Really cool find at the Skeletons: Museum of Osteology! This is why it is so important to handle chinchillas with care due to their small flexible bones. Squeezing or grabbing them around the midsection can easily cause the cervical and thoracic vertebrae to compress the spinal cord resulting in possible neurological damage. The other issue caused by improper handling is damage to the internal organs; the ribs are so flexible that they can actually be squeezed to the point of damaging the lungs without being broken.
However, due to their bones being thin and flexible, normal handling and movement will not hurt them.
The myth of a “floating” rib cage is also disproven here. No mammal has a free floating rib cage within their body. Chinchilla ribs do in fact connect to the spine, just like all other mammals. The difference here is that the front of the ribs are not connected by a large bony sternum. The sternum is very small with cartilage and muscle connections that allow the rib cage to be much more flexible.
Also, feeding chinchillas nuts, seeds and berries is not recommended. The diet they ate in their natural habitat is not the same as giving them fruits, veggies, nuts or seeds.
*All animals in this exhibit died of natural causes*