Very little is known about reproduction in Abrocoma cinerea. The length of gestation ranges from 115 to 118 days with 1-2 young per litter. (Grzimeck, 1975; Nowak, 1991)
Range number of offspring: 1 to 3.
Average number of offspring: 2.2.
Average gestation period: 102 days.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous
Parental Investment: precocial
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Chinchilla rats are somtimes hunted for pelts. There is no true commercial value but they are sometimes sold to travelers as true Chinchilla. For this reason, and because of habitat destruction, they have become rare. (Nowak, 1991).
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
There is no great economic importance to humans. Skins of chinchilla rats are sometimes sold at fur markets but are not of much value (Nowak, 1991).
Chinchilla rats are herbivorous and nocturnal. The diet includes seeds, fruits, and nuts. Though primarily terrestrial, they are capable of climbing as well. (Encarta, 2000; Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2000)
Primary Diet: herbivore (Granivore )
Chinchilla rats, Ambrocoma cinerea are restricted to the Altiplano of the Andes of South America, from Southern Bolivia and Peru into Central Chile. (Myers, 1999)
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
Chinchilla rats are restricted to the Altiplano region of the Andes, they occur in rocky areas between 3700 and 5000 meters. Burrows can commonly be found under rocks or at the bases of shrubs. (Encarta, 2000; Nowak, 1991).
Terrestrial Biomes: mountains
Chinchilla rats range from 15 to 25 cm long, not including the tail, which can be from 6 to 18 cm long. They weigh 200 to 300 g. Chinchilla rats have large, round ears and large eyes, the head is elongate. Limbs are short with 4 digits on the forefoot and 5 on the hindfoot. The fur is thick and soft,silver-gray in color above and white or yellow underneath. The fur is similar in texture to a chinchilla's, though less desirable in the fur trade. (Encarta, 2000; Nowak, 1991)
Range mass: 0.200 to 0.300 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Their total length is 21–43 cm, with the body being 15–25 cm and the tail being 6–8 cm. They have soft, thick, silver fur on the top of their bodies, and white or yellow fur on their abdomens. They have four toes on their front feet, and five toes on their back feet.
The ashy chinchilla rat is endemic to land at high elevations in southeastern Peru, southwestern Bolivia, northern Chile and northwestern Argentina. Its altitudinal range is from about 3,850 to 5,000 metres (12,600 to 16,400 ft) above sea level. It lives in rocky areas, digging its burrows at the base of bushes, under rocks, among shale or at the base of stone walls.
Ashy chinchilla rats live underground, with a group of up to six individuals occupying one burrow. Several colonial burrows may be grouped close together. Little is known of their breeding habits but the gestation period is about 118 days and one or two young are born at a time.
They are herbivores, so they eat seeds, fruit, and nuts, especially Thola spp. and Yareta. They are sociable animals and make squeaking and grunting noises when they are scared or fighting, and gurgling sounds when grooming each other.
Ashy chinchilla rats are sometimes hunted for their pelts, which are sold in local markets, sometimes to tourists. They have a large range and are plentiful within that area. The population is presumed to be large and the population trend is steady. The animals are able to adapt to some degree of habitat modification and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated their conservation status as being of "least concern".