A Brief History Kyla Leaver

  • Place of origin of the Chinchilla:
  • As stated in the introduction video, Chinchillas are native to the Andes Mountains in South America. They lived in an area that included parts of Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Chile. However, because of high demand in the pet industry, Chinchillas are extinct in all of those areas except Chile, who has said to have a small wild population. It is said that wild Chinchillas reside in the Antofagasta Region of Chile.
  • Habitat:
  • Due to the environment that these rodents live in, Chinchillas are known to live in cave-like crevices or burrow in the ground.
  • Fun fact:
  • Chinchillas never migrated and has remained in the same area since the beginning of their existence (until humans got involved that is.)
Area in which Chinchillas can be found.
  • Name origin:
  • The Chinchilla received its name from the Spanish who named it after the Chincha Indians, who had used the fur and introduced it to the Incas. Chinchilla means Little Chincha in Spanish. When the Spaniards discovered them, they were already wearing furs which is thought to have occurred long before the Inca Empire. The Incas started as a small warlike tribe in Peru sometime around 1100 AD.
Illustration of two Chinchillas
  • Domestication:
  • Domestication began when the Chincha tribes kept Chinchillas in captivity to breed for their fur. In 1923, Matthius F. Chapman shipped 11 healthy Chinchillas into the U.S. to breed them in captivity as well. Around this time, Europe started bringing the rodents into their zoo's for the public to see. For the most part, Chinchillas were only used for their "valuable" and "rare" fur until people started keeping them as pets.


Created with images by Biblioteca Rector Machado y Nuñez - ""Chinchilla"." • benjamingross83 - "chinchilla rodent pet"

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