Chinchillas are two species of crepuscular rodents, slightly larger and more robust than ground squirrels. They are native to the Andes mountains in South America and live in colonies called “herds” at high elevations up to 14,000 ft. Historically, chinchillas lived in an area that included parts of Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Chile, but today colonies in the wild are known only in Chile. Along with their relatives, viscachas, they make up the family Chinchillidae.
Both species of chinchilla are currently listed as a critically endangered species by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to a severe population loss approximated at a 90% global population loss over the last 15 years. The severe population decline has been caused by chinchilla hunting by humans.
They are nocturnal animals meaning that they are mostly awake at night.
Did You Know?
Chinchillas have the softest fur in all of land mammals.