MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link
Pet Owner Version

Introduction to Chinchillas


Thomas M. Donnelly

, BVSc, DVP, DACLAM, DABVP(ECM), The Kenneth S Warren Institute;

Katherine E. Quesenberry

, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Avian)

Last full review/revision Jul 2011 | Content last modified Jan 2017

Chinchillas are members of the rodent family. Their scientific name is Chinchilla lanigera. They originated in the Andes mountains of South America. During the eighteenth century, chinchillas were hunted for their fur and faced extinction until laws banned hunting them. Today there are about 3,000 ranches throughout the United States and Canada that breed chinchillas, and chinchillas are increasingly popular as pets.

quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!