Before we get started with today’s Wild Fact, I wanted to point out that we are officially down to the last 100 animals. If there is an animal that you would like to see featured please let us know in the comments or on the Wild Facts Facebook Page.
Now it is time to move on to the newly discovered and totally adorable Chinchilla Tree Rat!
Cool Things You Need To Know
- The Chinchilla Tree Rat was only discovered during a couple of research trips during 1997 and 1998 – yep, we have only known about this species for a mere 15 years.
- This relatively new species was found hanging out near the famous Incan ruins around Macchu Picchu (Peru)
- Much like the name suggest, the Chinchilla Tree Rat is related to the infamous Chinchilla Rats, which were often buried in the Inca tombs – not sure why they were buried in the tombs but maybe it was a good luck thing…like a rabbits foot
What is a Chinchilla Tree Rat?
What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word RAT?
If you are like most people you probably get that heebie-jeebie feeling and think giant sewer rats supposedly living in the sewers of New York City (no, I am not talking about Splinter from the Ninja Turtles…unless that was your first thought, which is totally possible). I think it is safe to say that the Chinchilla Tree Rat is nothing like these stereotypical rats. In fact, they look incredibly cute with their buck teeth and fluffy grey fur. Although, our featured species is about the size of a large cat so they do have that in common with sewer rats of NYC.
A Toe Above The Rest
Although, instead of gorging on pepperoni pizza and living in a sewer the Chinchilla Tree Rat prefers feeding on…you know what, we don’t actually know what they feed on but I am guessing they lead a herbivorous life. This would make sense since they spend most of their time running around the canopy of the trees surrounding Macchu Picchu. In fact, the Chinchilla Tree Rat has even developed a specialized big toe, which is somewhat similar to ours…well unless you have one of those incredibly large big toes (I often get laughed at for my big toes) then they probably aren’t that similar. Regardless, these specialized toes allow the Chinchilla Tree Rat to easily grip tree branches and ultimately lets them live a life in the trees.