Chinchilla, a small, fur-bearing rodent. It is native to the high Andes of South America, but also lives in the United States, Canada, and Europe. It feeds on plants and lives in rock crevices or in a burrow in the ground. The short-tailed chinchilla is about 10 inches (25 cm) long. The long-tailed chinchilla is slightly smaller and has a tail half as long as its body.
The chinchilla's fur, blue-gray in color, is very thick and silky. It is used to make coats, jackets, and neckpieces. Because of high demand for its fur, the chinchilla is endangered in the wild. Chinchillas are raised commercially on fur farms.
Chinchillas belong to the family Chinchillidae. The short-tailed chinchilla is Chinchilla brevicaudata; long-tailed, C. laniger.