Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Chinchilla lanigera

Habitat: Chinchillas live in communal burrows in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. They live above the tree line at altitudes of 8,000 to 12,000 feet.

Diet: Chinchillas are herbivores and eat available grasses, leaves and shrubs.   

Size: 0.3 to 0.6 feet tall / 0.7 to 1.2 feet long

Weight: 1.8 to 2.4 pounds

Lifespan: 8 to 10 years in the wild. Up to 22 years in human care.

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Endangered –  a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to possess a very high risk of extinction as a result of rapid population declines of 50 to more than 70 percent over the previous 10 years (or three generations), a current population size of fewer than 250 individuals, or other factors. 

Our Chinchillas:

Ande – Estimated Birthdate January 1, 2014
Sonny – Born May 6, 2019
Dante – Born February 18, 2004

Did You Know?!

  • Chinchilla fur contains 80,000 hairs per square inch, 2nd only to seals. They keep their fur clean and soft by taking dust baths.
  • Wild chinchillas have been faced with extinction due to over-hunting for their fur. It takes about 300 – 500 Chinchillas to make one fur coat.
  • Chinchilla feet are well adapted to life in the mountains. Instead of claws, they have specialized pads which help them to move swiftly from rock to rock. They can also jump 5 feet straight up in the air!

The Utica Zoo will be closed at 1:00pm on 6/1 for wine in the wilderness and will reopen with normal hours on 6/2!