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Popular as Pets, Endangered in the Wild - Baby Chinchillas in Minnesota


The Minnesota Zoo’s Zoomobile program has three new baby chinchillas! Born August 6, the trio were born precocial  -- with their eyes open and fully furred. They weighed about 47 grams (1.6 ounces) at birth. They are nursing and doing well with mom. Typically they are weaned between 6-8 weeks of age.

They are long-lived, with records of some scurrying about to the ripe old age of 20 years. Adult females are heavier than males, weighing up to 28 ounces (800 gms), while males are about 17.5 ounces (500 gms). These rodents are from South America and  were once abundant in the High Andes. While there are quite a few chinchillas in captivity, they are considered to be endangered in the wild due to exploitation because their thick, incredibly soft fur brings a very high price. Pelt hunting diminished populations greatly, but increased the demand as these shy animals became increasingly rare. Commercial trade of wild Chinchillas is now banned.



Photo Credit: Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoomobile and its team of trained naturalists travel to schools and community events throughout the state of Minnesota and beyond, providing an educational and entertaining environmental experience to a variety of audiences. Zoomobile Naturalists use live animals, biological artifacts, theater techniques, story telling, and audience participation to create a dynamic, personal, and fun program for all ages.