The Chinchilla is a rodent from the Andes mountain range of South America and is known for its long, dense, extremely soft fur. The tiny animal was given the name chinchilla after the Inca tribe conquered the Chincha tribe in the 15th century. At the time the meat was used for food and the fur was used for blankets and robes. In the 16th century the Incas were conquered by the Spaniards. Story has it that the Spaniards made demands and through their demands a box of jewels wrapped in a chinchilla fur robe was given to the Spaniard’s queen. The queen loved it and soon after chinchilla was introduced to the civilized world and every woman in Spain wanted to have the luxurious fur that the queen had. chinchillas became prized all through Europe and as a result the chinchilla was almost endangered by 1914. In 1924 a few breeding pairs were imported into the US. Farmers then started breeding and ranching chinchillas instead of hunting them in the wild. Nowadays, all chinchilla is ranched.
Chinchilla fur is incredibly soft, silky, and dense. It has more than 20,000 hairs per square centimeter giving it the highest hair density of any animal. Pests and parasites like fleas cannot live on chinchilla because they will suffocate. A chinchilla has 50 hairs per folicle whereas a human only has 1 per folicle. Despite it’s density it is still very light in weight. Chinchilla’s have gray fur on the sides, black fur on top, and white bellies. Some chinchillas are a slate blue color which is considered to be the best. It is often enhanced with brighteners. Mutation colors are now also reproduced and some rex rabbits are bred and ranched to look like chinchilla as well but are not. Chinchillas are small and the skin is fragile but it is still one of the most luxurious furs today due to the soft, silky feel, light weight, and ability to provide warmth given the density.
Written by Furwise.com