My ancestors sent a little lizard
to help me? Mushu:
! Not lizard. I don't do that tongue thing. (does that tongue thing)
A Talking Animal
(or at least someone who looks like one) is constantly mistaken for another species as a Running Gag
. Often, it can be their Berserk Button
, particularly if they consider it a Fantastic Slur
. This trope often leads to Insistent Terminology
Trope name is a reference to Cow and Chicken
spinoff I Am Weasel
. Not to be confused with I Am Not Shazam
. Contrast this trope with its inversion
, Ass in a Lion Skin
, for when an animal wants
to be taken for another species.
See Mistaken Nationality
when it is happening with humans for ethnicities or nationalities, or Accidental Misnaming
when dealing with proper names, or I Am Not Spock
when dealing with actors and their characters.
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Anime & Manga
- In the episode "The Mysterious, Lecherous Monk" , Inu-Yasha and Miroku persist in referring to a weasel demon as a "raccoon dog" (tanuki) even when he tries to remind them that "I'm a weasel, dang it!" This despite the fact that one of Miroku's oldest friends (and frequent accomplices) is a tanuki, so you'd think he'd know the difference.
- Also in InuYasha, it's a Running Gag that Shippo is constantly mistaken for a tanuki, leading to him saying "I'm a kitsune!" (i.e. a fox).
- From a different episode:
Villagers: Are you in league with that cat demon? (they mean Kirara)
Inu-Yasha: Who're you calling a cat demon?!
- In another episode, the gang have to fight a tribe of panther demons. Much to them, and their more human like leaders' anger, the main characters often call them cat demons.
Shippo: It's the cat demons from the west!
Tora: Huh? cat demons? My friend and I are panther demons. Don't lump us with ordinary cats or you'll make us angry.
- Of course, if not for his father and half-brother's transformations, it'd be easy to conclude that Inu-Yasha is a cat demon; claws sharp enough to use as deadly weapons aren't exactly a dog trait after all.
- Zafira of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, gets this every so often, even from his long-time allies.
Vita: I'm jealous of Zafira, it's so convenient being a dog...
Zafira: ... I'm a wolf.
- Technically, he takes the form of a small dog while on Earth, having been convinced by Arf that it's less intimidating than his wolf form.
- He also prefers to be called a "guardian beast" rather than a "familiar" (an even finer distinction, which Fate's wolf familiar Arf claims to be different only in terminology).
- Yuuno often appears in weasel form, and is occasionally taken for a familiar. In reality, he's a shapeshifting mage.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!
- Half-Dog Demon Kotarô usually prefers to call himself a lone wolf.
- Chamo, from the same series, is an ermine. Negima!? combines this trope with Running Gag and Insistent Terminology when the girls of class 3-A refer to him as a rat.
- One Piece's Tony Tony Chopper is frequently mistaken for a tanuki/raccoon-dog in his hybrid form and a yeti(at least once) in human form. Of course, his real form is that of a reindeer. Franky has also referred to him as a "Gorilla" and even "Gorilla-Deer" when he realized he was a Devil Fruit user.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Neo Spacian Aqua Dolphin is called a fish by Judai, and replies that he is a mammal.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Xiao May is thought to be a cat by everyone in Amestris, but she's really a tiny panda bear. Note that the Chinese word for panda literally means "bear-cat".
- Shadows of Spawn — a manga adaptation of Todd McFarlen's Spawn. Ken Kurosawa (who is the series' Spawn) encounters an intelligent wolf spawn named Mangler, whom he often mistakes for a dog.
- A running gag in Doraemon: when someone first meets him, they think he's a tanuki. This makes Doraemon really mad since he's a robotic cat without ears.
- Fritz the Bitter Goblin in the Duel Masters dub gets very upset when he's called a squirrel.
- Like Zafira above, Val of Otogi Juushi Akazukin would like to remind us that he's a wolf, not a dog.
- Even if the domestic dog is still genetically a clear canis lupus, that is, a wolf.
- Belbel in There, Beyond the Beyond is a magician who looks suspiciously like a rabbit, and gets mad when compared to one.
- In Digimon Savers, Masaru's little sister calls Gaomon a dog, prompting him to point out "Would a dog wear boxing gloves?"
- B'dg in the Green Lantern comics is often called a talking squirrel. To be fair, that is exactly what he looks like.
- Old Lace of the Runaways is often called a raptor. She's actually a deinonychus.
- Even though it's in his name, do not refer to Rocket Raccoon as a raccoon - doing so will make him show you his gun collection...the bad way.
Films — Animation
- Inversion. Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective is a rat, but to call him one is seriously pushing his Berserk Button. He prefers the title of "a big mouse". The Basil of Baker Street book series (on which this movie was based) confirms that Ratigan is indeed a mouse.
- In Rise Of The Guardians, Jack Frost insults the Easter Rabbit by calling him "the Easter kangaroo". (Bit of a Lampshade Hanging here, since Bunnymund is played by Hugh Jackman, who amps up the Australian accent.)
- Over the Hedge features a turtle who corrects anyone who call him an amphibian. It also features a pest exterminator with a freakishly strong sense of smell:
Pest exterminator: (sniff) raccoon, squirrel, two opossums, skunk, amphibian—
Vern: (under his breath) — reptile.
Pest exterminator: (sniffs again) No... reptile.
- There is some confusion when Mulan meets Mushu for the first time, hence the page quote. He's just not the size you'd expect for a dragon.
- Of course, Mushu goes on to call Mulan's horse a cow for the rest of the movie.
- Call Pumbaa from The Lion King a pig only if you're in a real hurry to die. Simba and Timon can get away with it, though.
- In Tangled, Flynn keeps referring to Rapunzel's chameleon sidekick Pascal as a frog.
- At one point in Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, Fred attempts to bullfight a lion. At first he shouts, "Toro, toro!" which causes the lion to look around in confusion, as if to say "Bull? Where?". Fred thinks for a moment, then shouts, "Leo, leo!note "
- Elsa the Pterodactyl from We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story apparently hates being referred to as a bat.
- Lampwick from Pinocchio refers to Jiminy Cricket as a beetle just right before he turns into a donkey.
"You mean to tell me you take orders from a grasshopper?"
Films — Live-Action
- The Lord of the Rings: Never call an Ent a "tree". Mocked by the Rifftrax of The Two Towers movie.
"TreeBeard some call me."
"Well then, why did you get so upset when we called you by half your name?!"
- Though this is only the case in the movie; it never comes up in the book. Still, it probably makes sense — most shepards wouldn't like being called "sheep", even if their name is Mr. Sheep-Herd.
- From the MST3K take on Eegah!:
Character from film: It's not a monster! It's a giant!
Crow: There's a big difference!
- Krull from Tim Burton's version of Planet of the Apes seriously dislikes being called a "monkey":
Krull: Monkeys are further down the evolutionary ladder... just above humans!
- This also pops up in Escape From The Planet Of The Apes. Cornelius tells the commission not to call him and Zira monkeys because it's offensive to them.
- Obviously played for laughs in Caddyshack when the gopher steals Rodney Dangerfield's golfball as he's trying to sink a putt.
Al: That kangaroo stole my ball!
- In 1968, the band Canned Heat teamed up with Alvin and the Chipmunks to do a version of the Chipmunk Song ("Christmas Don't Be Late"). The intro to the song was Bob "The Bear" Hite barging into the Chipmunks' recording session as it was Canned Heat's turn to use the studio, and asking somebody to "get those mice out of here", drawing protests from the insulted chipmunks.
- Flanders and Swann's The Gnu Song has two references to g-nus (that's the way they say it in the song) objecting to being confused with "similar" animals like bison, okapis and hartebeests. One even threatens to sue.
- To this day since its release, people think Three Dog Night's Joy To The World is called "Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog," simply because it's the song's first line.
- Extremely common on eBay, where anything with spots will half the time be labeled as "tiger pattern", and vice versa.
- In the ZBS Foundation series Ruby: Adventures of a Galactic Gumshoe, rat-faced alien Rodant Kapoor has to constantly correct pronunciation of his name. ("Not rodent, Rodant!")
- Upon creating a Holy Dragon in Disgaea 3, it'll take a moment to inform your other characters, that despite looking like a dog, it's indeed a dragon, after which it says "woof".
- Buzz Buzz, an insect of indeterminate species who provides much of the exposition early on in EarthBound, introduces himself thus: "A bee I am... not..." Shortly afterward, Lardna Minch mistakes him for a dung beetle and squishes him.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, it's common knowledge that nobody ever should call a Bangaa (the reptilian humanoid race of Ivalice) a lizard; that is, common knowledge to everyone but the protagonist, who crashlanded in the world almost immediately before. Said innocent confusion instead leads to Marche almost getting, one would expect, killed. Likewise, upon their first prolonged meeting, Marche confuses Montblanc, a Moogle, for a stuffed animal...
- The sequel has a Shout-Out where Montblanc manages to prevent Luso from making the same mistake. (Luso knew they were Bangaa, but he didn't know how far his insult would hit.)
- Jak and Daxter: Daxter has been referred to as everything from a muse (sparky yellow cat-things) to a muskrat, though he asserts he is, in fact, an ottsel. In an inversion of the trope name, though, he is, in the most literal sense, a weasel: an ottsel is an otter/weasel hybrid, which are both members of the family Mustelidae.
- Max of Jay's Journey refers to Atolla, a man turned into a lion, as a "talking kitty" throughout the game. Mind, Max has his own issues, but an NPC makes the same mistake, referring to Atolla as a "calico", to Jay's utter bewilderment.
- The Wind Fish in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening reminds you that it is neither wind nor fish when you finally meet it.
- In The Lost Vikings II, the vikings are joined by a werewolf, Fang; it's a Running Gag after he joins the group to have the vikings mistake his species (or at least make horrible animal puns in his presence).
- Lunar: Eternal Blue has Ruby, a cat-like Non-Human Sidekick who never passes up a chance to inform people that she's a baby Red Dragon.
Ruby: Hel-lo! Time for your eye exam! I am not a cat!
- In the predecessor, Lunar: The Silver Star, Nall, another creature who appears to be a flying-cat, reacts rather badly when anyone refers to him as such, although he is at a loss as to what he actually is until almost the end of the game.
- In Sonic and the Secret Rings, the Djinn Erazor repeatedly calls Sonic a "blue rat", even when he was sucked back inside of his lamp for the rest of eternity. And each time he did, Sonic repeatedly reminded him that he was a hedgehog, and not a rat. Sonic got the last word in that argument.
- In the Nintendo DS RPG The World Ends with You, Shiki sewed herself a stuffed cat named "Mr. Mew", and she gets extremely angry when Neku (repeatedly) mistakes it for a pig. "Go, Mr. Mew!" "Get 'em, piggy!"
- In Sam & Max Hit the Road a fisherman catches a giant fish:
Fisherman: Holy mackerel!
Fish: I'm a trout, stupid! note
Fisherman: Holy trout!
- In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, the main characters are accompanied by a Centurion (a spirit-creature) named Tenebrae, who has a vaguely lupine appearence. When the party runs into Collette, a hero of the previous game, she promptly starts referring to Tenebrae as a "doggie", much to his annoyance. When he requests a name more appropriate of his power and dignity, he is instead titled "Mr. Doggie."
- The species of Exploitation Now's Ralph is a Running Gag in the strip. Whatever people guess, he denies with indignation. (He looks most like a no-name-brand Moogle.)
- In Fletcher Apts, the main character Bob, a hamster who is rather ambiguous-looking, is mistaken for different rodents (a squirrel here and a rat here) and produces a rant about it, which no-one pays attention to.
- George Fennec, from Kevin & Kell, is often thought to be a rabbit. (A fennec is a type of fox with huge ears.)
- In Freefall, Florence Ambrose, a red wolf, get almost invariably mistaken for a dog on first contact.
- In Schlock Mercenary, the title character is often mistaken for a pile of dung.
- In We Are Our Avatars, Kyon once mistook Silver for, of all things, a parrot. Later Hohenheim mistakes him for a parakeet. And mind reading Pikadevil revealed that he believes that he is a hen. His being mistaken for a bird has become a Running Gag. And then the Lost Vikings came along, and mistook him for a platypus, a duck, a swallow, a goat, a cow, and an elephant of all things and later on, he learns that he's 1/16th bird.
- Klonoa's a Phantomillian; he's not a Mobian, he's not a rabbit, and not a nekomata.
- In a video of "Chip Cheezum"s, where they're Retsupuraeing someones LP of "Okami", the kid starts calling Ammy a...bunny. Chip then rages that Ammy is not a bunny, she's a dog. Of course several youtubers then pointed out Ammy is actually a WOLF. The original description read "IT'S A DOOOOOOOOG", but later "SHUT UP IT'S A WOLF" was added.
- Weasels themselves have often been mistaken for giant rodents throughout history because of their prominent front teeth. In fact, their Latin name, Mustela, is loosely translated as "spear-shaped mouse."
- Beavers and otters are sometimes misidentified because they are both aquatic mammals and look similar from a distance. Beavers are rodents. Otters are mustelids.
- Opossums are sometimes mistaken for rats because of the tails. They're actually marsupials, not rodents.
- Glass lizards and other legless lizards are often called snakes. While snakes evolved from proto-reptiles that lost their legs (instead of lizards being snakes that grew legs, as people sometimes think), glass lizards are still much closer in anatomy to lizards than they are to true snakes.
- Nearly every prehisoric animal has been called a dinosaur at some point or another.