Bennetts chinchilla rat

Abrocoma bennettii

TAXONOMY

Abrocoma bennettii Waterhouse, 1837, Aconcagua Province, Chile.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Chinchilla du Chile; German: Chilenische Chinchillaratte; Spanish: Ratón chinchilla común.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

7.5-9.8 in (19-25 cm) from the tip of the nose to the rump; tail 5.3-7.0 in (13-18 cm) long; up to 12.3 oz (350 g). Fur is brownish above and lighter below.

DISTRIBUTION

Altiplano of the Chilean Andes.

HABITAT

Rock crevasses and tunnels are used as burrows. BEHAVIOR

Live in colonies of about six individuals. Burrows can be very close together. Often live in the same burrow with the degu (Octodon degus), another rodent of similar size and habits. Communicate using a variety of sounds.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Herbivorous; the diet includes seeds, fruits, stems, buds, leaves, and nuts. They are nocturnal feeders, and can climb trees in search of food.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Details of mating and reproductive behavior are ill-understood. If similar to A. cinerea, a gestation period of approximately 116 days and a litter size of one to six is expected.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not threatened.

H Abrocoma bennetti H Abrocoma boliviensis H Abrocoma cinerea

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Hunted for its faux-chinchilla fur. ♦

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