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Naming Rats by Color

Of the 2277 rodent species scattered all over the world, 64 of which are rats; but because of cross-breeding, mutation and genetic experimentation, hundreds of rats with different fur coverings have already been produced. In fact, even those rats which came from the same species have been made to appear distinct among their kin. The most common example to this is the Rex rat; originally, Rexes have curly hair coverings but because of cross-breeding, some of their children became hairless. Other rats simply developed unique hair color, one example of which is the laboratory-produced Blue rat which, of course, has Blue hair color.

By convention, rats have also been classified based on their color and the markings that they have all over their bodies. However, although these rodents may have all the varieties of colors and patterns on its body, rats are still highly distinguishable because all these hair covering have base colors which are limited to these two: agouti and black.

The Agouti Color

Also known as the color of the wild rats or the rats that roam around streets and sewers, Agouti is simply a fancier name from "brown". Thus, "Agouti rats" are simply the brown rats that we see in the sewers. These rats are also given so many different names; of course, there's "Agouti rat" and "brown rat" by virtue of its hair coverings, then there's "water rat" and "sewer rat" because of their foraging behaviour; and finally, there's Norway Rat, which is actually the proper name for such kinds of rats.

However, in essence, Agoutis are not entirely called brown rats because their fur is not really completely brown in color. These rodents have banded fur coverings. Overall, the rat would look brown, but because of the reddish brown, black or cream-colored bands that it has all over its body, they have earned the name "Agouti" instead of just the plain and simple name "brown".

In general, a regular Agouti can have a deep-red to light rust-colored fur. Nonetheless, whatever colors the Agouti will take, its underside will always have a very light color -- in most cases, it is yellow or off-white. In rare instances, the underside of an Agouti can be pure white too.

Fawn Rats - These unique Agoutis are classified as a different group because of the RED (red-eye diluted) gene that they have in their bodies. Moreover, they are not only unique because of this gene; Fawn rats also have orange fur coverings.

Amber - These rats are still considered as Agoutis, but they are distinctly classified because of the PED (pink-eyed diluted) gene that makes their eyes appear pin.

The Black Rats

Unlike Agoutis, black rats are unquestionably predominantly black. Some of them may have minor brown spots but overall, these rats would really appear as if their entire hair covering is black. However, there have been cases when rats would change fur color from black to brown in a specific period. Experts contend that this change is probably triggered by these rodents's need to adapt to their surroundings.

Beige rats - These rats are actually black rats too. They are given a distinct classification because of their eye color. These rodents have the RED (red-eye diluted) gene which actually alters the normal color of their eyes. Ordinary black rats do not have this gene.

Champagne rats - Still, these rodents are part of the whole black rat family. They have the PED (pink-eyed diluted) gene which results to the pinkish appearance of their eyes.

Other Rats

* Black-eyed White Rat - These rats are fondly called as the "Dalmatians" because of the grey spots that they have on their bodies.

* Pink-eyed White Rat - This group is reserved to rats which have purely white fur and purely pink eyes. The rat may be an albino or it is probably a victim of the genetic anomaly called "multiple colors dilute".
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