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Definition of CHINCHILLA
: either of two small South American rodents (Chinchilla laniger and C. brevicaudata of the family Chinchillidae) of the high Andes that are the size of large squirrels, have very soft pearly-gray fur, and are extensively bred in captivity; also: the fur of a chinchilla
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.