Science: Pampered Rodent

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has many vexing problems. Last week it had a stopper: a chinchilla with "the slobbers." Its front teeth had grown so long that it could not eat. Agriculture experts did what they could, but the sick chinchilla had slobbered too long; it died of malnutrition.

The appeal was the first of its kind, but Agriculture was prepared for more: chinchilla breeding in the U.S. is growing by hops and scurries. Some 2,000 U.S. breeders now own about 30,000 chinchillas. A Manhattan company advertises (and presumably sells) mated pairs for $1,500. So valuable are chinchillas that few except...

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