 5,000 m (9,800 to 16,400 ft), chinchillas live in burrows or crevices in rocks.
- They can tolerate freezing temperatures, but cannot survive in temperatures higher than 80°F (27°C). High temperatures and humidity can cause them to suffer from heat stroke.
- Known for being a popular pet to own, they need a safe home – the correct combination of cage, bedding, toys, and other accessories.
- The breeding season is November to May in the Northern Hemisphere. Pregnancy in females lasts longer than in other rodents – 111 days.
- Chinchillas usually give birth to only one or two babies, called “kits”. They are born with their eyes open, and bodies fully covered in fur. Young chinchillas are ready to mate four (4) months after birth.
- Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents; they are active during twilight hours. Night decreases visibility and provides protection against their predators – snakes, canines, felines, skunks, and birds of prey.
- During daytime, they take a rest while staying hidden in the crevices and tiny holes in rocks. They can sleep in an upright position.
- To maintain a healthy coat, chinchillas take dust baths. Their fur is dense so they roll around in dust and volcanic ash to stay clean.
- They have a range of defenses against predators including running lightning fast, darting for cover, spraying urine, and releasing a clump of fur in the mouth of an attacker if bitten.
- Threats to chinchillas persist, like illegal hunting, habitat loss, mining, and firewood extraction. The IUCN places them as an endangered species. Sharing chinchilla information and providing up-close encounters with these rodents will inspire people to conserve them.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the chinchillas across 262 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Chinchilla worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the chinchillas which are one of the longest-living rodents native to the Andes mountains of Northern Chile, in the family Chinchillidae. Often kept as pets, chinchillas are prized for their extremely soft bluish-grey fur and were nearly driven to extinction because of the demand.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Chinchilla Facts
- Chinchilla Species
- Chinchilla Quiz
- Predator VS Prey
- Chinchilla or Not?
- Chinchilla Color Morphs
- Fur Slip
- Save the Chinchillas
- Case Studies
- Chillin’ Chinchilla
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Link will appear as Chinchilla Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 19, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.