Chinchillas are known for their luxurious coats, but what truly stand out are their colors. Chinchillas come in a myriad of shades, some with their own patterns. These colors are determined by the science behind their genes. Chinchillas that are grey, for example, can produce a kit with a violet or even white coat!
For chinchilla pet owners, aspiring breeders, and animal lovers, understanding how chinchillas get their colors can be fascinating. Here is everything you need to know about chinchilla colors.
For a beloved look, here are some typical colors you’ll find in chinchillas.
Grey is the default color of the chinchilla species. This is their natural color, which is why most kits or adults on the market will be found in this variety. All other chinchilla colors are derived from grey coats, whether they’re by morphs, mutations, or by cross-breeding those morphs and mutations. For those on a tight budget who don’t aren’t too particular about their chin’s color, grey is the perfect fit.
White chinchillas, accurately named, boast of a brilliantly white coat. There are two main subtypes of the white chinchilla: Mosaic white refers to coats that are white with a pattern, and Wilson White refers to a completely white coat.
The gene for a white coat is incomplete; this means that white chinchillas cannot be bred with another white chinchilla. On the other hand, an incomplete gene also means that white chinchillas get the most variety in their coats. They can have a wide range of patterns of varying degrees of blackness, going hand-in-hand with their white coloring.
Beige chinchillas are nearly as common as grey chinchillas. They come in two types: a dark brown coat with a white underbelly, and a lighter coat (also called champagne). Beige chinchillas may even have freckled ears!
Black chinchillas also come in two types. The first is a completely black chinchilla, while the second has a grey or white underbelly. Some black chinchillas may even come with black stripes on their paws! Select breeders will call black chinchillas ebony, but don’t let the terminology confuse you!
A brown coat is the result of a black chinchilla bred to one with a beige coat. Brown chinchillas come in two types: the first being entirely brown, with the second having a coat with a lighter or white underbelly.
The violet chinchilla is often the most expensive type on the market. They can be the most uncommon, as they are a combination of two parents that carry a violet color gene. However, this gene is recessive, which means that there are higher chances of producing non-violet kits in any litter.
A Few Variations
There are also a few genes which mix up this coloring range. Here are the terms that breeders often use.
- Wrap: Wrap refers to the presence of the black/ebony gene, which results in an overall darker color. This is commonly sought-out in violet chinchillas, as it makes their color more prominent.
- TOV: TOV stands for Touch of Velvet, which is a pattern wherein color starts darker on the top and fades at the bottom.
- Mosaic: Mosaic refers to the presence of a pattern on a coat. The mosaic often occurs in white-coat chinchillas. Reverse mosaic refers to grey chinchillas with a white pattern.
Now that you know the different names and terms for chinchilla colors, have fun naming the chinchillas you come across!