Whenever we arrange for field trips, my students quickly request that the trips be to the local farm or the zoo. As a result, I am faced with questions like why animals have fur or animals having different colors.
Although I smile at these simple questions, sometimes I am at my wit’s end trying to give a plausible reply. This time my students asked me to name some animals with dark fur. Some of these are as follows:
Animals with dark fur:
- Black panthers
- Tasmanian devils
- Black bears
- Black squirrels
- Black wolf
Table of Contents
- 1. Black Panthers
- 2. Tasmanian Devils
- 3. Minks
- 4. Chinchillas
- 5. Raccoons
- 6. Black Bears
- 7. Martens
- 8. Black Squirrels
- 9. Moose
- 10. Black Wolf
1. Black Panthers
Black panthers have probably been immortalized as comic book heroes as being elusive and powerful creatures.
In reality, these felines are beautiful animals with black or dark purple rosettes on their fur.
As these rosettes occur incredibly close to one another, it gives the appearance of dark skin for the black panther.
The primary reason that black panthers have dark fur is that they are nighttime hunters. The dark coat offers them better camouflage making them deadly predators.
The coloration of the skin is due to the excessive production of the dark pigment melanin in the animal’s fur.
2. Tasmanian Devils
The Tasmanian devil is a native of Australia. It is an agile tree climber and a carnivorous marsupial.
Among the many distinguishing features of the Tasmanian devil, one that stands out is the dark coat of the animal.
You will find that the animal has black to dark brown fur. Like the black panther, the Tasmanian devil’s dark fur is also a result of evolution and its hunting activities.
The Tasmanian devil is a nocturnal creature, hunter, and scavenger. The dark fur offers the creature adequate camouflage when hunting at night or scavenging in a cave.
The minks are semi-aquatic and carnivorous creatures that belong to the family of weasels, and you can find minks both in America and Europe.
These stocky creatures have dark brown fur, which is different from that of other animals. The creatures are not very big, as the average weight of a male mink is around two kilograms while the female weighs even less.
What distinguishes a mink from other weasel family members is the luxurious and thick coat of both the male and female minks.
On the underside of the body of a mink, the fur tends to become even more glossy and darker. The entire body of a mink is covered with a dark brown coat with the occasional white stripes.
These are rodents that can vary in color. Their coats can have dark hues depending on whether they are homozygous or heterozygous.
For example, the homozygous chinchillas have dark fur, almost resembling the color ebony. The heterozygous chinchillas usually have dark skin with touches of grey in it.
The most commonly found chinchillas have dark hair, almost charcoal black with a whitish underbelly.
This gives the chinchilla its unique appearance, which makes the animal so attractive. Sometimes you can also get chinchillas that are brown or chocolate, which is achieved by interbreeding the creatures.
Raccoons are not only found in America but in Europe as well. The difference between the raccoons found in America and Europe is in the color of their coats.
American raccoons tend to have greyish fur, while European raccoons have even darker coats. The raccoons that are native to Germany have nearly black coats.
Both breeds of raccoons have the distinguishing bandit mask, and the tips of the tail are black.
6. Black Bears
Black bears are found both in the American and the Asian continent. The North American black bear is entirely black and more petite compared to its Asian counterpart.
The Asiatic black bears are distinguished by their black coats and white moon-shaped crests on their chests.
The Asian black bears are nocturnal creatures and they spend most of their time out during the night scavenging for food and since their fur is dark, it allows them to easily camouflage and hide from nocturnal predators.
The bear needs to spend the winter months sleeping in a cave or a dark crevice and the dark coat helps the bear blend in with its surroundings.
Martens are agile creatures that belong to the weasel family. The marten is easily distinguished by its dark brown fur.
You will also find that martens are excellent climbers, and they have lightning-fast movement.
The dark brown skin of the marten helps the creature to blend with its surroundings, for eg. tree bark, which allows it to escape from nearby predators.
The dark brown fur of martens is similar to that of sables, which makes these creatures hunted for their coat.
Martens are solitary animals and do not hunt during the day. Instead, they hunt at daybreak and dusk.
8. Black Squirrels
Black squirrels are a particular category of squirrels easily distinguished by the color of their fur. This dark color of their hair is due to a melanistic anomaly.
The black squirrels occur mainly in Canada and North America. Some theories suggest that the color of the fur occurs due to the development of a particular gene.
In contrast, others suggest that it is natural morphing to help the creature with thermal insulation. The black squirrel is a cross between the eastern grey squirrel and the fox squirrel.
If you have observed the coat of a moose, you will see that they have a dark brown coat or fur. Young moose have light hair, but it darkens into brown as they mature.
Adult moose have dark coats, and this is due to the dark brown skin on their body. The fur on an adult bull moose might even appear to be black.
The soft and dense undercoat helps to keep them warm as the moose is found primarily in the upper latitudes of North America.
10. Black Wolf
Black wolves are extremely rare and are primarily found in North America. It is mainly a melanistic anomaly of the grey wolf.
Both wolves share the same ancestor, and they are now known for breeding in France and Scotland.
The behavior of these wolves is similar to any other wolves. However, the black coat does not offer the wolves any advantage as a predator since they are quickly spotted when moving around in the snow.
The animals that are known for having dark fur coats are black panthers, Tasmanian devils, minks, chinchillas, raccoons, black bears, martens, black squirrels, moose, and black wolves. However, the minks, martens, and moose have dark brown fur.