Long-Tailed Chinchilla

Long-Tailed Chinchillas at the Agricultural Science Unit

Chinchilla lanigera

There are two different species of chinchillas; long-tailed and short-tailed chinchillas.


They are wildly social, living in family groups, which can form vast colonies, called herds, of over 100 individuals.

Chinchillas belong to the rodent family and are native to the Andes Mountains of northern Chile, where they are endangered with low numbers left in the wild due to them being hunted for their fur.  

The ASU Introduced 4 Chinchillas to the Unit in September 2020

History of the Long-Tailed Chinchilla

Chinchilla fur became popular in the 1700s, and commercial hunting in northern Chile began in earnest in 1828. By the early 1900s, chinchillas were a whisker away from becoming extinct. 


Domestic chinchillas, which have been selectively bred for nearly 100 years, are almost twice the size of those in the wilderness. Adult females are about 30 percent larger than males; the difference is a bit less pronounced in the wilderness.

For More Information click the link to be sent to the IUNC website

Long-Tailed Chinchillas at the Agricultural Science Unit

The Chinchillas have been here at the ASU since 2020 and have had a few different enclosures since being with us getting upgraded each time but in feburaly 2022 they were relocated into their permanent enclouse. 

This permanent enclouse gives our little family of chinchillas everything they need from hides to places to jump and climb. Since moving into their new home they have been seen jumping form platform to platform and chasing each other around the enclosure. 

If your ever in the unit at night or if you very quite you can hear the chinchillas communicating by making squeaking noises, which never fails to put a smile on our staffs faces.


Fact Check

Common Name : Long-tailed Chinchilla

Scientific Name : Chinchillas 

Type : Mammal

Diet : Omnivore

Group Name : Herd

Average Life Span in Captivity : 10- 20 years

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Size:  23-38cm

Weight : 0.37 - 0.49Kg

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If a chinchilla is threatened or under attack, it may do a “fur slip” and release clumps of fur, leaving a potential predator empty handed.