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Chinchilla Rats: Abrocomidae

Chinchilla Rats And People

Chinchilla rats are sometimes hunted by humans for their fur, which is sold at local fur markets and has a low value. It is sometimes sold to tourists as real chinchilla fur. They were hunted extensively for their fur in the early twentieth century and all species were nearly extinct by the 1920s when several South American countries passed laws to protect them.


Chinchilla rats love to climb and are extremely talented. Although they spend most of their time on or under the ground, they do climb rock outcroppings, plants, and trees. Sometimes they live within crevices of rocky cliffs. Often they will build sidewalls inside their rocky dens up to 10 feet (3 meters) high. They use a construction material made of their own feces and urine. When dry, the mixture is almost as hard as rock.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsChinchilla Rats: Abrocomidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Chinchilla Rats And People, Ashy Chinchilla Rat (abrocoma Cinerea): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS