American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2011 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Colors & Coats

Odd Color Spot On Rat; History Of Velvet Rats; Spontaneous Blue Rat
Odd color spot
The baby rat with the odd color spot owned and bred by Amy Williams.
Odd Color Spot On Rat

Amy Williams, Camarattery, CO, e-mail
Q What do you think of this baby that was born at my rattery 2 weeks ago? I have never had one like this before. Thanks for looking at her.

A If that is a Beige spot on Black, I would say it is one of those somatic mutations. I’ve seen them before—a beige spot on a Black Hooded, one that was a Fawn spot on Agouti, and I had a Beige Berkshire show up in my breedings that had a black streak up his nose. They won’t reproduce their uniqueness but are cute anyway. Karen Robbins

Update: It’s actually very grey. Not like a Blue, just a light grey. But that is interesting if that’s what she is. Thanks for the info. Amy, Camarattery

This is the first one of this color combination I’ve heard of. Karen Robbins

History Of Velvet Rats

From Editor, Karen Robbins
Question to Karla Barber on the origin of her Velvet rats:

Q “You said you had taken your first Velvet and bred to Hooded and bred back 4 generations to the original one before more showed up, but what did that first one look like and what were its parents?”

Velvet rat
A Velvet rat from 1997 that won Best Unstandardized that day, owned and bred by Karla Barber.

A The first pair was given to me by Shelly Martin. They were shipped to her by someone back East. They were supposed to be Blue—back when the first Blues were beginning to appear. However, Shelly was very disappointed when they arrived because their color was really a very pale bluish beige, and unevenly marked Hooded. However, since they were only about 10 weeks old, she decided to just wait a few months and see how they would turn out. Well, their color deepened only slightly, so she gave them to me. When they were about 6 months old I noticed that the texture of their colored fur was softer than their white, so of course, what else, I decided to breed them, even though I was pretty sure that they were siblings. They lived together for several months, “Ashton” and “Ashley” (their color reminded me of ashes) but Ashley never got pregnant. By then, the contrast of the fur texture became more obvious, so I bred Ashton to a standard Hooded Beige female, “Betsy,” who got pregnant right away. All the babies looked like her of course, so again, I bred one of them, “Cindy,” to Ashton. In that litter, again all looked like Mama. Once again I bred one, “Daisy,” to Ashton, and once more all the babies looked like Mama, although there were variations in their color. By this time I had almost given up, so this encouraged me to try one more time. By now I was breeding Ashton to his great-grandaughter “Elsie” and voila!, there was “Dusty,” finally the first one that looked like Papa! Right now I’m in a tight spot, because I only have male Velvets that are breedable, all my females are too old. It’s like I’m at square one again. I wish I could find someone that would be interested in taking over. Karla Barber, Emerald Hill Rattery (EH), Lakeside, CA

Spontaneous Blue Rat

Dr. Emily Beeler, Veterinary Public Health and Rabies Control Program, Downey, CA, e-mail
Q Based on your experience and knowledge, would a rat breeder that had albinos and Black Hooded rats ever get a spontaneous solid Blue rat?

A Yes, it would be possible for someone breeding Hooded and albino rats to produce a Blue. Blue is a recessive gene and can hide for a number of generations. It’s not an uncommon gene (has been around since 1990 in California that we know of—probably sooner—and is very popular with the pet breeders so is found all over the country), and all that is required is for both parents to be carriers. Hooded rats can produce offspring which range from being solid with a little white on their underparts to having just color on their heads. The actual color of the non-white areas on a Hooded rat is determined by whatever coat color genes the rat has. Albino covers up all other colors and markings. It is a recessive gene, however, so bred to a non-albino you will produce non-albino offspring. Nichole Royer *

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Updated January 24, 2015