American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2015 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Colors & Coats

Inbreeding Causes Red Eyes?; Eye Color In Splashed Mice

By Karen Robbins

Inbreeding Causes Red Eyes?

Megan Berger, Facebook
RE: a Champagne Self Standard mouse on the AFRMA FB page
Q Doesn’t red eyes mean its inbred? When I went to a reptile store, they gave away their baby feeder mice and rats for free. They said they can be mean cause they’re inbred and they were all white with red eyes.

A No, pink eyes are from a gene that causes the eyes to change from black to pink and also changes the coat color. This mouse is genetically a pink-eyed Chocolate. A pink-eyed Black would be a light gray mouse with pink eyes that we call Lilac. Works the same in rats. A Black rat with the pink-eye gene becomes a Champagne, and Agouti becomes Silver Fawn.

Albino animals are caused by a gene that covers up what the color really is and this is different from the pink-eyed gene that changes the eye and coat color. When you breed an albino to a normal colored animal, that’s when you find out what the albino really is, so it’s important to know what the color/markings are underneath all that white. The albino gene (c) is necessary, however, when breeding Himalayan (rats or mice) and the Ivory mice. To make a Himalayan, you need one dose of the Himalayan/Siamese gene (ch) and one dose of the albino gene (c) to make this color. An Ivory mouse is made up of one dose of the extreme dilute gene (ce) and one of the albino (c). You still need to know what the color/marking is that is being covered up so you don’t get something like Hooded Himis (Himis should be genetically a Black Self that has the Himi and albino gene added aa chc) or spotted Ivories (Ivory mice are ideally a Chocolate Self with the addition of the extreme dilute and albino genes aa bb cec).

As far as temperament, inbreeding won’t cause mean temperaments, but rather if the bad temperament is there and they are continually bred to each other, you are just making more animals that have mean temperaments. Temperament is genetic/inherited so it doesn’t matter what the color/marking is or if the parents were related or not, if those animals being bred from are not nice, the kids won’t be nice.

Eye Color In Splashed Mice
Splashed Mouse
The mouse in question: a Black Splashed Standard male that has very nice splashes, owned and bred by Karen Robbins. Photo ©2013 Karen Robbins.

RE: Photo of a Splashed (Transgenic) mouse on the AFRMA Facebook page.
Q Very pretty…and interesting how the background color is so very light. My black splash mice have darker backgrounds. Was the mouse bred specifically for that look or is it a genetic variation of the black splash gene? Perhaps caused in part by the ruby eyes? Tara Simmons, Mason Dixon Rodentry, MD

Splashed Mouse
Splashed mice bred by Michelle Parish, Runaway Mousery, Portland, OR. Photo from Tara Simmons.

Q I’m in the U.K. and breed Splashed for exhibition. I have bred Splashed mice in colours that should have black eyes and got ruby eyes instead, and yesterday when judging a show I judged a black tri with red eyes. Do you know what causes this? Is this acceptable in show mice in the U.S.A., or are these mice unstandardised? Cait Walgate, Humbug Stud, England

A In answer to Tara, looks like yours are Splashed on Siamese which makes the background brown and darker. The first ones I got in 1995 from Wanda Wilson were not on Siamese and were black on a gray background. I did make some eventually that were Siamese Splashed and did not like them so kept Siamese out of my Splashed. You can read more in the article Splashed Mice

Splashed Mouse
Two of my original Splashed mice from Wanda Wilson in 1995. Note the ruby eyes and the gray background color (not brown) in the lighter one. These mice were all black on gray. Photo ©1995 Craig Robbins.

In regards to the eye color, yes, ruby eyes are the norm here for Splashed with Odd-Eye common (at least in my stock) and the standard is written for them Myfirst ones were dark Black Splashed with ruby eyes. When you get the Splashed really dark, the ruby eyes are a real contrast against the black coat, similar to the Marten (Red-Eyed Devil) rats.

Not sure why they have the ruby eyes on black mice but I’m sure it has to do with the Transgenic gene splicing since it is only seen on these type mice. *

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November 30, 2018