Follow TV Tropes


Animals Lack Attributes

Go To

"If this film is so 'naturalistic', how come not a single fucking animal has any GENITALS?"
Jacob Nion, YMS Highlights - Lion King Promo Cringe that I missed

Just because humans are uncomfortable with the subject of nudity, doesn't mean we're the only species to get our nudity censored in fiction — it is just as common for regular everyday animals to get this treatment as well.

This is usually a concession of realism for the sake of the artist, as most artists would prefer to avoid drawing an animal's genitals or anus themselves, taboo or no taboo. It can also be a product of stylization, to which animals are especially prone, and which tends to remove unappealing or unimportant features, oftentimes to make them cuter (for example, stylized dogs tend to lack claws and lips). Other times (by which we mean most of the time), whether or not Fido has gonads is way beside the point, so it's simpler to leave them out unless you mean to draw attention for a narrative purpose or a cheap gag. That's not a form of censorship; it's just The Law of Conservation of Detail (just like how Nobody Poops).

This is technically Truth in Television for animals such as birds, reptiles, amphibians, bony fish, and invertebrates, whose genitalia are typically visible only as a small underside "vent" between the rear limbs (and easy to miss even without feathers or scales to obscure them). It isn't the case with male cartilaginous fishes, which have claspers to facilitate copulation in reality.

On the other hand, when depicting mammals (aside from monotremes — platypodes and echidnas), there's a common assumption that an animal's natural fur will adequately preserve the creature's modesty. However, observation of most real mammals will show that their fur is actually thinner in those places (so it doesn't get soiled when nature calls, and is easier to clean if it does). Also, many species' coats of fur are just too short to adequately conceal the features of their genital or anal area in the first place. Anyone who has seen a male pig, male cattle, or male dog (both desexed and intact ones), for example, will have no doubt noticed the prominent pair of features (testicles in intact ones, penises in both) between his rear legs (and on the belly in the case of dogs and cattle). However, fur mostly concealing the animal's genitalia is actually the case in some animals. As a rule of thumb, mammals that live further north will have thicker and longer fur and are more likely to justify this as the longer fur protects their naughty bits from the cold. There are also some animals that can actually retract their genitalia when not using them, such as the aforementioned echidnas.

The sole exception to this censorship in Western media is the four teats of the female cow (and also quite often the male cow), which are always present, thanks to the iconic image of the country milkmaid. The only time cow udders were ever censored was in the early 1930s, when Moral Guardians became offended by the showing of Clarabelle Cow's bare udders in the 1930 Disney short "The Shindig." Other female mammals, even goats, are almost never shown with explicit mammaries, even in scenes where her offspring are shown nursing from her. Japanese Media also tends to avert this with male tanuki, which are often depicted as having gigantic testicles as a symbol of luck.

For the purposes of defining examples, only animals who are mostly or "completely" normal in physical appearance (e.g. not visibly anthropomorphized) and animal mannerisms should be considered. For cases where a creature is sufficiently anthropomorphized that the Uncanny Valley effect might occur (such as with Funny Animals in a few cases and especially with Beast Folk), see Non-Humans Lack Attributes instead.

Sub-Trope of Anatomy Anomaly, and related to Barbie Doll Anatomy (the human version). Compare Funny Animal Anatomy. See also Appropriate Animal Attire for a broader discussion of modesty and clothing as it applies to animals. Contrast Non-Mammal Mammaries, when animals have breasts and/or nipples when they shouldn't have. The desire to avert this trope is why Animals Fear Neutering.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the anime version of The Eccentric Family, tanuki in their animal form are distinctly lacking the attributes that define them in other depictions.
  • In a late chapter of Fire Emblem: Champion's Sword, there's a shot from under Pegasus that reveals that whatever gender this majestic winged horse is, there are no genitals to be found there.
  • Zig-Zagging Trope in Hetalia: Axis Powers. Animals are usually drawn with anuses, but male animals lack testicles.
  • Dogs in Massugu ni Ikou have anuses but not genitalia.
  • Ox Tales generally plays it straight, but when there's a cork up Cecil the Skunk's butthole, said hole's scrunchy outline is clearly there.
  • While Pokemon lacking features in Pokémon Adventures is usually played straight in the manga, there is a single instance of a Zigzagoon having a visible butthole.
  • Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon marked the anime's first subversion of this trope, with a rear shot of an Oricorio in "Lillie's Egg-xhilarating Challenge!".
  • Zig-Zagging Trope in What's Michael and Jarinko Chie: testicles (but nothing else) are shown.
  • In the 1970 animated adaptation of Takashi Yanase's children's book Yasashii Lion (The Kindly Lion) by Mushi Productions. Muku-Muku (a female dog) adopts an orphaned lion cub named Buru-Buru after the death of his parents. During his infancy, Buru-Buru is shown drinking milk from his adopted mother but isn't depicted with teats. There is even an entire song dedicated to the titular lion cub's love of drinking his mother's milk. However, the only she's drawn with teats is during scenes where she's walking when Buru-Buru was still a young lion cub. During a montage of Buru-Buru acting more like a dog, he's drawn with an anus as he's walking. In the original book, neither of these were depicted in Yanase's illustrations of both characters.

    Comic Books 
  • In the first volume of the Franco-Belgian comic Alone, the white tiger is shown to be most definitely male when his rump is shown. However, his anus isn't drawn, even though it should be visible.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animation 
  • This is pretty much the norm for the Disney Animated Canon, as animal characters like dogs, horses, and mice lack these features which would be obvious on them.
    • Played straight in Dumbo, when the circus animals have to rely entirely on Delivery Storks in order for them to have offspring.
    • Cinderella: The mice, who follow the Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females to a T, play this trope straight as well. However, this is particularly noticeable with Gus because his shirt is so teeny-tiny on him. Played straight with the other animals as well.
    • In 101 Dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita both lack genitalia despite being a mated and breeding pair. The same goes for all the other dogs (though they may be spayed or neutered), as well as Tibbs the cat and Captain the horse. None of these characters have anuses either, even though some like Pongo, Perdita, and Captain have clear gluteal clefts (a.k.a. butt cracks).
    • In The Aristocats, Duchess is a mother of three kittens and all the males shown are stray tomcats (implying that they're intact), but they all lack genitalia. Roquefort the mouse, Frou-Frou the horse, and the dogs Napoleon and Lafayette also lack genitalia. None of these characters have anuses (though Frou-Frou has a consistent butt crack), even in shots where their tails are raised high, such as when O'Malley and Scat Cat are dancing together or when Frou-Frou is about to kick Edgar into the trunk.
    • In The Lion King (1994), Pumbaa, a warthog, has a large butt, but doesn't even have an anus or butt crack. He can fart nonetheless. Played ridiculously straight in the all-CGI remake, where all the characters are rendered in very photorealistic CG...except for their naughty bits, which is especially egregious considering female hyenas are known for very large clitorises similar to penises. There is however a single aversion seemingly by mistake when Simba is climbing a dead tree over the stampede.
    • Pegasus from Hercules is meant to be a stallion, as shown by his falling for the Honey Trap made by Pain and Panic shapeshifting as a mare, but he lacks a sheath or gonads. Also, despite having a prominent butt crack, he lacks an anus, which would have been seen clearly when he was trying to force his butt through Phil's door.
    • Downplayed with Home on the Range, where the cows' udders are almost never seen. Played straight with male bovine characters, as well as horses like Buck and Patrick.
    • In Zootopia, this is played straight in the scene with the nudist animals, as the animals don't have visible anuses or genitalia — but the postures of the animals and the camera angles, not to mention Judy's reactions, are strongly suggesting what the audience is supposed to see there.
    • Played straight with all the animals in Encanto, but it's most obvious with Bruno's rats as male rats have very prominent testicles.
  • What can be said for Disney can also be said for Pixar:
    • In Toy Story 2, Buster the dog is addressed as male, but clearly has no genitalia when he rolls on his back.
    • Finding Nemo:
      • Poor Bruce was originally animated with prominent claspers, as would be appropriate for a shark his size. Obviously, they didn't make it to the final version.
      • This trope also applies to Nemo's teacher, Mr. Ray, in the various shots in which his pelvic fins are visible.
    • Extremely applicable for the rats from Ratatouille, as male rats normally have testicles as big as their snouts.
    • Coco similarly has no excuse with the normal Land of the Living Form cat form of Pepita and especially with the normal (non-alebrije) dog form of Dante due to the living characters’ (human, canine, and feline) anatomy being so convincing.
  • Examples from DreamWorks Animation:
    • Zig-Zagging Trope in Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, where the titular horse, as well as the Colonel's horse and the cowboys' mounts, sport a visible sheath in many shots. However, Spirit in particular lacks the necessary features to qualify as a stallion, despite the fact he is always referred to as one. And this isn't due to discretion shots either. Whilst the domestic male horses could realistically be geldings, Spirit doesn't have this possibility, making it particularly jarring for anyone familiar with equine anatomy. What's more, as a foal, he seems to even lack a sheath, and again, this is not due to the camera angle being discreet. Additionally, none of the horses have anuses despite having clearly drawn butt cracks.
    • Shows up in Puss in Boots and the rest of the Shrek franchise where the cats, donkeys, pigs, mice, and other animals don't have the excuse of being rendered in a cartoony style.
  • Snowy the dog in the CGI The Adventures of Tintin (2011) movie doesn't have the excuse to be rendered in a cartoony style.
  • Felidae usually plays this straight, even during the sex scene - however, some characters do have anuses.
  • In Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, there's a gag about Sid attempting to milk a musk ox, then running from it while yelling "I thought you were female". While nothing is shown, the implications are clear.
  • Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run mostly plays this straight as with Looney Tunes in general, but has an odd aversion where a single feral duck Daffy hits on has a visible anus while turning around to tell him her name.
  • Talking Dog urinates on the metallic hand of a giant gorilla in The Powerpuff Girls Movie but we see nothing on him we shouldn't.
  • Zig-Zagging Trope in Watership Down. Although the dogs are anatomically correct, the bucks are generally not drawn with anything showing no matter how close the camera comes. With dogs, on the other hand, it's quite obvious. Truth in Television, male rabbits are very hard to distinguish from female rabbits, as rabbits will violently object to having the relevant area exposed for inspection.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Distinctly averted in Beast, where several angles show a prominent scrotum on the CGI rogue lion (and, one presumes, the other male lions as well).
  • In Charlotte's Web, Templeton, a CGI male rat has no testicles. Any pet rat owner would notice.
  • In the 1933, 1938, and 1976 versions of King Kong, Kong had no nipples (nor visible genitalia, but that's Truth in Television about male gorillas, who have very small penises). Carried over in Kong: Skull Island, with Kong lacking visible genitalia, however in the prequel comic Birth of Kong, Kong's mother was shown with enlarged breasts (not of the Fanservice variety, of course!)
  • Lassie is a female dog (note the root of the name is Lass not Lad) played by males with their belly hair coiffed very carefully to cover up the naughty bits. This started with the original film Lassie Come Home and has been followed as standard practice through all sequels and reboots.
  • Harry and the Hendersons played this one straight. Harry's fur is a bit thicker in that area, but such doesn't really conceal genitalia in hominids.
  • In Cats & Dogs, Lou is played by a couple of different beagles. Any scene in which he rolls on his back (particularly if someone is scratching his belly) will be played by a female, who naturally has less in that department. Despite this, Butch's comment on his immaturity is "He's still got his you-know-whats, for cryin' out loud!"
  • Shows up in Scooby-Doo (2002), Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield, and Yogi Bear, where they don't have the excuse of being cartoon animals. A deleted scene from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back involving the Scooby Gang averts this.
  • A particularly curious example is in Son of the Mask where Otis the dog is partly played by a real dog and partly by horrifying animation. When the dog is real, it obviously has the equipment you would expect but as soon as it puts on the mask and becomes animated the downstairs department is noticeably lacking. This could have been Hand Waved as being an effect of the mask itself, had it not been for the fact that the whole premise of the movie is that a human male impregnates his wife whilst wearing the mask. Ironically, a dog in the first movie urinates on a foe while wearing the mask.
  • The 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland has the family of bloodhounds. The mother of the puppies has no discernible mammaries, and the father has nothing between his legs with which to create said puppies, even when he flops down on his side in front of the White Queen with his crotch pointed right at the camera.
  • In Rise of the Planet of the Apes none of the apes have any genitalia. Chimpanzees have gigantic testicles; it's impossible to censor their parts without it being obvious.
  • Mr. Jingles, the mouse from The Green Mile, was portrayed by about 30 different trained mice. Because it's almost impossible to film a male mouse without catching sight of his very large testicles, all of them would've better been called Miss Jingles.
  • Downplayed in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Although the male oliphaunt which Legolas clambers up to attack has a visible penis sheath, its actual penis is as withdrawn as possible ... which is not normal behavior for elephant males, which normally extend and waggle their members as an intimidation-display when they fight.
  • Sebastian, Ratcatcher II's main companion from The Suicide Squad, shows no sign of the large testicles which an unneutered male rat should sport.

  • This trope is invoked in-character in Thief of Time, when Susan takes a paper tube away from Jason and informs the boy that, no, the cardboard animal which the class is constructing is a polite horse.
    • Possibly a reference to a 19th century joke campaign to clothe animals: "A nude horse is a rude horse." was their slogan.
  • Ratman's Notebooks: Implied, as the narrator claims he can't tell male rats from females despite male rats having very obvious testicles in reality.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Helix, this is justified in-universe. Research, Inc. Arctic Biosystems has lab rats that have been genetically engineered to have no sex organs, which perplexes veterinary pathologist Doreen when she examines one and can't tell if it's male or female.

    Music Videos 
  • In the music video to Coldplay's "The Adventure Of A Lifetime" the presumably male apes neither have genitalia nor nipples.
  • Crazy Frog initially averted this, with the character having a very visible penis. However, Moral Guardians complained and his design was bowdlerised to remove it.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Japanese statues of the tanuki feature the animal with large testicles but a very small or completely lacking penis.

  • Police Force, set in a World of Funny Animals, plays this straight for the most part, as even the animals without pants have no attributes visible. Subverted with a tortoise around the bumpers, whose clenched anus can be seen beneath his shell. It's not normally visible from the player's position at the end of the table, however.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Though the card game Beasty Bar more or less plays this straight, several characters such as the Skunk are depicted with clearly visible anuses, like a real life skunk in Skunk's case.
  • Most cavalry figures sold for wargaming and tabletop games follow this trope; the designers of scale model horses used in otherwise flawless reproductions of real-world cavalry can come in exquisitely modelled detail of uniforms, tack, accoutrements, etc. on otherwise perfectly proportioned scale horses - but you'd look in vain for anything much going on under the tail, even on reproductions of great cavalry generals who, history assures us, rode whole and intact stallions.note  For modelling purposes (possibly since many figure sets are sold as "toys" for children), they are reduced to riding geldings.

  • Most toy animals, especially if they're aimed at younger children, lack gender-specific anatomy. This is particularly true of toy horses such as the I Love Ponies range. However, models/toys aimed at older children/collectors often subvert this trope. Whilst model horse brands such as Breyer, Bullyland, and Schleich played this trope fairly straight in the past, often depriving their stallion models of appropriate anatomy, most newer models, especially since the start of the 21st century, use sculpture models that are completely intact, even adding teats for the mares in the case of Schleich.
  • Dinosaur toys are also prone to it. As reptiles and avian relatives, dinosaurs would have lacked external genitalia but would have had cloaca slits like modern reptiles and birds. That makes the lack of anatomy less noticeable most of the time. Notable exceptions are PNSO models and CollectA figures. Schleich and Papo are more variable.
  • Subverted with LEGO's Majestic Tiger set, where the main build is a tiger that includes a butthole, represented by a pink flower piece.

    Video Games 
  • Zig-zagged in Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey — while most of the animals in the game don't have any visible genitalia, the hominids you play as do, and all African Water Buffalo have visible testicles.
  • None of the animals in Animal Crossing have genitals, despite most being pantless. The only exception is a purchaseable tanuki statue that has visible testicles — a big part of how the species is perceived in Japan.
  • Zig-zagged in Dog's Life. Jake has a noticeable sheath in the intro animation but in the game itself he's bare.
  • Cenozoic Survival: None of the animals have visible genitals, cloacas, anuses, nor nipples.
  • Some dog lover found the Dog's lack of attributes so annoying in Dragon Age: Origins that he made a mod that put a modest sheath between his legs... and was promptly accused of interest in bestiality by the community members. This trope is strong in people's minds.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, horses have visible anuses.
  • Zig-zagged in Final Fantasy XII. No monster has genitalia (or anything we would recognize as it), but a few do seem to have anuses — especially the wolf monsters. The wolves do have female genitalia, and interestingly enough, the giant wolves have a different texture from the regular, and they're noticeably in heat.
  • In Grand Theft Auto V: Most (but not all) animals don't show any genitalia, anuses, or other attributes.
  • Mr. Tibbs, a cat with a minor role in The Lost Crown, walks with his tail held high in a few scenes where his lack of an anus is apparent.
  • The pigs in Minecraft have nipples. Also, the cows have udders.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) subverts this with the Gigginox. A cutscene clearly shows one laying eggs out of one of its orifices. Of course, since it's a reptilian hermaphrodite, any sexual organs are not visible.
    • Played straight with the mammalian monsters such as the Rajang, Gammoth, and the Congalala. None of these creatures have visible nipples, sexual organs, or anuses. The latter is especially jarring with the Congalala, considering one of its signature attacks is via farting.
    • This is justified with the reptilian monsters in the series (Rathalos, Tigrex, Lagiacrus, etc.). Reptiles generally have their sexual organs inside them and can only be distinguished by close examination.
  • Nintendogs: Mostly played straight, even though we see the dogs pee on walks. Subverted with their rear ends, however, as they have buttholes.
  • Amaterasu, the main character of Ōkami, has a spot under her tail that appears to be an anus, However, it gets zigzagged, as she doesn't have any sort of indicator of gender (no vagina or nipples), which is extra weird since one attack is to urinate on enemies like a male dog.
  • The fact that Pokémon lack visible attributes (with exception for Miltank's cow udders, of course) is likely a culmination of its simple visual art style and kid-friendly target audience (and G-Rated Sex). The actual Mons can probably be assumed to still possess their attributes... after all, that Berry fertilizer (made in part from their "well, you know…") has to come from somewhere...
  • Portal Runner: Justified in the sense that Leo is a toy lion figurine in a toy world, and not many toy companies include "those" details when manufacturing animal figures.
  • Mostly played straight: The other animals in the realistically rendered video game, Red Dead Redemption, don't have any genitals or other "attributes," but the cattle, sheep, and horses do (if you look very closely in the sheeps' and horses' case). In fact, there is a cutscene where Irish cups and feels a horse's testicles to check if it's healthy. Also, the cows are shown with udders. Rufus, the Marstons' dog, is shown with an anus, but no genitalia. The lack of genitalia on dogs is especially noticeable since in-game dogs (and men) are sometimes shown peeing.
  • The Sims: In the franchise in general, similarly to how Sims have Barbie Doll Anatomy note , the pet animals seen in the pet themed expansion packs lack any visible genitals, despite they having specific sexes and being able to mate (inside pet houses or through G-Rated Sex, depending on the game) and reproduce.
  • WolfQuest is intended to be child-friendly note  so all animal models preserve modesty. The male bison models do have a tuff of fur on their stomach that is usually part of their sheaths, but the actual sheath and the rest of the genital area is otherwise not modeled.
  • Animals in Zoo Tycoon 2 poop regularly, and some even squat or lift their tails to do so. Most (except for hippos) have no sign of an orifice for them to poop with, however. In the "Extinct Animals" expansion pack, aurochs cows have visible udders, but no teats.

  • In the Mexikid comic "Love in the Time of Flies", Simon shows Pedro what a female pig looks like, but it lacks any genitals despite being shown from the rear.
  • All the animals in Housepets!. The "My Life as a Teenage Squirrel" saga leans heavily towards "they're visible in-universe, but the artist chooses not to show them", although the strip title "Then What Was All That With Grape Eleven Years Ago Huh" acknowledges that this hasn't always been the case (because early Grape had an in-universe Ambiguous Gender).
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Lampshaded when the lizardfolk Gannji complains that he shouldn't have to wear a loincloth: he has a "genital sheathe", meaning it isn't visible 99% of the time anyway.
      Gannji: I've been walking around without pants this entire time!
    • Also played with by the kobold Oracle, who invokes specifically mammalian sexual anatomy to mock Belkar posthumously.
      Welcome to the village of SUCKMYORANGEBALLSHALFLING
  • In Ozy and Millie, Ozy doesn't wear pants and apparently has nothing, except when the annual Running Gag of him losing all his fur happens, in which case he gets covered up in various ways.
    Millie: You can tell his religion by looking at him.
    Isolde: Um...
    Millie: You know, 'cause he has no hair, like a Buddha statue. Why, what did you think I meant?

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, there's a strange zig-zagging with chickens, which show an indentation and scrunching where their cloacas should be, but only while shooting eggs out and for a second after.
  • The Rex family from The Amazing World of Gumball. Everyone else mostly is of a Non-Humans Lack Attributes type.
  • Animaniacs (2020) plays this straight for reused animal styles from the original series, but puts rather large x anuses on both the "buns" and the cat in the Halloween episode.
  • In Centaurworld, Horse lacks genitalia and an anus, both of which would be clearly visible when her tail is talking. Her butt crack also disappears and reappears, sometimes within the same scene.
    • This also applies to the inhabitants of Centaurworld, even during scenes with plenty of fart jokes.
  • The cow who appears at the end of the 1953 Goofy cartoon, "For Whom the Bulls Toil" has udders. This is notable because this cartoon was made when the The Hays Code was in effect.
  • In Gloria's House, Gloria's cat has a stylized anus drawn as an 'x,' but despite being a male cat, is never drawn with balls or a sheath.
  • None of the pets from HouseBroken have visible genitals or anuses, which is played painfully straight in one episode where Diablo shakes his rear end with nothing on display. Averted in one episode where Diablo takes a new anti-anxiety medication...and his (pixelated) boner is shown.
  • Rufus the naked mole rat from Kim Possible. Note that he's a NAKED mole rat.
  • Looney Tunes: In Bully for Bugs, the bull is notably lacking testicles, despite how prominent they'd realistically be. Chuck Jones stated he wanted to make the bull anatomically correct, not to be dirty or as an attempt at realism, but because they would only add to the feeling of bulk of the massive animal.
  • The Oblongs: Zig-Zagging Trope with the miniature horses in one episode; the horses lack genitals, but they have anuses that look like the letter "x".
  • The cow in the Private Snafu cartoon, "Chow Hound", has udders. This cartoon was made during The '40s, when The Hays Code was in effect. However, since Snafu cartoons are US military training cartoons, The Hays Code didn't have an effect on them.
  • Played straight with Massimo from Producing Parker (most noticable when he's on his hind legs) especially noticable since the human characters are regularly shown topless with everything on display.
  • While generally played straight in Samurai Jack, one scene in the final episode required Jack to find milk for a lost baby boy, leading to a few depictions of female animals with visible udders, although his attempts to milk the wild animals were not entirely successful.
  • Annie/Biquette the goat, a recurring character in The Smurfs (1981), has udders.
  • Splash and Bubbles: The two titular fish characters are occasionally seen from below and one song even shows a close-up of their anal fins, yet they don't have any sort of anus. Justified, since it's a kids show.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: The laser puppies Star summons in "Star Comes to Earth", have heart symbols under their tails where their butt-holes would go.
  • In Tangled: The Series, Maximus and Fidella lack the features that would identify them as a stallion and mare respectively. Maximus' butt crack also disappears and reappears depending on what scene he's in, as opposed to the original film where it was present consistently.
  • Shark from 12 oz. Mouse has no visible claspers.
    • Subverted in "Meat Warrior", as a cat has a visible butthole.

Alternative Title(s): Animals Are Asexual