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There's an animal on this planet that's always looked harmless - rabbits or mice or puppies, it doesn't matter. One day, you'll be walking your puppy Mr. Flufferkins
along and suddenly he'll look up at you and say, "Thank you, human, for this relaxing walk and all those times you've scratched my chin, but I'm afraid the Nogov 10th Brigade
is coming here in five of your Earth minutes
to get rid
of this small blue planet
and replace it with a transgalactic outlet mall. However, this is good news: you can spend your last five minutes secure in the knowledge that everyone will be getting cheaper outlets soon
. Well, except the human race, of course, but these things have to be built. Goodbye." And then he disappears before your very eyes, along with every other puppy on the face of the Earth.
You've just encountered the Alien Animal. These aliens
don't have green skin
or rubber foreheads
, they just look exactly like a specific type of animal. Maybe they make up the entire population of that animal on Earth or only part of them. Sometimes they're leaving Earth because they have knowledge about the impending end of the world
and sometimes they just like watching television
. Just relax
and go with it.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- The Cat From Outer Space. The lead cat arrives in a spaceship and falls for one of the native cats. Oh, and this is a live-action film otherwise starring humans.
- Frank in Men In Black is by all outward appearances a regular pug. However, he is a fully sapient and sarcastic alien.
- Similarly averted in Zathura, where It's Not A Goat ... and it's not on Earth, either.
- There is an old British tale (there are different Scottish and English versions, probably some Irish too) about a man that comes across a funeral performed by cats on his way to home. The deceased is a cat in a crown holding a scepter (or the coffin is closed and the crown and scepter are painted over the coffin). When arriving home he tells the strange story to his wife, moment in which the house cat suddenly exclaims "The Old Tom/Tim/Pete/whatever is dead? Then I'm the King of the Cats!" and promptly runs out of the house.
- The chupacabra that feeds on goats' blood is sometimes depicted as a hairless dog-like animal left behind on Earth by its extraterrestrial owners.
- Dolphins and mice from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. However, dolphins are never mentioned to be aliens, but rather just much, much smarter than humans. It's white mice who are the aliens, granted they're Human Aliens in their own plane of existence.
- In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, we learn that Humans are in fact aliens as well, descended from telephone-disinfectors, advertising executives, and other "useless" people from the planet Golgafrincham.
- According to the novels, it would seem that dolphins are the only native sapient life on Earth.
- Neanderthals might count as well, or they might just be biological robotic components of the computer designed to find the Ultimate Question. In any case, they all died out after the telephone-sanitisers arrived.
- Also in Animorphs, domesticated dogs are the product of Pemalites bonding their souls with wolves before they became extinct. So that counts. Sort of.
- Not an animal example, but one of the sidestories indicates that broccoli was brought to Earth by aliens.
- In an interview, KA implied that ants evolved from the Nesk.
- The cats in the book Star Ka'at and its sequels. Earth cats were colonists from a planet of sentient cats; when Earth got in danger, the advanced alien cats went to retrieve the Earth cats.
- Also the trope is played with when it's revealed partway through the story that some of the Earth cats have degenerated to the point where they can no longer respond to the telepathic summons, and it's implied that these degenerate cats may even now be the mere animals humans thought them to be.
- A Spider Robinson story in the Callahan series reveals that we find cockroaches distasteful because they are the degenerate descendants of an evil alien race of overlords.
- In one Mandrake The Magician story, Narda has a dream (Or Was It a Dream??) about finding out that cats and dogs are two warring alien species; the ones on Earth were spaceshipwrecked here, and have exploited the dumb native humans (specifically, cats the females, dogs the males) to survive in comfort without their technology.
- Cthulhu Mythos: The Cats of Earth's Dream Lands are notable for their intelligence, grace, ability to leap across the interstellar void and their ongoing war with the Cats of Saturn.
- Cat-A-Lyst by Alan Dean Foster is another one where cats are really advanced and (mostly-)benevolent aliens.
- There's a short story by Orson Scott Card in which dogs one day start speaking human languages and announcing that they're aliens — and nobody takes them seriously; even when they start demonstrating their advanced intelligence by solving complicated math problems and the like, everybody shrugs it off as just a cute trick.
Live Action TV
- In Doctor Who, it's the BEES! Okay, not all of them, but a lot of them were and they were going home, back to the planet Melissa Majoria.
- In "Survival," the Cheetah People's minions the Kitlings look exactly like Earth cats, except that they can teleport.
- In '80s Ziggy Sunday strips, the titular character's pet parrot turned out to be an advance scout for an alien invasion force. This idea since seems to have been dropped.
- A Garfield cartoon suggests that cats are invaders attempting to subjugate humanity, and that they are responsible for certain seemingly-mindless actions of dogs and lower-class humans.
- Star Control 3 had the aliens as cows.
- In the game Sheep you have to lead the sheep, who have become stupid in the time they were on Earth, back to their home planet.
- Baldur's Gate: Boo, the miniature giant space hamster. At least if you take Minsc's word for it.
- A regular space hamster (i.e. a hamster living on a spaceship) resembling Boo makes an appearance in Mass Effect 2.
- Ordinary giant space hamsters does in fact exist in the setting (they were bred by a bunch of crazy gnomes to help power their spacefaring 'Jammers), as does miniaturisation magic, so a miniature giant space hamster could well exist. Unless Boo is an Awakened Miniature Giant Space Hamster, however, he should be just as intelligent as any hamster.
- Some of the NPCs from Super Mario Galaxy appear to be either bunnies, penguins, bees, and orcas. Super Mario Galaxy 2 actually introduced NPCs such as hummingbirds and chimpanzees.
- Can be created in Spore; you can make creatures that look rather like real animals...or you can make Starfish Aliens.
- Staryu and Starmie from Pokémon are implied to be from outer space. They're starfish with mysterious psychic powers.
- Even more strongly implied are the Clefairy family, space fairies. Strangely, this is supposed to be the reason they react to Moon Stones— which raises interesting questions about everything else that evolves by Moon Stone (Jigglypuff, Nidoran, Skitty, Munna, etc.).
- While not intelligent, foxes in Jix are, in fact, extraterrestrial. A race of aliens took a group of pre-evolved foxes from the Ambis home-world and deposited on Earth to study divergent evolution on a planetary scale. The pre-evolved foxes remaining on their original planet evolved into Ambis while the ones on Earth (of course) evolved into foxes, making the Ambis the distant cousins of foxes. (In fact, Ambis bear a striking resemblance to foxes.)
- There's an episode of Invader Zim with warlike alien raiders who look exactly like babies.
- In one Darkwing Duck episode ("Twin Beaks"), the hero gets help from aliens that looks exactly like Earth cows — though this is not exactly this trope, since it is probably only these cows that are aliens, not all cows on Earth.
- In the animated series of Men In Black it is revealed that Frank the Pug looks very much like a dog anyway underneath his disguise suit.
- Kat comes from a planet where everyone not only looks like cats, but their language is cat-like, and they have many of the same behavorial patterns as Earth cats. Oh, and there's a race of alien hamsters, too. They're everywhere!
- On Teen Titans, an alien is visiting Earth when its intelligent pet, which looks like a green dog, escapes. Meanwhile Beast Boy, who can turn into a green version of any animal, is impersonating a dog. Hilarity Ensues.
- The species of highly intelligent (and highly cuddly) cats from Futurama. They're here to enslave and kill humanity, natch.
- The dinosaur-like aliens from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. They look like earthling dinosaurs only smaller and more advanced, but during the Late Jurassic Period when they arrived, they ate the dinosaurs' earthling food and became as large as them, but less intelligent.
- On South Park Earth is revealed to actually be a massive, millennia-old alien reality show. Apparently every other planet only has one species—a planet of deer, a planet of Asians, etc.—and we're all just forced together so everyone can watch what happens.