Chinchillas are small rodents that are native to desert and mountainous regions. These furry animals are often bred as domestic pets but still exist in the wild. In order to survive in the wild, chinchillas have to adapt to their surroundings and protect themselves from natural predators that can capture or prey on them. Certain types of wild animals pose more of a threat to wild chinchillas than others.
Types of Predators
The types of predators that chinchillas have range from animals that fly to those that crawl on the ground. Owls and hawks are an example of some of the wild chinchilla's predators, which will fly and hunt chinchillas from above. Snakes are another type of predator to the chinchillas. A snake can sneak up on chinchillas from behind or from below in snake holes. Foxes, mountain lions and cougars can serve as predators, too.
Predators of wild chinchillas must be ready for a chase if they hope to capture their prey. Chinchillas have a precautionary instinct to run and hide when danger is sensed. The chinchillas are small enough to hide under logs, within bushes or burrow underground to get away from predators. They are also agile and capable of clinging onto tree trunks, rocks and jumping and leaping. Depending on the type of predator that is chasing the chinchilla, the chinchilla may be able to successfully escape and outrun its predator. For example, birds that hunt chinchillas may give up once the chinchilla burrows underground or goes into hiding somewhere beneath bushes and shrubs.
Humans pose a significant thread to wild chinchillas. Wild chinchillas are hunted so that they can be captured and sold as pets or to breeders. They have also been hunted and killed for their fur, since their fur is soft and ideal for blankets and coats. Traps and gunfire have been two of the methods used by humans to collect wild chinchillas.
Wild chinchillas are on the endangered species list and certain efforts around the world are being made to restore chinchillas' natural habitats so that the species can survive and flourish. Humans are prohibited from hunting wild chinchillas but there is nothing that can be done to prevent natural predators from hunting these endangered species.
Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.