Amazing Technicolor Wildlife
"Ooh, they look like Skittles!"
— Homer Simpson
commenting on painted rats in Rio de Janeiro, The Simpsons
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. Funny Animals
in particular seem to be prone to this through Typical Cartoon Animal Colors
but turned Up to Eleven
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 accepted variants
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
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
Compare Pink Elephants
— if the colored wildlife is actually odd in the setting, expect a character to regard it as that trope. You Gotta Have Blue Hair
as it pertains to humans and sometimes Petting Zoo People
Overlaps with Typical Cartoon Animal Colors
, can be subject to Hair Color Dissonance
where the non-natural colour is adjusted to something more natural by the viewer's mind.
Subtle and Minor Acceptable Breaks from Reality Examples Found in Animated Works in General:
- Crows and Ravens
- Domestic Cats
- Actual solid-colored/self-colored Red and Cream furred cats (with or without white spotting)
- Non black-furred (with or without white spotting) or all-white cats with black noses
- Grey 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
- Black stripes on a Red Tabby (with or without white spotting)
- Domestic Dogs
- A black nose on a liver-colored dog
- Giant Pandas
- An all-black torso with or without a white belly
- Bright blue feathers (as opposed to just a naturally blue sheen to their feathers)
- Rats and Mice
- Black, brown, or dark brown noses
- Red noses or any nose color except black
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Distinct and Outright Strange Examples:
- Monica's Gang. Played straight with blue dogs, green dogs, green elephants, etc. Yellow dogs, even bright yellow ones, not so much.
- 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.
- Douwe Dabbert is accompanied by a dodo on two of his adventures. While no one is completely sure what dodos looked like, they are generally described as brown or gray, so there's really no excuse for the dodo to be bright pink.
- 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.
- Avatar: Nearly all of the animals living in the dark green forests of Pandora are a brilliant shade of cobalt. This is Hand Waved 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).
- Paul Bunyan has Babe the Blue Ox.
- The reason coyotes are brown and not brilliant blue? Because Coyote fell in a mud puddle.
- Whos Afraid Of Boomer has every shark as this.
- 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.
- We don't know much about the coloring of prehistoric dinosaurs, admittedly, and as bird-reptiles they might not have been limited to the same colors as mammals. Still, in Dinoverse basically all dinosaurs are brightly colored and individual - ankylosaurs come in oranges and browns; tyrannosaurs are gray and blue, or emerald and rust, green and gray and purple and yellow, or deep green; leptoceratopses are yellow and red, or blue and gray again, or emerald, or purple and gold, or green and blue and emerald; quetzalcoatli are dark crimson and Day-Glo blue, gold with streaks of gray, blue, and scarlet, or yellow with streaks of crimson and midnight blue. Nothing at all is camouflaged. Our viewpoint characters, all from the modern day, find these colors unremarkable.
- Pat the Beastie has a blue dog and a green bird that show up in the book to warn Paul and Judy about them mistreating their pet Beastie.
- Evidently, not even zebras are exempt from this as shown in Rainbow Dash and the Daring Do Double Dare. Braze is described as having flame-like red, orange, and yellow stripes as opposed to white and black.
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 a cornflower-blue... uh... covering?
- Gonzo is a whatever/an alien. This trope still applies to other Muppets though. Fozzy Bear has a bright pink nose. Sam the Eagle is blue.
- 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.
- 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.
- The main character of My Cage, Norm, is a bright blue platypus. One of his friends is also an orange shark.
- Jersey Jack Pinball's The Wizard of Oz has the Horse of a Different Color, which changes colors as you play. It's also possible to get a Rainbow Horse.
- Jinni Zeala has a neon pink camel prominent on the playfield.
- Psycho Pinball has several pink critters, including elephants, octopi, and an enormous pink whale.
- Just open a Dungeons & 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).
- Beanie Babies range from realistically designs and colors to more cartoonish designs with bright or pastel colors.
- Care Bears also come in pastel colors. This works because they are not ordinary bears, but also have tummy symbols (belly badges), heart-shaped noses, and so on. The bears are Color-Coded Characters, though there are so many bears that some have similar shades. Some of the Care Bear Cousins also exhibit this trope; Bright Heart is a purple raccoon, Gentle Heart is a green lamb, and so on.
- 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.
- Originally, Naoto Ooshima 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 Krystal'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 - triggering mostly They Changed It, Now It Sucks reactions.
- 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. But Word of God has it he's actually a pheasant.
- 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 mousenote , a blue turtlenote , a yellow and a blue duck/platypusnote , a white kangaroonote . 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 Ōkami 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 bunny kids (Oswald the Lucky Rabbit's children) from Epic Mickey are bright cyan.
- The dream eaters in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance are based on real and mythological creatures, and always unusually colored. The nightmare versions fought as enemies tend to use dark color schemes, while the friendly spirit versions are downright fluorescent. The latter can also be recolored to a limited degree by the player.
- In Jet Set Radio, the GGs' dog Potts is blue in the first game, and green in JSRF.
- Minecraft has sheep, which appear in the wild with colors that include white (of course), black, grey, brown (all plausible), and pink (plainly impossible in Real Life). Gets even more bizarre when colored dyes are added to the mix: Not only does a dyed sheep regrow its wool in the dyed color after being sheared, but if it's one of a breeding pair, it has a chance of passing on that color to its offspring.
- Dynamite Dux stars the blue and pink ducks Bin and Pin.
- The pigs in Angry Birds are lime green. That's what you get when you're creating a game and everyone panics about swine flu.
- In Trog, you play one of four dinosaurs in different colors. Rex is red, Bloop is blue, Spike is yellow and Gwen is purple.
- Audience! is overloaded with strangely collored canines. Although most of the more fantastic ones are supernatural in nature. The Darkkies are a set of characters based on a single individual, Darkky. In order to stand apart from one another, they all have outlandish and eye-catching designs. There are also a few zombies, some eldritch abominations, and even a living Pińata. To be fair many of the characters, including the protagonist, have reasonably naturalist fur tones.
- Chicken Maker features unnaturally colored chickens sporadically. Like purple or blue.
- 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.
- Reverse Jurassic Park features lime green and hot pink Velociraptors.
- 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. The alligator they meet in the sewers is also bright green.
- Blues 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 & Mandy, Billy's cat has pink fur.
- The Cheshire Cat from the Disney Animated Canon version of Alice in Wonderland is magenta.
- In The Fairly Oddparents, 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. See entry under Toys.
- All the Nessies in Happy Ness: The Secret of the Loch come in varying colors.
- Even the dragons in Dragon Tales are in all different colors as well.
- 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 later generations 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.
- The cast and background characters of "Oggy and the Cockroaches" who are animals have this: The cats; Oggy is blue, Jack is green. The cockroaches; Dee Dee has a blue body and orange head, Marky has a grey body and green head and Joey has a pink body and purple head. Characters such as Olivia and Bob, on the other hand, avert this.
- 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 is green, which is translated over into his animal forms.
- Disney's Tarzan featured literal Pink Elephants. Word of God says that the creators were inspired when they observed jungle elephants covering themselves in red dirt.
- 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 in the main character's family. Among actual wildlife, few things can be recognized as real life animals, but there are pink squirrels.
- In Animaniacs, Flavio is a light blue hippo, and Marita is a purple hippo.
- Taz-Mania has a yellow kiwi and orange platypus.
- 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.
- There were some exceptions, including a weird subversion/inversion combo in the form of Microraptor. It was once thought that Microraptor would be a brightly colored species, like it's avian relatives. Later studies revealed, however, that Microraptor was actually an iridescent black color, like a starling.
- The animals that lived alongside the dinosaurs, like pterosaurs and marine reptiles, also play with this trope in the media (and likely did so in real life). Pterosaurs often play this trope straight in media, especially the famous Pteranodon, with its large headcrest which may have been a mating display. Marine reptiles often avert this in the media, and there is some evidence that they did so in real life as well; Ichthyosaurs (dolphin-like sea reptiles) were likely all black with variations depending on the species. Mosasaurs (large predatory marine lizards) were probably countershaded (dark on top and light below).
- Iguanas◊ come◊ in◊ all◊ colors◊ of◊ the◊ rain◊bow◊.
- 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, White and Golden 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.
- Pink Elephants. No, seriously.
- Sea Slugs are like the My Little Ponys of the water. There were also giant hot pink land slugs discovered in Australia.
- Most Frogs and Toads are dark green or brown, but dart frogs are amazing technicolor wildlife; most are a combination of black and a bright color, but the golden mantella frog is, well, a gold frog.
Live Action TV
- Fozzie from The Muppets is a bright orange bear (although he referred to himself as "light brown" in one episode)
- Most productions of Cats portray Bombalurina as a bright red cat. As in scarlet.
- The Backyardigans features an orange moose named Tyrone and a blue penguin named Pablo.
- The five major animal characters in Littlest Pet Shop (1995) include a blue dog, a purple cat, a pink rabbit and a yellow horse. Only the brown monkey has a normal fur color.
- Applejack from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is orange with a yellow mane and tail. She is probably the closest to the color of a real horse out of the Mane Six, resembling a palomino.
- A few of the background ponies do come in more natural colors; but there are fewer naturally-colored mares than there are stallions.
- Bullwinkle J. Moose from Rocky and Bullwinkle is brown all over, but in recent renderings of him over the last few decades, he's given orange antlers.
- Larry the Lobster from Sponge Bob Square Pants. Yes, lobsters can be bright red, but not live lobsters...only cooked ones. May be a case of The Coconut Effect.
- 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.
- Although the main characters from Flavio The Goat have regular colors for their respective species, the background characters come in a wide variety of hues.
- Huckleberry Hound is light blue.
- Rigby from Regular Show is entirely brown, but actual raccoons have gray fur with occasional brown hairs. However, some are more noticeably brown than others.
- While the lionesses in The Lion King are more or less offset from realistic lion colors, the males are either bright gold with cherry red manes or extremely dark with completely black manes. This is played straight during the musical number "I Just Can't Wait to be King", though; it wouldn't be a Disney Acid Sequence otherwise!
- At least some breeds of dogs and cats come in unusual colors. And both already have a long list of colors documented.
- Poodles will sometimes, just for yuks, be dyed in vibrant colors for special occasions (green for a Saint Patrick's Day parade, for instance). The dyeing agent is usually unmixed Kool-Aid powder.
- Some chinchillas are described as blue or purple, although their actual fur color is closer to gray with a bluish or purplish tinge.
- In 2014 a stray cat in Bulgaria was found walking the streets with bright green fur. While it was originally thought to be the result of vandalism it turns out the the cat had slept on discarded synthetic paint in someones garage.