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Animal Disguise

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By the way, that's the skin of an actual monkey.
A person needs a disguise for whatever reason, and decides that the best option is an animal suit. Common reasons include: the person wanting to hide among a group of animals, or the person wanting to scare someone (as a prank or as a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax). The animal suit is sometimes an elaborate costume, but more often it is the skin of an actual dead animal. Though it is often a Paper-Thin Disguise, but nevertheless it generally successfully fools someone. Apes and bears are common choices, due to their generally human-like body shape, but any animal works. Larger, quadrupedal animal disguises can be worn by two people, in which case the examples overlap with in-universe examples of Pantomime Animal. Donning such a disguise may lead to Attractive Bent Species if a real animal with amorous intentions is fooled by it.

Needless to say, a person putting on an animal skin and pretending to be a real animal would look generally very unconvincing in Real Life - not only would it be difficult to seamlessly put on the skin, but also humans have very different skeleton and musculature from any other animal.

Often worn by a Master of Disguise. Compare Ass in a Lion Skin, which is an animal disguising itself as another species of animalnote , and Embarrassing Animal Suit, when it's obviously a person wearing the animal suit and finds it rather humiliating. Also compare Animorphism, when the character actually turns into an animal instead of simply donning an animal suit. Human Disguise is this trope inverted. Not to be confused with People in Rubber Suits, where animals are played by actors in animal suits, but in the context of the movie they are actual animals. Also not to be confused with fursuits, which are animal costumes worn by the Furry Fandom not as a disguise, but as a hobby.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Sands of Destruction: Kyrie is wearing a humanoid cat disguise when Morte finds him waiting tables at a restaurant. This is for practical purposes as humans are second class citizens compared to beastmen and the disguise allows Kyrie to get employment at a better establishment. It also keeps the more feral predatory beastmen from trying to eat him.
  • In Pokémon: Sun & Moon, Ash dresses up as a Passimian, a lemur/monkey Pokemon, to get closer to them in the wild. The episode is known for being banned in America due to fears of racial stereotype implications.
    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman Number One has Diana (along with a conscripted Etta Candy) disguising herself as a baby elephant to investigate a rash of elephant murders at a local circus. "Disguise" here meaning "took all the sawdust out of an actual taxidermied baby elephant and shoved herself inside".
  • Tintin in the Congo, in one of its less bizarre and offensive moments, has the main character killing and skinning a monkey so he can use his skin as a disguise to rescue Snowy from another monkey. Seriously.
    Eastern European Animation 
  • In an episode of Mézga család, the Mezgas disguise themselves as seals and penguins to hide in a menagerie captured by a group of poachers on Antarctica.
    Film - Animated 
  • The Boss Baby: The Boss Baby at one point disguises himself as a puppy to infiltrate Puppy Co.
  • In El Arca, the two human antagonists disguise themselves as a pair of animals named "Grasswhoppers" to sneak onto Noah's Ark.
  • In Treasure of Swamp Castle, when Jonas gets thrown in the Governor's bear pit, he learns that what seems to be the bear is actually a gypsy wearing a bear skin. The gypsy, who is an old friend of Jonas, was hired to guard the pit, but didn't get any salary, so he ate the bear and started wearing its skin. He then helps Jonas escape the pit by dressing him up as the bear and pretending to take him for a walk.
  • In Long Live Servatius, Servatius disguises himself as a seal to bait a Wily Walrus, then as a tiger to intimidate a real tiger.
  • Inside Out has Joy and Sadness, two humanoid characters, disguise as a dog to excite Riley awake. It fails when the costume rips apart, depicted on the dream monitor as showing the "meat" inside of the dog.
    Film - Live-Action 
  • Mom and Dad Save the World: The resistance movement on the planet Spengo (whose Human Alien inhabitants are all idiots) wear masks whenever they travel to disguise themselves as birds. However, since there aren't any birds that big on their planet (and they still just look like people in bird masks anyway), it's a pretty useless disguise.
  • The two rebels disguise themselves as a cow in Top Secret!. One insists on playing the rear end, causing his compatriot to gripe, "Fine, be an asshole!" Leads to Attractive Bent Species when a horny bull mistakes them for a real cow.
  • Trading Places: Done involuntarily to Agent Beeks after the heroes knock him out and take his place as part of their revenge scheme. He's put inside a (apparently sealed) gorilla suit and left in a cage with an actual gorilla that's being shipped back to Africa. Worse yet, the disguise is so effective, and Beeks has been gagged under the mask to boot, that the gorilla handlers think Beeks is a real gorilla, opting to leave him with the amorous real one. This does not end well for the antagonistic agent.
  • A man is looking for a job in a zoo. The director tells him that their ape just died and they had no time to replace it, but they can hire him to replace the ape by wearing its skin. The man, desperate for work, accepts the offer. He gets into the role quickly, jumping around in the ape enclosure and swinging on the ropes. The audience loves him. But he once takes a too large swing and ends up in the tiger enclosure. Seeing the tiger approaching, he tries to scream for help, but the tiger shushes him: "Be quiet, or we both lose our jobs".
  • Two border guards are chasing a foreign spy. They suddenly see that human footprints end abruptly and are replaced by marks of cow hooves, so they realize the spy put on hoof-shaped boots. As they follow the trail, they come to a cow herd watched over by an old man. They ask him if any of the cows seem suspicious to him, and he points: "Oh, that one. It came here and asked me about the way to the railway station. I smelled a rat at once: all of our cows know the way to the station!"
  • In Help! Tigers! by Mikhail Korshunov, the main character disguises himself as the eponymous tiger to get back at the school bullies and prove he can be an actor. His disguise is so flawless it fools everyone, adults and children alike, and nobody suspects anything until he roars in class.
    Live-Action Television 
  • Robbie Rotten from LazyTown disguised himself as a gorilla twice, first in "Play Day" to scare the kids to make them stop playing and then in "Pixel TV" to climb on Pixel's roof in order to disable the satellite dish. He also disguises himself as a dinosaur in "Cry Dinosaur" because he was convinced Sportacus is afraid of them.
  • An episode of Nash Bridges focused on a group of animal traffickers. At one point, they capture a bear that was being trafficked and keep it in a cage. The traffickers go after the bear to recapture it. When they get in the cage, the "bear" takes off his "head" to reveal he's actually Officer Ronnie and the traffickers are now under arrest.
  • Gorilla suits are often used for Candid Camera Pranks in various comedy shows, typically tricking people into believing they're trapped in a cage with a real gorilla. In this example by Hamish And Andy, they dress up as gorillas in a zoo, then surprise visitors by showing gradually more and more un-gorilla-like behaviour.
    Video Games 
  • Shay from Broken Age is recruited to rescue captured creatures by a man in a wolf suit named Marek. He never gives a reason for wearing the wolf suit. When Vella gets trapped on the ship and finds Shay's mother, he calls over the viewscreen, takes off the mask, and reveals himself to be a genetically engineered humanoid named Marekai who manipulated Shay into capturing young women in the "Maiden's Feasts".
    Western Animation 
    Real Life 
  • Animal conservationists who raise the endangered whooping crane in captivity wear crane costumes when interacting with crane nestlings. The purpose of this is to avoid the crane nestlings imprint on humans, so that when they are released in the wild, they will interact with their own conspecifics instead of people. While the costumes are rather goofy-looking from a human's point of view, they do the trick because they have the key species features (head coloration, sounds played from an mp3 player attached to the costume).


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