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Viewer Species Confusion
Similar to how Viewer Gender Confusion is the audience thinking the character is of the opposite gender (or isn't sure which gender the character is in general), Viewer Species Confusion is when the audience thinks the character is of a different species. Usually it happens when the character is oddly colored, or if the character barely resembles the species he's supposed to be.

This is an Audience Reaction. Informed Species if intentional, I Am Not Weasel if in-universe.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Io and King from Jewelpet. The first one is a particular species of rabbit characterized by having droopy ears; it's easy to think that he's a dog, especially in Twinkle, where he forms a trio with two dog Jewelpets. As for King, he is supposed to be a French bulldog, but his color scheme makes him look like some sort of creature who decided to wear a pink rabbit outfit... with a pig-like tail. Truly the stuff that Mind Screw is made of.
  • Menchi in Excel♥Saga is a dog and is constantly referred to as such, but most people would guess "cat" upon seeing her.
  • Sarah in the Sonic the Hedgehog OVA is actually a cat girl, but since the American edit removed all scenes depicting her cat ears, American viewers often mistook her for a monkey. A good majority of the fanbase thinks of her as a human, not a Cat Girl.
  • The Mokonas from Magic Knight Rayearth, XxxHolic and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle are usually thought to be a rabbits, when really they're just Mokona.
  • In You Are Umasou, there is a purple horned carnivore whom some viewers think is a Carnotaurus. It is actually supposed to be a Chilantaisaurus like in the book of the same name and this episode from the animated series (and the animal in question does have huge arms and three-fingered hands, in contrast to stubby arms and four-fingered hands like Carnotaurus).

Film
  • Cinderella 3D: Has multiple examples of this trope.
    • It's unclear whether Cinderella is a antelope, deer, conger, fox, or something else entirely.
    • Cinderella's step mother. Is she supposed to be a dog?
    • One of the characters looks like either a turkey or a vulture. If she is a vulture, this adds a another level of weirdness to a already weird film, because they ride non-anthropomorphic vultures.
  • Rudy from the third Ice Age film is supposed to be a Baryonyx. Some viewers think he is a Suchomimus or even an evolved Spinosaurus.

Live-Action TV

Newspaper Comics
  • Sheila Roo from Pluggers is, as the name suggests, a kangaroo, but since she's not drawn with kangaroo feet or a kangaroo tail, many readers assume her to be a fox, coyote or some kind of long-nosed rabbit. Interestingly, her species was more obvious back when Jeff MacNelly still drew the strip.

Video Games
  • The seagulls in Metal Gear Solid 2 have been called "pigeons" by some. No, really.
  • One character from the PaRappa the Rapper franchise is Lammy, a lamb who looks more like a deer or a calf, or a human with stubby antlers, pointy ears, and round black nose.
  • Pokémon:
    • Raikou, Suicune, and Entei are often thought of as canines or felines by the fandom, when really they're based on creatures from Chinese/Japanese folklore.
    • Growlithe and Arcanine are supposedly based on dogs, but their stripes make them look like tigers.
    • Mightyena and its pre evo are often thought of as wolves, when they are actually a mix of heynas and wolves.
  • Talon from Primal Rage is really a Deinonychus, but is often called a velociraptor.
  • Chocolat from Solatorobo looks like and is thought to be a cat, but she's really a dog.
  • Several Sonic the Hedgehog characters are often mistaken for other animals, since most of them don't really resemble the animal they're supposed to be.
  • Merasmus the Wizard from Team Fortress 2 has a monkey-like face and appearance, which will make some think he's a monkey for a second.

Webcomics
  • Penny Arcade:
    • Hardware example: Div. Newcomers who have not yet read the older strips usually think he is a DVD player, when really he is a DIVX player.
    • Also, the wombat symbol is mistaken for a bear by newcomers.
  • Off-White: In once scene, the wolf Hati looks like a gorilla dispute the artwork being excellent.

Western Animation
  • An extremely common example is with The Amazing World of Gumball, most people who see the characters for the first time usually assume they are anthropomorphic gumballs.
  • Animaniacs: The Warner Brothers don't have a set species, thus no one has any clue as to what they are.
  • Arthur:
    • Arthur looks like a bear or a monkey rather than an aardvark.
    • Ape and bear characters, just as Francine and the Brain, cause problems with fans.
  • Danger Mouse:
    • Colonel K is a chinchilla, but due to his mustache and how he appears in scenes where it's hard to judge his size, several people think he's a walrus.
    • Penfold doesn't look much like a hamster, either.
  • Disney:
    • Pete is actually a cat, but practically everyone has thought he was a dog. This even carried into Goof Troop.
    • Goofy himself has confused a number of people.
  • The Raccoons:
    • Cedric and Cyril Sneer are supposed to be aardvarks. They look more like... uhm... naked tapirs?
    • Quick show of hands: How many people knew those guys weren't supposed to be aliens?
  • Regular Show: Eileen is a mole and Pops is a lollipop, but most people assume that the former is a tailed human, and the latter is a big-headed human.
  • Newcomers to Ren and Stimpy sometimes think Ren the Chihuahua is a rabbit.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: According to some sources, Squidward is actually an octopus, but viewers assume he's a squid because he has six tentacles (two for arms, four for legs), and his name, Squidward.
  • Don Karnage from TaleSpin is clearly a canine, but which kind? Fan consensus is that he's either a fox or wolf.
  • Subverted in CatDog. Eddy the Squirrel looks nothing like a squirrel, but everyone (including the show's viewers) just aussumed he is.

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