( Originally Published 1936 )
Chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera)
The Chinchilla is a small animal with long silky fur, which lives in large communities at a great elevation in the Andes of South America, like the mar-mots in the Alps of Europe. It is much prized for the fur, which is of a bluish-grey above and whitish beneath. About ten inches in length without the tufted tail, which is four or five inches long, it has large rounded ears, scantily-haired short front legs, and strong paws suited for digging, with five toes on the fore-paws and four on the hind-paws. See Plate 19, Fig. 92. The food of the Chinchilla consists of bulbs and other roots, grass, and so forth, which it holds in the front paws, sitting on its hind legs when eating. It has some resemblance to the jerboas, with which it was formerly classed.