living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

Holly Kopack (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

The short-tailed chinchilla is primarily herbivorous but will eat insects. They feed on grasses and herbs. They may extract water from the flesh of cacti and depend on dew for water in dryer climates.

specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.

The primary threat to the species is hunting for fur and food. Illegal hunting is believed to continue but on a smaller scale as more of these animals are bred in captivity for the fur and pet trades.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Grants DRL 0089283, DRL 0628151, DUE 0633095, DRL 0918590, and DUE 1122742. Additional support has come from the Marisla Foundation, UM College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Museum of Zoology, and Information and Technology Services.

In the wild, chinchillas burrow under rocks or in the ground for shelter. They mostly live in colder climates for which they are well adapted because of their dense fur. They mostly feed upon vegetation. They are social animals living in colonies or herds; chinchillas usually have litters of one or two offspring.

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

The short-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla chinchilla,[1][2] formerly known as Chinchilla brevicaudata), also called the Bolivian, Peruvian, or royal chinchilla, is an endangered species of rodent. Their original range included the Andes Mountains of Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Bolivia. The rodents were exploited for their luxurious fur, causing their numbers to dwindle greatly.

Chinchillas’ bodies measure between 28 and 49 cm long and weigh around 38 to 50 ounces. They have short front legs and long, powerful hind legs that aid in climbing and jumping. Short-tailed chinchillas have thicker necks and shoulders and have much shorter tails than their long-tailed relatives.[3]

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having the capacity to move from one place to another.

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

The short-tailed chinchilla is nocturnal and is believed to be monogamous but because these animals live in colonies of varying sizes, their bonding status is not confirmed. Females, who are slightly larger than males, tend to demonstrate dominance within the colony.

the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.

The IUCN has listed the short-tailed chinchilla as critically endangered as the population is estimated to have declined by 90 percent over the last three generations, (15 years) and this loss is suspected to be irreversible.

The body of the short-tail chinchilla measures almost the half of the whole length of this rodent. Female chinchillas are larger than male animals. Their larger body features more vertebrae than the structure of their relative – the long-tail chinch. The short-tail chinchilla measures from 500 g to 800 g.

The short-tailed chinchilla, Chinchilla chinchilla, is indigenous to southern Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile, and northwestern Argentina where they inhabit mountain shrub areas and grasslands at elevations between 3000 and 4500 m.

Short-tailed chinchillas are gaining popularity as pets, and this may be a good thing, because their numbers in the wild have declined drastically. Valued for their dense fur since ancient times, chinchillas are still hunted illegally. Conservation efforts are in place, but laws protecting chinchillas in the wild are difficult to enforce since they live in such isolated areas.

An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

Short-tailed Chinchilla and Long-tailed Chinchilla have a relative named Chinchilla Costina. They are often considered one specie but some scientists recognize some small differences in habitats and appearances.

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

associates with others of its species; forms social groups.

A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

The bushy tail is covered with black and grey fur. The chinchilla`s body measures up to two thirds of its length. The body is 225-380 mm long, while the tail length is about 75-150 mm. Females weigh 800 g while the males are lighter – at about 500 g.

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animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.

Their large feet are specially adapted with weak claws and large pads for moving over rocks as they make their dens in rock crevices.

Short-tailed chinchillas are nocturnal, but unfortunately for them, so are their predators. Foxes, hawks, owls and skunks hunt the critically endangered species. Also impacting the numbers of short-tailed chinchillas that remain extant are environmental changes that impact their diet. Short-tailed chinchillas have very sensitive gastrointestinal tracts that can be adversely affected by chemical imbalances caused by factors such as contaminated food sources.

This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

The short-tailed chinchilla has soft, dense fur with up to 60 hairs growing from each follicle. The thick fur is designed to keep the chinchilla warm in harsh winter climates and to aid them in retaining water but the hairs are loosely attached and will break off easily when a predator attempts to latch on with its teeth. They vary in color from blue-grey to pearl or grey with a yellow or off white undercoat. The fur on the tail is longer and coarser than the body hair.  

Short-tailed Chinchilla

Before their numbers were decimated by commercial exploitation, short-tailed chinchillas were endemic throughout the Andes of northwest Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. Thanks to poachers who defy conservationist efforts and laws protecting this critically endangered species, short-tailed chinchillas are believed extinct except in Chile, where in 2011, camera traps recorded evidence of two new short-tailed chinchilla colonies.

that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).

The short-tailed rodent lives in Bolivia, Peru and Argentina. The population of this chinchilla is endangered due to hunting for its soft fur. This specie still exists in the mountainous or rocky areas.

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.

reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

There are two main Chinchilla species – Chinchilla brevicaudata (short-tailed chinchilla) with a shorter body, tail, and years and a flatter nose than the popular Chinchilla lanigera (long-tailed chinchilla). In fact, the differences in their appearance is not so big. The short-tailed Chinchilla is considered to be the wild variation of this rodent family, while the bigger one is popular as a pet.

The long-tail chinchilla has a smaller body and ears. It features a dense silky fur. Its general color is gray with white shades of the hairs near the body and black tips. The belly is white.

Vivian Gomez contributes to Retailing Today, the Daily Puppy, Paw Nation and other websites. She's covered the New York Comic Con for NonProductive since 2009 and writes about everything from responsible pet ownership to comic books to the manner in which smart phones are changing the way people shop. Gomez received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Pace University.