Chinchillas are exceptionally social animals and colonies in the wild can sometimes exceed 100’s of individuals.
Their thick fur keeps them warm in their mountain habitat but unfortunately it is this fur that humans hunt the chinchilla for and it has now become Critically endangered in the wild. The gestation period of this small rodent is unusually long, lasting 111 days, but once the young are born they are well developed and are pretty much able to take care of themselves. These young are then weaned at around 6-8 weeks of age.
IUCN Red List Category- Critically Endangered
Found in the lowland areas of Chile, the Degu lives in large social groups where they make their homes within rocks and hedges that can be found in their semi-arid desert habitats.
In the wild Degus eat a wide range of vegetation depending on the seasons. The degu is able to breed rapidly, with pups on average taking just 28 days till they are weaned. These pups are then able to breed and produce their own young at just 6 months of age. Whilst you are here see if you can hear our Degus communicating with each other as they have a complex vocal repertoire with some 15 unique calls being recognised.
IUCN Red List Category- Least Concern
Originally from Peru and domesticated for food; it is a mystery as to how the guinea pig got its name.
They are neither from Guinea or related to pigs. Also known as a Cavy (plural: Cavies), Guinea pigs require a diet exceptionally high in fibre, in captivity this is provided through plenty of good quality hay. Guinea pigs also require lots of fruit and vegetables as they cannot produce their own and so must get this through their diet. Guinea pigs make fantastic pets and are ideal for small children as they have such a docile nature.
IUCN Red List Category- Yet to be Determined
Rabbits are originally from the Iberian Peninsula and were introduced into mainland Europe and the UK as a source of meat and fur.
Rabbits first came to Britain when the Romans invaded and have been here ever since. In parts of their range the rabbit has now become a major agricultural pest causing hundreds of millions of pounds worth of damage but in their native range are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List. Rabbits dig an extensive system of tunnels known collectively as a warren. This is where the rabbits reside during the times that they aren’t out feeding. In rabbit society it is the female that is dominant.
IUCN Red List Category- Near Threatened.