As Promised, Here are Bill and Ted.
Ted is the darker of the two and is sulking on the shelf. Bill in the curious looking one on the floor.
It's not easy to get them in the same picture at the same time.
This was taken when they first came home and were in Quarrentine - They have now moved upstairs and they have chunked out a bit - Bill is a right chunky lad now.
Ebony is basically a 'wrap around' colour, so they lack the white bellies found in most. Breeders try to breed the darkest that they can, with an all over 'every hair' shiny black being the aim colour wise. Ted is nearly there, he just has some lighter freckles.
The problem with the darker Chins is that the fur is not so good quality. Ted's fur is longish and does not stick up as much as Bill's. For this reason, Bill would be considered the better 'quality' of the two even though he is not nearly as dark as Ted (he looks darker in the fur than he does in photos).
Ebony is believed to be a cumulative gene, that is as the generations go on, the offspring are generally darker.
This leaves breeders with a big problem.
If you breed two every hair black chinchillas together (or sometimes it is referred to as 'Homo Ebony' i.e. homozygous for the ebony gene). You will get very dark offspring, which is certaintly the more desired colour but the fur quality will usually suffer.
So the way most breeders will do it is to use top notch lighter animals and breed over many generations to try to get a good quality 'Homo' Ebony. It's a wasteful game, with a lot of animals being born that can't be used to breed if they are not darker (and they can't be bred with other colours if you are breeding for white bellies as it will cause a 'muddy' belly) and pet owners not wanting anything other than the darkest ones...
I would love to breed, but it's far too complicated.
I was never a fan of the colour in general, it got a bad name - and I admit, I'm as guilty as the next person of wanting a dark one (hence Ted) but I have to say, I have a big soft spot for Bill.
I hope my ramblings on Ebony Chinchillas haven't bored you too much.... I could talk Chinchillas all day happily. They are such BIG personalities in such tiny bodies. My Fiance often accuses them of winding him up on purpose...
You know what?
I actually believe they probably do......
It's a shame that they need such specialist care really, but I would be the first person to discourage ownership unless you are a 110% committed.
On the bear front, I won the mohair - Just got to wait for the post. I think I may try mostly machine stitching for once as 100% hand sewing means it takes me ages to make a bear!