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White Chinchilla: Facts, Pictures, Genetics & Health Issues

Cute white chinchilla playing around in the cage

White chinchillas are snowball-like creatures that are fun to keep as pets. These crawlers are fantastic alternatives to cats or dogs. But have you ever wondered if white chinchillas have albinism?

If you’re curious, then you should stick around. In this guide, we’ll learn all about these adorable rodents. 

We’ll explore the nitty-gritty details about the white chinchilla, including their genetics, health issues, and costs. So, let’s get started!

What Is a White Chinchilla?

Little pet white chinchilla peeks out from under a soft blanket

White chinchillas are precisely that; chinchillas covered in white fur! These rodents can sport pure white fur or white fur with light markings on the ears and tail. Contrary to popular belief, white chinchillas do not have albinism.

If you haven’t seen a chinchilla before, this is a soft-furred rodent with very strong legs, large ears, and a small tail. 

It is said that the chinchilla’s fur is the softest of all fur-covered animals — around 30 times softer than human hair!

These traits are all present in the white chinchilla. The only thing that sets them apart from their colored cousins is their incredibly plain coat color. 

Of course, there are other genetic differences as well, but their color is their most striking feature.

Interestingly, aside from being cute and cuddly, white chinchillas are very athletic. These crawlers can jump as high as five feet in the wild. 

This is one of the reasons why they are better off in spacious enclosures rather than roaming free.

Despite appearing like dirt magnets, chinchillas are quite low-maintenance compared to other pets. 

More often than not, you won’t need to bring your white chinchilla to the groomers. In fact, they can clean themselves using just dust bites!

Are White Chinchillas Albino?

Little white chinchilla looking at the camera

No, white chinchillas are not albino. Some people often mistake white chinchillas for albinos because of their white look. However, albino chinchillas are no longer being bred nowadays.

While you may feel bummed that albino chinchillas are extinct, it’s actually a good thing. 

In case you’re new to it, albinism is linked to a couple of health issues in animals. Usually, albinos suffer from light sensitivity and eye problems. 

In fact, breeders stopped breeding white chinchillas in 1960 because of many blind litters. 

So if white chinchillas are not albino, what exactly are they? Well, the simplest way to think of it is that white chinchillas are chinchillas with a shortage of color genes responsible for exhibiting other colors.

Many experts claim that the color white in chinchillas is a manifestation of incomplete dominant genes. Essentially, this stops any colored pigment from absorbing into the hair of chinchillas. 

Other colors that share the same color genetics as white chinchillas are white mosaic chinchillas, wilson white chinchillas, and silver chinchillas. 

Are White Chinchillas Rare?

White chinchillas may seem rare because of their appearance; however, you’d be surprised to know that these crawlers are not so hard to find. In fact, white chinchillas are common.

Many breeders use white chinchillas in their breeding process. They often combine white chinchillas with different colored ones to produce all sorts of colors. You’d be surprised by the number of unique-looking kits this produces.

That said, there are variants of the white chinchilla that are rarer than others. For instance, white mosaic chinchillas may be harder to find compared to silver chinchillas. 

Likewise, if you’re looking for a white chinchilla with a particular marking, it might take you a while to find one.

Other than that, you wouldn’t have any trouble finding a white chinchilla from a local pet store or breeder.

What Does a White Chinchilla Look Like?

Cute pet white chinchilla cute with fluffy white hair and black eyes

The white chinchilla is a true charmer. This rodent has soft and fluffy fur that is primarily white. 

In terms of color variants, the white chinchilla comes in a few variations. These crawlers can either be pure white or white with markings. 

Some common variants of the white chinchilla are ebony white, sapphire white, mosaic white, silver white, and Wilson white. Aside from that, the eyes of white chinchillas also come in several assortments.

Usually, solid white chinchillas sport pink or red eyes. Meanwhile, other white chinchilla variants can have black, sapphire, violet, or charcoal eye color.

Like the rest of the chinchilla gang, white chinchillas have large ears, small tails, and strong, tiny legs. Overall, these crawlers have a very rounded look. Its head, body, and ears are full of flowy curves.

When on the move, you can expect a white chinchilla to look like a fast-moving fluffy ball of fur.

Watch this adorable white chinchilla enjoying its grooming session:

Adorable Chinchilla Loves Being Brushed

White Chinchilla Color Genetics

Chinchilla genetics is quite a complicated subject. Unfortunately, the entirety of it is beyond the scope of this guide. 

Luckily, understanding the genetics of the white chinchilla is straightforward. If you’re wondering what makes a chinchilla white, then the answer lies in the concept called incomplete dominance.

Basically, incomplete dominance is when a dominant allele fails to mask a recessive allele completely. 

In the case of the white chinchilla, this translates to other colors failing to mask the white gene.

Simply put, incomplete dominance stops any colored pigment from being absorbed into the chinchilla’s fur. In effect, a white chinchilla will be mostly white, if not marked at certain parts of the body.

As you would expect, incomplete dominance plays out differently in all cases. This means color masking can occur in various ways. 

Because of this, there are a few variants of the white chinchilla. Some of them are the mosaic chinchillas, Wilson white chinchillas, and silver chinchillas. 

These chinchillas are still considered white chinchillas as they are still mostly white. However, these variants have recognizable markings which earn them their fancy nicknames.

White Chinchilla Lifespan and Health Issues

Little white chinchilla creeps under the leaves

A white chinchilla can live up to 10 years in the wild. Meanwhile, a white chinchilla in captivity can live longer, at around 15 to 20 years.

To learn more about the life expectancy of chinchillas, read our dedicated guide on the topic.

Compared to your typical house pets, such as dogs and cats, white chinchillas have longer lifespans. 

However, this is not to say that their health is perfect. In fact, there are a couple of common health issues with these rodents.

Below are some common health issues encountered by white chinchillas:

  • Dental Problems: Because they chew so much, white chinchillas are prone to many dental problems. The most common one is called malocclusion, which is a condition characterized by misaligned teeth. Teeth overgrowth and drooling are also common dental issues in white chinchillas.
  • Bite Wounds: Unfortunately, bite wounds are common for uncaged chinchillas that live with other pets. One bite from a dog or a cat can cause sickness or kill a chinchilla. This is caused by a bacteria known as Pasteurella multocida that lives in pet saliva.
  • Heat Stress: Because chinchillas are used to living in a cold and dry environment, they are sensitive to heat. If their environment reaches up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, they may experience sudden heat stress.
  • Bladder Stones: Like other rodents, chinchillas are highly prone to developing bladder stones. This is usually caused by the lack of moisture in their living spaces. One way to prevent bladder stones is to increase your pet’s water intake.

Luckily, all of the health issues of a white chinchilla are manageable. If you know how to prevent them, your chinchilla will live its longest and healthiest life. 

That said, taking trips to the vet from time to time is still recommended. Just like cats and dogs, your chinchilla also needs regular vet check-ups.

READ NEXT: Chinchilla Lifespan: How Long Do Chinchillas Live?

How Much Does a White Chinchilla Cost? Prices and Expenses

Owning a chinchilla is not always a walk in the park. There is an actual financial responsibility associated with one. That said, it’s important to know the financial aspect of owning a chinchilla as a pet.

For starters, a pet-quality white chinchilla from a reputable breeder will run you between $150 and $600. Meanwhile, show-quality white chinchillas will set you back upwards of $1,000.

If you plan on owning a white chinchilla, here’s a sample breakdown of your other potential expenses:

Type of ExpenseCost
Spaying/Neutering$300 – $500
Chinchilla Cage$150 – $300
Food Pellets$10 – $15
Water Bottle$5 – $10
Chew Blocks$5 – $10
Volcanic Dust$10 – $15
Dust Tray$10 – $15
Chinchilla Bedding$10 – $15
Chinchilla Hide$10 – $15
Total Initial Cost$510 – $895

As you can see, you need around $510 to $895 for a white chinchilla. Keep in mind that this is exclusive of the price of the chinchilla itself. 

If we factor in the cost of a white chinchilla, your spending sums up to around $660 to $1,495.

You should also remember that some items listed above are recurring costs. Food pellets, chew blocks, and volcanic dust, are just some of the things you’ll need to replenish every now and again.

In addition to all these, chinchillas are often bought in pairs. Because these rodents are social animals, you might need to consider the price of another chinchilla.

Places to Find White Chinchillas for Sale and Adoption

Baby white chinchilla for sale and adoption

There are a lot of sources for white chinchillas. The most common ones are pet stores and online marketplaces. However, it is always recommended to stick with reputable breeders or rescues. 

Doing so will ensure that you’re getting a healthy pet. Aside from that, reputable sources can give you health guarantees, which is not the case for pet stores or backyard breeders.

Here are some reputable breeders where you can find white chinchillas for sale:

  • Cuddlebug Chinchillas – Cuddlebug Chinchillas is a Colorado-based chinchilla breeder. They are an active member of the Empress Chinchilla Breeders’ Cooperative (ECBC), which proves their high breeding standards. Needless to say, this is a breeder worth considering.
  • Sunshine Chinchillas – Located in central Florida, Sunshine Chinchillas is another reliable source for a white chinchilla. This breeder specializes in ebony, tan, and beige chinchillas, but they occasionally have white varieties. They even have the rare white violet chinchilla.
  • Big Daddy’s Chinchillas – Big Daddy’s Chinchilla is a fairly new breeder. This breeder is located in Atlanta, Georgia, where they raise and sell all kinds of chinchillas.

If these sources don’t work out for you, check out our list of the top 10 best chinchilla breeders.

If you fancy adoption, here are some places where you can find white chinchillas for adoption:

  • Forever Feisty Chinchilla – Forever Feisty Chinchilla is a safe space for abandoned or unwanted chinchillas. Located in Connecticut, this rescue has been around since 2003. You can head over to their website if you wish to look at their available white chinchillas.
  • Chins n’ Friends – Chins n’ Friends is a 501(c) non-profit organization in Kentucky. Like most chinchilla rescues, this rescue does have a physical facility. Instead, all of their chinchillas live in the homes of their volunteers. The good thing about this rescue is that they’re active on Facebook.
  • NOLA Chinchilla Rescue – Established in 2007, NOLA Chinchilla rescue is another foster-based organization. If you are interested in adopting from NOLA, their adoption process is straightforward. Adoptable white chinchillas are regularly updated on their website.
  • Adopt-a-Pet – Adopt-a-Pet is a website backed by a non-profit organization. This site is dedicated to the rehabilitation of abandoned animals, including chinchillas. On their website, you’ll find plenty of listings for white chinchillas. You can sort their listings based on your location, desired color, size, and more.

Aside from these sources, you can also resort to social media to find chinchilla breeders and rescues. Fortunately, there are dozens of chinchilla Facebook groups or Reddit communities online.

READ NEXT: 10 Best Chinchilla Breeders (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

Name Ideas for White Chinchillas

Choosing a name for your white chinchilla is quite easy. All you need to do is use their color as an inspiration and look for white things around you. 

One of the best examples is to name your pet after anything related to snow or clouds.

Here are a few name ideas for a white chinchilla: 

  • Snowy
  • Cotton
  • Fluffy
  • Milky
  • Sugar
  • Diamond
  • Ice
  • Marshmallow
  • Snowflake
  • Cloud
  • Vanilla
  • Glacier 
  • Pearl
  • Polar
  • Angel

As you can see, there are a lot of names to choose from. You don’t need to think much when it comes to choosing a name for your white chinchilla.

If you do not want to name your pet based on its color, you can name it based on its characteristics or unique features. You can also name it after your favorite cartoon character or movie.

Frequently Asked Questions

White chinchilla color genetics

How Many Chinchilla Colors Are There?

There are over 30 chinchilla color variants. These range from plain colors, such as white, beige, and chocolate, to countless color combinations.

These color variants in chinchillas are also known as color mutations.

Does Petsmart Sell White Chinchillas?

Yes, PetSmart sells white chinchillas. However, they don’t usually have a large selection. Compared to dedicated breeders, Petsmart’s listings for white chinchillas are quite limited. 

The good news is that white chinchillas in Petsmart are more affordable. You can expect to shell out around $150 for one of their rodents.

Final Thoughts: Is a White Chinchilla the Right Pet for You?

In general, chinchillas are fun and friendly regardless of their coat color. However, these adorable crawlers fit some families and lifestyles better than others. 

To keep things simple, you should get a white chinchilla if you are confident that you can provide the tender love and care it needs. 

Moreover, if you are fond of the cloud-like appearance of the white chinchilla, then it’s probably a good pet choice for you.

Just make sure to learn more about them and treat them as family members, and you’re good to go. Aside from that, be sure to source your white chinchilla from a reputable breeder or rescue.

So, are you adding this ball of fur to your family soon? Let us know your thoughts about the white chinchilla in the comments below!