Analysis / What Measure Is a Non-Cute?

Animals That are Portrayed As Homelier or Less Cute in Fiction Than in Real Life

Usually, animals in fictional works look cuter or prettier than or at least just as cute, pretty, plain, homely, or ugly as their Real Life counterpart. However, some animals in fictional works actually look less adorable, homelier, even uglier than their actual counterparts. Sometimes, they aren't exactly cute, but they don't exactly look homely or ugly either. They may be another kind of attractive instead, be it handsome, sexy, or cool.

These species are are often or usually portrayed as mean despite their cuteness in Real Life. Mean animal characters, like mean human, Demi Human, monster, fantasy creature, alien, and god characters, tend not to be drawn in a cute fashion to begin with. This happens whether the character belongs to a species that looks homely in Real Life, that looks cute in Real Life, but is usually portrayed negatively (i.e., rats and weasels), one that actually looks cute and generally percieved as "cute" or "pretty", or even one that isn't usually portrayed as mean to begin with.

The most notable examples are rats and weasels, but cats and mice can be subject to this as well.


Cats are often portrayed as mean or as a villain's pet, especially in Western Animation. They are sometimes drawn or rendered as less adorable or homelier than Real Life cats because of this. Other reasons for cats to be drawn as less adorable in cartoons include, portrayal as buffoonish, potrayal as tough, belligerent or scruffy, and portrayal as fat. Some actual adult cats can look mean even when content, but they generally don't look homely, let alone ugly. Note that this mainly applies to adult cats; kittens are portrayed as cute far more often and tend to get a more positive depiction as a result.


Because mice are generally portrayed more sympathetically, they are more likely to drawn or rendered at least as cute as their real life counterparts than rats are. Mice in real life look cute and fuzzy, but some cartoon mice would generally not be considered cute, whether they are homely or just another kind of attractive. Sometimes, mice can look just as scruffy and tough as cartoon rats, especially if they are one of the not so nice ones.


Rats are a classic example. Although they are cute and fuzzy in real life, they are almost always portrayed as mean and/or evil in Western media. If they are not mean or evil, they are ususlly portayed as tough, scruffy, or scary. Consequently, they are usually drawn or rendered as homelier, even uglier in cartoons. One reason for this less adorable than in real life portrayal is their naked tail. Many mice, including house mice, have naked tails like that of rats, but they are thinner.

Negative preconceived notions of rats in the West are strong enough that many people don't think that even pet rats look cute.


Like rats, even though they are cute and fuzzy in real life, they are almost always portrayed as mean and/or evil. Consequently, they are usually drawn or rendered as homelier in cartoons. Ferrets are less prone to this than other weasels are because they are somewhat popular housepets and people are increasingly likely to be familiar with them as such.


Snakes are usually portrayed as bad or evil in Western media. Snakes are not often examples of this trope because many species, like pythons, don't look that cute in Real Life. Subsequently, snakes are drawn as mean-looking even if the character in question belongs to a cute-looking species. Sometimes, they can be portrayed as sexy or hypnotic, but usually not as cute. There are a few species that look cute in Real Life, like garter snakes, but the preconceived notions that many people in the West have of snakes keeps many people from thinking that they look cute.


While some real life bat species do have strange facial anatomies that can look ugly to human beings, most bats have fairly normal faces for mammals. Some, like the much liked flying foxes, are generally considered aesthetically pleasing to the same degree as the canines they so much resemble. Predictably, such is not allowed in media, where bats are closely linked to vampires, demons or darkness in general; 9 out of 10 times, fictional bats have the more weird leaf-noses or huge ears. However, in recent years this has somewhat backfired, with "cute" bat characters often made more so by actually emphasising the leaf-nose.