Typical Cartoon Animal Colors
This trope is about cartoon animals having a type of coloring, markings and/or pattern that is typical of their species in cartoons, but different from their species coloring and/or pattern in Real Life
. Some animal species can have the type of coloring, markings and/or pattern that is typical of their species in cartoons in reality
, but other animal species seldom have it, if not at all in Real Life
. This trope also can also be the result of The Coconut Effect
in action where realistic markings or colorings seem off to the viewer
and sometimes it happens for the simple reason of being Color-Coded for Your Convenience
, there's a reason these color choices are typified after all.
Typical Animal Colors, Markings, and Patterns in Animated Works in General:
- Crows And Ravens: Yellow beaks and feet even though real crows and ravens have beaks and feet that are black like their feathers. The all-black feathered corvid that has a yellow beak in Real Life is a chough.
- Alligators and Crocodiles: Bright or dull green scales all over their bodies in cartoons even though they are rarely green, let alone bright green in Real Life. For example, real American Alligators are black or dark grey with pale underparts in. Except for when they actually are green, as in the case of Siamese Crocodiles◊.
- Wolves: Black with white or cream-colored slipper-like marked hindfeet, white or cream-colored facial "masks," and sometimes a white or cream-colored tail tip, even though they do not look that way in reality. More common in The Golden Age of Animation. In more recent works, they are often grey with lighter grey chests, bellies, and muzzles or facial "masks," which is more realistic.
- Frogs and Toads: Generally always green in cartoons (especially frogs) even though real frogs and toads can have any kind of color, markings, or pattern depending on the species.
- Whales and Dolphins: Are usually blue all over (with or without white bellies) in cartoons even though real dolphins and whales can be gray, gray-brown, black, black and gray, black and blue, or blue (with or without white markings or bellies), or even all-white or pink depending on the species.
- Canaries: All have yellow feathers all over their bodies even though they aren't always all-yellow in Real Life.
- Fishes: Most are blue (unless they are tropical or goldfishes) even though real fish can have any kind of color, markings, or pattern depending on the species.
- In cartoons, they tend to turn silvery gray when they're caught no matter what breed/species they are.
- Goldfish: Usually just either golden yellow, yellow orange, or orange in cartoons (hence the name).
- Goldfish can come in those colors in Real Life, but they can also be red orange or have black, white, golden yellow, yellow orange, orange, and/or red orange.
- Reptiles: Most are green in cartoons even though real reptiles can have any kind of color, markings, or pattern depending on the species.
- Crabs and Lobsters: Are usually red in cartoons, but in Real Life (save for the Christmas Island Red Crab and red hairy lobster), it is usually the color of cooked crab and especially lobster.
- Pigs: Usually pink in cartoons, the color of hairless pigs. This makes sense for piglets, and some adult pigs do stay hairless, but real life pigs are usually covered in hair with a variety of different possible colors and patterns. In cartoons of the late 1920s and early 1930s, pigs are usually black with white facial "masks" and hooves - a more realistic coloring.
- Sheep: Usually all have black, white, or light pink faces and feet and white wool all over their bodies in cartoons, though real sheep can have many other colors, markings, and patterns as well.
- Gorillas and Chimpanzees: Usually brown furred in cartoons despite the fact that real chimps and gorillas usually have black fur. Also, they usually have light skin on their hands, feet, and faces in cartoons. Real chimps have light-skinned hands, feet, and faces when they're young, but gorillas, bonobos, or old chimps have dark hands, feet, and faces.
- Domestic Geese: Usually have yellow-orange bills and feet and white feathers all over in cartoons, even though they can have many different feather colors, markings, and patterns in Real Life.
- Cows and Bulls: Cows are usually either white with black blotches or all-brown and bulls are usually all-black in cartoons, even though real cattle can have many different colors, markings, and patterns.
- Domestic Rabbits: Often all-white, brown, or grey in cartoons. The latter colors are mostly accurate for wild rabbits, which usually don't stray from the grey/brown range, though domestic rabbits can be many different colors, markings, and patterns.
- Ducks: Fairly often yellow even as adults even though yellow is more the color of ducklings in Real Life.
- Horses tend to be solid: brown with either brown, black, or light mane and tail ("chestnut"), light reddish brown to dark brown with black points ("bay"); white ("gray"), or black ("black"), with or without white markings in the face and/or legs.
- Donkeys: Usually brownish or grayish with a lighter colored muzzle, chest, belly, and lighter colored areas around both eyes in cartoons. They have a greater variety of colors in Real Life.
- Mice and rats: Gray or brown fur; rats are more likely to be gray (even though the two familiar species are called "Brown" and "Black" rats) while mice are more likely to be brown, especially if they're anthropomorphic. Female mice often have white fur, especially when paired with male mice. Both tend to have black, brown, or dark red noses (This never happens in real life; regardless of the fur's color the nose and ears are still pink) Rats are almost never seen without pink naked tails, but mice usually have tails that match their fur and have no "rings" present. Lastly, wild rats usually lack the lighter-colored belly.
- Swans: Nearly always white. When black swans are used, it will be to indicate something special about the animal.
- Skunks: Tend to have white bellies and/or muzzles or facial "masks," as well as the characteristic white stripe(s) or spots (if a spotted skunk) on their back. Some skunks in real life have white spots on their undersides or legs, though it's rare.
- Domestic Cats: They often have white tail tips in animation even though white tail tips are rather uncommon on Real Life cats. note Black and other non-agouti (solid colored) cats, especially those with white paws, bellies, and/or muzzles or facial "masks," and all-white female cats are quite prevalent in animation because they're common and easier to animate than tabbies.
- Bears (except polar bears and pandas): Brown with a lighter brown or flesh colored muzzle and/or belly.
- Foxes: Always red foxes, with their coats frequently leaning more towards pure red/reddish orange in Western works and nearly yellow in Japanese media.
- Lions: Manes on males will almost always be brown, even though black manes aren't uncommon. Cubs are almost always yellow, with no sign of rosettes (spots).
Compare and contrast Amazing Technicolor Wildlife
, where animals are colored freely. White Bunny
is a subtrope. Stock Object Colors
is a Super Trope
- Sebastian from The Little Mermaid is the type of bright red crab that is standard to cartoons.
- The picture book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? features a brown bear, a red bird, a yellow duck, a green frog, a white dog, a black sheep, and a goldfish.
- Jungle Junction features a red crab (Taxicrab), a green toad (Toadhog), a pink pig (Zooter), and a green crocodile (Crocker).
- Tweety from Looney Tunes is yellow like a typical cartoon canary.
- Word World has a brown dog, a yellow duck, a pink pig, a green frog, a white sheep, and a brown bear.
Typical Animal Colors, Markings, and Patterns Specific to Certain Animated Works
- All the mice in Disney's Cinderella are either tan or light-brown furred all over and have brick red noses.
- All the weasels in Disney adaptation of The Wind in the Willows and Disney's The Prince and the Pauper are brown furred with tan colored muzzles, either with or without tan colored chins. Some of them have tan fur on the undersides of their necks, some of them don't.
- The weasels in Who Framed Roger Rabbit have more variation in fur color, but they all have base colored fur with lighter colored muzzles with lighter colored chins (except Smartass, whose chin is left the base color of his fur), undersides of necks, chests, bellies, and soles of feet.
- Most rabbits in Looney Tunes and Tiny Toon Adventures have base color fur with white cheeks and muzzle, front sides of their necks, chests, bellies, undersides of their tails, and slipper-like hindfoot markings.
- Also, most skunks have base color (often black) fur with a white facial "mask", front sides of their necks, chest, and belly as well as the characteristic white stripe on their back and tail (with or without a base colored stripe in the middle).
- Most of the ducks in the Classic Disney Shorts, Disney Ducks Comic Universe, DuckTales, and Darkwing Duck are all-white feathered with yellow-orange bills and feet.
- One notable exception to the all-white duck rule is Gosalyn, who is light-yellow feathered all over.
- Nearly all the domestic cat sized and human sized mice of the Classic Disney Shorts, Mickey Mouse Comic Universe, and House of Mouse are all-black furred with peach-colored facial "masks" and black noses.
- However, mice in the Disney cartoons of the 1920s and early 1930s, whether normal sized, domestic cat sized, or human sized, are all-black furred with white facial "masks" or muzzles and black noses.
- Top Cat is yellow with a white muzzle and Benny the Ball is blue with a peach colored facial "mask", but most cats in Top Cat have unpatterned (that is, not tabby), base color (except black) fur with peach colored muzzles and nearly all of them have black noses.
- Squirrels in Animaniacs are usually base colored (except black) with white or lighter colored white cheeks and muzzle, front sides of their necks, chest, belly, and undersides of their tails. Some of them have white or lighter colored areas around their eyes as well.
- Most mice in Pinky and the Brain are all-white furred with red noses and pink feet and tails.
- Salty and all the other seals in the Classic Disney Shorts are all-black with a flesh colored facial "mask" marking (like Mickey Mouse).
- Platypodes in Phineas and Ferb are generally all teal-furred with orange bills, feet, and tail, not just Perry.
- The ponies (earth pony, unicorn, and pegesi) in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic are Amazing Technicolor Wildlife with any one color for the base color, any (usually) one color for the mane and tail, and cutie marks that they earn. Oddly enough, the two donkeys (and one mule) we see are both brown with black manes and lack cutie marks.
Exceptions, Subversions, And Aversions
- The horses in Lucky Luke series are of a wider variety than usual, and almost all colourations seen correspond to real colours. Jolly Jumper (white with yellow legs and mane) would be perlino, and the occasional black, white-maned individuals silver dapple blacks for instance.
- Tekno from Sonic the Comic is a canary, but she's not yellow. She's green, which is an actual canary color (though it looks more like yellow-green in real life).
- Averted with the chimps in Space Chimps because they have black fur like Real Life chimps.
- Subverted with the geese, pigs, and rabbits in Kung Fu Panda in that they come in at least a few colors other than white.
- The lobster in the song "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid is colored blue.
- Blue lobsters exist, though they're a darker blue than that cartoon lobster. It's a rare mutation.
- The crows in Fritz the Cat have black beaks and legs.
- Almost averted in The Lion King with the cubs. Early concept art shows them with rosettes but in the final product they lack them.
- The Hanna-Barbera character The Great Grape Ape is purple instead of brown like many cartoon gorillas.
- The Tiny Toon Adventures canary, Sweetie, subverts this by being pink feathered all over.
- Which was also Tweetie's color in very early cartoons.
- The goose in one episode of Super Why! is gray feathered all over instead of having the all-white plumage that most cartoon geese have.
- In Staflik a Spagetka, there's a crow with a yellow beak, but this is subverted in that the crow is blue instead of black.
- Partially averted with the two crows, Jose and Miguel, from the two Looney Tunes cartoons, "The Crows From Tacos" and "Crows' Feat" have black feet and yellow beaks.
- Magpies, save for the yellow billed magpie, usually have black beaks. Heckle And Jeckle have yellow beaks.