This chinchilla is truly enjoying the love she is getting!  They make such a happy face.  Sometimes they will move their little arms so that they can be scratched on the chest and armpits.  Others prefer to be pet behind the ears.  I have noticed that a lot of chinchillas are “sensitive” about having their whiskers or their bums pet, and will let you know with a surprised barking chirp. They will continue to give you a little barking chirp if you continue and may push your hand away, urine spray, or nip at you to continue to communicate that they don’t want  you to do that.  The video below is an example of very angry chinchilla growls and barks as they quarrel between themselves:

You can see that they will bat at each other with their arms and bare their teeth when pressed, and their eyes and whiskers take on an angry posture.  Continuing to agitate a chinchilla in this state could surely result in a painful bite.

This last video includes chinchillas making what I always interpret as “happy” or “pleasant” sounds.  These little cheeping noises usually accompany positive interactions or play time.  

Chinchillas are magical creatures that we are still learning lots about, but if you take time to listen to them and recognize the communications they are offering you, they can be charismatic and rewarding pets to have.  


Cute Tuesday today brings us the Japanese Dormouse Glirulus japonicus, once again supporting my belief that a large majority of the world’s cute lives in Japan.  The name “dormouse” refers to this type of mouse’s “sleepy” habits of hibernating in a dormant state through the cold winter months when food is scarce. The Japanese dormouse is endemic to Japan (meaning it is found no place else on earth).  It is an unbearably sweet mouse that lives most of its life in the trees, sleeping during the day and running about at night, drinking nectar and snacking on flower parts.  It lives in the temperate forests of Japan, and it has the special ability of being able to run suspended upside down from branches in the treetops.  The main food of this species of dormouse is nectar or pollen, though females have been observed eating insects during pregnancy/nursing.  The main threat to the Japanese dormouse is habitat destruction as urbanization overtakes more rural areas. 

Glauconycteris superba is a type of bat discovered in South Sudan and is undergoing some name changes, after scientists decided it didn’t belong in the family it originally was placed in after its discovery in the late 1930s.  It is the fifth specimen of it’s kind ever collected, making it quite rare indeed. 

To read more about this charming Cute Tuesday animal, as well as it’s new name, click HERE.


I’m taking care of my neighbor’s pets this weekend while she visits family for Easter. :3  It’s been a while since I have gotten a chance to care for rats and cats, and these are probably the sweetest ones around.  The cat, Sable, is really talkative so she always is the first to greet me, and then Lucy, the little old lady rat and I will hang out a little together while I let her dishes soak (because she’s aging she has a much more calorie dense diet of things like greek yogurt, veggie mash and fresh produce).  They are darling little creatures.


Cute Tuesday—The North American Porcupine

The North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) is the second largest rodent on the North American continent (second only to the beaver).  Despite possessing stupid levels of cute, they are effective at defense, with a rump full of sharp quills.  Quills are a type of strong, modified hair that can shed itself very easily—becoming embedded in a predator.  Even though they have this spiny armor, they are preyed upon by animals such as fishers and mountain lions (they do this by rolling them over onto their backs, exposing their soft bellies).  When they aren’t busy looking terrifyingly adorable, they are nibbling on various plants and wood, with their favorite food being the soft, nutritive inner bark of trees.  Because of their ability to be damaging to crops, fruit trees and equipment, a lot of farmers consider them a pest and hunt them from their land.  Even though this occurs, the species is still classified as Least Concern.

One of the reasons that you don’t find very many deer antlers lying around is because porcupines eat them!  They are good for their teeth and are a source of minerals that are otherwise difficult for the porcupine to find. 


Cute Tuesday this week brings us….the plains viscacha!

Chinchillas are actually the smallest member of the Chinchillidae Family with the plains viscacha (Lagostomus maximus) being the largest.  The last living member of the Lagostomus genus, it is somewhat of a modern fossil.  They are found in sparse grasslands of Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay and are quite large, weighing up to 20lbs as mature adults. They are strict herbivores, coming out at night to forage and living underground in complex generational burrows during the daytime.  The root community inhabiting the burrows is female, with males cycling into the burrows during mating time.   Their conservation status is considered to be of “Least Concern”.  With charming large faces, stiff whiskers and small ears, they are a charismatic member of the Chinchillidae Family.