When the Beauty Equals Goodness, What Measure Is a Non-Cute? and Evil Twin tropes are applied to animals that are similar but not quite the same. For example, mice are stereotyped as mischievous critters who are capable of being cute and lovable. Rats, due to being bigger and significantly less cuddly, are rarely given as much leeway. Calling someone "mousey" lacks a harsh cannotation, it just means they're quiet and easily startled; calling someone "ratty" or a "rat" implies they're dirty and disgusting. If the hero is a mouse, one of the villains or anti-heros will be a rat. One way to insult a mouse is to "mistake" him for a rat.
Some examples of "good" animal vs. "bad" animal:
- Alligators vs Crocodiles
- Ants vs Termites
- Apes vs Monkeys (though depending on the story, either can be the good or bad one)
- Bees vs Wasps
- Butterflies vs Moths
- Chimps vs Gorillas
- Coyotes vs Jackals (though coyotes live in North America and jackals live in Africa and Western Asia)
- Crickets vs Grasshoppers
- Crickets vs Locusts
- Dogs vs Wolves (though depending on the story, either can be the good or bad one)
- Dolphins vs Sharks
- Eagles vs Vultures
- Ferrets vs Weasels
- Foxes vs Coyotes
- Foxes vs Tanuki (though depending on the story, either can be the good or bad one)
- Frogs vs Toads
- Grasshoppers vs Locusts
- Horses vs Donkeys and Mules
- Lions vs Hyenas
- Mice vs Rats
- Mongooses vs Weasels
- Monkeys vs Baboons note
- Octopi vs Squid
- Otters vs Weasels
- Pigs vs Boars
- Pigs vs Warthogs
- Rabbits vs Hares
- Ravens vs Crows (though depending on the story, either can be the good or bad one)
- Rhino Beetles vs Stag Beetles (though depending on the story, either can be the good or bad one)
- Sheep vs Goats
- Snails vs Slugs
- Squirrels vs Rats
- Swans vs Geese
- Whales vs Sharks
- Wolves vs Coyotes
- Wolves vs Foxes (though depending on the story, either can be the good or bad one)
- Certain breeds of dogs vs other breeds of dogs, such as Golden Retrievers or German Shepards vs Rottweilers or Pit Bulls.
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Anime and Manga
- Purposely invoked in Pokémon. The Chick of the season, May, catches a Wurmple. The Dark Chick, Jessie, also manages to catch a Wurmple. Now Wurmples can either evolve into a sweet looking little butterfly (Bug/Flying) or an obnoxiously colorful moth (Bug/Poison). Guess which girl gets which? This is a subversion though, as both Pokemon are actually quite bad, arguably the former being the worst. Dustox make messes when they eat, leaving trees barren whenever they swarm into an area and scatter noxious dust as a defense mechanism. Beautifly are actually quite savage despite their appearance, being very aggressive when provoked or disturbed and attacking by stabling with their proboscis.
Films — Animated
- While all the good characters in The Great Mouse Detective are mice, the Big Bad, Professor Ratigan, is a rat. Just don't call him that to his face.
- Inverted in The Lion King: Pumbaa is a Warthog, and being called a 'pig' is his Berserk Button. Normally, you'd consider a warthog to be the Unpleasant Animal Counterpart to a pig.
- The Lion King also depicts lions as noble and mostly good guys and hyenas as dirty, stupid, and cowardly bad guys
- In the Shrek movies Donkey wants very much to be a horse.
- In Finding Nemo, sharks can't stand dolphins because, according to them, they're show-offs (and liked by humans).
- In Shark Tale, dolphins appear to be one of the few animals that sharks don't mess with (basically their equals). When a "vegetarian" Shark decides to live amongst fish, he disguises himself as a dolphin (even though dolphins also eat fish...).
- Averted in Ratatouille where rats get to be the heroes for once (though no mice appear), though considering the title is a play on words, it's rather necessary.
- Antz depicts ants and termites as mortal enemies.
- Played with in The Secret Of NIMH. The heroine is a mouse, and Auntie Shrew thinks rats are brutes, but the rats of NIMH turn out to be benevolent, with the exception of Big Bad Jenner.
Films — Live-Action
- In the first Stuart Little movie, a bully of George's gets punched in the face when he states "You're right, he's [Stuart] not a stupid mouse, he's a stupid RAT."
- In Inglourious Basterds, Hans Landa muses on the differences and similarities between rats and squirrels.
- In the Planet of the Apes (2001) one gorilla was very offended when Mark Wahlberg's character called him a monkey.
- In The Bible goats represent evil people, whereas sheep represent the opposite.
- In the Redwall series, mice are good whilst rats are evil, and otters and badgers are good while stoats, ferrets, weasels, martens and wolverines are evil.
- In Kim Newman's The Hound of the D'Urbervilles, Professor Moriarty breeds wasps, this apparently being the evil equivalent of Sherlock Holmes becoming a beekeeper.
- In Garry Kilworth's House Of Tribes, the protagonists are all mice, while one of the antagonists is a mean dirty old murderous rat.
- In 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, baleen whales vs cachalots (called sperm whales in modern times). Nemo is adamant against killing baleen whales for sport, but has no problem with killing cachalots — described as "cruel, mischievous creatures".
- In Discworld, calling the orangutan Librarian a "monkey" is an invitation to a painful lesson in Taxonomic Term Confusion, administered by red-furred arms strong enough to hold someone upside-down by the ankles and bounce their noggin on the floor.
- When Kermit the Frog is called a toad on The Muppet Show, he explains that "frogs are handsome, debonair and charming, while toads are ugly and give you warts."
- Done all the time in the Pokémon games: Caterpies vs Weedles, Pidgeys vs Spearows, Ledybas vs Spinaraks, and Skittys vs Glameows.