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Chocolate Otter


Photo by Beth Be.

Otter is a common expression of at (the tan pattern gene in the A Locus). It comes in Black, Blue, Chocolate, or Lilac (referring to the base color). The Otter markings are usually a cream (or almost white) color that appear on the belly, ears, around eyes, nose, feet, legs, and underside of the tail. Sometimes they have ticking (some light colored hairs) on the flanks. Otter should have a slight reddish or orange tinge on the edges of the markings, especially on the upper chest, and nape of the neck/back of head. The back of the head has the most orange and is usually the easiest place to look and determine that a rabbit is Otter (as opposed to other similar colors like Silver Marten). If air is blown over the belly, they should have an undercoat that matches the base color (unlike Tans with wideband).

The other two A Locus genes are Self, which have no color on them (only the base color) and Agouti, which has the most color and is the common wild agouti color. Otter is dominant to Self and recessive to Agouti.

As mentioned above, Otter comes in the form of Black, Blue, Chocolate, and Lilac (the four base colors) and is most common as Black Otter, which is the most dominant of the four colors. When breeding Black Otter to one of the other Otter colors, you will always get Black Otter UNLESS the black Otter carries the other colors. With Blue Otter, it must carry dilute. For Chocolate Otter, it must carry Chocolate. For Lilac Otter, it has to carry both Dilute and Chocolate.

Otter Smoke Pearl? - Is this possible? Unfortunately, no. Otter (or Tan) is impossible to get with Shaded colors like Sable, Smoke Pearl, or Sable Point. This is because Shaded colors lack pigment, which reverts Otter into Marten. The result is a Sable Marten, Smoke Pearl Marten, etc. which is still super pretty!

Otter vs Opal - Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between an Opal (an agouti color) and Blue Otter. One of the main differences is that the top parts of the body on a Blue Otter will be Blue, whereas an Opal will normally have a brownish tone (from the agouti).

Otter vs Silver Marten - It can also sometimes be hard to tell the difference sometimes between Otter and Silver Marten (which is basically the white version of an Otter), especially when an Otter has very light, pale markings. They might look nearly identical. Usually the best way to tell is to look at the back of the head where Otter will have the most orange-ish color. Even if it's a very pale orange, it won't be completely white/gray like on a Silver Marten.

Tan, Otter, and Rufus - Brightness of the orange/red color on Otters is controlled by rufus modifiers. This is the same with Tan colors, which can cause serious confusion between Tan and Otter when Otter has very high rufus mods or Tan has very low mods. The difference between Tan and Otter (genetically) is whether the rabbit has the Wideband gene, which causes the undercoat of a Tan to be tan-colored all the way down to the skin. The actually coloration of a Tan or Otter can be identical depending on the modifiers (you can have a very light, Otter-colored Tan or a very dark, Tan-colored otter). So it's best to check the undercoat on the belly.