Chinchilla rats, Ambrocoma cinerea are restricted to the Altiplano of the Andes of South America, from Southern Bolivia and Peru into Central Chile. (Myers, 1999)
Chinchilla rats are restricted to the Altiplano region of the Andes, they occur in rocky areas between 3700 and 5000 meters. Burrows can commonly be found under rocks or at the bases of shrubs. (Encarta, 2000; Nowak, 1991).
- Terrestrial Biomes
Chinchilla rats range from 15 to 25 cm long, not including the tail, which can be from 6 to 18 cm long. They weigh 200 to 300 g. Chinchilla rats have large, round ears and large eyes, the head is elongate. Limbs are short with 4 digits on the forefoot and 5 on the hindfoot. The fur is thick and soft,silver-gray in color above and white or yellow underneath. The fur is similar in texture to a chinchilla's, though less desirable in the fur trade. (Encarta, 2000; Nowak, 1991)
- Range mass
- 0.200 to 0.300 kg
- 0.44 to 0.66 lb
Very little is known about reproduction in. The length of gestation ranges from 115 to 118 days with 1-2 young per litter. (Grzimeck, 1975; Nowak, 1991)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Range number of offspring
- 1 to 3
- Average number of offspring
- Average gestation period
- 102 days
- Parental Investment
Chinchilla rats live in small colonies of about six. Burrows may be only 18 meters apart. They communicate using a variety of sounds including grunts, squeaks, and gurgles (Encarta, 2000; Nowak, 1991).
Communication and Perception
Chinchilla rats are herbivorous and nocturnal. The diet includes seeds, fruits, and nuts. Though primarily terrestrial, they are capable of climbing as well. (Encarta, 2000; Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2000)
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
There is no great economic importance to humans. Skins of chinchilla rats are sometimes sold at fur markets but are not of much value (Nowak, 1991).
Chinchilla rats are somtimes hunted for pelts. There is no true commercial value but they are sometimes sold to travelers as true Chinchilla. For this reason, and because of habitat destruction, they have become rare. (Nowak, 1991).
Natalee Nash (author), Fresno City College, Carl Johansson (editor), Fresno City College.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
union of egg and spermatozoan
an animal that mainly eats seeds
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
- internal fertilization
fertilization takes place within the female's body
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
- young precocial
young are relatively well-developed when born
2000. "Chinchilla Rat" (On-line). Accessed Sept 24 at http://www.britannica.com/seo/c/chinchilla-rat/.
2000. Chinchilla Rat. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000.
Grzimeck, B. 1975. The Cavies: The Family of Rat Chinchillas. Pp. 422, 427 in Grzimeck's Animal Life Encyclopedia Vol. 2 Mammals 2. New York: Van Nostrand Co..
Myers, P. Nov. 27, 1999. "Ambrocomidae" (On-line). Accessed Oct.14, 2000 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/chordata/mammalia/rodentia/abrocomidae.html.
Nowak, R. 1991. Rodentia: Ambrocomidae Chinchilla Rats or Chinchillones. Pp. 941-942 in Walker's Mammals of the World 5 Ed. Vol.2. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.