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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."

You might not know it from the 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 trains? Animal Gender Bender is when all members of an animal species are shown to have a well-known attribute of that species, but in Real Life, only the male or female normally has it. So you end up with male cows, male blood-drinking mosquitoes, female lions with manes, red female cardinals, and female peacocks, as well as male goats with udders, male bees with stingers, female moose with antlers, spotless female snowy owls, male calico or tortoiseshell cats,note  female roosters, male kangaroos with pouches, female rams, colorful female betta fish with long fins,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 writers 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. Lactating Male, Peacock Girl and Egg-Laying Male are subtropes. If this is true for a Funny Animal, then some viewers may see them as being trans. Contrast Tertiary Sexual Characteristics and Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism.


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  • In a Safeway commercial, a peacock Christmas tree ornament speaks with an old lady's voice.
  • The Boddingtons' animated adverts featuring a cow with a male voice.
  • Exaggerated with Kellog's cereal milk bars. When Kellogg's introduced them, they came with a mascot, a cow with a milk launcher affixed directly to its udder. 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'.
  • The mascot of Lactaid is a female steer.
  • The late 90's Gateway computer ads featured a Holstein cow as their mascot, apparently male given that it was voiced by Maurice LaMarche.
  • 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?
  • A furry Orangina ad, like the Marshall's ad above, had the female "peacocks" with trains. Though that was not the only thing weird about that commercial.
  • An OXFAM America OXFAM Gifts commercial featured a male goat with an udder.
  • Infamously, the Tobis Film logo depicts a rooster laying an egg, which becomes the "I" in the company name.
  • "Mr. Cow, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?"
  • 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?
  • Duncan the Dunkin' Daredevil, the mascot of Dunkaroos, is a male kangaroo who used to be depicted with a pouch. For reference, only female kangaroos have those in real life.
  • A UK television ad for Nesquik milkshake mix (known in the US as Nestlé's Quik) showed an animated Noah and his son counting the animals as they boarded the Ark, including "Two cows!" When they realised the amount of milk they would need, Noah declared, "Better make it four cows!" No mention of a bull.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Averted in Case Closed where the rarity of a male calico cat becomes a major plot point.
  • 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.
  • Shiawase Tori-mingu: Discussed whenever the girls go birdwatching for species with strong dimorphism. When Suzu finds out male ducks lose their bright colors and become as drab as females after mating season, she calls it "a scam" akin to somebody getting married and them immediately letting themselves go.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • In Grimm Fairy Tales #54 (as pictured above), Sela saves a pair of mallard ducks 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. Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact.

    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 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Princess (Laburnum Steelfang): The fic discusses and justifies Joey (a kangaroo) and Julien (a lemur) having characteristics associated with females of their species by both being transgender men.

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Barnyard is probably one of the most notorious examples, as it features male cattle with udders. Director Steve Oedekerk admits the reason he put udders on the steers is 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. Muddying things even further is there's a scene with a bull — no, not a male cow, an actual bull — riding a mechanical man. Perhaps bulls and cows are separate species in this universe.
  • 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.
  • 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 ark in Pomp and Circumstance.
  • Pig from DreamWorks's Home (2015) is a male calico cat, which is as rare in real life as the corkscrew tail that he is named for.
  • 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 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Subverted in Mary and Max. Mary has a pet rooster named Ethel, but Mary is probably just mistaken about its gender, since she also wonders why Ethel has never laid an egg.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mr. Mittens in Soul is yet another male calico cat.
  • 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.
  • Mr. Twitches from Tinker Bell and The Great Fairy Rescue is a male calico cat.
  • In Zootopia, Gazelle has long horns that are more typical of a male gazelle; in most gazelle species, females have shorter horns.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Hedwig, Harry Potter's pet snowy owl, is supposed to be female, but for some reason she is depicted as all white, a trait exclusive to male snowy owls, and is played by a male too. Real female snowy owls have more dark spots. There are also numerous scenes in the films of Hedwig being talkative, a trait more common to males. (Male owls are also significantly smaller than females and therefore easier to handle in real life.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Given some brief shots of their undercarriage, a few of the magic 'Fire Mares' in Krull are actually geldings.
  • 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.

  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lomax, the Hound of Music: Clark is taller than Louise. Wait, if female fleas are bigger than the males in real life, then shouldn't Louise be the taller one instead?
  • 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. This also could possibly be excused by them being magic reindeer.

    Pro Wrestling 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Transformers: Kiss Players, Angela transforms into a lion. With a mane.
  • Waspinator the wasp and Inferno the fire ant from Beast Wars are both male, but have stingers, which real male wasps and ants don't have.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Yeenoghu, the demon lord of hyenas in Dungeons & Dragons, is male, despite hyenas being very matriarchal in real life. Likewise, his followers, the gnolls, are depicted as patriarchal, despite being humanoid hyenas. Justified in Yeenoghu's case, since he's definitely not a hyena.


    Video Games 
  • It initially seemed that AFK Arena played this straight with Rowan and his pet duck, colored like a male, who lays golden eggs. When he was given a Hero Union story later, though, it turned out that they're playing their customers -- and, by extension, us -- for suckers.
    "This little duckie has been my erstwhile companion this whole time, and his gold eggs have made a pretty penny! Yes, yes, I know the duck's a boy, I sell painted eggs but I don't see that as cheating anyone."
  • Mostly averted by the villagers in Animal Crossing, but there are a few who are questionable:
    • 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 (male calico cats do exist in real life, but they are extremely rare).
    • The female sheep villagers are depicted with horns. While female sheep of some breeds can have horns, it's more common for them to not have them.
  • Arknights: Some female operators are very obviously based on male specimens of their Animal Motifs.
    • Conviction is very obviously based on a peacock, complete with colorful trains and blue feathers. Female peafowl, or peahens, are much less colorful and don't have tail trains. Coupled with Conviction's Ambiguous Gender in the provided bio, fans have theorized that the operator is a Dude Looks Like a Lady.
    • Siege's impressively poofy hair takes cues from the mane of a male lion. It's worth noting that while lionesses usually don't have manes, there have been instances of a few that do, however these are very rare, and their manes are much smaller and less prominent than a male's natural one.
    • Basically the case for all female Forte operators (e.g. Sideroca, Vulcan, etc...), who have big and prominent horns characteristic of bulls. Female bovids, or cows, have much smaller and shorter horns.
  • 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.
  • Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout: One of the quests has you doing things for a goat, who Ryza consistently refers to as male and as "Mr. Goat", even though 'he' has a very, very obvious udder on account of all goats sharing the same model.
  • 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.
  • Black & White 2: One of the options for your Bond Creature is a cow that has a distinct udder but is referred to as male.
  • In Bomb Chicken, the titular character has the prominent coxcomb and wattle you'd expect to see on a rooster...but can lay bombs like eggs.
  • 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 Deadly Creatures, Word of God refers to both of the protagonists as male, but the tarantula is more the size of a female.
  • In Deltarune, both Noelle and her dad Rudy have antlers. While both male and female deer alike grow antlers, they shed and grow them at opposite ends of the year.
  • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest: Glimmer the Anglerfish is male, when only female anglerfish are known to have that size and shape.
  • All of Fallout: New Vegas's Bighorners have ram's horns, even the calves. Of course, they are mutants...
  • 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.
  • Meowscles and Kit from Fortnite are male (VERY male in the former's case) calico cats.
  • 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 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Mister Mosquito is a game where you play a mosquito whose goal is to suck people's blood.
  • Subverted in Nintendogs + Cats. Just like in real life, male calicos exist but they are extremely rare.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Averted and played straight in Pokémon, depending on the species:
    • The kangaroo-like Kangaskhan all have pouches, but are also an all-female species, averting this. However, every Kangaskhan is also inexplicably born with a joey in her pouch.
    • Averted with Miltank, a cow Pokemon, which is always female, and Tauros, a bull Pokemon, which is always male. Breeding them can result in either when most Pokémon take the species of their mother.
    • Played straight with Sawsbuck and Stantler, deer Pokémon where males and females both have antlers year-round.
    • Downplayed with Pyroar, a fire lion: 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 electric lion: 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 many instances of sexual dimorphism in Pokémon species were added via retcon in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, older anime episodes retroactively gained in-universe examples of this, containing things such as female Pikachu without notches at the ends of their tails, and female Butterfree without black spots on their lower wings.
    • Another in-universe example was Serena's Eevee who had the male Eevee tail pattern, but is presented as female. This is before the sexual dimorphism of Eevees were added in the Let's Go games.
  • In Roly Polys No Nanakorobi Yaoki, Las Vegas Akiko is a female peacock. Her profile justifies this by mentioning that the feathers are just a costume she wears.
  • 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.
    • Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town has an event in which a character is briefly looking for a male calico cat, only to be informed of just how rare they are compared to female ones.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The ducks in Stardew Valley have the coloration of males, but are exclusively female and lay eggs.
  • 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.
  • 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.).
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • Cows with Guns: Male cow, who seems to be able to urinate through his udder. 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.
  • 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..."


    Web Original 

    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.
  • 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...)
  • George Lundgren in Arthur isn't an example, but his mother is, being a female moose with antlers. Maybe she's actually a reindeer?
  • Back at the Barnyard - see the Barnyard entry above. Exaggerated in the spin-off TV series where the male cattle not only have udders, but can produce milk as well!
  • 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.
  • Cow and Chicken: Chicken is a male but lacks the tailfeathers and cape a male chicken typically has. Justified, since he's in elementary school and not fully grown.
  • Creature Comforts:
  • 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.
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • Violet Sabrewing the violet sabrewing is almost entirely purple. Female violet sabrewings in real life are mostly green.
    • Roxanne Featherly is a female duck with green feathers. Only male ducks can have green feathers.
  • Elinor Wonders Why: Hazel is a young lioness who has a hair/mane. In real life, lionesses and especially lion cubs do not have manes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Elephants being led by a bull is used in a Disney short called Goliath II.
  • 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 have colorful tails, in order to attract mates. In addition, Sheep Castle's leader has horns but is presented as female. (Depending on the breed, this is possible, but highly unusual.)
  • Melissa the Magnificent Moose in the Higglytown Heroes episode "Overnight Moose" has antlers, which only bull moose have.
  • I.R. Baboon from I Am Weasel has a bulbous red butt, a trait only present in sexually mature female baboons.
  • In the pilot of Kaeloo, Bad Kaeloo was animated with a vocal sac. This has been fixed in later episodes.
  • In Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, Jade Tusk and her followers are all female water deer who, as her name suggests, have prominent tusks. While both sexes of water deer do have tusks, they only reach this size on the males, with the does being closer to Cute Little Fangs.
  • 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.
  • Legend of the Three Caballeros has Eugenia, a female peacock.
  • 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.
    • "Golden Yeggs" had the mobster Rocky 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.
    • In "Ant Pasted," the ants are led by a male, as opposed to a queen ant.
  • Liz from The Magic School Bus sports three horns on her head, which only male Jackson's chameleons have. In real life, females typically have no horns or traces of the rostral (nose) horn.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Bloom and Gloom", Apple Bloom startles a rooster, who lays an egg. Although this turns out to be All Just a Dream.
  • 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.
  • 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. In addition, the series also reveals that before Julien, his uncle was the king.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • 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.
    • In one episode, Doofenshmirtz turns into a werecow.
  • 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''.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "The Great Outdoors" 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.
  • Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has Leo as a red-eared slider, and his brightly-colored Facial Markings fit his flashy and flamboyant personality. The issue? Male sliders tend to have their markings dull and fade when they're five years old (twelve in human years); only females stay brightly colored their whole lives.
  • Rocko's Modern Life:
    • The characters 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.
    • Played straight in "The Fatlands," where Bloaty and Squirmy run afoul of a gang of three male mosquitoes called the Blood Brothers.
  • The Simpsons: Discussed in "Bart vs Lisa vs The Third Grade". The teacher asks the students the old riddle/trick question "If a rooster lays an egg on a church roof, will it roll left or right?" and Lisa falls for it and tries to find the answer. Since Lisa is quite intelligent, it is more likely that she wasn't aware that roosters and chickens are the same species (a common mistake for young children), rather than being unaware that males don't lay eggs.
  • South Park: In "Fun with Veal", the veal calves have udders. Veal calves are typically male.
  • 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.
  • Teen Titans Go!:
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Daffy's spiritual successor, Plucky Duck is also a drake with an orange bill.
  • T.O.T.S.:
    • A season 2 episode, "Junior Junior Fliers", features Matilda, who is a female baby moose with antlers. In real life, only the male moose have antlers.
    • Averted with Didi the female baby deer from "Hiccup Hazard" who does not have antlers unlike Matilda.
    • However, this trope was also played straight at the end of "The Magical Baby" where both of Nathan's parents, including his mom, have tusks. However, as stated on the Futurama entry above, female narwhals can have tusks, albeit rarely.
  • 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.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


It's a Beautiful Little Boy

Daisy gives birth to a calf. Like its father, Otis, it is a male cow.

How well does it match the trope?

4.57 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / AnimalGenderBender

Media sources: