The chinchilla is one of the rodents—the gnawing mammals. It is therefore a cousin of the rats, mice, squirrels, and chipmunks. Its home is in the mountains of South America.
   There are not many wild chinchillas left. Most of them have been killed for their beautiful fur, which is a pearly gray and is very thick and soft. Chinchillas are now raised on farms just as mink and foxes are.
   Wild chinchillas are shy little creatures. They feed chiefly at dusk. If anything disturbs them, they pop into their holes among the rocks. But they soon stick their heads out to see what is going on.
   Like other rodents, chinchillas eat plants. They eat grasses, grains, fruits, and roots. When they have found something to eat they hold it in their front paws and nibble it just as squirrels and chipmunks do.