John T. Willis

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chinchillas

Chinchillas are crepuscular rodens, a little larger than ground squirrels, native to the Andes mountains in South America. This name means "little Chincha" named after the Chincha people ofo the Andes, who once wore its soft and dense fur.

Chinchillas live in burrows or crevices in rocks. They are agile jumpers and can jump as high as 6 feet. Predators in the wild include birds of pray, skunks, felines, snakes, and canines. Chinchillas have various defensive tactics, including spraying urine and releasing fur if bitten. They eat plants, fruits, seeds, and small insects, but this diet could irritate the digestive system of a domestic chinchilla whose diet should be primarily hay-based.

Chinchillas live in social groups resembling colonies. Scientists call them herds. Their gestation period is 111 days, longer than most rodents. As a result of this long pregnancy, chinchillas are born fully furred with eyes open. Litters are usually small in number, predominately twins.

The international trade in chinchilla fur goes back to the 16th century A. D. The fur is popular in the fur trade because of its extremely soft feel, because they have approximately 60 hairs sprouting from each hair follicle. The color is usually very even, which makes it ideal for small garments orot he lining of large garments, though some large garments can be made entirely fromt he fur. A single, full-length coat made from chinchilla fur may require as many as 150 pelts, since chinchillas are small. People still successfully breed chinchillas domestically, but illegal hunting has almost made this animal extinct.

Some people secure chinchillas as pets. The color ranges from gray to beige to white to ebony to many other colors. Chinchillas clean their fur by taking dust baths, in which they roll around in special chinchilla dust made of fine pumice. In the wild, their dust is formed from fine ground volcanic rocks. The dust gets into their fur and absorbs oil and dirt. These baths are need a few times a week. Chinchillas do not bathe in water because the dense fur prevents air-drying, retaining moisture close to the skin, which can cause fungus growth or fur rot. A wet chinchilla must be dried immediately with towels and a no-heat hair dryer. The fur is so thick that it resists parasites such a fleas. The fur also reduces dander, making chinchillas hypo-allergenic.

The chinchilla is often used as an animal model in researching the auditory system, because the chinchilla's range of hearing (20 Hz to 30 kHz) and cochlear size is close to that of a human, the chinchilla cochlea is fair easy to access. Other research fields in which chinchillas are used as an animal model include study of Chagas disease, Gastrointestinal diseases, Pneumonia, Listoreiosis, and Yersinia and Pseudomonias infections.

The chinchilla is another example of God's amazing creations. I hope YOU appreciate and support chinchillas. Above this, I hope YOU appreciate the POWER and WISDOM and LOVE of our God, manifest every day throughout planet earth.

Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis