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What Do Chinchillas Look Like? (Are They Cute?)

If you are wondering how does a chinchilla look like then, you have come to the right place!

A majority of the people confuse a rodent or guinea pig for a chinchilla that shouldn’t come off as a surprise since chinchillas are closely associated with porcupines, which is a type of guinea pig.

A chinchilla resembles a guinea pig as well as a rabbit.

If you are contemplating adopting a chinchilla into your family then, you should be familiar with the physical description, breed type, and color of a chinchilla, so you wouldn’t mistake it with similar animals.

Physical description of a chinchilla

The physical description of a chinchilla varies according to its breed type. For instance, the experts suggest that there are two major species of Chinchilla;

the long-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla Lanigera) and the short-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla chinchilla), as well as the physical description of a chinchilla,  can be differentiated according to its size and body color.

Nonetheless, all types of chinchillas sport a dense and velvety fur that sets them apart from their lookalike counterparts.

In addition, the pet chinchillas feature a bushy tail and large black eyes. One of the unique physical characteristics of chinchillas is that it features a four-clawed toe on each of its paws.

Furthermore, chinchillas come in various sizes but, they are typically 23-38cm long, and the length of its tail grows up to 8-15cm.

The average weight of a pet chinchilla is up to 0.5-0.8kg, which makes it easier to carry in your lap.

Interesting facts about a chinchilla’s physical features

The physical features of a pet chinchilla go beyond its size, breed, and color; a chinchilla is well-loved for its dense fur, and it has a number of characteristics that make it stand out from other pets:

  • Jumping projectile: Chinchillas adore jumping from one place to another place, and they have a jumping capacity of more than 1.8m (6feet).
  • Defense Tactics: A chinchilla is a passive-aggressive animal, and it uses a number of defense tactics to protect itself. Few of the defense characteristics include shedding tufts of fur, spraying urine on objects, and screeching at a person.
  • Eating style: chinchillas feature two front teeth that they use to chew on their food. However, a chinchilla uses its paw to hold its food and gnaw on its gently to satiate its appetite.
  • Bathing in dust: Did you know that chinchillas are inclined to take a bath in the dust? It helps them with reducing dry skin from their fur as well as it protects their velvety coat from any parasitic infections.

Chinchillas Types and Breeds

As mentioned previously, there are two most-known species of chinchillas alive; the short-tailed chinchillas and the long-tailed chinchillas.

However, chinchillas belonging to these categories have distinctive physical characteristics that set them apart from each other.

If you are considering adopting chinchilla as a pet then, you should be familiar with the physical description of each type of chinchillas.

Long-tailed chinchilla

Alternatively known as Chinchilla Lanigera, long-tailed chinchillas are known for their long and spiraled tail.

According to the experts, long-tailed chinchillas come in brown, pearly-gray, blue, and black colors;

however, the color of long-tailed chinchillas is yellowish rather than its fur color. The coat of the long-tailed chinchillas is soft and dense and the strands of the hair contain black tips, which make them stand out from their counterparts.

The thick density of a chinchilla’s fur allows them to stay warm in the colder atmosphere; however, if you are living in a warm or tropical climate then, you should keep your long-tailed chinchilla in an air-conditioned room to help them cope with the warm temperatures.

What Do Chinchillas Look Like? (Are They Cute?)

Other physical characteristics of a long-tailed chinchilla include; large black eyes with vertically-split pupils, large heads, large and floppy ears, and vestigial cheeks.

In addition, the long-tailed chinchillas have non-furry paws, which distinguish them from their counterparts; however, they have footpads and toes that they use to grab their foods.

In terms of its size, the long-tailed chinchillas grow up to a length of 9-14 inches, and their tails could get as long as 6 inches long.

Another interesting fact about long-tailed chinchillas is that they weigh up to 1 pound or 1.76 pounds, depending on its gender.

Did you know that the food habits of long-tailed chinchilla determine their physical description? The long-tailed chinchillas munch on lichen, seeds, grass, mosses, lichen, and roots, which implies that they are predominantly herbivorous.

Short-tailed chinchillas

In contrast to long-tailed chinchillas, the short-tailed chinchillas are rather rare to find.

It has been reported that short-tailed chinchillas are in danger for extinction, so it could get challenging to find a true short-tailed chinchilla to adopt into your family.

The physical traits of a short-tailed chinchilla include; its length, it could grow up to 49 cm, and it may weigh up to 50 ounces in terms of its weight.

The front limbs of a short-tailed chinchilla are rather short but, they have the capacity to jump higher and faster in comparison to its counterpart.

What Do Chinchillas Look Like? (Are They Cute?)

In addition, the short-tailed chinchillas have thicker neck and shoulders that differentiate them from long-tailed chinchillas.

Colors and breeds of a pet chinchilla

Chinchillas come in a variation of sizes and colors; however, most people are likely to adopt a pet chinchilla based on its color rather than its breed or size.

Chinchillas are unique with respect to their colors, and they come in the following range of colors:

White-colored chinchilla

Did you know that the white gene in chinchilla in incomplete and it should be combined with an additional color for breeding a chinchilla?

Breeders are constantly making efforts to preserve white-colored chinchillas; therefore, they are extra careful when breeding a white-colored chinchilla with a chinchilla of another color.

For instance, a white chinchilla sports patterns on its fur and it has darker ears in comparison to a beige colored chinchilla.What Do Chinchillas Look Like? (Are They Cute?)

If a breeder should refrain from breeding a white chinchilla with another white chinchilla, as the lack of gene may affect the breeding process.

However, the fun fact is that white-colored chinchillas come in different variations, which gives you something to make your final choice from!

Black-colored chinchillas

Black-colored chinchillas are unique for their dark fur, which is enhanced with tinted fur.

The stomach of these chinchillas is rather white, and they feature strips on their paws—which make them look unique and distinctive from chinchillas of other colors.

An interesting fact about black-colored chinchillas is that their fur has a velvety feel to it, which makes black-colored chinchillas a favorite amongst chinchilla lovers!

What Do Chinchillas Look Like? (Are They Cute?)

In addition to black-colored and white-colored chinchillas, you would also find beige colored, purple-colored, and pink-colored chinchillas.


We share the love of Chinchillas!


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