ABOUT THE CHINCHILLA
Chinchillas are one of the friendliest and cleanest animals. Chinchilla is a distinct species; a rodent that is genetically not related to any other.
They are 10-12 inches long when full grown. They have a long bush tail, slightly more than ½ the body length, which comes up over their back. An average size of a full grown chinchilla weighs 16-24 ounces.
They have prominent beautiful dark eyes and small short erect ears. They have long sensitive whiskers. The front legs are comparatively short and small whereas the hind legs are strong – much like a kangaroo. They have no claws and use their front feet as hands.
The very luxurious quality and fine texture of the Chinchilla have led people to believe the animal is fragile. This is not true. Even though they are soft and cuddly, they are a very hardy animal. They have absolutely no odor, make very little noise and are gentle and easy to raise. They have no fleas, ticks or lice and are virtually parasite free. They clean themselves by tumbling in a pan of pumice dust.
The fur itself is Chinchilla’s claim to fame. Chinchillas have 80-100 hairs per follicle compared to two or three in other fur bearing animals. The fur of a Chinchilla is about ¾” to 1” in length and stands totally erect and perpendicular to the skin. Another outstanding characteristic of Chinchilla is its triple tone color, making it impossible to imitate as is the common practice when cheap fur is dyed to look like higher priced furs. Each fur fiber has three distinct colors. Next to the skin is a deep slate gray extending about half the length of the fur. Above that is a band of white 1/8” wide, then a dark outer tip which we call veiling. This triple toned color gives Chinchilla a shimmering glow that almost defies description.
Chinchilla fur is the lightest weight fur because the leather is very soft and pliable, and is extremely light weight. Other furs are heavy, bulky and pull on the shoulders when worn. It has been said that a square yard of Chinchilla weighs no more than a square yard of silk. The density and fineness of the fur gives it a unique softness that is almost impossible to feel.
In contrast to all other fur bearing animals, this little animal has absolutely no odor. If shavings are changed every week to ten days, there won’t even be odors from the bedding or cage. This is one reason for the Chinchilla gaining such popularity for home ranching. Chinchillas are nocturnal. They generally sleep during the day and feed at night.
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