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Animal Gender-Bender

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"Our research team wasn't what it was quacked up to be."

"Normally only female roos are s'posed to have pouches."
Joey, Princess

You might not know it from they way they're portrayed in fiction, but farm cows and bulls are the same species, just different sexes? How about only female mosquitoes drinking blood? Or that female lions lack manes? Or only male cardinals are red? Or that it's male peafowl, not females, which are vividly colored and have trainsnote ? Animal Gender Bender is when all members of an animal species are shown to have well-known attribute of that species, but in Real Life, only the male or female normally has it. So you end up with the previous examples, as well as male calico or tortoiseshell cats,note  male kangaroos with pouches, female betta fish being colorful,note  and so on. Prehistoric and extinct animals aren't immune either; many times you'll see a "female" Pteranodon with a long crest. Barring the theory that perhaps these characters are meant to be transgender, intersex, or otherwise an anomaly of some sort, it's best to assume that this is pure artistic license.


Lions are usually safe from this trope as very few viewers are ignorant to the well-known fact that lions, with their usually maned males and maneless females, are practically Inversions Of Furry Female Mane: The Species.

See Insect Gender-Bender for the insect (especially eusocial insect) subtrope. Peacock Girl is a subtrope. Contrast Tertiary Sexual Characteristics and Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism.


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  • A Furry Orangina ad had the female "peacocks" with trains. Though that was not the only thing weird about that commercial.
  • Something similar showed up in a Marshall's ad with a fashion designer with a bunch of female models with fake peacock trains. Then again if they didn't, how could you tell they were peafowl?
  • In a Safeway commercial, a peacock Christmas tree ornament speaks with an old lady's voice.
  • "Mr. Cow, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?"
  • The Boddingtons' animated adverts featuring an obviously male cow with udders.
  • An OXFAM America OXFAM Gifts commercial featured a male goat with udders.
  • The mascot of Lactaid is a female cow with horns and no udders.
  • When Kellogg's introduced their cereal milk bars, they came with a mascot, a cow with a milk launcher affixed directly to its udders. The problem is that this cow was named Uder, leading to Viewer Gender Confusion until a later advert had Uder referred to specifically as a 'he'.
  • In Canada, a milk ad showed a family of anthropomorphic cattle dining at the kitchen table. The "mother" and "daughter" cows were white dairy Holsteins with udders, but no horns. The "father" was a black beef Angus with horns, but no udder. Strangely, the "son" was a white dairy Holstein with both an udder and horns. When Dad asks "Where are we going to get some milk?", his family plans to milk him. Dad says he shouldn't have to produce milk, because he's the breadwinner who "just brings home the bacon." Dad then pulls a live pig out of his pocket, and the commercial ends. Why were there three genders (female cows, male bulls and female bulls), and why would female cows milk the only male without an udder?


    Anime & Manga 
  • The 2009 remake of Shima Shima Tora no Shimajirō, a Japanese educational show about a little tiger boy, averts this. In the toilet training episode, a kangaroo superhero shows up to help teach Shimajirō learn to use the toilet, and brings his son along with him; because he's specifically a male kangaroo, he has to wear a separate pouch so he can carry the joey while leaving his hands free.
  • Averted in Detective Conan where the rarity of a male calico cat becomes a major plot point.
  • Averted in Haruhi Suzumiya with the cat Shamisen: he's a male calico because of his XXY chromosomes, and the rarity of such a cat is commented on by the characters when they find him.
  • In Kemono Friends, every Friend (animals turned into Little Bit Beastly humans) is female, but some clearly exhibit traits unique to males of the species they're based on, such as the lion Friend having a hairstyle that resembles a male lion's mane. This is Handwaved in the lore with the explanation that Sandstar turns any living thing it touches into humanoid girls, including males.

    Comic Books 
  • In Grimm Fairy Tales #54, Sela saves a pair of ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) from The Horde, one of which is badly injured. Her companion explains that "they mate for life" and that the male would never leave the female. Unfortunately, both ducks are male, as their green heads show. In mallards, the females are brown with some colorful strips, but only male ducks have the iconic green head. Plus, even if they got that right, mallards don't mate for life... and are actually infamous for another thing.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side:
    • A comic depicts a male mosquito (obvious from his clothing) coming home from work and talking about how much blood he had to suck that day. Gary Larson knew this was inaccurate, but did it anyway just because. Larson apparently got a lot of mail about this particular comic. He was surprised that so many people were concerned about the male mosquito drinking blood, as opposed to the mosquitoes' wearing clothing.
    • Another comic also has male kangaroos with pouches, apparently also for the sake of the joke.

    Fan Works 
  • The trope quote comes from Princess, a The Penguins of Madagascar fic. In its case it's justified. Joey and Julien (a lemur) are both transgender, explaining why they have characteristics associated with females on their species.
  • Berlioz and Toulouse's father in All My Kittens is a calico tom named Bob. It's very, very rare for a male calico cat to be fertile.
  • The rarity of tortoiseshell toms is noted in Little Fires. The protagonist, Emberpaw, is heavily implied to be an intersex tortoiseshell. She's also female identified. Emberpaw is a scrawny, sickly cat because of the fact she's a tortoiseshell.
  • In The Lion King: Kiara's Reign, Kiara's daughter Leah looks like a female version of Simba as a cub. This includes having black ear tips, which are almost always only used for males in the series.
  • In Bitter Repercussions, Sandstorm gives birth to four kits. One of them, Redkit, is a tortoiseshell male. It's implied he inherited his looks from his grandfather Redtail. This is an extra error, in that on the rare instances when male tortoiseshell cats do exist, they're hardly ever fertile.

    Films — Animation 
  • Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Ga Hoole has a female snowy owl with scarce spotting, something more typical of a male snowy owl. Also, all the female owls are smaller than the males of their species. With real owls, females are the larger sex like most birds of prey. Perhaps they thought making the sizes accurate would confuse the audience?
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and every other adaptation of the familiar Christmas myth popularized by 'Twas the Night Before Christmas:
    • Reindeer are the only deer species in which both sexes normally grow antlers, in fact the males shed theirs around the time the story takes place, so that means every deer pulling Santa's sleigh had to be either a doe or a male with sticks glued to his head. Though granted, the deer are usually portrayed looking like some sort of white-tailed deer lookalike species instead of real reindeer, so maybe Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit" is in effect. Also note that the male reindeer might have been neutered, meaning they'd shed their antlers around the same time as the females (that is, after Christmas).
    • The original special inverts it for the does by portraying them without antlers like other species of deer.
  • The Princess and the Frog has Naveen and Tiana turned into frogs. Naveen is larger and rather dull in colour whereas Tiana is smaller, cuter and more brightly coloured. Unless they're supposed to be bullfrogs or something of the like, Tiana should have been the big one.
  • Fantasia:
    • In Fantasia, the ballerina ostriches have black feathers, while in real life female ostriches have brown feathers.
    • Likewise, in Fantasia 2000 we see two male ostriches being led into Noah's arc in Pomp and Circumstance.
  • The Lion King:
    • Averted in The Lion King (1994). Early in development, when the plot and characters were far different, the hyenas were led by a prince named Banagi. Hyenas are extremely matriarchal, where even the highest male is below the lowest female. In the final film the 'leader' of the trio of hyenas is Shenzi, a female. The hyenas in "Be Prepared" all sound male and look masculine, though hyenas are matriarchal and males are incredibly low in the hierarchy. It's possible they simply seem male due to how androgynous hyena females are.note 
    • Averted in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, which showed a female brown ostrich alongside a male black one.
  • The Jungle Book (1967):
    • The elephant herd is led by a male (bull). In real life, bulls are solitary, and only enter a herd to mate, then leave once they've done their business. Averted in the book, in which there isn't a herd in the first place (although Hathi's sons hang around occasionally). This was also lampshaded toward the end, when Colonel Hathi is deciding whether or not he will help Baloo and Bagheera rescue Mowgli from Shere Khan. When Hathi refuses, his wife Winifred threatens him that if he does not help find Mowgli, then she will kick him out and take over the herd. Hathi's response:
      Hathi: "What? A female leading my herd? That's utterly preposterous!"
    • King Louie is drawn without flanges or floppy cheekpads making him look more like a female orangutan.
  • The only animated Disney film to avert this trope and portray elephants as being led by females (just like in real life) was Dumbo.
  • Averted in Kung Fu Panda 2, where Po and the Furious Five square off against Lord Shen, a sickly, albino male peacock who wants to destroy Kung Fu forever. When Shen's mother is shown (in shadow puppet form), she clearly doesn't have a train.
  • In Madagascar the lemurs are led by King Julien. Lemurs in real life are matriarchal. This hasn't stopped fans from reading something deeper into Julian's effeminate behavior, though.
  • The Land Before Time:
    • Averted with Petrie's mother, who is a female Pteranodon with a short crest and his uncle is a male Pteranodon with a large crest. This is a case of Shown Their Work, as real life Pteranodons are believed to have had this exact form of sexual dimorphism. For bonus points, Mama Flyer is actually smaller than her brother overall, again an accurate portrayal of Pteranodon dimorphism.
    • The fourteenth movie, however, plays this straight with Etta, a female Pteranodon who is both tall and long-crested like a male.
  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron has a example regarding behavior rather than something physically wrong. Spirit is shown running in front of the herd multiple times, something mares do. In real life, the highest ranked mare leads the herd, and the highest ranked (or sometimes only) stallion keeps the herd together by staying in the back driving stragglers forward.
  • In Zootopia, Gazelle has long horns that are more typical of a male gazelle; in most gazelle species, females have shorter horns.
  • Mr. Twitches from Tinker Bell and The Great Fairy Rescue is a male calico cat.
  • Pig from DreamWorks's Home is a male calico cat, which is as rare in real life as the corkscrew tail that he is named for.
  • Mochi from Big Hero 6 is a male calico cat who is said to be a Japanese Bobtail, but appears cobby and fat for one and has a longer tail than what you would expect for one.
  • Gonzalo from Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos is a male calico. A bonus point for having a sister, Perla, who has a cream tabby pattern as orange, cream, and (the rare anyway) apricot colors are, although neither rare, let alone improbable on female cats, more common on male cats.
  • Mr. Mittens in Soul is yet another male calico cat.
  • An American Tail: In the Irish mouse's verse on "There Are No Cats In America", he sings about a calico eating her girlfriend. He sings "he caught us by surprise", but without seeing the attack itself, we can't tell whether it was a male calico or he couldn't tell which gender it was and assumed it was male.
  • Barnyard features male cattle with udders. Director Steve Oedekerk admits he put udders on the bulls because he thought "It'd be funny to give them the incorrect anatomy" and he had figured that city folk thought that all cows would look like this. Not only this, but they can also make milk without nursing.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: Barb is a female orangutan with large cheek pads and a throat sac, which only male orangutans have in real life.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The elephant herd in The Jungle Book (2016) shows all the adults brandishing tusks of varying lengths. In elephant society, females form herds and take care of the calves, while adult bulls live alone or in bachelor groups, and play no part in raising the calves. But in the Asian elephant, only the males have tusks, while females are usually tuskless; sometimes small tusks (called tushes) may grow, but these are very small and usually only visible when the mouth is open. Which means that the elephants in the movie are all bulls, accompanied by a calf that is probably still too young to be weaned - a very odd combination. Alternatively, the elephants are a mixed-sex herd, with the short-tusked ones being females. Upon closer inspection, the elephants appear to be modeled off of African Elephants, which do have females with tusks, but this also raises the question of why an African species is present in a Western Asian setting—especially since every other animal in the movie is from India.
  • The 1998 film Dr. Dolittle, where a female voice is coming out of a male pigeon. Female pigeons are not as colorful as their male counterparts.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time the guy arranging the ostrich races repeatedly refers to them and the only ostrich left later in the movie as "she"; however, all the shown ostriches are male.
  • In Garfield: A Tail Of Two Kitties a female voice comes from a male mallard duck. Only males have green heads and brown and white bodies, females are brown and speckled.
  • Jurassic Park III features a group of Pteranodons, all of which have the long crest characteristic of males, though some of which must be female, given that they had bred (though that's small potatoes compared to the fact that they have teeth). This is potentially justified by the fact that they aren't actually natural animals, being genetically engineered frankensteins like everything else in the park. Jurassic World averts this with the Pteranodons, which have stubby crests appropriate for females.
  • Given some brief shots of their undercarriage, a few of the magic 'Fire Mares' in Krull are actually geldings.
  • Captain Marvel (2019)'s Goose the cat is a female orange tabby. Orange tabbies are usually male (~80% chance) in Real Lifenote  and so, unsurprisingly, the main cat used for filming was actually male. Then again, Goose isn't actually a cat.

  • Hedwig, Harry Potter's pet snowy owl, is supposed to be female, but for some reason she usually depicted as all white, a trait exclusive to male snowy owls. Real female snowy owls have more dark spots. Although it never states in the book that Hedwig is pure white, just that she was a beautiful snowy owl. There are also numerous scenes in the films of Hedwig being talkative, a trait more common to males that isn't helped by her being played by a male owl.
  • In The Magic School Bus, Liz the Lizard appears to be a Jackson's chameleon. Only problem is, it's male Jackson's chameleons that have those big horns on their heads; on females they're either tiny or not there at all.
  • Lucky and a few others hunt a deer buck in the second Survivors book. By the next paragraph, the "buck" is suddenly referred to as a female.
  • There are multiple tortoiseshell tomcats in the Warriors series, including at least one (Redtail) that fathered a kit. Only about one in three thousand tortoiseshells are male, and they're nearly always sterile if they are Klinefelter ones.
  • In Quest for Fire, the chief of mammoths is apparently male. Real mammoths likely lived in matriarchal societies like modern elephants do.
  • Richard Scarry's character Huckle is a male calico cat, albeit a rather orange dominant with black ears one. His sister is also an orange dominant with black ears calico, but as a female one, she is far more genetically probable and common.
  • Tailchaser's Song contains several male tortoiseshell including Bristlejaw, Thinbone, and likely Tangaloor Firefoot (whose black-with-orange-feet design isn't possible without being a tortie).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sesame Street, which is supposed to be TEACHING kids things, has occasional egregious lapses, such as a sequence of a kangaroo (with a joey in a pouch) singing a song of complaint about the burden of having "someone else's apartment. . . a part of you." The singer's voice is male.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Greek myth had the Chimera, a fire-breathing three-headed monster with the heads of a lion, a goat, and a serpent. Oddly enough, though the legend describes her as female, the Chimera has a mane on her lion head. Then again, it is mythology, and the mythmakers probably thought it looked better that way. And keep in mind that lionesses sometimes sport manes when they have high testosterone levels (akin to human Girls with Moustaches)... Make of that what you will.
  • Santa Claus' reindeer are often portrayed as male. However, when reindeer lose their antlers depends highly on age and sex — only female reindeer would naturally have their antlers on Christmas. Then again, male reindeer could also have antlers on Christmas if they were neutered.

    Pro Wrestling 

  • In Transformers: Kiss Players, Angela transforms into a lion. With a mane.
    • Similarly, Waspinator from Beast Wars, despite being male, actually transforms into a female wasp.
    • Likewise, Inferno is a male, but has the alt-mode of a female worker ant. Then again, given his habit of referring to Megatron as "my queen" despite Megatron obviously being male, gender confusion seems to be a pretty inherent part of Inferno's personality.
  • The original My Little Pony series has Kingsley. Kingsley is a lion complete with mane and and a very masculine name, so you'd expect a boy. However, the story on the back of the toy's packaging refers to Kingsley as "she" and "her". It's odd since the same series was typically rather accurate back then. Lionesses with hirsutism have manes; however, it's unlikely Hasbro was going for that.
  • Enchantimals has Danessa, a deer girl with antlers, and Patter, a Peacock Girl. As a reference to this, they're the only two girls with animals who are confirmed to be male.
  • Monster High has Fawntine Fallowheart, a centaur-esque deer girl with antlers. However, this is justified since she became part deer by fusing with a deer which was presumably male.


    Video Games 
  • Mostly averted in Animal Crossing:
    • All of your lion townsfolk, who do have manes, are male. Similarly, all of the kangaroo townsfolk (with babies in their pouches, even!) are usually female. There's also Pave, a flamboyant dressing and brightly colored peacock.
    • New Leaf introduces two male kangaroos: Rooney and Walt. Being male, they appropriately have neither a pouch nor a joey.
    • Carrie has the colorings of a typical male red kangaroo, not a female. Female red kangaroos can be red but it's more common for them to be blueish-grey.
    • Julia is an ostrich villager with plumage resembling a peacock, but is female. Likewise Punchy is a male cat with calico markings.
  • Lord Woo Fak Fak in Banjo-Tooie is an enormous, male anglerfish. However, the creature we envision when we think of an "anglerfish" is in fact female — male anglerfish are extremely tiny, parasitic, and don't have the "lure". Or much of anything in the way of distinguishing features.
  • Similarly, Edie the Anglerfish in the original Feeding Frenzy was referred to as a he. Edie's gender was swapped for the sequel after this mistake was discovered.
  • Kirby's Epic Yarn has a particularly egregious example of this one - one of the stages in Water Land is blocked off by a gigantic, apparently male anglerfish on the map; you get him to move by summoning a much, much smaller female anglerfish to lure him away. note 
  • Glimmer the Anglerfish from Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest also had the same mistake.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • PaRappa the Rapper has Instructor Mooselini, a female moose with antlers. When this was pointed out to the creator, he said that he was fine with people considering her to be transgender if they wished.
  • Story of Seasons:
    • Harvest Moon: Animal Parade has female ostriches with male black-and-white plumage.
    • Adding onto that, most of the games contain chickens who lay fertilized eggs and crow like a rooster while sitting on said eggs.
    • Averted in Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life along with Another Wonderful Life, which strives to be more realistic than other installments. All the farm animals look sex appropriate. The sounds they make are even different in the ducks cases.
  • A puzzle in Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse: The City That Dares Not Sleep involves getting a chicken to lay an egg. The chicken is male. Lampshade hung in that he points this out, but agrees to lay an egg for Sam anyway. He also lays an egg in Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space: What's New, Beelzebub?, to which Sam adds, "Don't ask me how."
    • Max Imp is supposed to 'skitter inside the sinus cavities of humans to lay his terrible eggs'.
  • Averted and played straight in Pokémon:
    • The kangaroo-like Kangaskhan is an all-female species. However, Kangaskhan for some reason, is always born with a joey in her pouch, and the joey is not a separate species!
    • Averted with Miltank, a cow Pokemon, which is always female, and Tauros, a bull Pokemon, which is always male.
    • However, Black & White play this straight and subvert it with Sawsbuck, a deer Pokémon. It's played straight in that both genders have antlers all year around, but subverted for the females, as female reindeer in real life do grow antlers during the winter.
      • Also played straight for Stantler, where both genders have antlers.
    • Downplayed with Pyroar, a fire lion Pokemon: the males have manes resembling real-life male lions, while the female does have a mane as well, though it takes the form of a long fiery wisp atop her head and her neck is appropriately bare like an actual lioness.
    • Played straight with Luxray, the female has a slightly shorter mane than the male but is otherwise fully maned.
    • As for the series' own gender differences: in the PokéPark Wii games, Garchomp is male, but uses a female Garchomp's model (no notch in the dorsal fin), which is also used in most other art and merchandise. This lends credence to the theory that male Garchomp get their fin notches from fighting/scarring, and aren't born with it.
    • As gender differences were not introduced in Generations I and II, the older anime episodes could be considered an in-universe example of this (most notably Doduo and Dodrio: originally Doduo had black necks and Dodrio beige, but later generations show male Doduo and Dodrio both with black necks while both females had brown).
    • Another in-universe example with the Pink Butterfree that Ash's Butterfree courted: while pink, it had the wing patterns of the male Butterfree.
  • In Deadly Creatures, Word of God refers to both of the protagonists as male, but the tarantula is more the size of a female.
  • Charmy, a male honey bee from Sonic the Hedgehog, has a stinger. Adding to the strangeness, he also doesn't lose it and die when he stings something.
  • All of Fallout: New Vegas's Bighorners have ram's horns, even the calves. Of course, they are mutants...
  • The Zoo Tycoon series sometimes gets things correct, and sometimes falls into this trope. In the first game, male and female ostriches look identical, and female kangaroos are incorrectly just as red as the male ones.
  • The ducks in Stardew Valley have the coloration of males, but are exclusively female and lay eggs.
  • Woolen from Bust-a-Move 2 is a Little Bit Beastly sheep girl with horns found exclusively on rams.
  • The Evil Chicken of RuneScape is typically referred to as male, but lays eggs. However, in Dominion Tower battles, the Evil Chicken is referred to as female. Even Jagex isn't sure.
  • Due to gender difference not being implemented yet, Tyto Ecology has its animals all having features exclusive to the males of their species (Asian elephants all having large tusks, moose all having antlers, etc.).
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time has the Toadstool, based on a toad. She's referred to as female, but also has an inflatable vocal sac, a trait only male toads have.
  • In Splatoon 2, the violinist of Bottom Feeders (Fin Bottom, the black and red one in the center) looks pretty female, but is supposed to based on a Betta fish — and only the males of the species look so flamboyant. Because so little beyond appearance and musical style (Celtic punk) is known about them, some parts of the fandom have rolled with it outright being Dude Looks Like a Lady. However, others have pointed out some species of betta have brightly colored females, with even more flamboyant, iridescent males.
  • A variation: In South Park: The Fractured but Whole, Clyde Donovan AKA Mosquito constantly talks about drinking blood and even has it as his primary form of attacking, even though only female mosquitoes do that. Presumably he thought sucking nectar didn't sound like a good superhero power.
  • Subverted in Nintendogs + Cats. Just like in real life, male calicos exist but they are extremely rare.
  • In Bomb Chicken, the titular character has the prominent coxcomb and wattle you'd expect to see on a rooster...but only hens can lay eggs.
  • Mister Mosquito is a game where you play a mosquito whose goal is to suck people's blood. Its very title sounds like it could have been the original name for this page.
  • Examples in ARK: Survival Evolved, possibly handwaved as most of the animals are explicitly different species from their source material and probably artificially modified:
    • Male anglerfish are identical to the females. In real life, male anglerfish are smaller, slimmer, and lack the lure (they live on scraps from the female's kills).
    • Female Pteranodon are identical to the males; current research suggests they were smaller and didn't have the head crest.
    • Male Procoptodon (kangaroos) have a pouch and can foster baby animals in it.
  • Borderlands 2: Handsome Jack claims to have a living horse made out of diamonds, who he named Butt Stallion. Despite the name, Butt Stallion is a mare, and shows up as the queen at the end of "Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep". A statue of her shows up in both Tales from the Borderlands and the Commander Lillith DLC, still referred to as female. And then it turns out that's not just a statue. Of course, Butt Stallion only being the name and, y'know, being made of diamond, most bets are off as to whether this was a mistake or not.
  • In Roly Polys No Nanakorobi Yaoki, Las Vegas Akiko is a female peacock with a male peacock's tail. Her profile justifies this by mentioning that the feathers are just a costume she wears.
  • Black & White 2: One of the options for your Bond Creature is a cow that's referred to as male despite having an udder.
  • In Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, N. Brio transforms into a presumably male pterosaur... and proceeds to lay an egg.

    Web Animation 
  • Magical Trevor, though it may be more a case with Pronoun Trouble. "the cow is back, back from his (?) magical journey... what did he (?) see..."
  • Cows with Guns: Male cow with udders, through which he seems to be able to urinate. Alternatively, the narration and the animation aren't telling the quite same story at that point. Also probable Lampshade Hanging in the lyrics, like they're acknowledging how silly it is: "(A cow well hung.)"
  • DSBT InsaniT: Subverted with Sheelah the kangaroo, she's a female with a pouch.
    Beeps: Oh, and if you couldn't tell by the pouch, its a girl kangaroo. Males don't have pouches; don't let other cartoons fool you.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Lampshaded/subverted in The Series, in which the crew is initially terrified that a Giant Mosquito created in a teleportation accident (who becomes a recurring character) will suck their blood, only for the mosquito to patiently explain it's male and just wanted to drink all the nectar from their hydroponics lab.
  • Averted in this story from Not Always Hopeless. A shopper needs an anniversary card for a same-sex couple, so the one with two brightly-colored peacocks is perfect. (Justified as the sales clerk majored in ornithology.)

    Western Animation 
  • Lana from the comics/animated show Animal Crackers was a lioness. With a mane. As mentioned elsewhere on this page, this is possible if the lioness has hirsutism, but it's about as normal as a human woman with a beard. Although Lana's mane looks less like a lion's and more like a human woman's.
  • South Park is infamous for its deceiving portrayal of cows and bulls being separate species. Never trust South Park.
  • Family Guy takes advantage of this to make just jokes about a perverted cow.
  • Back at the Barnyard - see the Barnyard entry above.
  • On the other hand, Rocko's Modern Life makes a point to correct anyone who calls Heffer a cow. He's a steer.
    • The titular character averts this. He's a male wallaby (a type of small kangaroo) and clearly lacks a pouch.
    • Averted in one episode where a mosquito feasting on Filbert the turtle's blood (which passes the disease onto Bev Bighead after she eats the sickened insect) has a bow on its head, implying that it's female.
    • However, played straight in the episode "An Elk for Heffer", which features a female elk, with antlers.
  • Futurama:
    • In Bender's Big Score, Leelu (used as an allegory for Leela) is a female narwhal with a tusk. Luckily the writers did the research and learned there are rare occasions where female narwhals do indeed have tusks and they changed an earlier line introducing her to read "a RARE toothed female narwhal"
    • Averted with Dr. Banjo, who is a male orangutan with flanges.
  • In The Wuzzles, the male Eleroo (half elephant, half kangaroo) has a pouch. So not only is he half-elephant, he's gender-confused too.
  • George Lundgren in Arthur isn't an example, but his mother is, being a female moose with antlers. Maybe she's actually a reindeer?
  • The Penguins of Madagascar:
    • The kangaroo Joey, who clearly a male kangaroo, sports a pouch that one of the title penguins actually falls into. To be perfectly clear, the pouch is for carrying the kangaroo's young, and is only found on females. One episode features a bunch of apparently male hornets with stingers.
    • There is also a technical example in both the series and the films it's based on. Julien, a male ringtailed lemur, is ruler over all lemurs. In real life, lemur society is a matriarchy (a society ruled by females). Julien is also shown to be gender-confused at times, among other things, and most of the other lemurs aren't especially bright either, so there's a good chance this is just some sort of mix-up. Male lemurs have extra claws on their wrists, which Julien appears to lack - probably just because of simplified cartoon anatomy, but... Well, as a result it's become common fanon to portray him as designated-female-at-birth transgender. note 
    • All Hail King Julien shows there was a king before Julien: his uncle. All Hail King Julien also gives us several lemur characters that are recognizably a specific species of lemur, but are the wrong gender. Most prominently is Julien's bodyguard Clover, who resembles a crowned lemur, but a male one; female crowned lemurs aren't nearly as brightly colored.
  • The Animals of Farthing Wood:
    • Kestrel had the plumage of a male kestrel (brown back, grey head) but a female voice.
    • Averted with the two Pheasants, whose sexual dimorphism is accurate to reality (males are far more colourful with longer tails), and the personalities match their looks - the male Pheasant is very loud, brash and self-centred, while the female is very quiet and meek (one might even say hen-pecked...)
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • In the episodes Moon Farm and The Magnificent Few, all the dairy cows are male.
    • Perhaps parodied in that it occasionally brings up the idea that Perry the Platypus could lay an egg. Nobody ever seems to realize that he's a male platypus. And when Perry and Candace switch bodies in "Does This Duckbill Make Me Look Fat?", Candace somehow can sweat milk, something that female platypi do. Since Perry is said to be male, either their genders somehow switched when their minds switched or the Flynn-Fletchers need to change veterinarians. However, that second theory does raise the question of why Perry would go along with the misunderstanding with his boss and his nemesis. And a later episode ("Primal Perry") mentions that Perry hasnote  venomous ankle barbs, something only males have. He shrugs when asked if this is true, seemingly confused.
  • Abused quite a bit in Hero108. For example, in Peacock Castle the team face off against a mesmerizing yet vain peacock queen. She and all her entourage are presented with the spectacular plumage of the male, but are all depicted as females; only males colorful tails, in order to attract mates. In addition, Sheep Castle's leader has horns but is presented as female.
  • Margaret from Regular Show is female, and according to Word of God, she's a robin. However, she has a male cardinal's colors. So she's got the coloration of the wrong gender of the wrong ''species.''
  • Classic Disney Shorts
    • Daisy Duck has curved tail feathers, a trait exclusive only to male ducks.
    • Donald Duck has a voice that sounds like a duck's quack, however, the classic "quack" most associated with ducks is specifically the call of the female mallard, male ducks are quieter and raspier.
  • Surprisingly averted in the 2007 TV series George of the Jungle, where the clumsy hero is taken advantage of by a pair of scheming MALE peacocks.
  • One episode of Ren & Stimpy had a swarm of mosquitoes feasting on Ren's blood on their camping trip. The point of view of the mosquitoes had them speak in male voices after feasting and declaring that they will lay eggs afterward.
  • Creature Comforts:
  • In the pilot of Kaeloo, Bad Kaeloo was animated with a vocal sac. This has been fixed in later episodes.
  • Melissa the Magnificent Moose in the Higglytown Heroes episode "Overnight Moose" has antlers, which only bull moose have.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), Buzzoff and Stratos are searching for the spidery villain, Webstor, whom they know has eaten ambrosia that gives the consumer power, although it is not know what the side effects are. Eventually, they find spider eggs and are puzzled as to how the definitely male Webstor was able to lay them and decide the thought is too repellent to ponder too much and focus on simply finding him instead.
  • In Growing Up Creepie, the main character's adoptive father is a case of this: her father is a male mosquito who has an entire episode based around the fact that he sucks blood. This is never brought up, despite the fact that this series is supposed to be educational, to the point of having each episode end with the viewer being told a fact about bugs.
  • Averted with Purple Kangaroo in Blue's Clues. He's a male kangaroo and does not have a pouch.
  • One Danger Mouse episode had DM and Penfold getting a Kangaroo Pouch Ride from a male kangaroo.
    • The 2015 reboot has Danger Moth, a female moth who loves bright lights. In real life, only male moths are attracted to bright lights.
  • The bee in the first episode of Rainbow Brite was a male. Worker bees are female.
  • The Lion Guard:
    • The show has Janja, a male hyena in a leadership position of a group. As noted elsewhere on this page, real life spotted hyenas are led by females and males have very low ranking. Somewhat justified, considering there are no female hyenas in the aforementioned group - he could have simply been made leader by default due to a lack of other options.
    • The female ostriches are black like males. Females are a dull brown in real life.
    • The female gazelles are portrayed with long horns like the males. Female gazelles in real life have short horns.
    • Zig-zagged with the local elephant herd, which is led by a female. On the other hand, that herd also includes adult males.
  • Aversion: The female ostrich in The Alvin Show is brown like real life female ostriches.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Averted with the mosquito, Anopheles Annie in the Private Snafu cartoon “It's Murder She Says.” Annie and the other blood-sucking mosquitoes are all female.
    • The male ostrich chick in the cartoon "Mother was a Rooster" is brown like real life female ostriches. Justified because, although adult male ostriches are black, male ostrich chicks are brown like adult and chick female ostriches.
    • Hippity Hopper averts this. He is a male kangaroo joey who doesn't have a pouch.
    • Daffy Duck has an orange bill, which is far more the trait of female ducks than drakes like Daffy. Drakes in real life have yellow or light yellow bills whereas real life female ducks have yellow orange or orange bills with or without dark mottling.
    • An episode of Looney Tunes, "Golden Yeggs", had the mobsters Rocky and Mugsy force Daffy Duck to lay golden eggs after hearing about his fame, despite the fact Daffy is obviously a male duck. What's even more jarring is that the goose who actually did lay the golden egg and pinned it on Daffy is a male goose, or gander, himself.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Daffy's Spiritual Successor, Plucky Duck is also a drake with an orange bill.
  • Averted in the Simpsons episode "How Munched Is That Birdie in the Window" which showed female ostriches with brown or gray feathers like in real life.
  • In Teen Titans Go!, Beast Boy turns into a cow for a talent contest. A lactating cow.
  • Legend of the Three Caballeros has Eugenia, a female peacock.
  • Elephants being led by a bull is used in a Disney short called Goliath II.
  • Defied in the the ''Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "The Duck Brothers" "It's not appropriate for duck BROTHERS to lay eggs." Although the titular characters' ability to do this regardless of gender is somewhat justifiable in that they're aliens.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Rock Bottom", the anglerfish that helps SpongeBob out has a glowing lure but a distinctively masculine voice—in real life, only the females have lures.


Video Example(s):


Candace sweats milk

While in Perry's body, Candace somehow sweats milk.

How well does it match the trope?

3.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / AnimalGenderBender

Media sources:

Main / AnimalGenderBender