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Sometimes, humans in animation and video games have decidedly non-standard skin colors. Instead of being tan and brown, they'll be green, gray, and purple. But they're not the only ones--sometimes, animators have a bit of fun when designing animals as well. And thus, the world is filled with Amazing Technicolor Wildlife.

Animals are a bit different from humans--a lot of them do come in wilder, more flamboyant colors, especially in tropical areas. Animals use bright colors as a way of saying "Don't eat me! I'm poisonous!" or "Look at me! Aren't I a sexy beast?," or even for reasons we're not quite sure of. However, not all animals come in strange colors--a lot of mammals tend to be the same grayish and yellowish and brownish and reddish colors we humans are, with the brightest colors reserved for birds, insects, and fish. (A few reptiles here and there, too.) And while no one would bat their eye at a blue peacock with green tailfeathers, a red peacock with bright purple tail feathers would be distinctly more unusual. For instance, there is no green in mammals (unless you count fur tinted green because of algae) and blue is only found in a few mammal species (unless you count greyish-blue or a blue sheen). It just doesn't exist naturally.

Sometimes animators exaggerate the range of colors, patterns, and markings found on each species of animal in Real Life. Several species of penguin, like the Fairy Penguin, have a naturally blue sheen to their feathers, but many animated penguins tend to be bright blue. There are other minor Acceptable Breaks From from the range of colors, markings, and patterns each species of animal can have in Real Life, like solid-colored, non-tabby red cats.

Other times, they're outright strange. Blue dogs, pink rabbits, pink alligators, orange sharks, and teal-colored platypodes abound. Little songbirds which are dull-colored in Real Life may be depicted as brightly colored; in a more subtle version, Crows and Ravens are often shown with yellow beaks and feet, though retaining their all-black plumage.

Funny Animals in particular seem to be prone.

Compare Pink Elephants -- if the colored wildlife is actually odd in the setting, expect a character to regard it as that trope.

Overlaps with Typical Cartoon Animal Colors.


Subtle and Minor Acceptable Breaks From Reality Examples Found in Animated Works in General:

  • Domestic Cats
    • Actual solid-colored/self-colored Red and Cream furred cats (with or without white spotting)
    • Non black-furred cats (with or without white spotting) with black noses, or black-furred cats with pink/red noses (with no white spotting on the muzzle or nose)
    • Stripes only on the back or at least a lack of stripes on the legs if there are any
    • White belly and/or chest (on the whole chest, not just a locket on the chest) without white paws
  • Domestic Dogs
    • A black nose on a liver-colored dog
  • Penguins
    • Bright blue feathers (as opposed to just a naturally blue sheen to their feathers)
  • Rats and Mice
    • Black, brown, or dark brown noses
  • Wolves
    • Red noses or any nose color except black

Distinct and Outright Strange Examples:

Anime


Comic Books

  • Changeling aka Beast Boy from the Teen Titans is always green when he shapeshifts, which obviously stands out when he turns into any non-reptilian or -amphibian animal.
  • Monica's Gang. Played straight with blue dogs, green dogs, green elephants, etc. Yellow dogs, even bright yellow ones, not so much.


Film

  • The Wizard of Oz, offering many viewers their first glimpse of actual Technicolor, featured a "horse of a different color", which gradually changed from one color to another.
  • Most of the sea life in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou is like this.
  • Nearly all of the animals living in the dark green forests of Pandora are a brilliant shade of cobalt. This is Handwaved through them blending in when the plants start to glow at night, but it still doesn't explain why they keep this color during the day (one would expect them to either change colors or for only the nocturnal species to be blue, but nope).


Folklore

  • Paul Bunyan has Babe the Blue Ox.
  • The reason coyotes are brown and not brilliant blue? Because Coyote fell in a mud puddle.


Literature

  • Clifford the Big Red Dog.
    • There's also Cleo, a pink poodle; T-Bone, a yellow bulldog; and Machiavelli, a blue greyhound.
  • The picture book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See features a blue horse and a purple cat.
    • Another Eric Carle book, Hello, Red Fox, featured a green fox, a blue cat, a purple bird, a red snake, an orange fish, and a yellow butterfly.
  • Elmer the Patchwork Elephant
  • Accidentally applied to a village full of Funny Animal wading birds in Chorus Skating, when Jon-Tom magically re-grows their lost feathers by revising the lyrics of songs about custom paint jobs on cars. Luckily, the altered birds get a real kick out of their new makeovers.


Live Action TV

  • Spanish show El Perro Verde was a interview program that featured, indeed, a green dog.
  • Some of the characters on The Muppet Show. Sure, you had a green frog (Kermit) and a pink pig (Piggy). Rowlf was a brown dog - not too far-fetched there. But how does one explain Gonzo the Great as....uh....some kind of...."turkey-anteater" with cornflower-blue....uh...."covering"?
  • Captain Bluebear, who is a blue bear, and his three grandkids, who are pink, yellow and green respectively.
  • The Pajanimals features a green dog, an orange horse, a blue duck, and a purple cow.
  • The animated red-white-and-blue CGI eagle mascot of The Colbert Report.


Newspaper Comics

  • The main character of My Cage, Norm, is a bright blue platypus. One of his friends is also an orange shark.
  • Arlene from Garfield is a cat with pink fur.
  • Mark Trail, a supposedly serious serial strip supposedly about nature and wildlife, nonetheless frequently features miscolored animals, such as ducks with green bodies and brown heads (instead of the other way around) and baby-blue chicks. Who often grow to the size of Buicks and talk out of their butts, but that's another issue.


Tabletop Games

  • Just open a Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual or similar setting supplement. Even if you entirely ignore the various "magical" monsters borrowed from mythology (such as the couatl, a feathered serpent based on depictions of Quetzalcoatl, an Aztec god) and the color-coded dragons you will find e.g. an amazing technicolor dream-coated wolf with feathered wings instead of front legs (the Senmurv), and Tribex, horned beasts of burden that resemble African antelopes but with a bright blue stripe along its flank instead of a brown stripe (in the Eberron setting).


Toys

  • Beanie Babies range from realistically designs and colors to more cartoonish designs with bright or pastel colors.


Video Games

  • Many of the animal townsfolk in Animal Crossing are peculiarly colored, in almost every color imaginable. The quickest example? A bear called Bluebear. Guess what color she is.
  • A lot of Sonic the Hedgehog characters fall under this category. Sonic in particular is famous for being a "blue hedgehog" ("The Blue Blur" being his nickname), but there are also pink, black and silver hedgehogs, purple cats, red echidnas, yellow polar bears, green tufted ducks, black armadillos with red shells, purple weasels, green hawks, the list goes on and on.
    • A piece of information present in several Sonic continuities explain that Sonic's blue colour was the result of him breaking the sound barrier for the first time, turning him blue. This may make sense if blue is an unusual colour for an animal in the Sonic universe (if animals in red, yellow, orange and green are considered "normal").
      • The real, less-fun explanation is that Naoto Ooshima initially drew him with black fur, but quickly changed it to blue so it would match the Sega logo.
    • The small animals found in the badniks of certain games are also oddly colored, such as purple peacocks with red tails, pink and purple elephants, pink seals, purple penguins, and blue gorillas.
  • Moosh from The Legend of Zelda Oracle Games is a blue bear. He has wings that allow him to fly, but still.
  • Krystal from Star Fox certainly fits under this trope because she's blue, as well as Katt Monroe, who's pink. Marcus McCloud, Fox and Krytal's future son, who appears in one of Command's possible endings inherits his mother's blue fur color.
    • Katt's character design was changed for Command. She's now dark grey.
    • Command has Amanda, Slippy's love interest (pink). One of the endings shows their kids, each having a different color.
    • Unlike Falco Lombardi, real falcons don't have blue feathers.
  • Parappa the Rapper. Not only is Katy Kat blue, but her head is semicircular!
  • In the Super Mario Bros.. games, there's the Yoshi species, which comes in a rainbow variety of colors.
    • Come to think of it, the Koopas [turtles] tend to be multicoloured as well, starting in the first game with the red ones.
  • There are some pretty funky Pokémon examples. True, they're technically not animals, but most are based on animals. A yellow mouse[1], a blue turtle[2], a yellow and a blue duck/platypus[3], a white kangaroo[4]. And that's just the first generation of mons! Yeah, those critters cover the spectrum and back.
    • It also applied to the fictional critters themselves with the shiny Pokémon.
  • The orca that ferries you around in Okami is a pastel color.
  • Farmville, the Facebook game, has this in spades. The colors also determine the relative value of each of your farm critters.
  • The bunnykids (Oswald the Lucky Rabbit's children) from Epic Mickey are bright cyan.
  • Pokémon has a lot of different strange creatures in all kind of colors, usually color-coded based on where they fall in the 17-part Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors system. Some elements tend to be brighter than others- Fire types tend to be bright red, for instance, whereas Ground types tend towards earth tones. Some types don't follow this though (Normal and dragon types don't really have a color trend. Flying types are always (until recently) dual-typed and also have no real color trend.)
  • The vast majority of the dream eaters in Kingdom Hearts 3D are animals of this nature. The nightmare versions fought as enemies tend to use darker color schemes, while the friendly spirit versions are downright fluorescent.


Web Comics

  • Varsuvius of Order of the Stick retains the same purple-and-red-robed color palette, even when transformed into animal shapes.
    • Ditto Marena from Keychain of Creation, who retains her hair's red and white coloring in her animal forms.
  • Almost every single pet on the main cast of Virtual Pet Planet is an example.
  • The wolves from The Black Blood Alliance go from a coat of bright red to neon blue and green markings.


Web Original

  • Happy Tree Friends has things such as yellow rabbits, pink chipmunks and purple beavers.
  • Neopets is an interesting example. When you create a pet it can be red, green, yellow, or blue, but with magical paint brushes you get even more unusual colors. Paint brush colors include simple pink, brown, and purple... but they also include things like mutant, Darigan, robot, ghost, pirate, starry, cloud, fire, strawberry, and Christmas.
    • There's also petpet paint brushes, which let you do the same thing to your petpet only with fewer options. Petpets start out with a color/pattern that all members of that species are (such as a brown owl-like petpet) but can be changed to things such as rainbow and custard by using petpet paint brushes.
  • Chicken Maker features unnaturally colored chickens sporadically. Like purple or blue.


Western Animation

  • Tiny Toon Adventures had Buster (blue) and Babs (pink) Bunny (no relation), Furball (blue cat), Dizzy Devil (a purple Tasmanian Devil), and Fifi (purple skunk), among other animals with strange colors.
  • In All Dogs Go to Heaven Charlie and Anne Marie meet up with Flo to deliver pizza to her litter of orphaned puppies. Some of the said puppies are blue, pink, yellow, and bright green.
  • Blue's Clues, of course: Many of the animals are unusually-colored, and tend to be named after their color. Examples: Blue, Magenta, and Green (all dogs), and Periwinkle (a cat).
  • The yellow hippo, Tasha, and the purple kangaroo, Austin, from The Backyardigans
  • "Kevin" from Up is a 13-foot flightless bird with bright, iridescent plumage that, while not unusual for tropical birds, is nearly nonexistent among large flightless birds.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Billy's cat has pink fur.
  • The Cheshire Cat from the Disney Animated Canon version of Alice in Wonderland.
  • In The Fairly Odd Parents, Cosmo and Wanda retain their hair color for some of the animals into which they can transform. Their hair colors are green and pink, respectively.
  • The Gummi Bears were actually small, mystical creatures, and not actual bears, but they were still as brightly colored as their namesake candy.
  • And on the subject of cartoon bears, both the Care Bears and the Care Bear Cousins were bright, often pastel, colors.
  • Cyrill and Cedric Sneer from The Raccoons are pink aardvarks. The show's creator did this so that kids wouldn't think real aardvarks were mean and miserly.
  • Similar to the Fairly Oddparents example above, the animals Merlin and Madame Mim become in The Sword in the Stone are blue and pink respectively, same color as their clothing. The animals Wart becomes are tan, which is somewhat less conspicuous. Mim's purple dragon is something else entirely.
  • Phineas and Ferb's pet platypus, Perry, is teal-colored with an orange bill. In a recent episode, it seems like all platypodes (in Danville, at least?) are the same color as theirs.
  • The titular equines of My Little Pony and My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic come in all the colors of the rainbow and then some.
  • Semi-justified on The Wuzzles, given that each character was a crossbreed of two different species (although, oddly, each seemed to be the only one of its kind). Some of the color schemes were fairly reasonable for a "zoologically accurate" animated fantasy: "Bumblelion," for instance, was a half-lion, half-bumblebee creature, and had tan lion fur (correct) and brown and yellow bee stripes across his torso (close enough). But then again you had his pal "Rhinokey," who was a rhinoceros-nosed monkey with carnation-pink fur.
  • In Eek the Cat, the titular character has purple fur, his girlfriend Annabelle is pink, and Sharky the Sharkdog is gray.
    • Also, The Incredible Elmo is brown, and Mittens is blue colored.
  • Rude Dog and the Dweebs. Cool dogs come in every color.
  • Beast Boy of Teen Titans.
  • Averted for the most part in The Lion King, but played straight during the song "I Just Can't Wait to be King."
  • Disney's Tarzan featured literal Pink Elephants. Curiously enough, the elephants in the song "I Just Can't Wait to be King, as mentioned earlier, are all also colored pink.
  • In The Schnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show, Meat the dog is blue.
  • In The Problem Solverz, Bad Cat has rainbow stripes and his henchmen are blue. Professor Sugar Fish is a giant rainbow fish.
  • The Drainlanders in Staines Down Drains. Being mutant life forms living in a drain system, they tend to come in a lot of shapes, sizes and colors.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball has blue cats and pink rabbits. However, they don't really look like cats or rabbits. Someone who is seeing the show or characters for the first time might actually mistake them for anthropomorphic gumballs.


Real Life

  • Reef wildlife typically consists of any of the (and often times, multiple) colours of the visible light spectrum.
  • Parrots and other tropical birds come in many bright colours.
  • Averted: Most depictions of dinosaurs tend to color them in various shades of brown--and until fossilized samples of dinosaur skin were unearthed, their skin tended to have no texture to them.
    • Played straight in real life. They have actually managed to figure out a way to tell what color dinosaurs were. (or at least the feathered ones.) They have tested two so far; the first one, Sinosauropteryx, was white with orange stripes, the second, Anchiornis, was black, with mottled white and a rufous mohawk. Confuciusornis, a primitive bird, had varying shades of gray, white and orange. Sinornithosaurus was most likely orange and black. In any case, every species of dinosaur was very likely flamboyantly-colored. They, like all other reptiles, had great vision and likely relied on visual signals and bright colors to communicate.
  • Iguanas come in all colors of the rainbow.
  • Chameleons naturally fall under this.
    • It's subverted as well. Although chameleons are famous for their ablitity to change colors, and use a pretty wide range of colors for camouflage and to communicate with one another, they cannot instantly change into every color in existence despite what movies/cartoons would like you to believe.
      • And, no, they cannot turn "pink with purple polka dots" or whatnot either.
  • Several kinds of snakes have bright colors; most of them are venomous snakes or mimics of venomous snakes. However, there are brightly-colored nonvenomous snakes such as blood pythons and rainbow boas, and Amazing Technicolor morphs of ball pythons and corn snakes are becoming increasingly popular in the pet trade.
  • The Black and Rufous Elephant Shrew
  • Mantis shrimp
  • Averted with most mammals, which usually come in blacks, grays, oranges, whites and browns, with the occasional bluish, reddish or yellowish tint. Played straight with tigers.
  • Played straight with most reptiles, except for tortoises.
  • Played straight with many species of fish, but averted with sharks, except for some notable exceptions like the wobbegong and carpet shark.
  • Blue lobsters and crabs. Often caught and and kept for pets or tourist attractions. They don't survive long in the wild, due to to the oddity of their coloration.
  • Mandrills
  • Pink Elephants. No, seriously.



Subtle and Minor Acceptable Breaks From Reality Examples Found in Specific Animated Works

Live Action TV

  • Fozzie from The Muppets is a bright orange bear (although he referred to himself as "light brown" in one episode)


Theatre

  • Most productions of Cats portray Bombalurina as a bright red cat. As in scarlet.


Video Games


Western Animation

  • Applejack from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic is orange with an yellow mane and tail.
  • Plucky Duck from Tiny Toon Adventures is green, but a green duck is not that strange. Not counting the male Mallard, which is only green on its head, there's the Cayuga.
  • The Backyardigans features an orange moose named Tyrone and a blue penguin named Pablo.
  • The five major animal characters in Littlest Pet Shop include a blue dog, a purple cat, a pink rabbit and a yellow horse. Only the brown monkey has a normal fur color.
  • Bullwinkle J. Moose from Rocky and Bullwinkle is orange.
  • Larry the Lobster from SpongeBob SquarePants. Yes, lobsters can be red, but not live lobsters...only cooked ones. May be a case of The Coconut Effect.
  • Megatron during the first season of Beast Wars transforms into a purple T. Rex for some reason. Now just picture him singing "I love you, you love me..."


Real Life

  • At least some breeds of dogs and cats come in unusual colors. And both already have a long list of colors documented.

Notes

  1. the Pikachu line
  2. the Squirtle line
  3. the Psyduck line
  4. Kangaskhan and her joey
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