A little history
Chinchillas have been a popular pet for a long time and for good reason! They are very docile animals with little need for any special care.
Chinchillas also come in a variety of different color mutations (also known as morphs), some rarer than others which make them highly sought after. One of these popular sought after morphs is the violet mutation.
Without going into specifics, the violet chinchillas we see today originally came from a herd kept on a Rhodesian (Zimbabwe) ranch back in the ‘60s. This herd was then supposedly bought by a rancher by the name of Lloyd Sullivan and then brought back to his ranch back in Los Angeles.
The violet mutation is characterized by a grey purple coat most commonly seen with a classic white underbelly. It is also a recessive gene, thus slightly harder to produce compared to other color mutations like the hetero beige. Their fur is also generally much denser than other color mutations as well.
So why are they popular?
1. Harder to produce
Violets are harder to produce because they are the result of the pairing of 2 recessive genes. This means, if both parents were carriers of the genes, there would only be a 25% chance that their offspring comes out a violet chinchilla.
That said, usually violets are usually produced with a ‘Visual’ homozygous paired with a heterozygous, which results in a 75% possibility of producing a homozygous violet.
Most breeders opt not to use 2 visuals to produce 100% visuals because this tends to weaken the bloodline causing many genetic problems down the line.
2. They have beautiful fur
Violets have been known to have much denser fur than other color mutations. Their fur also has a translucent effect which adds to their appeal on top of their dense fur.
They also come in quite a number of variations. For example, even though violets are a recessive trait, they can show up in other color mutations as well, like beige violets and white violets. Of course, the solid violets are generally the most sought after.
3. They look expensive
If you’ve ever seen a violet chinchilla up close, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. They’re basically a cut above the rest of the color mutations when compared side by side. Their fur being a uniform light to dark gray color with a shining undertone makes them look luminescent while their eyes are commonly a pitch-black color.
Of course this is just my personal preference but I know many other chinchilla keepers who will attest to this as well!
4. Unique History
The violet gene first appeared in South Africa back in the ‘60s and was brought back by a rancher by the name of Lloyd Sullivan. Like what I briefly mentioned above, Lloyd bought the entire herd and brought them back to the USA.
However what I did not mention was that Lloyd actually smuggled the entire herd under a crate of chickens, as South Africa was not allowed to trade directly with the USA at that time.
Thus Lloyd had no choice but to hide the herd under some cages of chickens and took a much longer route back via West Germany before selling the herd to a farm in Oakhurst.
The violets were then introduced to the public sometime in 1967 and was formerly known as the ‘Sullivan Violet’.
5. Extremely fun!
Alright this is probably a biased reason as the same can be said for all pet chinchillas not just violets. They are extremely fun to keep.
All chinchillas are individualistic and have their own character much like us humans. This makes keeping chinchillas fun and exciting because no 2 chinchillas are identical.
There are simple tricks that you can teach your chinchillas such as standing on the palm of your hand or even playing fetch in a room, the possibilities are endless.
Chinchillas are smart animals and require quite a bit of stimulation if not they tend to get restless easily.
Keeping chinchillas is not only fun but it’s also extremely fulfilling when they are kept well. Violet chinchillas require no extra care and are becoming an increasingly popular option for a pet chinchilla for obvious reasons.
Remember, the lifespan of a chinchilla in captivity can be up to 15 years! So think carefully before making your next purchase.
We hope you enjoyed this article as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Cheers!