As with any species gaining popularity as a pet, in recent years, the color variations in chinchillas have begun to expand. Thanks to selective breeding, Chinchilla’s colors have remarkably changed from yellow-grayish to diverse variations. Here are the 7 most popular color variations (one rare) in chinchillas.
1. Standard or Grey Chinchilla
Standard or wild-type chinchillas have the typical gray coloration, although some are darker on the upper parts of their body to the point of being “blue.”
(Don’t confuse a standard “blue” chinchilla with the much rarer “gunmetal” blue now available. A standard “blue” chinchilla is best matched by a very deep gray, while gunmetal chins have a slightly purplish tint on the coat. prices differ substantially too!)
Standard chinchillas tend to be paler on their underparts, and their individual hairs will show alternating bands of dark and light in a pattern called “agouti.”
However, in some captive-bred chinchillas, the bands are missing and the individuals appear to be much darker in color.
Standard gray chinchillas are easy to find and typically cost $75/£46.
2. White or Pale Chinchilla
There are a number of white or pale chinchillas that first appeared in the 1950s. One of the most prominent is Wilson’s White.
These chinchillas are not albinos, they display dark rather than pink ears and black eyes. (Real albinos have red eyes.)
The “pink white” chinchilla, although it looks a lot like an albino, retains some pigment, which can be seen in a faint beige “veil” or tip.
White chinchillas are more readily available from breeders and cost between $150 and $200/£93 to £124.
3. Mosaic or Pied Chinchilla
Although mosaic or pied chinchillas are usually predominantly white, they also have patches of dark fur. Its pattern is completely unpredictable and unique per individual.
However, the pattern does reproduce true, but it can vary widely even in a single litter. For many enthusiasts, this variability is what makes mosaic chinchillas so interesting.
These colorations are rarely available in pet stores. From a breeder, you will pay roughly $150/£93.
4. Beige Shades
The beige shade chinchilla has become very popular in recent years. These chins are especially beautiful because their underparts are white.
The depth of the beige coloration will vary from relatively dark to a beautiful cream. One of the most popular is Willman’s Beige.
You may see these chinchillas described as “pearls” or “pastels” depending on their coloration.
Depending on the depth of the beige coloration and the availability of breeders, these chinchillas will cost from $150 to $300 / £93 to £186.
5. Black and Brown
Breeders developed “black velvet” in 1956, an elegant jet black chinchilla with a white belly. Now, there is also a grayer variation known as “charcoal”, sometimes referred to as “ebony.”
Brown velvet chinchillas also have a white underside, unlike common brown, which is less intense in the manner of charcoal.
Black and brown colorations in chinchillas are becoming more popular and easy to find.
On average, individuals in these shades cost $150-$200/£93-£124.
However, some charcoals sell for up to $500/£310.
6. Violet Chinchilla
Currently, the rarest and most unusual color mutation in chinchilla is violet. This coloration was bred through controlled breeding programs in Zimbabwe, resulting in a “pointed” animal.
The best comparison of any pointed animal is to a Siamese cat. The extremities of the chinchilla (face, legs, and tail) are darker than its body, which is a soft purplish gray.
Violet chinchillas are very difficult to find and will cost anywhere from $200-$400/£ 124-£ 247, depending on the quality of the coloring.
7. Sapphire or Gunmetal Chinchilla (Rare colorations)
The range of colorations in chinchillas continues to evolve, especially as the animals begin to be judged more commonly at breeder shows.
These venues are not competitions per se, but rather arenas where chinchillas are graded on quality against an accepted breed standard.
For this reason, and because of the profitability obtained from selling chinchillas as pets, breeders have a great interest in improving their bloodlines and developing new varieties.
Oftentimes, breeders will showcase new and unique mutations in shows like the “sapphire”, which is best described as “gunmetal” blue in color with white underparts.
Sapphire chinchillas sell in the price range of $250-$300/£ 155-£186, while even rarer blue ones can cost as much as $500/£310.
Interestingly, it appears that there is absolutely no difference in temperament with any of the color mutations. Chinchillas are amazingly consistent in their behavior and demeanor.