Abrocoma boliviensisBolivian chinchilla rat

Geographic Range

Abrocoma boliviensis is restricted to Central Bolivia. (Nowak, 1999)


Bolivian chinchilla rats have been captured near the Comarapa river valley in the province of Manual M. Caballero. The area was rocky, with small shrubs. The elevation was approximatley 2500 m. (Glanz and Anderson, 1990)

Physical Description

So few A. boliviensis have been captured that it is difficult to get a meaningful species size average. There is one measurement of an individual being 174 mm in head and body length. The species has been recorded as being generally smaller than A. bennetti, which has a body length of 195 to 250 mm and weighs around 225 g for males and 300 g for females. (Glanz and Anderson, 1990; Nowak, 1999)


Nothing is known about the mating system of this species.

Nothing is known about reproduction in A. boliviensis. However, in a related species, A. cinera, the gestation period is approximatley 115 days and there are 1 or 2 young per litter. There is recorded variation in Abrocoma, as A. bennetti can have 4 to 6 per litter. (Nowak, 1999)

  • Breeding interval
    Breeding intervals are not known in Bolivian chinchilla rats.
  • Breeding season
    The breeding season of Bolivian chinchilla rats is not known.

There is nothing known about parental investment in this species. Like other mammals, females nourish and care for their young until they are weaned.

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female


Information on A. boliviensis is scarce. However, a Bennett's chinchilla rat, A. bennettii, lived for 2 years and 4 months in captivity. (Nowak, 1999)


All species in the genus Abrocoma have hairs that protude over the three middle toes of their hind feet. These are used for grooming and digging. The social system of A. boliviensis is not known, however, a related species, A. cinera, lives in small colonies, in one instance having 6 individuals within 18 meters of each other. (Nowak, 1999)

Home Range

Nothing is known about home range size in this species.

Communication and Perception

Nothing is known about communication and perception in this species. Like other rodents, they are likely to use olfaction extensively in communication and perception.

Food Habits

It is not known with certainty what A. boliviensis eats, but it is believed that this species eats many types of plant material. A similiar species, A. bennetti, eats mainly buds, shrubs, and bark. (Glanz and Anderson, 1990; Nowak, 1999)

  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • wood, bark, or stems


While nothing is known about specific predators of A. boliviensis, Lycalopex culpaeus has been found to prey on A. bennetti. (Iriarte, et al., 1989)

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

There is nothing known about the ecosystem role of this species.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Being very much like chinchilla fur, Abrocoma fur is sold at market for a small profit. (Nowak, 1999)

  • Positive Impacts
  • body parts are source of valuable material

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse effects of Bolivian chinchilla rats on humans.

Conservation Status

Bolivian chinchilla rats are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list of threatened species. Data on populations and ecological requirements are extremely limited and they are also designated "data deficient."

Other Comments

Very little study has been done on A. boliviensis. While futher study is warranted, it has been suggested that due to their diet of leaves, buds, and bark, these animals will prove difficult to trap using standard trapping techniques. (Glanz, 1990) (Glanz and Anderson, 1990)


Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Christian Smith (author), Michigan State University, Barbara Lundrigan (editor, instructor), Michigan State University.



living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map


uses sound to communicate

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


an animal that mainly eats leaves.


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


Glanz, W., S. Anderson. 1990. Notes on Bolivian mammals 7. A new species of Abrocoma (Rodentia) and relationships of the Abrocomidae. American Museum Novitates, 2991: 1-32.

Iriarte, J., J. Jimenez, L. Contreras, F. Jaksić. 1989. Small-Mammal Availabilty and Consumption by the Fox, Dusicyon culpaeus, in Central Chilean Scrublands.. Journal of Mammalogy, 70: 641-645.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Vol. 2. London: Johns Hopkins Universtiy Press.