A solid melanistic bengal also called a solid snow looks very different to the bengals we are accustomed to. People often accuse breeders of selling Siamese cats or bengal crosses.
To understand this colour you need to know a little about genetics, we will cover this in another article but will provide some basics here.
‘When breeding our cats we always do a colour panel so that we know what is hidden in their genes and what colours they may carry.
‘All melanistic bengals are a/a which is a recessive non agouti
It is a phenomenon known as melanism. Melanin is a pigment found in skin and hair. Melanistic animals produce so much melanin that their colour is changed to black. The Melanistic Bengal can still be spotted or marbled but the markings are like faint shadows.
They mimic the look of the famously melanistic felines that include black leopards/jaguars though they have different genetic mutations.
Hopefully this explains where the black comes from. Now if you play with the genetics a/a = black/Melanistic we can look at our colour and with the silver inhibitor gene we can produce silver smokes (some prefer to call them smokes) or with the snow we can have solid snows (some call them solid Melanistics).
‘At Migaloo Bengals our first ever solid snow was Polar, when he was born we had no idea he was solid but as he grew and got darker we did a colour panel on him he is a/a and cs/cs. Here are some photos of his transformation from a kitten to adult.
As you can see they vary dramatically to the bengals we are use to seeing. The Melanistic Bengal themselves have been around from the beginning but back then breeders didn’t want them or admit that they were in their lines. Most weren’t registered and were given away as pets. These days people are embracing them and they are sought after by many breeders and pet owners.