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Seldom Seen Species
Animal characters in fiction run the gamut. Just a look at the listing in Animal Stereotypes shows that there are plenty of common enough animals that are used for their distinctive traits (presumed or real).

Then there's the Seldom Seen Species — that is, a species that, once you see it, makes you think, "Hey, you don't usually see that animal!" In some cases, this may be a forced attempt to avoid the countless existing Animal Stereotypes.

Some animals, such as monkeys, songbirds, and frogs, are usually represented by a generic or nondescript variant of the type of animal as opposed to an actual species of that type of animal. In that case, portraying an actual species of that type of animal would count if that actual species isn't commonly used in fiction.

This trope is a Cyclic Trope because some species are more seldom seen in the media of some cultures, in certain forms of media, and in some time periods and than others. For example, red pandas are common in Furry Fandom artwork, but are seldom seen in other fictional works and media.

Many of the older examples of this trope look and act little (if not nothing) like their Real Life equivalents.

Examples of this trope should be species that are still seldom seen in media these days. Examples of older works that show species that were seldom seen in media at the time of the work's release, but not that seldom seen now are also allowed.

Contrast Small Taxonomy Pools.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • There are the two meerkats from Compare the Meerkat, Alexandr and Sergei.
    • Meerkats are related to mongooses, which have enjoyed moderate fame in Western culture over the past century and a half thanks to Rudyard Kipling's short story "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi." If a mongoose shows up, expect it to be creepy or even "evil" - even though Rikki himself was a good example of Dark Is Not Evil.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Four of the five main characters of Tokyo Mew Mew are actually infused with the DNA of an Irimote cat, an Ultramarine Lorikeet, a Finless Porpoise, and a Golden Lion Tamarin respectively. The idea is that, as these are all endangered species, their desire to continue living is what gives the girls their powers. The fifth is the somewhat more common wolf.note  Also, a character introduced for the video game gets her powers from the DNA of a Humboldt Penguin.
  • Dinosaur King has numerous lesser-known dinosaurs such as Mapusaurus and Amargasaurus.
  • You Are Umasou has a Chilantaisaurus, Ornithocheirus, and a herd of Titanosaurs.
    • The film also prominently features Maiasaura, which is while a stock dinosaur hardly depicted in the media
  • Shirokuma Cafe has quite a handful of these, such as a tamandua and a shoebill.
  • Mayaa the Iriomote Cat from Azumanga Daioh.
  • Cowboy Bebop has Ein the data dog, specifically a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
  • Jungle Book Shōnen Mowgli has Kichi the red panda and Tabaqui the striped hyena (in contrast to most incarnations, where he is a jackal).
  • Anomalocaris has gained a certain degree of popularity in Japan; often depicted as a huge monster with four grasping appendages, such as in Bubblegum Crisis and Kamen Rider Double, or highly stylized, like Anorith in Pokémon and Scorpiomon/Anomalocarimon in Digimon.
    • Carisu Hime, the female main character in Cambrian Q Ts, is an anthropomorphic Anomalocaris.
  • Doraemon:
    • "Nobita's Dinosaur 2006" prominently featured a Futubasaurus named Piisuke. Alamosaurus, Maiasaura, hesperornithes, and a giant ammonite appear as well.
    • "Nobita and the Island of Miracles—Animal Adventure" has rhinoceros beetles, Ceratogaulus, Chalicotherium, Elasmotherium, Gastornis, Glyptodon, Machairodus, Megatherium, moas, and Paraceratherium.
    • "New Nobita's Great Demon-Peko and the Exploration Party of Five" featured aardvarks as steeds for the humanoid dogs, a Congo peacock in the opening, red-crested turacos, a bushbaby, okapis, black-and-white colobus monkeys, a crowned crane, pangolins, bongo antelopes, and African clawless otters.
  • In CLANNAD, Sanae Furukawa mentions that her greatest fear is the Bengal Monitor Lizard. Her husband Akio talks Tomoya into dropping a toy one down her back. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya, the eponymous character transforms some pigeons into extinct Passenger Pigeons.
  • Ponyo has trilobites, Opabinia, Dipnorhynchus, Bothriolepis, and Gogonasus.
  • In Ginga Densetsu Weed, in the episode were GB accidentally infiltrates Hougen's pack, a white stoat in shown in the jaws of one of the Mooks.

    Comic Books 
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog universe is full of this. Not the least of which are echidnas (most famously Knuckles), lynx (Nicole, Lightning Lynx, et al.) and mongooses (Mina and Ash). And with the reboot we can add pikas (Relic), bettas (Coral), water buffaloes (Axel), and pistol shrimp (as-yet unnamed character).
  • In Cerebus the Aardvark, aardvarks are not at all common, but have appeared enough times throughout Estarcion's history that it's not a cause for public wonder. That three aardvarks are running around at one time, on the other hand, is exceedingly rare.
  • The Belch Dimension Comics has Jason T. Gibbon (although slightly subverted in an "Untold Tales" segment when it's revealed he was once a boy turned into an ape by an evil spell). One story also featured a villain named The Cassowary, which series creator Jonathan M. Sweet was surprised wasn't used more, as this large flightless bird, with its bony skull-crest and large clawed foot,seemed "fairly made for supervillainy". Although naturally stylized to appear cartoonish, the series actually has fairly recognizable renderings of specific dog breeds, such as the beagle and the pit bull, unlike most comics and cartoons.

    Fan Fic 

    Film 
  • The Lion King had several:
    • Timon, a rare example of a meerkat.
    • The sequel featured okapi, a close relative to the giraffe.
    • Zazu, another character, is actually a Red-Billed Hornbill who looks nothing like an actual hornbill and more like a toucan instead.
    • Hyenas gained quite a bit of fame after this movie, thanks to the memorable star turns by Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed. Prior to that, they had only been seen with any frequency as the pets of The Joker and Harley Quinn on Batman: The Animated Series (due to their "laughing", which, as every zoologist has confirmed, is not laughter at all).
    • The rodent Scar was tormenting during his introductory scene is actually a jerboa, judging by the tuft on its tail.
    • The animals that go to pay respects to baby Simba include guineafowl and vervet monkeys.
    • Several background animals in the series include marabou storks, kudu, oryx, and topi.
    • The birds Timon and Pumbaa were trying to chase away in the second film are spotted thick-knees.
    • Sadly averted in the scene where Mufasa trains Simba to hunt. The animal Zazu falls over was supposed to be a naked mole rat, but the exes didn't like it and was redesigned into a gopher.
  • The Madagascar film franchise has three different types of lemur (ring-tailed lemur, mouse lemur and aye-aye). All three also carried over to The Penguins of Madagascar.
    • Also from Madagascar are the antagonists, the little known fossa preying on the lemurs.
    • Besides the three named lemur characters belonging to the above species, the lemurs appearing in the background belong to various other species. A tenrec also appears in one scene.
    • In the sequel, aside from the typical African fauna, there are some dik-dik antelopes.
    • The Valentines special Madly Madagascar features an okapi as Marty's love interest. Ironic, since Melman the Giraffe was originally going to be an okapi, but the directors wanted to use a more familiar animal.
    • The Penguins of Madagascar features a poison-dart frog, leopard seals, and a rockhopper penguin.
  • The background animals from the "Noah's Ark" segment from ''Fantasia 2000''.
    • The "Rite of Spring" sequence from the original film featured hydras, annelids, trilobites, venus girdles, brittlestars, Pterichthyodes, eurypterids, ammonites, orthocones, Polypterus, Eustenopteron, Placochelys, Tylosaurus, Nothosaurus, Troodon (depicted as a predatory pachycephalosaur), Hallopus (depicted as a tree-climbing dinosaur), Plateosaurus, Kannemeyeria, Corythosaurus, Kritosaurus, Psittacosaurus, Dimorphodon, and Chasmosaurus.
  • Dinosaur not only featured obscure dinosaurs (such as Iguanodon for the hero and Carnotaurus for the villain), but also modern Sifaka lemurs.
  • Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire featured coelacanths. (This also counts as a Genius Bonus, because in the year Atlantis was supposed to be set, the coelacanth was presumed to have been extinct for millions of years. Except, apparently, by the elderly Gentleman Adventurer who had two in his mansion's fish tank.)
  • Finding Nemo featured clownfish, regal tangs, moorish idols, yellow tangs, royal grammas, four-striped damselfish, cleaner shrimp, makos to make everything worse, an angler, moonfish, kelp gulls, eagle rays, longnose butterfly fish, flapjack octopi, and flounders. And speaking of Flounder...
  • This part of the song "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid:
    Oh, the newt plays the flute, the carp plays the harp
    The plaice plays the bass, and they sounding sharp
    The bass plays the brass, the chub plays the tub
    The fluke is the Duke of soul (yeah!)
    Oh, the ray he can play, the ling's on the strings
    The trout's rocking out, the blackfish he sings
    The smelt and the sprat they know where it's at
    And, oh hear that blowfish blow!
  • Aladdin introduces us to Abu the New World Monkey and Iago the red macaw. Rajah, meanwhile, is a fairly typical tiger.
  • Averted in The Sword in the Stone. This is significant because Merlin and Mad Madame Mim spend the climax of the film taking turns transforming into very generic animals, except for when Madame Mim turns into a purple dragon.
  • Although not exactly cute in the ordinary sense (think Ugly Cute), the animals in Rango are not the typical animals you find in an animated movie about desert animals. Cases include Priscilla the oddly adorable, yet misplaced aye-aye (according to Word of God, although some people think she's a cactus mouse), Beans the Love Interest and desert iguana, and the burrowing owl mariachi band.
  • The different species of owls from Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Gahoole. You have Gylfie the timid yet intelligent tiny Elf Owl, Twilight the street-smart Great Grey Owl, and Digger the fast-talking Burrowing Owl. In fact, the movie's plot is kick-started by the barn owls called the "Pure Ones" (in a not-so very subtle call to Nazi Aryanism) starting a race war against the other owls. An echidna and a Tasmanian devil also show up.
  • In Happy Feet, one can count several different types of penguins beyond the generic black and white ones seen in typical media. Mumble and Gloria are emperor penguins, the Latino-accented Plucky Comic Reliefs are Adelie penguins, and the guru voiced by Robin Williams is a Rockhopper penguin. Chinstrap Penguins and African Jackass Penguins are also seen briefly during Mumble's imprisonment in the marine animal exhibit. In addition to the penguins, there's the Nightmare Fuel-laden leopard seal, a herd of elephant seals, and a gang of skuas.
    • The sequel features two krill, one named Bill and one named Will.
  • Other than two of the main heroes (mammoth and saber-toothed cat or Smilodon), Ice Age and its two sequels were filled to the brim with prehistoric animals that went beyond the stock animals that is so nauseatingly typical in any other movie. You had Sid the Megalonyx or ground sloth, glyptodonts (salesman Fast Tony's sidekick who got eaten by the marine reptiles, Cretaceous the Metriorhynchus and Maelstrom the Globidens), the sad and farting chalicothere, gray trunked Moeritherium, the rhino-looking Brontops brothers who were harassing Sid in the first movie, long-necked and trunked Macrauchenia, a bulky Homotherium or scimitar-toothed cat as a member of Soto's pack, shovel-tusker Platybelodon, some hesperornithes, and giant Gastornis birds. In the third movie, 'Dawn of the Dinosaurs', it went beyond Stock Dinosaurs to include small stegosaurid Kentrosaurus, a pack of Troodon, Roger the Harpactognathus who served as an airborne mount for Buck and the possum brothers, a predatory flock of Pterodactylus, ravenous wolfish Guanlong, and a white Baryonyx named Rudy — Buck's eternal enemy and threat to the T. rex family.
    • The fourth film further contributes to this trope by featuring a colony of hyraxes, Big Bad Gutt the Gigantopithecus, Flynn the elephant seal, Silas the petrel, Pirate Girl Raz the Procoptodon (a short-faced kangaroo), a pod of narwhals, and Precious — Sid's grandmother's pet Livyatan melvillei.
    • The concept art showed more obscure animals that did not make it to the cut. Such species include an axolotl, Mamenchisaurus, Hyracotherium that were to be steeds for the hyraxes, and Paraceratherium.
    • The game app Ice Age Village brings several more, such as Pterodaustro and Cacops.
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks prominently featured secretary birds.
  • The Princess and the Frog featured spoonbills.
  • Tarzan showed ring tailed lemurs in mainland Africa, colobus monkeys, and a marabou stork.
  • The Jungle Book has Bagheera the black panther and Baloo the sloth bear. Shere Khan the tiger, Colonel Hathi and his herd of Indian elephants, King Louie the orangutan, and Kaa the python get special mention.
    • Jungle Cubs featured geladas (referred to as baboons), a mongoose, Indian rhinos, a babirusa, dholes, Asiatic cheetahs, a pangolin, striped hyenas, mugger crocodiles, and four-horned antelopes.
    • "Jungle Book 2" features macaques and ocelots.
  • The Three Caballeros featured umbrellabirds, boat-billed herons, fork-tailed flycatchers, curve-billed scythebills, yellow-chinned spinetails, horneros, and Andean condors.
    • And yes Disney fans, the Aracua or Speckled Chachalaca (called the Aracuan Bird in the film) is real... though like many of the older examples on this page, the real bird looks and acts nothing like its more famous animated equivalent.
  • In the most recent film of The Time Machine, one of the Eloi men is seen carrying a live black-furred animal over his shoulder, which appears to be a binturong.
  • Shifu the Red Panda and Tai Lung the snow leopard from Kung Fu Panda
    • Monkey is a golden langur as opposed to the familiar generic monkey.
    • The rhino prison guards look refreshingly more like Asian rhinos than the African white or black rhinos more often seen.
    • The tv series takes it and runs with it. Half the villains and several new good guys are all obscure chinese creatures.
    • The Big Bad of the second film is an indian peacock, and an albino one at that.
  • Besides the usual chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, Rise of the Planet of the Apes featured a bonobo named Koba too.
  • The Rescuers Down Under features a giant wedge-tailed eagle named Marahute.
    • As well as a goanna named Joanna. ("Goanna" is sort of a generic word for monitor lizards in Australia, since several species of monitor lizard do live there, but based on her size she's most likely a Perentie.)
  • Rio has a number of more obscure bird species, most prominently, the Spix's Macaw.
    • For bonus points, Spix's Macaw is a critically endangered species (fewer than 100 remain), meaning that it's literally seldom seen.
    • Besides obscure birds, there's also marmosets and a white-shouldered bat.
    • Rio 2 features capybaras, a tamandua anteater, a poison dart frog or what appears to be one, tapirs, squirrel monkeys, rheas, tamarins, hoatzins, tree porcupines, cock-of-the-rocks, Boto dolphins, and caimans.
  • Babar: King of the Elephants has a marabou stork as The Narrator.
  • The Syfy Channel's Malibu Shark Attack features goblin sharks, presumably because they look so bizarre.
  • Deep Blue Sea features mutant mako sharks, rather than the usual Great Whites.
  • Dumbo briefly featured striped hyenas.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie featured a frogfish.
  • The Big Year is a film (based on a nonfiction book of the same title, but fictionalised somewhat for the screen) about competitive birders trying to set a record for the most species seen in North America (north of Mexico, i.e. the continental United States and Canada) during one calendar year. Seldom-seen species are therefore the driving force of the whole plot: Nutting's Flycatcher, Xantus' Hummingbird, Pink-footed Goose, the list goes on and on...
  • One of the more distinctive motherfuckin' snakes on this motherfuckin' plane is a Gaboon viper.
  • The Powerpuff Girls Movie featured proboscis monkeys and Japanese macaques alongside the usual stock primates.
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction showed a Psittacosaurus in the opening animation.

    Literature 
  • The owls in Harry Potter include some commonly-mentioned species, but also the lesser-known eagle owl and Scops owl. Similarly, lesser-known mythological creatures such as basilisks and Hippogriffs appear.
  • Redwall is known for focusing on the seldom used ends of the mustelid spectrum, such as stoats.
  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the Rudyard Kipling book about a mongoose. The story also features such seldom-seen Indian fauna as the krait, the chuchunder (Asian musk shrew)note , and the tailorbird.
    • A "sea cow" — most likely Steller's Sea Cow — appears in Kipling's The White Seal (and the Chuck Jones Animated Adaptation). In real life they were hunted to extinction 27 years after their discovery in 1741, but in The White Seal they found a safe place and still thrive around 1900s.
  • A mongoose also appears in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Crooked Man."
  • Andre Norton's Beast Master novels included meerkats: Hing in The Beast Master and Lord of Thunder, and Ho in The Beast Master.
  • The lammergeier in Iain M. Banks's Feersum Endjinn.
  • Bears are common enough in fiction, but how many times have you seen a sloth bear? Probably just in Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, and the Disney cartoons it inspired.
  • Velociraptors (along with a few other genera) were obscure back when Jurassic Park was written. But then the book and movie popularized them so that they are inescapable in dinosaur media these days, though they almost always get depicted like the ones in Jurassic Park when in reality they were only 2-3 feet tall and covered in feathers. Dilophosaurus is an example that never caught on quite as much.
    • Spinosaurus is a case similar to Velociraptor.
    • A few genera that are still rather obscure to this day also make appearances in the franchise: such as Procompsognathus, Cearadactylus, Gallimimus, Mamenchisaurus, Corythosaurus, Herrerasaurus, and Troodon. Metriacanthosaurus, Proceratosaurus, Baryonyx, Segisaurus, and Euoplocephalus are also implied to have been among the species present in the park of the first book/film.
    • The second book also includes Pachycephalosaurus and Maiasaura, which are among the better-known species but aren't nearly as prolific as the likes of Tyrannosaurus and Stegosaurus, as well as Carnotaurus, which have chameleon-like color-changing abilities. The carnotaur and it's color-changing wasn't adapted into the film version, but was included in the arcade game, of all things.
  • The Immortals featured pygmy marmosets in the third book.
  • The Spellsinger series includes increasingly-exotic species among its Funny Animal cast in its later books, including the likes of the pangolin, javelina, silky anteater, viscacha, and aye-aye.
  • The Frances TV series and the Frances The Badger children's books feature an American badger as its main character.
  • Dinotopia features not only Stock Dinosaurs but also more obscure prehistoric animals.
  • Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs has Sid the Scelidosaurus. There was also an Anchisaurus character that was absent from the animated adaptation; similarly, one episode of the series had a Nanosaurus character.
  • The Earth's Children series goes into intricate detail about the wildlife, including such animals as the saiga antelope, the chamois, and the cave bear. Flipped, a 'dirk-toothed tiger' gets barely a mention.
  • Astrosaurs features numerous obscure dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.
  • Forests of the Night features an anthropomorphic mongoose, attached to a battalion of tiger Super Soldiers as their medic.
  • Raptor Red not only prominently features Utahraptor but also includes Acrocanthosaurus, Kronosaurus, Gastonia, Aegialodon, Trinitichelys, Ornithodesmus, Platypterygius, Astrodon, Bernissartia, and a generic therizinosaur.
  • Carnosaur features Tarbosaurus, Becklespinax (referred to as "Altispinax"), Megalosaurus, and Scolosaurus.

    Live Action Television 
  • Little Maya's maternal grandmother on Six Feet Under gives her a stuffed okapi, to prove how much more sophisticated she is compared to her paternal grandmother, who gave her a monkey.
  • The titular character of the PBS children's show Zoboomafoo is a Sifaka lemur, who for some reason is actually anthropomorphized by being fed.
  • Sesame Street's South African co-production, Takalani Sesame has a giant meerkat named Moshe.
  • When Super Sentai and Power Rangers does an animal theme (which is often), usually have some stock badass animals they like to use — but then there's usually also an oddball choice. Some of these aren't obscure in general, but they evoke a similar reaction in the show's action-superhero context; for instance, one common reaction to late Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers stuff was "WTF Frog?"
    • Kakuranger/Mighty Morphin Season 3 infamously had the aforementioned frog, as well as a crane.
    • Gingaman/Lost Galaxy had a condor and a wild cat.
    • Gaoranger/Wild Force included a giraffe, a deer, an armadillo, and a hammerhead shark.
    • Gekiranger/Jungle Fury had an antelope and a penguin.
    • Engine Sentai Go-onger included an orca-bike and a chicken-copter; counterpart Power Rangers RPM never defined what sea creature the bike was (beyond just a "fish", which is possibly even weirder) and referred to the copter as a falcon (which became kind of hilarious later on when Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger introduced an actual falcon Engine.)
    • Shinkenger/Samurai has a marlin/swordfish, lobster, and squid/octopus.
    • Goseiger/Megaforce gives the Black Ranger a snake motif — not uncommon on its own, but so associated with villainous characters that a heroic use is worth mentioning. There's also an ostrich or some other flightless bird.
    • Even the dinosaur-themed Abaranger/Dino Thunder got in on the act with the Sixth Ranger having a Tupuxuara zord (ie, a pterosaur that isn't a pteranodon), as well as a Chasmosaurus zord.
  • Geo Kids had Bobby the Bushbaby and Sunny the honey possum.
  • David Attenborough's The Life of Mammals prominently featured echidnas, possums, yapoks, shrews, pangolins, pika, marmots, ground squirrels, mole rats, maras, fennec foxes, african wild dogs, harbour seals, right whales, sun bears, fruit bats, lorises, gibbons, uakaris, tamarins, guenons, macaques, and geladas.
    • This trope goes for all of Attenborough's Life on Earth series.
    • Likewise, meerkats were essentially unknown in Britain until the 1987 Wildlife on One episode Meerkats United. Overnight they became a national fascination that's never really let up since.
  • This trope is the whole point of the documentary series Mutant Planet.
  • Combatants on Monster Bug Wars include such oddities as spitting spiders, assassin bugs, carnivorous katydids, whip scorpions and velvet worms.
  • Primeval has prominently featured quite a few more obscure prehistoric animals: including Coelurosauravus, Inostrancevia (simply called a gorgonopsid on the show), Scutosaurus, Arthropleura, Tylosaurus, Hesperornis, Anurognathus, a Columbian Mammoth, Pristichampsus, Diictodon, Giganotosaurus, Titanis, Dracorex, Embolotherium, Australopithecus, Kaprosuchus, Euchambersia (simply identified as a therocephalian in the show), Koolasuchus (simply referred to as a labyrinthodont in the show), Hyaenodon, and Liopleurodon.
    • The spin-off Primeval: New World continues the trend with Albertosaurus, Utahraptor, Titanoboa, Lycaenops, Daemonosaurus, Ornitholestes, and Brontoscorpio.
  • Jessie has Mr(s). Kipling the Asian water monitor.
  • Dinosaurs has Earl Sinclair the Megalosaurus and Spike the Polacanthus, as well as Troodon and Psittacosaurus as background characters.
  • Although not identified as such (being a show for toddlers), In the Night Garden… had hoopoes and turacos.
  • I Didn't Do It has hellbenders (identified as snot otters).

    Music 
  • The Schoolhouse Rock song "Four-Legged Zoo" prominently mentioned ibex (a type of goat with large, curved horns) and kudu (a large antelope with corkscrew-shaped horns).
  • Frank Zappa's piece "The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary", correctly describes him as "the nocturnal gregarious wild swine".

    Newspaper Comics 
  • B.C. has the Apteryx, a "wingless bird with hairy feathers," as he invariably introduces himself.
    • Apteryx is the generic name for kiwis.
  • Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes has a fairly encyclopedic knowledge of animals, primarily dinosaurs. He also once asked if Hobbes could draw anything other than tigers, to which Hobbes replied, yes, he could also draw ocelots (slender, spotted wild cats from the jungles of Central and South America).
    • They also averted Stock Dinosaurs with Centrosaurus and Supersaurus (although it is referred to as "Ultrasaurus" and is depicted as a brachiosaurid).
  • Pogo was the only ever possum leading man in an American comic.
  • Sherman's Lagoon has all sorts of obscure aquatic life.

    Video Games 
  • Crash Bandicoot
    • Aside from the title character's species, the series also includes a potaroo (Pinstripe), a thylacine (Tiny) and two Komodo dragons (Joe and Moe), along with the usual stock Australian critters that may apply, such as dingos and koalas.
  • Ty the Tasmanian Tiger
    • Besides thylacines, there's also a cassowary as the Big Bad, a Tasmanian devil, a green tree frog, a thorny devil, wallabies, goannas, bilbies, weedy sea dragons, giant groupers, wombats, blue-tongued skinks, a lyrebird, Sydney funnel-web spiders, a ghost bat, an echidna, cane toads, Muttaburrasaurus, and marsupial lions.
    • Similarly, the third game features an obscure mythical creature: the Quinkan.
  • Bubsy the bobcat.
  • MANY Pokémon are actually based on obscure animal species. We have Pangolins note , Hermit Crabs note , Tapirs note , Dugongs note , Mongooses note , Weedy Sea Dragons note , Angler Fish note , Porcupine Fish note , Mudskippers note , Cicadas note , Bagworms note , Sea Slugs note , Meerkats note , Leaf Insects note , Chinchillas note , Lampreys note , etc. And that's not including the fossil Pokemon or plants! There's also the Axolotl, an endangered aquatic salamander, which serves as the inspiration for Wooper, as well as another possible inspiration for Mudkip. You might recognize them as the same species as Dr. Shrunk from Animal Crossing (see below).
    • It's safe to say that Game Freak has Shown Their Work concerning many species and other biological life. Even the ones that aren't based directly on specific animals are instead based on old myths note . You'd be hard-pressed to find one type of creature in real life that hasn't been made into a Pokémon yet. Aside from dolphins, koalas and flamingos, oddly enough.
  • Knuckles and Tikal the Echidna.
  • Mega Man X6 has Infinity Mijinon, a water flea, and Ground Scaravich, a dung beetle.
    • Other unusual species represented by Mavericks found across the series are Armored Armadillo, Split Mushroom, Spike Rosered (a rose), Tornado Tonion (an Onion), Optic Sunflower, Volt Catfish, Crush Crawfish, and Wire Sponge (Who, despite his name, is actually a Luffa. The very same luffa you use to scrub yourself with in the shower.)
    • Mega Man X Corrupted, a Mega Man X fan game, features a Milodon (aka Megatherium) and Hoatzin.
  • The Darius series has a whole slew of them, in the form of Humongous Mecha sea creatures. Absolute Defender- pinecone fish, Tripod Sardine- tripod fish, Folding Fan- fanfish, The Embryon- sea angel,Brightly Stare-Barrel Eye fish, and more.
  • Zoo Tycoon contains too many examples to list.
  • Chimera Beast features two giant monsters inspired by lamprey, and related species, as it's first boss.
  • Ocelots in Minecraft
  • The opossums (namely Sparkster) that appear in the Rocket Knight Adventures series.
  • Dino Run's visible dinosaurs all belong to the typical stock clades, but the bonus eggs you can pick up include such specific and seldom-heard-of genera as Olorotitan, Rinchenia and Magnosaurus.
  • Impossible Creatures, a game about combining animals, has poison dart frogs, archerfish, and muskoxen, among others.
  • Most of the characters in the Animal Crossing games are fairly commonly-seen animals, but Dr. Shrunk is an axolotl and New Leaf introduces Luna, a tapir. Also in that game, the player can dig up fossils of the brontothere Megacerops, and most of the collectible fish and arthropods fall into this trope.
  • The vast majority of animals seen in the Endless Ocean games are likely to be little known by anyone who's interest is outside Marine Biology, and even then it includes some really obscure animals, such as the aforementioned sea angels, Turritopsis nutricula, the Venus Flower Basket and Praya dubia.
  • Hello, Odell Down Under.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend introduced many Japanese and American audiences to birds like the Luzon bleeding-heart dove and the Chukar partridge. The downside of that is that we're all going to think of Chukars as sinister violent Mad Scientists and bleeding-heart doves as drug-addled lunatics from now on.
  • The Dino Crisis series feature Therizinosaurus, Oviraptor, Mosasaurus, Inostrancevia, and Giganotosaurus.
  • The Japanese Xbox game Dinosaur Hunting features not only the Stock Dinosaurs but also more obscure types: Albertosaurus, Amargasaurus, Ampelosaurus, Baryonyx, Cave lion, Deinosuchus, Dromaeosaurus, Euoplocephalus, Gastonia, Gastornis, Hypsilophodon, Kentrosaurus, Maiasaura, Moa, Ouranosaurus, Pelecanimimus, Shunosaurus, Stygimoloch, Supersaurus, Therizinosaurus, Torosaurus, and Wuerhosaurus.
  • Far Cry 3 has Komodo dragons, cassowaries, tapirs, bull sharks, macaques, birds of paradise, and thylacines.
  • Dwarf Fortress has a pretty diverse array of ecosystems, each with some unusual fauna to be had, from macaques to olms to sponges. All of them can kill your dwarfs. At one point, players who donated more than a certain amount could pick a new creature to include in the next release.
  • Pitfall The Lost Expedition features tuco-tucos.
  • Putt-Putt Enters the Race has an activity where you can read about obscure species, from aardvark to zorilla.
  • The Amazon Trail, on par of being an Edutainment game, is filled to the brim of obscure animals native to the Amazon such as ocelots, kinkajous, tapirs, night monkeys, bush dogs, fishing bats, tambaqui, piraracu (or arapaima), tucunare, potoos, hoatzins, mealy amazons, collared trogons, jabiru storks, honeycreepers, tegu lizards, basilisks, spectacled caimans, fer-de-lance snakes, bushmasters, Gulf Fritillary butterflies, giant Agrippa moths, goliath bird-eating spiders, etc.
  • Fossil Fighters features a large number of dinosaurs as the basis for its viviosaurs, as well as unusual prehistoric lifeforms. In addition to more obscure dinosaurs like Therizinosaurus and Bradycneme, the game actually features three distinct subspecies of ammonite, the giant hornless rhinoceros Paraceratherium, and the "armored fish" Dunkleosteus.
  • Monster Racers has quite a diverse range of creatures from Australia. It features monsters based on the Tazmanian devil, frilled lizard, emu, and bandicoot, which aren't entirely unusual for works that reach for more unusual Australian wildlife. However, it also has a monster based on the fairy penguin, correctly native to Australia instead of anywhere else. The "legendary beast" of Australia is also based on the mythological rainbow serpent. Outside of Australia, it has monsters based on the springbok (Africa) and the mythical Polevik (Eurasia).
  • Terraria features Arapaimas as Hardmode enemies in the Jungle.
  • Assassin's Creed:
  • Age of Empires III features Guanaco, Giant Salamanders, Saiga, Ibex, Nilgai, Serow, Tapir, Capybara, Musk deer, and Rhea as huntable animals in some of its Maps.
  • Primal Carnage has Oviraptor, Cryolophosaurus, and Tupandactlyus as alternate skins for the playable Mesozoic reptiles, which are all Stock Dinosaurs. There are also plans for Acrocanthosaurus and Kaprosuchus to be added in the game.

    Webcomics 
  • Roland le Fay, the pangolin from Concession.
  • Dinosaur Comics, in addition to the not-that-unusual T. rex, includes a Utahraptor and a Dromiceiomimus among the main cast.
  • Mocheril from The Meek, who is an olm (rarely seen outside of slovenian heraldy).
  • Natureof Natures Art, full stop. Featuring jerboas, degus, tamanduas, kinkajous, several species of spiders and many more.
  • In Off-White, the pack is shown hunting a chamois. This might be the one and only time you'll ever see one in any fiction whatsoever.
  • The main characters in Yuck Heads are mongooses, specifically Yellow Mongooses.
  • Femmegasm has a tamarin monkey and axolotl as its lead characters.
  • Dawn of Time tends to feature lesser-known dinosaurs like Pachyrhinosaurus and Sauropelta.
  • Commander Kitty features Nin Wah, a red panda. The first version of the comic also had part of the plot set on a planet of pangolins.
  • Raptormaniacs has Zahavi the Jinfengopteryx, Remex the Caudipteryx, and Ebeff the Therizinosaurus. Also Skull, who is a skull cast of Tsaagan.
  • Stephan in Ozy and Millie is an aardvark.
  • The protagonist of Digger is a wombat, and several of the supporting cast come from a tribe of hyenas.

    Web Original 
  • The middle portion of the song "In the Ocean Blue" from Charlie The Unicorn, which sounds an awful lot like the Pokerap:
    Lungfish, Blackfish, Alligator, Icefish
    Armorhead, Hammerhead, Anaconda, Flathead
    Manta ray, Stingray, Fangtooth, Moray
    Goblin shark, Grass carp, Round River Bat Ray
    Noodlefish, Hagfish, Man o' War, Ladyfish
    Black eel, baby seal, Sprat, Koi, Electric eel
    Lamprey, Pejerey, Yellow-edged Moray
    Salmon shark, Sleeper shark, Leatherback, and Eagle ray!
  • The Happy Tree Friends universe includes a marmot (Cro-Marmot). Note that the ice encased Cro-Marmot isn't shown engaging in any marmot-esque activity. Or any activity, period.
  • The Tyrannosaur Chronicles includes a handful of dinosaur species that are rarely used in media like the Einiosaurus or the Stegoceras.
  • Cracked loves this trope.

    Western Animation 
  • Bonkers D. Bobcat.
  • Woody Woodpecker.
  • Rufus the naked mole rat from Kim Possible.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants (the sea sponge) and Plankton (the copepod).
    • The series also featured flounder, groupers, whelks, nematodes, rays, hagfish, gulper eels, and anglers.
  • The Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes. One animator joked that it was the only animal left that Bugs Bunny hadn't faced, so director Robert McKimson decided to rectify that.
  • Little Beeper, Concord Condor, Bookworm, and Dizzy Devil from Tiny Toon Adventures. Shirley McLoon would also count (not many loons in fiction), but she looks like a duck as opposed to the actual loon species.
  • Taz-Mania has Mr. Thickley the wallaby, Wendell T. Wolf (a thylacine), Willie Wombat, and of course Taz and his family.
  • Tiko from Jana of the Jungle is a yapok, a little-known aquatic species of opossum. The show mislabels him a coatimundi, which is a completely different animal.
  • Go, Diego, Go! features a lot of Seldom Seen Species, including spectacled bears, kinkajous, okapis, and pygmy marmosets.
  • It's a Big Big World features a tamandua (a species of anteater) named Bob, a pair of marmosets named Smooch and Winslow, and a quetzal bird named Birdette.
  • The classic Goofy animated short My African Diary featured hartebeest, which resemble medium-sized antelope whose horns are shaped like hearts, hence their name.
  • Minerva Mink and Baynarts "Charlton" Woodchuck from Animaniacs.
    • Calhoon Q. Capybara and Who Who the ring tailed lemur (who looks vaguely like a red panda) from "Back In Style" count too.
  • Rocko the wallaby in Rocko's Modern Life.
  • The Land Before Time series shows not only the Stock Dinosaurs, but also features several more obscure dinosaurs as well.
  • Dinosaur Train primarily features many obscure dinosaur genera.
  • Almost Naked Animals has a narwhal, a dugong, a beluga, and a manatee.
  • Brandy & Mr. Whiskers has all sorts of obscure South American fauna including a giant otter, tapirs, capybaras, kinkajous, coatis, basilisk lizards, marmosets, and even a walking stick insect.
  • Fish Hooks has Albert Glass the glass catfish.
  • VeggieTales features a song dedicated to "Barbara Manatee." They also had another song called "Song of the Cebu".
  • Adventures from the Book of Virtues has Aurora the red-tailed hawk, Socrates the bobcat, and Aristotle the prairie dog.
  • The Pelican and the Snipe starred a pelican and a snipe, probably being the only cartoon you can see the latter species.
  • Regular Show has Mordecai the blue jay.
    • It also has Margaret's cousin John, who may be based on an oriole, a rather obscure bird, which clearly shows the creators did their research.
    • The episode "Replaced" has Chad the Australian possum and Jeremy the ostrich, the former of which is rarely represented in fiction.
    • Rigby himself closely resembles the crab-eating raccoon of South America more than the common North American raccoon. It's never been confirmed which one he is supposed to be.
    • The commercial seen in "Every Meat Burrito" makes a list of several obscure animals (aside from bacon and long pig).
    Gila monster, pigeon, marmot, dik-dik, baboon, bushpig, long pig, aardwolf, manatee, bat-eared fox, red bat, spotted bat, dog-faced bat, opossum, emu, hairy long-nosed armadillo, big hairy armadillo, screaming hairy armadillo, colocolo, spectacled bear, lowland tapir, red deer, shy albatross, komondor dog, hagfish, Sonoran sidewinder, snorkel viper, oak-leaf rattler, bacon, narwhal, kookaburra, aha ha, blobfish, bulldog stargazer, tufted titmouse, screaming cowbird, green jay, lady Amherst pheasant, Polish chicken, quetzal, Surinam toad, tomato frog, turtle frog, Christmas tree worm, vampire squid, coelacanth, mugger crocodile, aye-aye, dumbo octopus, platypus... and more!
  • The Secret Saturdays has a Komodo dragon and an Ornithocheirus as two of the main animal characters. Similarly, it has a wide variety of obscure cryptids like the Hibagon and the Owlman.
  • The Miscellaneous Disney Short, "Pigs is Pigs," features two guinea pigs the Westcote railroad station who reproduce countless offspring. Guinea pigs may not be that seldom seen these days, but they were seldom seen back in 1954, when this cartoon was released.
  • One late 1950s/early '60s Hanna-Barbera cartoon had a hyena (a carnivore not much seen outside of media related to The Lion King, as noted above) named Hardy Har Har. He was a spotted, "laughing" hyena (have you ever seen a striped hyena on TV?note ), and was drawn to resemble a dog (even though hyenas are more closely related to mongooses and meerkats).
  • Peep And The Big Wide World has blue jays.
  • Muddy Mudskipper from The Ren & Stimpy Show.
  • The 2007 version of George of the Jungle tend to feature lesser-known animals such as a tapir and a meerkat.
  • The giant anteater in Top Cat, a show that aired in the early 1960s, when anteaters at all were a rare occurrence in fiction.
  • Kiki the capybara and the manatee dummy in one episode of Bob's Burgers
  • Tennessee Tuxedo And His Tales has Jerboa Jump the kangaroo rat.
  • Mike, Lu & Og has a wombat who is a Friendly Enemy with Alfred.
  • The Raccoons had Cyril Sneer, an aardvark. In 1985.
  • Noah's Island had aardvark, proboscis monkey, mandrill, desman, bandicoot, aye-aye, golden mole, baboon, hyena, wombat, hyrax, Komodo dragon, wallaby, pangolin, mongoose, sloth, and Spix's macawnote .
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012) has Sunil Nevla the mongoose.
    • And as far as dog breeds go, there have so far been Zoe, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel; Sam U.L., a Griffon Bruxellois; and Philippe, a French Terrier. All three breeds are actually rather common in real life but are rarely represented in fiction, probably because they're difficult to recognize.
    • Overall, this series is not shy about picking from anywhere in the animal kingdom, such as with Steve, a water cobra; Bearded Lady, a bearded lizard; Desi, a myna bird; and Sweetcheeks, a sugar glider. Julie McNally Cahill and Tim Cahill have previously shown their expertise at animal identification with My Gym Partner's a Monkey (see below).
  • The Farm League shorts on DC Nation featuring a Funny Animal Justice League of America include Supermanatee, Batmongoose, Wonder Wombat, Aquamandrill and Green Lamprey (who, despite his name, is a warthog). Their villains include Lex Liger. Yes, the lion/tiger crossbreed species.
  • Adventure Time had a Surinam toad in the episode "Five More Short Graybles".
    • In the episode "A Glitch is a Glitch", Jake mentions dreaming as a coelacanth.
    • "Apple Wedding" introduces Wyatt, an elephant seal.
    • The first issue of the comic showed fossils of Torosaurus, Lambeosaurus, and a glyptodont.
  • Cow and Chicken featured striped hyenas, a jackal, and spotted owls.
  • My Dad The Rock Star has Mosh the Komodo dragon.
  • Futurama often uses this trope.
  • My Gym Partner's a Monkey has several of these, particularly Jake Spidermonkey. Any character in the series, in fact, can be identified down to the species.
  • Babu the ocelot from Archer. Lampshaded by the titular character with his overjoyed exclamation of "I've never seen an ocelot before!"
  • George and Martha has Bud and Valerie the hyenas, and some of the minor characters include a Komodo dragon, ring-tailed lemurs, and a manatee.
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers had a Tasmanian devil in the episode "Wolf in Cheap Clothing".
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Part of Heinz Doofenshmirtz's Hilariously Abusive Childhood involved getting adopted by ocelots.
    • In "Tour De Ferb", Doofenshmirtz's part-time job involved posing for an advertisement with a wombat.
    • In "Interview With a Platypus", among the animals chasing Candace are a roadrunner and a spotted hyena.
    • "Hawaiian Vacation" had a manta ray. Also in the same episode, Perry and Doofenshmirtz briefly get transformed into an Ichthyornis and a mudskipper respectively.
    • The yellow-billed oxpecker from "What'd I Miss?"
    • "Where's Perry" featured blesbok, bongo, zebu, waterbuck, and ring-tailed lemurs.
    • The blind cave salamander from "Save Summer".
    • "Der Kinderlumper" had chinchillas.
    • Perry himself, a duck-billed platypus, counts as one.
    • Some of the OWCA agents include a mongoose, a great grey heron, a meerkat, and an aardvark.
  • From The Emperor's New School: Red-eyed Tree Frog Man.
  • Camp Lazlo has Slinkman the banana slug, Chip and Skip the dung beetles, Patsy the mongoose, and Dave and Ping-Pong the loons.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Some of Fluttershy's birds include jays, loons, and bitterns.
    • "The Best Night Ever" has wallaroos, meadowlarks, and spider monkeys.
    • The peregrine falcon from "May the Best Pet Win".
    • One of Ahuizotl's cat minions is a lynx.
      • Speaking of which, Ahuizotl himself is a mythological example of this trope.
  • Season 3 of The Amazing World of Gumball had the Wattersons adopt an aggressive soft-shelled turtle as a pet.
  • Dino Riders had Torosaurus, Monoclonius, Edmontonia, Kentrosaurus, Saurolophus, Placerias, Pachyrinosaurus, Chasmosaurus, Desmatosuchus, Megatherium, Doedicurus, and Entelodon alongside the usual Stock Dinosaurs.
  • The Wild Thornberrys, being a show about animals, has boatloads of these. From dugongs to colugos.
  • The Penguin in Batman: The Animated Series used exotic birds like the Andean vulture and the cassowary in some of his crimes.

    Other 
  • Walking with Dinosaurs and its continuations have several hundred tons of these.
    • The original WWD featured Coelophysis, Postosuchus, Placerias, Thrinaxodon, Peteinosaurus, Ornitholestes, Anurognathus, Dryosaurus, Ophthalmosaurus, Liopleurodon, Eustreptospondylus, Cryptoclidus, Hybodus, Perisphinctes, Ornithocheirus, Utahraptor, Tupandactylus, Polacanthus, Iberomesornis, Leallynasaura, Muttaburasaurus, Koolasuchus, coatimundis, Torosaurus, Dromeosaurus, Didelphodon, Deinosuchus, and Dinilysia.
    • The Ballad of Big Al had Dryosaurus, Ornitholestes, Onurognathus, and Othnielia.
    • Walking with Beasts has Leptictidium, Gastornis, Ambulocetus, Propalaeotherium, Godinotia, Titanomyrmia, Basilosaurus, Andrewsarchus, Embolotherium, Dorudon, Moeritherium, Apidium, Physogaleus, Paraceratherium, Hyaenodon, Chalicotherium, Cynodictis, Australopithecus, Dinofelis, Ancylotherium, Deinotherium, Macrauchenia, Megatherium, Phorusrhacos, Doedicurus, Megaloceras, Wooly rhinos, and European lions.
    • The Lost World has Epanterias, Hypsilophodon, entelodonts, and Java man.
    • Chased by Dinosaurs has Argentinosaurus, Sarcosuchus, Giganotosaurus, Ornithocheirus, Macrogryphosaurus, Saurolophus, Mononykus, Tarbosaurus, Therizinosaurus, and Azdarcho.
    • Sea Monsters has Cameroceras, Megalograspis, Astraspis, Isotelus, Peteinosaurus, Nothosaurus, Tanystropheus, Cymbospondylus, Liliensternus, Bothriolepis, Stethacanthus, Dunkleosteus, Arsinoitherium, Dorudon, Basilosaurus, Odobenocetops, Cetotherium, Leedsichthys, Metriorhynchus, Hybodus, Liopleurodon, Hesperornis, Squalicorax, Xiphactinus, Halisaurus, Archelon, and Tylosaurus.
    • Walking with Cavemen has Australopithecus, Ancylotherium, Deinotherium, Paranthropus, Homo habilis, Dinofelis, Deinotherium, Ancylotherium, Homo rudolfensis, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Gigantopithecus, Homo heidelbergensis, and Megaloceras.
    • Walking with Monsters has trilobites, Anomalocaris, Haikouichthys, Cephalaspis, Brontoscorpio, Pterygotus, Cameroceras, sponges, sea urchins, Hynerpeton, Hyneria, Stethacanthus, Mesothelae, Petrolacosaurus, Meganeura, Arthropleura, Proterogyrinus, Edaphosaurus, Seymouria, Gorgonops, Diictodon, Rhinesuchus, Scutosaurus, Lystrosaurus, Euparkeria, Proterosuchus, and Euchambersia.
    • The Arena Spectacular has Liliensternus, Ornithocheirus, Plateosaurus, Torosaurus, and Utahraptor.
    • Prehistoric Park has Nyctosaurus, cave bears, Elasmotherium, cave hyenas, Borealosaurus, Eosipterus, Incisivosaurus, Mei Long, Phorusrhacos, Toxodon, Arthropleura, Crassigyrinus, Meganeura, Pulmonoscorpius, Albertosaurus, Deinosuchus, and Nyctosaurus.
    • The 3D film has Pachyrhinosaurus, Alexornis, Gorgosaurus, Edmontonia, Chirostenotes, Parksosaurus, Hesperonychus, and Alphadon.
  • Weird n' Wild Creatures, a series of children's fact & trading cards that originally ran from 2003-2006, loved this trope. Eustreptospondylus, Dapedium, Budgett's frogs, genets, hooded pitohuis, hellbenders, predatory tunicates, stoplight loosejaws, toe-biters, red-backed shrikes, pichiciegos, Javan wart snakes… and that's not even scratching the surface.
  • A common way to get yourself noticed in the Furry Fandom is to have a fursona of an unusual species like a thylacine to counteract the countless animal stereotypes in the fandom.
  • The mascots for the Sydney 2000 Olympics were a kookaburra, echidna and platypus - chosen in part to provide a Land, Sea, Sky combination and in part because Australian organisers thought kangaroos and koalas were overused.


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alternative title(s): Lesser Seen Species
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