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Saturday, 5 April 2014

Chinchilla

The chinchilla (whose name literally means "little chincha") is named after the Chincha people of the Andes, who once wore its dense, velvet-like fur.

Chinchilla fur is so dense that fleas and other skin parasites will suffocate if they try to live in it.

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in South America in the 1600s, they discovered the chinchilla. They immediately saw its potential in the fur trade, and brought the pelts back to Spain, which became much prized among the nobles.

By the end of the 19th century, the widespread demand for chinchilla fur nearly led to the animal's extinction.

Commercial breeding in the United States began with 11 animals brought to California from the Andes mountains in 1923. All chinchillas presently in North America are descended from these eleven chinchillas.


Over the last 15 years, up to 90% of wild chinchillas have been killed for their fur—one coat can require up to 150 pelts.

Chinchillas can live 12 to 20 years – an exceptionally long life span for a rodent.

They have an exceptionally long pregnancy, 111 days. So babies pop out ready-to-go.

Conservation laws now protect the wild chinchilla. They are currently listed as a critically endangered species by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Source Wikipedia

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