How Many Types of Chinchillas Are There?

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There are three main types of chinchilla that you are likely to come across, some more often than others.
There are three types of the chinchilla:

  • Chinchilla laniger / lanigera (our pets)
  • Chinchilla Brevicaudata (rarely kept as a pet)
  • Costina

Langiera

This species of chinchilla are mainly found in the mid-levels of their natural habitat. They are considered the best breeders in comparison to their chinchilla cousins mentioned below. The original Langiera species showed a more comprehensive range of colors ranging from a bluish-grey to brown coloring.

Langiera is the species that is still found in its natural habitat today, although their numbers have significantly become diminished since man first discovered them. Purebred Langiera can be described as having long thin heads and shoulders and long ears and tails.

I had heard them described as is pointed heads, although I cannot recall who or where I read it. When I first encountered chinchillas, I heard them described as round heads or pointed heads. The Langiera has a gestation period of around 111 days.

Brevicaudata

The next species we are more common with is the Brevicaudata, which hails from the mountains’ highest regions. They had described as the larger of the three species and have larger bodies and a broad head (the round head is what I had heard them called when I first started with chinchillas). They also have bluish ears and shorter tails than their Langiera cousins. This species’ purebreds can be described as having a brownish tinge to their fur and a wavy appearance and texture to their long fur. This chinchilla is particularly well furred and has an excellent full neck, two of the aspects that breeders, particularly ones who show their chinchillas, try to maintain and perfect in their herds.

Costina

This is the last type of chinchilla that inhabits the domestic world of chinchillas. These types were found closest to sea level in their native region of the Andes. Their characteristics were that they have longer ears and tails and are described as being more highly strung than the other two species. This may be because, in their native land, with being at such a low level, they had to be more alert to man or intruders and were the more susceptible of the three. They are also described as having a pointed head and narrow-body similar to the Langiera type. Costina has been described as having contributed the rich blue fur color to the domestic chinchilla. Their fur is short and not as dense as the Brevicaudata but had a favorable good strength.