Ark: Survival Evolved offers players a huge amount of customization when it comes to taming, breeding, and acquiring dinosaurs. One of the most exciting cosmetic aspects of the game is changing the colors of your dinosaurs through breeding and mutation. Getting creative with your dino colors in Ark can be a lot of fun but also requires some effort and planning. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about getting rare, vibrant colors for your favorite dinosaurs.
The primary way to get unique, customized colors for your tamed dinosaurs is through mutations. Mutations randomly occur when breeding dinos, meaning baby dinos can be born with colors and/or stats that are different from their parents. Most mutations impact a dino’s stats, like health or melee damage, but some can result in color changes.
There are six color regions on a dinosaur that can mutate independently:
- Region 1: Main body color
- Region 2: Belly color/Stripes/Spots
- Region 3: Highlights
- Region 4: Back plate/Spines
- Region 5: Underside of body
- Region 6: Patterning
When a color mutation occurs, one of these regions will be changed to a random new color. The mutated color overrides whatever color the parents had in that region. So if you keep selectively breeding mutated dinos, you can eventually achieve any color combo you want!
Mutations are a numbers game in Ark. Each dino has mutation counters on both the matrilineal and patrilineal sides. Whenever a mutation occurs, the corresponding counter goes up by 1. Some key things to know about mutations:
- Mutations are random – you cannot control what colors they will be
- Only one mutation can occur per birth event
- Mutations pass down patrilineally, meaning only mutations from the father can be inherited
- Mutation chances increase with higher breeding counter numbers
- Maximum mutations is 20 patrilineal and 20 matrilineal
Since mutations pass down the patrilineal line, your best breeding method is to mate a high mutation stack male with many clean, unmutated females. This allows you to quickly increase mutations while preserving overall genetic diversity.
Here are some tips to optimize your mutation breeding in Ark:
- Start with a male and female dino with high starting stats (tamed or wild)
- Mate them until you get a male mutation, then replace the father with the son
- Keep clean females unmutated to breed with the high mutation stack male
- Breed in batches – mate male with several females, then repeat
- Raise dinos you don’t want for trading/selling to offset costs
- Prioritize HP/Stamina/Weight mutations if you want combat dinos
- Be prepared to breed hundreds of times before desired colors
Mutating dinos’ colors can take a lot of time and resources. Make sure you have a plan for kibble supply, breeding pens, and managing all the resulting babies. But with diligence and smart breeding techniques, you can acquire any colorful dino you desire!
To understand dino color mutations, you’ll need to be familiar with the six color regions. Let’s take a look at each region and how color variations affect some popular dinosaurs:
|Region 1: Main body
|Rex, Spino, Wyvern, Stego – This controls the main color(s) along the body.
|Region 2: Belly/Stripes
|Rex, Raptor – Rex bellies and tips of spikes can change. Raptors get stripe variations.
|Region 3: Highlights
|Rex, Argentavis – Rex gets jaw stripe highlights. Argy wing tips change color.
|Region 4: Back/Spines
|Stego, Spino, Wyvern – Spike and sail colors mutate independently.
|Region 5: Underside
|Quetzal, Pteranodon – Chest and wing underside colors can mutate here.
|Region 6: Patterning
|Sabertooth – Changes the striped fur patterns and colors.
Knowing which regions can change on your target dino is key to getting the color scheme you want. For example, don’t waste time breeding Rexes over and over for a black back if you want a green one – only the main body color region affects that area.
Breeding Color Combos
Some examples of interesting and flashy color combinations you can breed for:
- PINK rex with cyan/green highlights
- ALL BLACK Tek Rex
- Blood red Spino with black sails
- Bright yellow Sabertooth with blue stripes
- Pink body Argentavis with purple wing tips
The more mutations you stack up, the more unique color combinations you can achieve. Some players spend months breeding dinosaurs to end up with wild neon and pastel colors not seen anywhere else in the game.
If you already know exactly what color scheme you want, you can bypass the breeding process by spawning in dinos with specific color IDs. Each color region has a numeric ID that corresponds to a certain color. For example:
Using admin commands or mods, you can input the IDs you want and spawn the dino already customized. The advantage here is saving time – the downside is missing out on the fun of breeding your own colors.
Some creatures like the Titanosaur and Leedsichthys cannot be bred. For them you have a couple color customization options:
- Painting – Use dyes like Amarberry, Tintoberry, etc. Works well for minor touch ups.
- Spawning with IDs – Spawn creature already colored using color IDs.
- Mods – Some mods let you recolor non-breedable dinos.
Painting can add some flair but is relatively limited. Spawn commands give full control for total recolors. Mods add more coloring flexibility in between those two extremes.
Breeding color mutations takes time and effort, but gives you ultimate control to make truly unique dinosaurs. Understand the color regions, use selective breeding and high mutation stack males, and with enough patience you can acquire any colors your creativity dreams up. Or shortcut the process by spawning colored creatures in directly. Either way, customizing your dino colors in Ark lets you show off your own dinosaur fashion flair!