Although there are tons of chinchillas living in pet stores,
zoos and people's homes many people still don't know what
a chinchilla is. The fact is that they are rodents. The
world Cinchilla means "little chinta" given to them by Indians
in their area.
They are originally from the South American countries of
Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru and live in the high
altitudes of the Andes Mountains. They were brought to the
United States in 1918 at M.F. Chapman was on a working trip
to Chile and saw his first chinchilla. He gathered a part
of 20 men with him and they went to work catching as many
of these creatures as possible. But they were near extinction
at the time because of excessive trapping for their pelts.
They caught 11 Chinchillas over 3 years. It took 12 months
to bring these down the mountains of Chile and all of the
them survived the temperature changes. By the mid 60's there
were thousands of chins in the United States and Canada.