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Colours and Genetics
There are 22 species of chipmunk. 21 come from America and only 1 comes from certain areas of Siberia, Korea, Mongolia and Japan.
The most common species kept as pets in the uk are the Siberian chipmunks, Therefore I will be talking about that species on this page. For more information and photos of other species please see the ‘buying a chipmunk’ page.
Colours:
The most common colour of the Siberian chipmunk is the ‘Agouti’ which is a light brown to reddish gold colour.
The other common colour of the Siberian chipmunk is the ‘Dilute’ chipmunk which is white in colour with cream stripes.
Another colour mutation of the Siberian chipmunk is the ‘Cinnamon’ which is deep red colour, these are a rare mutation.
The ‘Dilute’ variation is not to be confused with the ‘Albino’ which is pure white with pink eyes.
Theres also a Black chipmunk been seen in the wild which is the opposite to an Albino. Where as an Albino is completely lacking in pigment, a black has too much pigment.
This year Max and Paddy had a baby we named ‘Chucky’. He is a new colour mutation. After researching ‘Albinism’ in animals on the internet I have come to the conclusion that this is what Chucky has. Albinism can occur in different forms and can be just partial or only lacking in a particular colour in the pattern. If you look at your ‘Agouti’ chipmunk you will notice a sort of blue/grey undertone to the fur. Chucky is lacking this and thats why he looks more pink.
Genetics
Ok this might be confusing…
Each Chipmunk has a recessive and a dominant gene. The ‘Dilute’ gene is recessive and the ‘Agouti’ gene is dominant.
This means if a chipmunk with both ‘Agouti’ can only pass on the ‘Agouti’ genes to its offspring. If the ‘Agouti’ is bred with a ‘Dilute’ only 100% Agouti babies will be born because the ‘Agouti’ is dominant.
If the ‘Agouti’ however has 1 ‘Agouti’ gene and 1 ‘Dilute’ gene and is bred with either a ‘Dilute’ or ‘Agouti’ (with both genes) then you will have a 1 in 3 chance of ‘Dilute’ babies.
If you breed 2 Dilutes however you will only get ‘Dilute’ Babies.
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