I have a very weird question that I believe you haven't been asked before, but...
Would it actually be comfortable and practical having fur all over your body, like a dog or a cat? Wouldn't that make wearing clothes unbearable? Personally, I wouldn't like spending 3 hours every morning to take care of my fur with a comb or whatnot. What about the hair that falls off? I'd say that happens more often if you're an anthro. Again, maintaining your appearance might be hellish, considering how much time we spent taking care of our hair and skin (as an anthro, that time will no doubt triple).
Another thing that I don't understand is how a lot of furry artists seem to just brush these issues off by making this fur have properties as skin, where the art style suggests it's skin (due to how smooth it looks and I've even seen cases of characters sweating or the sun reflecting on certain parts of the anthro body which would be impossible if it were fur). Or when they make their characters wear really tight clothing such as lingerie as if they don't have any fur. They want to have their cake and eat it too. Not that it matters, really. It just seems unrealistic, and I know it's all fantasy and fiction but the way fur works isn't fantasy like magic. It exists in the real world. It's not something completely made up to be able to invent new rules for it like magic in fantasy literature, if you get where I'm aiming at. It's like trying to invent new rules for water or light.
So, to solve those issues for myself, in my fantasy worlds I have developed many types of anthropomorphic characters, to fit all tastes. Like, there are more human ones with literal skin that's coloured like fur (with patterns but not every single one) and all and with normal "flat" feet and on the far other side of the spectrum there's the more animal ones with animal-like feet, and thick fur, not to mention all the variations in between. I like diversity, and my worlds aren't restricted to one race only.
Maybe I wasn't so clear in what I was trying to say, sorry about that.
What are your thoughts, as a veteran furry :)? I personally prefer the ones with coloured skin instead of the ones with actual fur.
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Congratulations for asking Papabear a question he has not before received! Let’s talk first about real-life animals. One thing you need to understand is there is a difference between fur and hair. The fundamental difference is that hair grows continuously while fur stays the same length. This is why a bear or a lion doesn’t have to go to a barber shop. To argue with myself here, there are many who would say that hair and fur are the same, which is true. They are both made of the protein called keratin. But when I was a zoo docent they instructed us to explain the difference as growth vs. non-growth, otherwise why bother to distinguish the names? So, let’s go with that definition as fur being hair that stays the same length.
Not all animals have fur that is static. For example, my Shih Tzu, Ernie, is a breed of dog who has hair; it grows all the time and I have to have it cut by a groomer about once a month, so he doesn’t trip on his own shaggy locks. Shih Tzu fur is very soft and nice to touch, and this, combined with the growing factor, is why their hair has been used to make wigs for humans. Another animal with “hair” is the horse, whose tail and mane grow about 1.5 inches (about 4 centimeters) a month.
Fur and hair growth and texture differ from species to species. A tiger’s fur is coarse, while a snow leopard has soft fur. Some species have an undercoat (also called down fur or ground fur) that is soft and provides extra warmth ideal for animals in cold climates; guard hair is surface hair that tends to be a bit courser and frequently is colored to provide camouflage and/or vibrant coloration for species identification and mating rituals; and awn hair is a type of fur that is the transition between guard and down fur.
Fur is amazingly adaptable. Did you know that porcupine quills are adapted fur? Rhino horns are also made out of fur. Polar bear fur is actually clear and hollow, while their skin is black to help absorb the warmth of the sun.
Speaking of skin, when you shave an animal, sometimes the skin is all one color, but other animals’ skin reflects the coloration of the fur. The skin of a tiger or a leopard has melanin patterns that mirror that of their fur. But other patterned animals, such as zebras and giraffes, just have one color of skin (zebra skin is black and giraffe skin is tan).
Okay, now that we have some background, let’s move on to furries.
The most important thing to note about furries is they are fictional; therefore, you can throw your Zoology 101 book out the window because it applies only vaguely and only when convenient.
You ask several things about fur on furries, so let’s go one by one:
Given all of the above, your approach of having a diverse world of furries—some with more fur, some with less—is perfectly fine. Play around with it, have fun with it. Let your imagination run wild!
Thanks for your question!
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