aka: Ambiguous Species
"No! What ARE you kidses? Look at you! With those ears and those tails... That's not normal! I mean what ARE you?"Nonhuman drawn or animated characters of ambiguous species. There are several cartoon characters who are certainly not human. However, they are also clearly not any species of readily identifiable animal either. Some of them appear to be Mix-and-Match Critters. They don't really have a species, they're just... cute. Not to be confused with Informed Species, where the character is supposed to be a specific animal, but doesn't look like that animal. If the character is clearly meant to be a (normally) inanimate object, then the trope is Animate Inanimate Object. Many are either Ridiculously Cute Critters or Ugly Cute Critters. Compare the Waddling Head and Cephalothorax. See also certain Humanoid Animals and Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!.
— Dr. Scratchensniff, Animaniacs, "What We Are"
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- One of the Sci-fi Channel's ads features a woman playing with her pet. Said pet—presumably extraterrestrial—has a vaguely Chihuahua-like overall appearance, large batlike ears, huge expressive eyes, an extremely long striped tufted tail, and a long forked tongue that it uses to daintily touch the tongue of its owner.
Anime and Manga
- Plue from Rave Master/Groove Adventure Rave. He's something like a snowman crossed with a dog. The theme song identifies him as a "carrot-nosed" dog. You know it was thought up when the creators were high if even they don't know what he is.
- In Fairy Tail, from the same writer of Rave Master, Plue is the Canis Minor Zodiac summon. What this means is debatable, since nobody but himself and the summon system believes he's a dog, and he doesn't even trigger the caniphobia of Happy. Happy himself falls into this trope, being a blue-furred, tuft-tailed, flat-toothed, oft-bipedal winged cat.
- Chiyo's dad in Azumanga Daioh, who looks like an elongated, vaguely anthropomorphic cat, most likely pulled from an in-show plush toy by Sakaki's cuteness-obsessed mind.
- Played with in Revolutionary Girl Utena, Chu-Chu the monkey resembles a cartoon mouse but seems otherwise like a regular monkey, so fans assume he's some kind of marmoset/tariser/lemur thing, despite not looking quite like that either. Utena rightly points out Chu-Chu as a name makes him sound too much like a mouse, due to that being the Japanese onomatopoeia for a mouse's squeaks.
- Viral the beastman in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. While the Beastmen generals have much more recognisable Animal Motifs (gorilla, scorpion, peacock/owl, armadillo), he looks like a human with shark teeth and paws, or as Word of God describes him, "a shark with cat genetics" which may make him some sort of Mix-and-Match Critter.
- Many Digimon are cleary examples of this trope in action. There's some who look like animals or plants◊, there's some who look like humans◊, some who look like objects or machines◊ and we have stuff like these.◊
- Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica has a tail like a ferret or fox, but a head more like that of a cat, only with an extra pair of ears. According to Word of God, he was designed without any real animal in mind. He's actually an alien, so it's probably a moot point anyway.
- Yusuke's spirit beast in YuYu Hakusho, Puu◊. Its adult form is a phoenix.
- Q-chan from Pet Shop of Horrors is some sort of rabbit-devil creature with a cream-coloured pear-shaped body and rabbit ears, little white horns, black bat wings, a black devil tail, and black duck feet. No-one ever really asks what he is.
- Ryo-Ohki from Tenchi Muyo!, when it's not a spaceship, looks like what some fans refer to as a "cabbit".
- The Bone creatures from Bone. Big-nosed, half-dressed cartoon humanoids in a setting that has both normal humans, talking animals, normal animals, and everything in between.
- Max of Sam & Max: Freelance Police is rabbit-like in shape, but with sharp, carnivorous-looking teeth and a highly aggressive attitude. He's referred to as a "rabbity-thing" by other characters, but prefers the term "lagomorph" himself (which is Greek for "rabbit-shaped"). Strong Bad refers to Sam and Max as "Rabbit-dog and Bunnyman".
- Furthermore, Moai Better Blues reveals that he's amphibian, and a workplace sexual harassment chart seen in What's up, Beelzebub? has a question mark placed over Max's body.
- Erica of Hepcats. While the other principal characters are clearly identifiable by species, Erica is just... "an Erica."
- Marsupilami, featuring the eponymous yellow-spotted creatures among other jungle critters.
- The main character of Frank.
- Sonic the Comic often had some sort of generic psuedo-Dog Face animal that looked strange compared to other characters, that would appear to populate city areas. Grimer is..Something. He looks like a Goblin, or at least something non-animal; how he came to be on Mobius is never explained.
- Well, Grimer started out as an expy of Gríma Wormtongue from "Lord of the Rings", so...magically corrupted human?
- The Smurfs are close to being an Ur-Example.
- Cheburashka from Russian cartoons, pictured above. He appears to be part teddy bear, part koala, and part monkey. Cheburashka is the name of his species they agreed on. Originally his name was translated into English as "Topple". Cheburashka, according to the book, is "a funny little creature, unknown to science, who lives in the tropical forest". Some people say that he is reminiscent of lorids.
- His true origin is that he's a flawed toy, hence the unconventional appearence.
- Hugo from the Danish film series Jungledyret Hugo. He is often described by fans to be a bear/koala-like thing like Cheburashka.
- The big-eared, fuzzy Mogwai from the Gremlins movies most closely resemble a small prosimian primate, like a bushbaby or tarsier, minus the tail. In the second film, Gizmo is tentatively identified as some sort of rodent by a pair of scientists.
- Many, if not most, Dr. Seuss characters.
- Many of The Moomins characters.
- Mercer Mayer's Little Critter. He looks a bit like a hedgehog or a hamster, but is technically just a "little critter".
- The "All-Purpose Pet" in the Norby the Robot series by Isaac Asimov. She is described as normally looking like a cat, but as her name suggests she is able to transform and adapt to any need, and she is said to be bioengineered with Smilodon genes.
- The main character of Jungledyret Hugo (which was originally a children's book, and then a movie)
Live Action TV
- Several Muppets, most notably the "Anything" and "Whatnot" Muppets. There are also specific characters, like Scooter, Beauregard, and Gonzo the Great, who was revealed to be an alien in Muppets from Space. Gonzo was defined as a "Weirdo" in Muppet Babies, and a ".... whatever" in most of his other appearances. In The Muppet Movie, Kermit described him as "sort of like a turkey, but not much."
- In Jim Henson's early 1950s shows, all the puppets were fairly abstract. Even Kermit (one of his earliest characters) was only declared to be a frog in the mid-60s, and only consistently one following his role as The Narrator of The Frog Prince in 1971.
- Sesame Street's Anythings are kind of like cartoon humans. The Muppet Show's Whatnots tended to look like Fraggles.
- Fraggles themselves, as well as Doozers and Gorgs. And all the other weird stuff that lives down there.
- Kamen Rider Amazon. He is... some sort of reptile.
Mythology and religion
- The god Set in ancient Egyptian religion has the head of a unknown and mysterious creature that resembles a composite of an aardvark, a donkey, and a jackal. Modern Egyptologists usually refer to it as the "Set animal", "Typhonic beast", or "sha".
- A few theorize that the head isn't an aardvark, but rather some species of gar or other pointy-faced carnivorous fish; whatever they are, they were the ones that ate Osiris' willie when Set cut him up and threw him in the Nile. It can't just be a fish, though, since statues show it as some sort of emaciated hyena-looking thing. However, according to one account he is apparently supposed to have head of a hippo and others say he has the head of a giraffe, though the latter was ruled out on the grounds that the Egyptians made the distinction between a giraffe and a donkey.
- Time Fantasy is infamous for its psychedelic theme, centered around a green and yellow creature with spindly limbs, bulbous eyes, and a large snail-like shell on its head and back.
- There are a few of these in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Most of the characters are recognizably some kind of established Mushroom Kingdom creature, but some, such as the Glitz Pit security guards, just look like bizarre anthropomorpic things.
- The Chao in Sonic the Hedgehog. Small blue creatures with teardrop shaped heads, a connection to an ancient deity, and the ability to evolve based on what animals are around them.
- Kirby is essentially a sentient pink orb with a face, arms, feet, and a bottomless abyss for a stomach. May or may not be an Eldritch Abomination.
- King Dedede may or may not be a penguin. Nobody can seem to agree.
- Gen An from Samurai Shodown. He specifically denies being a goblin. Some Western fans refer to him as a tengu, but he doesn't look like one.
- Several of the potential students in Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times/Enchanted Folk and the School of Wizardry don't have any readily identifiable species. While many of them are based on animals (or plants, or inanimate objects), some of them are just... things. Good examples include the "cupcake girls" (human-ish yet not all that human girls with cupcakes/ice cream/something on their heads), Matthew the cat/dog/bear critter, and Matt the... the... err, alien? It's not very clear.
- Many characters from Final Fantasy IX are either people with various animal parts or anthro-animalesque creatures.
- Many Pokémon are viewed as this, but a lot can be traced back to at least one real life species.
- Nevertheless, it has the king of this trope, Eevee. Thanks to an Unstable Genetic Code, it has eight evolutions, and all of them are as indeterminate as it is. Word of God says the original Eevee is inspired by a fox; probably a Fennec — compare: Fennec pups and Pikachu◊.
- Lugia, a gigantic dragon-bird-monster-thing, has been stated to be this via Word of God.
- Some people say Klonoa is a cat. Others say he's a rabbit. Some people even call him a "cabbit". The only thing anyone can agree on is that he's adorable.
- He's not the only member of his species, though. There's also Grandpa, Baloo, the King of Sorrow...
- Klonoa: Empire of Dreams gives us Emperor Jillius, who looks like some kind of fox or koala, and Bagoonote , who appears to be some kind of reptile.
- The Unndergrounders in Mr. Driller are some kind of round, blue creatures with small arms and feet, and huge eyes; there's no way to tell what the hell are those things.
- The hero of the Sega Saturn game Bug. Besides being a Four-Legged Insect, he doesn't seem to be based off any real-life bug- he's a green bug with the head of a praying mantis, the body of a grasshopper, and the stinger of a bee.
- What are the "ghosts" in Pac-Man? Are they living creatures made of flesh or ghosts?
- In the original game, one of the between-round cutscenes has a "ghost" catch and tear off one of the rounded bits at the bottom on a sharp point, implying it's a costume. "Ghosts" came into usage when the Atari 2600 Porting Disaster had them flicker (because there wasn't enough memory for more than one on the screen at a time), and later versions just blurred the line further.
- Many Monster Rancher characters fit the bill. Many are based off plants, inanimate objects, mythological creatures, and animals (albeit rather loosely with most examples).
- Nobody can figure out what kind of animal Ardy Lightfoot is supposed to be, although "fox cat" is the best guess.
- The player characters and the babies in Offspring Fling! are only ever called 'forest creatures'.
- Yacopu from Trip World. His species is "Shabubu," whatever that is.
- Mr. Game & Watch from the Super Smash Brothers games definitely qualifies, seeing that he is an anthrophomorphic... something. And probably two-dimensional.
- Angela from Punch an' Pie owns a cat...dog...thing that acts like a cat but looks like a Mix and Match Critter.
- Keith, and Basitins in general, from TwoKinds is a good example.
- Molly and Snookums from The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!.
- 3/4 of Matchu's cast consists of these, including the title character, who is described as a "Sulking Yellow Cat Thing".
- The demons from Slightly Damned are all made up of different animal types.
- The Mows of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures .
- Not quite- they're actually based on Mab, a cat, specifically a "fae kitty"
- Most of the characters in Homestar Runner.
STRONG BAD: I was this close to finding out whether or not you were part elephant or part hippo or something.
- Most often lampshaded with "The Cheat", who resembles a cross between a Pikachu, an anvil, and a block of cheese. Apparently he is a "The Cheat". Yes, "The" is part of his species name.
- Most characters from Rice Boy and Order of Tales.
- Vatsy the catlike character of Vatsy And Bruno is a borderline case.
- JubJubs, Kikos, Chias, Kacheeks, and Acaras in Neopets.
- According to Amoridere, Toki's species started out this way, as she couldn't decide what to call it, until, when she was typing in "Eirin", she had misspelled it as "Erin" so she settled on that, pronouncing it "Ee-RIHN".
- The Warners in Animaniacs. Although often referred to as "puppy-children," they insist that they aren't puppies. They even have a song about it. The page quote is what starts the Warners singing about what they are. In case you're wondering, they're cute! Animaniacs creator Tom Ruegger confirmed in an interview that their species is Cartoonus characterus.
- During the production process, they started out as ducks. But everyone thought they looked too much like three miniature versions of Plucky Duck from Tiny Toon Adventures. So they added red noses, doggy ears, and kitty cat tails.
- Bosko and Honey from Tiny Toon Adventures, who were antecedents to the Warners of Animaniacs. He's a living blot of ink as shown in his premier "Bosko, the Talk-Ink Kid", and was vague enough that the creators were asked, at least once, what he was supposed to be. They look like either dogs, cats, or rabbits.◊
- The Tiny Toon Adventures redesign came about because the original design◊ of Bosko and Honey owed a great deal to blackface caricature — when the characters' creators transferred to MGM, they were redesigned◊ to look unmistakably like caricatured black children. Redesigning the characters to resemble the Warners was a less problematic option.
- Standard portrayal of Pete, Junior, and PJ◊ from Classic Disney Shorts and Goof Troop is that of a cat. In Goof Troop, A Goofy Movie, and An Extremely Gooy Movie, Pete and PJ seem to be portrayed as Dogfaces, but are considered cats even in that show and those movies.
- Originally (before he was pitted against Mickey Mouse in 1928), Pete was depicted as a nondescript American black bear. In the early days when he was pitted against Mickey, he was a black cat with a white face, a modest looking chin, and a tail. Now he is depicted as an ambiguous looking cat without a tail, a flesh colored muzzle, and a really big chin.
- The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse version of Pete looks reasonably like the cat, but the Kingdom Hearts "present day" version of Pete, though still a cat, looks more like a French Bulldog.
- In Epic Mickey, Small Pete says of Big Bad Pete, "My cousin over on Mean Street makes me seem like a cuddly little kitten."
- The main character in Chowder is, according to Word of God, part cat, part rabbit, and part bear. Most of the other characters count too. Panini looks like a rabbit with some cat bits. They are apparently the same species.
- The show lampshades this trope from time to time, such as Chowder making a scene as a distraction, demanding that people "label him" as the appropriate animal.
- Uniqua from The Backyardigans. Nobody knows what she's supposed to be. Word of God says that Uniqua is "her own unique species".
- Everyone except Wubbzy itself and Widget in Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, but it's easy to guess which species each one is based upon.
- Many of the characters from Sonic Underground don't have an established species. Sonic's still vaguely hedgehog-y and therefore so are his immediate family, Robotnik's still vaguely human-y... but what any of the sibling's foster-parents are meant to be is an open question.note
- Tico, "the mascot", from Around the World with Willy Fog. Is he a hamster? A mouse? A... rabbit?
- The comic adaptation said he was a hamster, but this didn't show up in the TV series.
- Wooldoor Sockbat from Drawn Together is described by the narrator in the first episode as a "highly annoying underwater whatsit". He's more of a parody of this type of character in general and Spongebob Squarepants specifically.
- Kuma, the Team Pet on Pole Position. He's eventually revealed to have been bioengineered.
- Humf, the titular character from the cartoon series of the same name. Looks like a purple carnivorous lamb, but really, what exactly is he? The creators call him a furry purple thing, which is what he's referred as being in the show. One of his friends, Wallace, is equally ambiguous in design (resembling a Waddling Head). At least his other friend, Loon, looks like a pink peacock.
- Rare non-animal example: Percy of Thomas the Tank Engine. While most other characters are based on real locomotive classes, Percy is a heavily hybridized mix of several other steam engine designs.
- Another non-animal example would be Cars' Lightning McQueen. According to his toy bio, he is actually "a 2006 all-new, one-of-a-kind race car."
- Ralph in Twice Upon a Time is an "All Purpose Animal". His Shapeshifter Default Form is a generically cute little animal of... some sort. With nerd glasses.
- Gideon from Disney's Pinocchio is clearly a cat, but what type of cat (domestic or lynx) is uncertain. He has a long tail and lack of prominent ear tufts like a housecat, but he has cheek tufts like a lynx.◊
- Bobcats (which have similar cheek tufts) had bred with housecats, so Gideon might be a Lynx/Housecat mix.
- The Snarfs from Thunder Cats are a species of intelligent cat-like creatures that are native to the planet Thundera.
- Bravestarr's jurisdiction, the planet New Texas, is inhabited by little things called Prairie People...basically Snarfs with cowboy clothes.
- Fuzzy Snuggums from Spliced as his name suggests exists purely to be cute and the resident Chew Toy. However, what he is on an island of Mix-and-Match Critters isn't ever explained.
- Peri's species is never revealed either.
- He has some caterpillar DNA though (one episode had him going into a cocoon and coming out with butterfly wings.
- Peri's species is never revealed either.
- The people of Miseryville in Jimmy Two-Shoes. They have every strange body trope you can imagine, and they're all different. Considering the setting, it's likely that they're supposed to be demons, in keeping with the portrayal of angels as totally unrecognizable in The Bible.
- The characters in Out There are pretty inhuman what with their clawed handstubs, round black noses and oddly coloured skin/fur but it's unclear what they are exactly as they never actually address this and refer to themselves as human. Even Chad's family are a different indeterminate species to the rest of the cast and resemble rodents of some kind but again, this isn't questioned and is more a source of Furry Confusion for the audience than anything.
- Keswick from T.U.F.F. Puppy is of a species that even the other members of T.U.F.F. can't name, though it's sometimes mentioned that Keswick is also the name of his species. Worth mentioning is his bizarre life cycle: his adult stage is a marsupial-like form with webbed feet, his adolescent stage is the same except with a reptilian tail that breaks off to become another Keswick that will fight the other to the death, his child stage is a platypus that shoots barbs out of its mouth, his neonatal stage is a tadpole, and his senior stage is a jellyfish.
- Alfe from The Problem Solverz. He's supposed to be part man, part dog, and part anteater, but he's basically a giant brown thing with a long nose.
- Denver the Last Dinosaur is fairly ambiguous, he does have some dinosaur in him and of course some typical Funny Animal elements as you might expect but a whole bunch of dragon-like elements to his design make him a very odd looking dino (at least to our knowledge).
- The titular Wander of Wander over Yonder, who looks sort of like a fuzzy brown sock with eyes, a mouth, and limbs. The producer's call him an "orange hairy spoon". Technically, however, he and all the other members of the cast are aliens.
- Mr Sunshine from CatDog. He's a green, humanoid looking man with a tail in a world where Funny Animals and Civilized Animals are the norm. Fans often believe him to be a shell-less turtle, sloth, or monkey.
- Imaginary friends in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends are anything children can think up. Many are Funny Animals, Mix-and-Match Critters, or Animate Inanimate Objects, but still others don't bear any clear resemblance to any creature in real life. Among the main cast, Bloo is a blue rectangle with a semi-circle on top, a face, and apparently retractable arms while Wilt is a super-tall red humanoid with a paint smear-shaped face and eyes on stalks.