Chinchillas are type of furry small animal that did originate in South American. They have thick, tight, luxurious fur. In the wild they live to be from approximately 10 to near 20 years. Their longevity is greater in your home with a span of ten to twenty (10 to 20 years).
Early in the 1900s chinchillas were about to be wiped off the face of the earth. They were methodically being hunted and killed for their fur. It takes about 90 chinchillas pelts to make just one fur coat. Animal lovers upon seeing their dwindling numbers eleven (11) chinchillas were rescued and brought back to the United States. One of the rescued animals died and one was born keeping a community of eleven. All the chinchillas in the United States are descendants from the original 11 imported by the animal lovers.
Chinchillas are nocturnal, which means that they are active at night. They spend their days resting. They need to be sheltered from disturbances and noise during that time. They are sensitive to noise and stress, so approach them in a silent way. They are intelligent, mischievous and social, but they can be friendly to their owners. A chinchillas disposition has ranges. But, a chinchillas temperament is inherent meaning that they will always be what they are when you first get it. If they are calm they will remain calm. If they are mean they will stay mean.
They may be shy or tend to run, when you first bring a new chinchilla home. This does not mean that they will always view you as a menace. Spend time with your chinchilla so they will get to know you. You need to get their confidence and they may even get to a point where they come to you for a little tickle behind the ear. Although they do not enjoy being cuddled or held but some chinchillas will allow you to hold them. When you hold them make sure you use both hands and support their back legs in one hand, and their front feet slightly higher than the back with the other hand. Hold them up against your body to make them feel more secure.
Like all types of rodents, a chinchilla needs to munch in order to keep their teeth healthy and filed down. Help them out by giving them with safe chewable such as sticks instead of their food bowls and cage bars. Amazingly, chinchillas are able to make a variety of sounds. They make a variety of squeals and squeaks and odd sounding barks. They are mostly silent and they seldom make vocal sounds. Most of the noises from an active chinchilla come from their gnawing rearranging of the things in their cage or running on their wheel.
Unfortunately, chinchillas do not make good pets for someone who has allergies to animal fur or dust. They do not always make good pets for children because they do not like to be held and cuddled.