American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2010 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Colors & Coats

Color Change Rats; Color Variations in Rats; What Color Rat?

By Karen Robbins

Color Change Rats

Rick Berry, e-mail
Q I have had a couple litters of rats now that started as cream colored Hooded with a little white on their nose between their eyes. As they get older, they have gone through a complete color change to a nearly white rat, is this common? I have never seen it before now.

A Sounds like they could be marked dark Himis/poorly colored Siamese which will show up white areas such as a blaze, head spot, or Hooded pattern next to the creamy/tan body color during their baby coat but loses the contrast with the adult coat. We would need photos to give a more accurate answer.

Color Variations in Rats

Autumn Fix, e-mail
Q My fancy rats recently had a litter and the color variation is amazing. I have searched everyone’s fancy rat sites and have not been able to find anything that looks like these guys. Can you please tell me which breed of fancy rat these would fall under.

Moulting rats
The young moulting rats.

Moulting rat
One of the young moulting rats with just the top of the head left to change from baby coat into adult coat.
Moulting rat
One of the young moulting rats showing the adult coat coming up the sides with the red baby coat on top.

A You don’t say what the parents are and what they look like. Based on the size of the rats, I would say they are moulting and all the brown spots will disappear shortly. They could be poor Blacks or Chocolates. Some Blacks and Chocolates tend to be patchy/uneven color when they are adults. Some Blacks turn brown and look like Chocolate when adults. Diet and sunlight can affect color. When baby rats lose their soft fluffy coats into sleek shiny adult coats at 6–8 weeks, you can see the pattern of hair growth very easily. It starts at the nose and belly and moves up the sides and back of the rat until the last part to change is the top of the head which is the point most of your babies are at in the photos. For more information on hair growth in rats, go to

Moulting rat
The moulting rat showing the new coat coming up the sides with the dark old coat on top.
What Color Rat?

Sarah McClary, e-mail
Q This is Vodka my Blue Dumbo rat. When I first got her she was a solid dark blue 8-week-old baby. Now she is 12 weeks and her color has changed. She now has a dark blue stripe down her back and silver on her sides. Her eyes are black.

A The most notable moult rats do is at 6–8 weeks when they moult into their first adult coat, then again at 3 months. I would say it looks like she is moulting. It is hard to tell by the photos but she looks Russian Blue. If she completely changes color into the lighter color and loses all of the darker color by the next couple weeks, then it is a moult you are seeing. *

Moulting rats with stripes
These two Blue rats show strange moult marks with stripes on the sides. The stripes were gone a couple weeks later.

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Updated November 5, 2016