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Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 10 months ago






Charcoal is not properly a color, but instead a color modifier. While usually used to describe the most often-modified color of Black as a "Charcoal Black," that is to say a greyed-out and oddly "ticked" version of Black, it does occur in other colors.


Charcoal rats are obvious from the time they begin getting pigment if there are comparable littermates without Charcoal to compare them to. They may be mistaken for a lighter color (Black mistaken for Russian Blue, Blue for Platinum, etc) because of the way the starker color is leeched from the hair. Color confusion can persist all the way into young adulthood due to the manner in which Charcoal rats moult.


During babyhood, the rat will seem a lighter or greyer version of the base color. Then at about six weeks they will suddenly appear "ticked" or Agouti. The hair will get a yellowish texturing mixed with darker true-color hairs that gives a ticked or heathered effect, even on rats that are neither Agouti nor Russian Blue based. Additionally, and this is most noticable on a Black Charcoal, the belly will be a lighter, silvery version of the top color, as with Agouti rats.


During adulthood, the rat's coat will resemble a lighter and "silvered" version of the base color, with pale-grey hairs interspersed with the true color hairs. However, the greyer belly will remain. A white or pale ring around the mouth and eyes is also evident, especially on dark colors. If a rat is marked, this effect will be less noticable, or more easy to blame on the marking genes. However, a marked Charcoal rat may throw Self or near-Self offspring with the same noticable coloration.




The genetics of Charcoal are not properly described. Some believe it is a "melanistic Agouti" color, but many breeders have bred it from Black based lines and found no connection to true Agouti at all. It is likely that Charcoal is the same as "Shadows" and "Extreme Dilute Black."


A Charcoaled rat bred to a non-Charcoal parent may have both Charcoal and non-Charcoal babies. The same is true of two Charcoal rats. It is uncertain at this time exactly what the inheritance of the color modifier is, and will take more careful breeding to determine.




At this time no club properly recognizes or standardizes Charcoaled rats for show. However, it is possible that heavily silvered rats, and rats whose markings are extreme (such as Dalmation, Capped, and Varigated) and their colors are considered lighter by association with the markings may in fact be lightened by Charcoaling instead.




American Blue with Charcoaling - this is NOT an Agouti - 8 weeks old (c) Gabriel Edson



Mink, American Blue and Dove with Charcoaling - 8 weeks old - Non-Agouti (c) Gabriel Edson

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