/chin chil"euh/, n.
1. a small, South American rodent, Chinchilla laniger, raised for its soft, silvery gray fur: now rare in the wild.
2. the fur of this animal.
3. something, as a coat or jacket, made of chinchilla fur: a floor-length chinchilla.
4. a thick, napped, woolen fabric for coats.
[1595-1605; < Sp, perh., equiv. to chinche CHINCH + -illa < L -illa dim. suffix]

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Small South American rodent (genus Chinchilla, family Chinchillidae) long valued for its extremely fine-textured fur.

Chinchillas look like long-tailed, small-eared rabbits. They are about 14 in. (35 cm) long, including the tufted tail. The soft fur is gray with dusky overtones; a black streak runs the length of the tail, above and below. Chinchillas live in loose communities in arid, rocky regions of the Chilean and Bolivian Andes, in burrows or rock crevices. They eat seeds, fruit, grain, herbs, and moss. Once hunted almost to extinction, they are still scarce in the wild. They are raised commercially; almost all animals in captivity have descended from a few animals introduced into the U.S. in 1923.

Long-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla laniger).

Jane Burton
Bruce Coleman Ltd.

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 either of two South American species of medium-sized rodents (rodent) long valued for their extremely soft and thick fur. Once very common, chinchillas were hunted almost to extinction. They remain scarce in the wild but are raised commercially and also sold as housepets. All chinchillas in captivity are descended from 13 animals taken into the United States in 1927.

      Chinchillas weigh up to 800 grams (1.8 pounds) with a compact body up to 38 cm (15 inches) long, large eyes, long ears, and a moderately long, bushy tail of up to 15 cm. Their silky, dense fur is generally bluish to brownish gray except for the yellowish white underparts. Various other colours of chinchilla have been bred in captivity, where they can survive 20 years or more. In their native habitat, chinchillas are colonial, living in arid, rocky environments of the Andes Mountains from southern Peru to Chile at elevations of 800 metres (2,600 feet) near the coast to 6,000 metres inland. They usually hide during the day in crevices and cavities among rocks, emerging during the evening and night to feed on any available vegetation. On particularly bright days they occasionally emerge during daylight hours to forage. Following an average gestation period of 111 days, chinchillas usually bear two annual litters of two to three young, although litter sizes from one to six have been recorded.

      Both species of Chinchilla, the long-tailed chinchilla (C. laniger) and the short-tailed chinchilla (C. brevicaudata), are protected by law, but poaching and habitat loss continue. Chinchillas and their closest living relatives, the mountain viscachas (viscacha), along with the more distantly related plains viscacha, constitute the family Chinchillidae of the suborder Hystricognatha within the order Rodentia (rodent).

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chinchilla — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Chinchilla (homonymie) …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Chinchilla — bezeichnet ein Nagetier der Familie der Chinchillas den wissenschaftlichen Namen der Gattung der Eigentlichen Chinchillas zwei Rassen des Hauskaninchens: das Groß und das Kleinchinchillakaninchen, siehe Chinchillakaninchen eine Fellfarbe des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Chinchilla — Chin*chil la, n. [Sp.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) A small rodent ({Chinchilla lanigera}), of the size of a large squirrel, remarkable for its fine fur, which is very soft and of a pearly gray color. It is a native of Peru and Chili. [1913 Webster] 2. The fur… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chinchilla — [chin chil′ə] n. [Sp, prob. dim. of chinche: see CHINCH] 1. a small rodent (Chinchilla laniger) found in the Andes, but bred extensively elsewhere for its fur 2. the expensive, soft, pale gray fur of this animal 3. a variety of Persian cat,… …   English World dictionary

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  • Chinchilla [1] — Chinchilla (spr. Dschindschillja), Stadt in der spanischen Provinz Albacete, nordwestlich von Murcia; Kastell, mehrere Klöster, Wollweberei, Töpferei, Schmelztiegelfabrik; 8000 Ew …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Chinchilla [1] — Chinchilla (spr. tschinschillja), Pelzwerk der südamerikanischen C. (Eriomys C. und E. lanigera, s. den folgenden Artikel), ist silbergrau oder gelbgrau, schwärzlich meliert, mit seidenweichem, 2–4 cm langem Haar. Das Pelzwerk ist sehr… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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