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There are two types of chinchillas in the wild – the long-tailed and the shorted tailed chinchilla. In captivity, the long-tailed chinchilla has been bred to produce mutations of various attractive colors. Photos and videos (when available) along with descriptions of the different colors are shown below to help you identify your chin’s type or find out how some of these mutations are produced.

The Standard Chinchilla

Standard chinchillas are the most common types you’ll find in pet stores. It is also the color of wild chinchillas. Standards’ colors range from light gray to very dark gray, but all of them should have a crisp white belly. In Standards, the veiling (Chinchilla’s hair comes with bands, and the tip of the hair is called the veiling) is usually black or has a bluish tint. Any chinchilla without a mutation is known as a Standard.

Chinchilla Colors A Standard Chinchilla

A standard chinchilla. Photo credit: Niko smile

Is There A Black Chinchilla?

There isn’t really one type of chinchilla that’s classified under “Black.” If you are looking to identify a black chin, you may be looking at one of the following types.

Black Velvet

black-chinchilla-example

A Black Velvet Chin. Photo credit: Muchacho88

The Black Velvet Chinchilla has a beautiful black “cape” that goes from its face to the back of its tail. It also has a crisp white belly which contrasts sharply with the rest of its body. A Black Velvet is also known as a Touch of Veil Standard or TOV Standard chinchilla because it carries the TOV gene which produces the darker colored cape with a lighter belly.

Ebony

An Ebony Chin

An Ebony Chin. Photo Credit: Benjamin Groß

Ebony Chinchillas are a popular mutation that can have anything from a light gray coat to a solid black one. However, instead of having a white belly like a Standard, the Ebony chinchilla has a light gray or black underbelly, and its hair tends to have a glossy appearance. Another feature of the Ebony is its slow growth – it can take up to 24 months to mature when other chinchillas take only 8 to 14 months.

Charcoal

A charcoal chinchilla is a rare mutation because it is a full recessive and requires both parents to carry the charcoal gene. In the US, the terms and Charcoal and Ebony are used interchangeably, but they actually have different genetic makeups and are considered separate in the UK and some parts of Europe.

The Violet Chinchilla

The Violet Chinchilla or Sullivan Violet first appeared in 1967 in Africa. As its name suggests has a violet hue to its coat and has a white belly. They have soft, fine hair which is prone to weakness. The middle band of a violet’s hair (also known as the bar) is white and contributes to its soft appearance. The Violet is a full recessive like the Charcoal and requires both parents to carry the violet gene.

Here’s a video of Lyla, a violet chin

The Sapphire Chinchilla

The Sapphire, like the Violet and Charcoal, is a rare, recessive mutation that is not easy to breed. The resulting chin has a pale blue coat and white belly fur. Its hair has a soft light blue underfur, a white bar, and a crystal blue veiling. Additionally, the chin has a light-colored tail with pink ears.

Here’s a video of a female sapphire chin with her two sapphire kits:

 

Beige Chinchilla Mutations

Beige chinchillas have dark beige to light beige coats with red eyes and a white belly. Beige chins can be either homozygous beige or heterozygous beige. Homozygous Beige chins have two copies of the beige gene, one from each parent while Heterozygous Beige chins have a single copy of the gene from one parent.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell whether your chinchilla is homozygous or heterozygous beige. One way to confirm is by checking their eyes – according to Jamie Higgins, a homozygous beige has light red eyes with a light ring around its pupils while a heterozygous beige chin has a solid color around its pupils.

A homozygous beige chin also tends to have a lighter coat while the heterozygous beige has a darker beige and sometimes even brownish coat.

A homozygous beige chin also tends to have a lighter coat while the heterozygous beige has a darker beige and sometimes even brownish coat.

Here’s a video of Happy, a homozygous beige chin

 

White and Albino Chinchillas

There are quite a number of white colorations of Chinchilla, and some of these colorations have red or pink eyes. Most of the time, when someone says they have an albino chinchilla, it is likely they have mistaken their Pink White chin for an albino as true albinos are very rare.

Pink White

Pink White chinchillas carry the beige gene and are mostly white although they can have beige patterns. They have light-colored ears, which may also be freckled. A Pink White chin with homozygous beige genes usually has light red eyes and is often mistaken for an albino.

Mosaic

White mosaic chinchillas have patches of white mixed on top of other coat colors or vice versa depending on the coat type of its parents.

Wilson White

A Wilson White chinchilla has a completely white coat with black ears. They also always have black eyes, unlike pink whites.

Wilson Whites have a lethal factor – offspring that carry both copies of the gene do not live – and should not be bred with one another.

This video shows a pink, white, mosaic, and Wilson white chinchilla. See if you can identify them:

 

Other Colors

The abovementioned colors are not the only available ones. New colors and mutations are continuously being discovered and developed. Some of the recent ones include:

Goldbar

A goldbar chinchilla has a champagne or golden coat with a white belly and red eyes. The first Goldbar was produced in 1995.

Blue Diamond

The first Blue Diamond chinchilla was born in South England in 2001 and is an extremely rare color arising from a combination of the violet and sapphire recessive mutations. Its coat is a soft ice blue. A Blue Diamond chin has to receive copies of both the violet and sapphire genes from both parents.

Here’s a video of a newborn Blue Diamond chinchilla kit:

Hopefully, this information will help you identify your chinchilla’s type. If you know of other mutations or have a photo to contribute, please feel free to leave a comment below

Additional References:

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