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Scientific Name: Chinchilla lanigera

The chinchilla is in the mammal class (Mammalia). They are rodents (Rodentia), and their family is called the Chinchillidae (Chinchillas and Visachas).

Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents, native to the Andes mountains in South America. They live in colonies at high altitudes. Historically, they lived in the Andes of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, but today colonies in the wild remain only in Peru and Chile. Along with their relatives, viscachas, they make up the family Chinchillidae.
The animal (whose name literally means "little chincha") is named after the Chincha people of the Andes, who once wore its dense, velvet-like fur.By the end of the 19th century, chinchillas had become quite rare due to hunting for their ultra-soft fur. Most chinchillas currently used by the fur industry for clothing and other accessories are farm-raised.
The two living species of chinchilla are Chinchilla brevicaudata and Chinchilla lanigera. There is little noticeable difference between the species, except C. chinchilla has a shorter tail, a thicker neck and shoulders, and shorter ears than C. lanigera. The former species is currently facing extinction; the latter, though rare, can be found in the wild.[6] Domesticated chinchillas are thought to have come from the C. lanigera species.
In nature, chinchillas live in social groups that resemble colonies, but are properly called herds. They can breed any time of the year. Their gestation period is 111 days, longer than most rodents. Due to this long pregnancy, chinchillas are born fully furred and with eyes open. Litters are usually small in number, predominantly two.

Life Span: Typically about 15 years, but 18-22 years is not uncommon.

Size: Body length about 10-14 inches; tail is another 5-6 inches or so.

Temperament: With gentle handling from a young age most chinchillas will become quite tame and bond closely with their owners, although sometimes they do not like to be held or cuddled. They are very active and playful. Chinchillas can be kept singly, and usually will do fine as same sex pairs especially if they are litter mates or introduced at a young age.

Habits: Chinchillas are largely nocturnal so will be most active at night. Sometimes they are called crepuscular, meaning their activity peaks at dawn and dusk. In any case, they should be kept in a fairly quiet area during the day. They prefer a consistent routine for handling a feeding times and may be stressed out by changes to their routine. Since they are so active and playful, chinchillas need a roomy cage for exercise as well as daily playtime. Warm temperatures are more of a concern for chinchillas than cool temperatures, so care must be taken that pet chinchllas do not become overheated.

Feeding: Chinchillas require a lot of roughage, and the diet should mainly be made up of a good quality grass hay along with pellets made for chinchillas. Treats should be given in moderation (one teaspoon per day in total). The digestive system of chinchillas is fairly sensitive so any diet changes should be gradual.

Cages: Chinchilla cages must be large, and multi-level cages with platforms, ramps, and perches are ideal.

Chinchillas are pretty much odor free.  Some people are allergic to their dust however.Along with regular access to a dust bath, chinchillas need a variety of toys to keep them busy and active, especially items for chewing to keep the incisor teeth in good condition.

Standard gray is the natural color of a chinchilla, however many mutation and mutation hybrid colors are being bred. Standard gray colors are usually classed as light, medium, dark and extra dark. Standards should have a pure white belly and a blue hue. Some mutation colors are beige, beige bothe, homo beige, hetero beige, wellman beige, beige recessive, rzewski beige, tower beige, sullivan beige, tan and pastel, homo tan, dark tan, pearls (which are considered beige violets), ebony (coming in light, medium, dark and extra dark), (hetero ebony is another name for the medium ebony), ebony mosaic, solid white sapphire, white sapphire, white violet, white, pink white, albino (which is usually a pink white not a true albino although albinos can occur in any species including humans), tan white, pink white, white, silver, wilson white, white tail or sometimes called recessive white, stone white, solid violet or violet wrap, sullivan violet (which is a lavender), ultra violet or TOV violet, black velvet, brown velvet, violet and goldbar, sapphire, larsen sapphire, tasco, french blue, busse, royal blue, young lavender-brown, brown velvet, charcoal, sakrison, charbrown, blue diamond, gunning black, lester black, treadwell black, among others. Note these are not all official names; some are slang names people have come up with. Some of these mutation colors are now extinct, although people breeding them are constantly coming up with new ones.

The Chinchilla originated from South America. In the early 1900s the chinchilla was almost extinct because they were killed for their fur. It takes 80-100 chinchillas to make a single fur coat. In 1918 a gentleman by the name of Mathias F. Chapman was working in Chile when he saw his first chinchilla. He set out to save them from extinction. Chapman and 23 other men spent the next 3 years trying to trap the chinchillas. Because they were so scarce they were only able to capture 11. It took 12 months to bring these 11 chinchillas down the mountain of Chile. They took every precaution necessary so they would not lose any to the temperature changes they encountered on the way down. During the shipment to the U.S. one chinchilla died and a new one was born. These 11 chinchillas were the beginning breeding stock for all of the chinchillas in the United States today. By the middle of the 1960s, thousands of chins were being raised throughout the United States and Canada.


a) Infectious Diseases:
1. Enteritis (Intestinal Infection)
One of the most common disease conditions of chinchillas is enteritis, which is an infection of the digestive tract. In many cases, the exact cause may not be determined. Bacterial, viral and protozoal agents have all been associated with the syndrome. A few specific agents include Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhimurium, E. coli and Giardia. Poor husbandry and management is often associated with an outbreak. Clinical signs are variable, ranging from depression to death. The chinchilla often exhibits diarrhea, but not consistently. Other signs of illness include loss of appetite, partial paralysis, and a painful abdomen. Examination of the feces through fecal flotations, direct smears, and cultures may reveal the causative agent. Veterinary care and treatment must be sought at the first sign of illness. Treatment of enteritis involves appropriate antibiotic therapy and supportive care. This disease is often fatal despite aggressive therapy due to the severity of the illness.
2. Pneumonia (Respiratory Infection)
Pneumonia is another common condition observed in chinchillas which is caused by a number of disease agents. Bordetella, Pasteurella, Pseudomonas and E. coli are a few of the bacterial species commonly associated with the syndrome. Damp, drafty housing often predisposes the pet to this condition. Clinical signs include discharge from the eyes and nose, loss of appetite, and rough hair coat. Death may result from this respiratory disease. Treatment involves supportive care and antibiotics.
3. Ringworm
Trichophyton mentagrophytes is the typical agent in chinchillas with ringworm. It causes hair loss and scabby red lesions on the nose, feet, and around the eyes. This is a very serious problem with fur ranchers due to the damage to the chinchilla's hair coat. Treatment involves the use of griseofulvin as prescribed by your veterinarian.

b) Non-Infectious Diseases
1. Malocclusion / Slobbers
This condition is characterized by drooling of saliva onto the fur under the chin. Other signs include inappetence, sores in the mouth, and loss of fur under the chin The underlying cause is overgrowth of the molars (cheek teeth). Mineral imbalances as well as poor dental alignment lead to overgrown and maloccluded teeth. Temporary treatment involves clipping of the affected teeth and proper mineral supplementation. Providing wood or mineral blocks for the chinchilla to chew may aid in prevention, but many cases have a genetic basis.
2. Fur Slip
Chinchillas often lose patches of fur when roughly handled. Another common cause is fighting among the chinchillas. This condition does not injure the pet but ruins the pelt of animals raised for fur.
3. Barbering / Fur Chewing
Barbering is the condition where a chinchilla chews on its own or anothers fur resulting in a rough, moth-eaten appearing coat. Some of the underlying causes of this behavior include boredom, dirty fur, dietary imbalances and hereditary factors. This condition is a serious problem in the pelt industry. Providing the animals with chew toys as well as selective breeding often aid in decreasing the incidence within a colony.
4. Heat Stroke
High temperatures and high humidity are not tolerated well by chinchillas. Most problems occur in situations where the cage is placed in direct sunlight and poorly ventilated. Affected animals will be lying on their sides and panting. They also feel hot to the touch because of elevated body temperature. Animals in high humidity will also exhibit unkept, damp fur. Treatment involves misting or bathing them in cold water or applying rubbing alcohol to their foot pads. Veterinary assistance should be sought for further recommendations and treatment.

Roles with humans:
a) Fur industry
Their fur is popular in the fur trade due to its extremely soft feel, which is caused by the sprouting of 60 hairs from each hair follicle, on average. The color is usually very even. Full-length coat made from chinchilla fur may require as many as 150 pelts, as chinchillas are relatively small. Their use for fur led to the extinction of one species, and put serious pressure on the other two. Though it is illegal to hunt wild chinchillas, the wild animals are now on the verge of becoming extinct because of continued illegal hunting. Domesticated chinchillas are still bred for this use.
b) Chinchillas as pets:
Chinchillas lack the ability to sweat; therefore, if temperatures get above 25°C, they could get overheated and may suffer from heat stroke. Chinchillas dissipate heat by routing blood to their large ears, so red ears signal overheating.
Chinchillas can be found in a variety of colors. The only color found in nature is standard gray. The most common other colors are white, black velvet, beige, ebony, violet, and sapphire, and blends of these.
The animals instinctively clean their fur by taking dust baths, in which they roll around in special dust made of fine pumice. In the wild, the dust is formed from fine, ground volcanic rocks. The dust gets into their fur and absorbs oil and dirt. These baths are needed a few times a week. Chinchillas do not bathe in water because the dense fur prevents air-drying, retaining moisture close to the skin, which can cause fungus growth or fur rot. A wet chinchilla must be dried immediately with towels and a no-heat hair dryer. The thick fur resists parasites, such as fleas, and reduces loose dander, making chinchillas hypoallergenic.
c) In scientific research:
The chinchilla is often used as an animal model in researching the auditory system, because the chinchilla's range of hearing (20 Hz to 30 kHz) and cochlear size is close to that of a human, and the chinchilla cochlea is fairly easy to access.[19] Other research fields in which chinchillas are used as an animal model include the study of Chagas disease, gastrointestinal diseases, pneumonia, and some infections.
The first scientific study on chinchilla sounds in their social environment was conducted by Dr. Bartl in Germany.

About our nursery:
Our nursery of decorative chinchillas is located near Yekaterinburg, in an environmentally friendly place.
It is called "Shining Chinchillas". In total in nursery there live about 250 individuals.
The most part is chinchillas of a color Standard Grey. Also there are color mutations, such as
Our specialization is decorative chinchillas and breeding chinchillas for cultivation. Our purpose - to receive and fix the best qualities of a chinchilla regarding the size, the form of a body, health, purity of a color, fertility, care of descendants.
We participate every year in local and regional exhibitions of the chinchillas which judges are experts of world level. For example, Rebbeka Volden from Norway was the expert of the last exhibition.

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