This rodent lives in burrows in the rocky areas of the cloud forests of the Bolivian Andes.
It is critically endangered, and only occupies a single location of 100km². There have only been two scientific specimens of the Bolivian chinchilla rat found, leaving an accurate population estimate impossible. Because of this there is very little known about the species. Chinchilla rats are similar in appearance to both chinchillas and rats, hence the common name The Bolivian chinchilla rat is the smallest of the three living Abrocoma species, and is distinguishable by its longer, hairier tail. Their fur is long, dense and soft and is very similar to that of the chinchilla, fur from other members of its genus, Abrocoma, is sold at markets due to the similarity. The main threats are habitat loss and fragmentation as the forest is cleared for cattle pasture and human colonisation. Within its family Abrocomidae, there are only nine extant species in the two genera.
- Order: Rodentia
- Family: Abrocomidae
- Population: Unknown
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 170-178mm
- Weight: 225-300g
Bolivian chinchilla rat are only known from the vicinity of the type locality near Comarapa river valley in the province of Manuel M. Caballero, Santa Cruz department, Bolivia. Its currently known range is less than 100km², although it may possibly range more widely.
Habitat and Ecology
Individuals have been found in cloud forest at an elevation of 1,800 m above sea level. They tend to be associated with rocky areas, and some researchers have suggested that they may be specialised to this habitat. Very little is known about the ecology of this little-known rodent species. It is thought to live in burrows and have a vegetarian diet comprising many kinds of plant material.