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Our Mission: Saving Wildlife

Long-Tailed Chinchilla

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Chinchilla lanigera

  • Classification: Mammal
  • Lifespan in Captivity: 10-20yrs
  • Lifespan in the Wild: 8-10yrs
  • Length: 9-15in
  • Weight: 1-2lbs
  • Range: Andes Mountains in Northern Chile
  • Habitat: mountain terrain, 9800 - 16400ft
  • Diet: Omnivore
    • Diet in the Wild: grass, seeds, plants, insects, bird eggs
    • Diet at Wildlife Images: timothy hay, apple wood sticks, chinchilla kibble, dandelion treats

Chinchillas are a small rodent native to the Andes Mountain Range in Chile, South America. Prized for their luxurious soft fur, they were hunted and captured to almost extinction before a protection ban was put on them in the 1900s. In 1923, Mathias F. Chapman was given special permission by the Chilean Government to bring 11 chinchillas back with him to the United States. Today, nearly all of the US population of pet chinchillas are descendants from Chapman’s 11. Chinchillas have very thick fur in order to adapt to their cold life in such high elevation, some of them up to 16,000 feet. Their body is about the size of a baseball, but their fur is so thick that they look much bigger. Chinchillas don’t bathe in water because their thick fur prevents effective air-drying. If the water holds in their fur it can cause fungus or fur rot. To combat this, they bathe in volcanic dust which clings to the fur to draw out dirt and oil.

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P.O. Box 36, Merlin OR 97532

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Our Mission: Saving Wildlife

In this pursuit we aim to:

  • Involve people to share in our mission.
  • Educate people about the personal benefits of taking care of wildlife and the environment entrusted to our care.
  • Inspire people to make positive changes improving the world for wildlife.

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With over 80 animal ambassadors, and over 1,000 sick injured and orphaned animals brought to our center each year - every dollar counts. We rely solely on people like yourself to support the work we do.

We receive no State or Federal funding and depend entirely on private funds to carry out our Mission.