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Denial of Animality

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Best not to ponder on it for too long.

Ever hear a Funny Animal say, "I'm only human"?

Sometimes, an animal, whether they're a Funny Animal or otherwise, will deny that they're an animal, possibly by saying they're human. Sometimes they're simply unaware they're an animal, but that's not the only reason they might say that.

Sometimes, of course, this simply happens because Most Writers Are Human. Can be combined with Furry Reminder for comedic effect. Related to Furry Confusion and Anthropomorphic Shift. If a non-human is knowingly and ironically referring to himself as human, it's In the Original Klingon. Usually subverted if the character is a Beast Man; they'll insist that they are not a weasel since they, well, aren't a weasel. Can be justified if the character is a victim of Forced Transformation who Was Once a Man — referring to themselves as "human" and doing other human activities may be just force of habit or even in darker situations a deliberate, determined attempt to fend off the Loss of Identity stemming from the change.

Contrast Furry Reminder. Compare and Contrast Furry Lens, when the character actually is human but just looks like an animal to the audience.


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    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: In the Carl Barks comic "The Trail of the Unicorn," Scrooge McDuck sends for Donald to help capture the one animal he is missing from his zoo, but the nephews take this the wrong way and interrupt his exposition with the following protest:
    Huey: You can't lock Unca' Donald in your old zoo!
    Dewey and Louie: And, besides, he isn't an animal!
  • Volume II of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen had this demonstrated by H-9, a hybrid creation of Dr. Moreau who happens to be a more ferocious version of the title character of Rupert Bear. He scolds H-14 (Tiger Tim) for crawling on all fours and lapping up water and angrily insists that he and the other hybrids are "not beasts" when Mina insists on referring to them as such.
  • In the Secret Squirrel backup series within Scooby Apocalypse, upon learning that the mastermind behind I.S.S. is a Talking Animal codenamed Agent O, Secret Squirrel is shocked that such a thing is even possible, spending the rest of the issue screaming that "she's an opossum!" At one point, she points out that he's a squirrel and his lifelong sidekick is a mole, which legitimately baffles both Secret and Morocco. Justified, as it is revealed two issues later that all three are the last remnants of a secret project to grant animals human-level intelligence and turn them into expendable spies, and the only way to prevent these new agents from having mental breakdowns over their nature was to suppress their awareness that they're animals (with Agent O eventually being able to break through this mental block with her sanity intact). Naturally, Secret and Morocco don't believe this story whatsoever.

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield once forgot he was a cat and shaved off his facial hair. Plus he is quoted in another comic strip as saying "I'm only human," while walking into the sunset...
  • Peanuts: In an earlier story, Sally is doing a report on animals. Snoopy is initially reluctant to help her because he claims that "I don't know any animals" (this evidently means that he doesn't consider birds to be animals, either).

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • In Mickey's Christmas Carol, Scrooge McDuck, who's playing Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol is referred to as an "Englishman", despite being a duck, not to mention a Scottish one.
    Willie the Giant: [as The Ghost of Christmas Present] Fe! Fi! Fo! Fum!
    I smell. I mean, I smell.
    A stingy little Englishman!
    I think I do.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Jeanette breaks up the fight the others are having over a mango, crying that they've become animals in only a day on the island... she may have somewhat of a point, but it doesn't make it any less weird as all six are talking chipmunks.
  • Played for Drama and deconstructed in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and its sequels. Rocket Raccoon is an uplifted raccoon, but hates being reminded of that fact and reacts with extreme fury when people press the topic. This is because he believes that everyone sees him as just a dumb animal pumped full of mutagens and cybernetics, rather than as a real person. Not to mention his uplifting was a horrific and traumatic experience that he'd really prefer not to be reminded of.
  • Stuart Little: Lampshaded in the second film, in a conversation between Stuart (a mouse living in a human family) and the family cat:
    Stuart: I mean, what am I, a man or a... mouse...
    Snowbell: Is that a trick question?
  • Amusing example from A New Hope, due to the footage being edited back in after decades of Continuity Drift:
    Han Solo: Jabba, you're a wonderful human being.

  • In the Discworld series, the other wizards, and most of Ankh-Morpork, have gotten so used to the Librarian's form (he was turned into an Orangutan early in the series), that it's mentioned if an outsider had told the Wizards they saw an orangutan in the library, they'd probably go and ask the Librarian if he'd seen it.
  • In-universe example in the X-Wing Series. Apparently "We're only human" is a phrase there, too, and a non human character pointedly states that while the speaker is human, he is not.
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau: Moreau's creations have a list of animal-like behaviours they should not commit. The Sayers of the Law punctuate the list with the refrain "Are we not men?"

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of Barney & Friends, BJ (one of the dinosaur characters) refers to himself as a "human cannonball".
  • In the "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" period of Walt Disney Presents, Ludwig von Drake introduces "The Spectrum Song" by talking about how many different shades of color the human brain can see, while indicating his own head.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In one Pigs in Space sketch on The Muppet Show, Link is unsure about letting Piggy perform a manuveure (that she's been specifically trained for) because she's "a woman".
    Piggy: Yes, captain, just as you are a man.
    Dr Strangepork: Technically, you're both pigs, but we know what you're taking about.

    Video Games 
  • Zig-zagged in Brok The Investigator. Most of the time the anthro animals in the story refer to themselves as "humans", but they also call themselves their respective species at the same time (such as Ott, who is a warthog/otter hybrid). The game does states that the animals have replaced humans in the distant, apocalyptic future, so it's likely a remain from the old days.
  • In Dust: An Elysian Tail at the end of the "Out To Dry" quest, Fidget states she would like to "maul [Gianni's] face off" to which Dust replies "Manners Fidget, it's what separates us from the animals." This is perhaps intended to be doubly funny as Dust and Fidget occupy different positions in the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism.
  • Most of the cast in Legend of Mana is non-human, instead consisting of Funny Animals, Petting-Zoo People, Little Bit Beastly folk, mythical creatures like centaurs and sirens, anthropomorphic plants, and even a talking teapot. Despite this, sometimes these characters are still referred to as human:
    • In the event "The Ghost of Nemesis", an NPC tells the main character and their companion Larc (the only two people they are addressing, unless the player brought along a pet or golem, neither of which are human either) "Away with you, humans! This is no place for you!" — the main character is human all right, but Larc is clearly a Wolf Man who doesn't look human at all.
    • In the event "Can't Look Back", it's revealed that Mephianse's brother Nakratos is "no longer human" due to having turned into a yeti-like monster. We never see what he originally looked like, but Mephianse is already a demon-like humanoid with horns and red skin, so unless the two were adoptive brothers it may have been a stretch to say that Nakratos was "human" in the first place.
    • Perhaps the funniest example comes from the event "The Gorgon Eye", in which a group of penguin pirates go to a lake to look for treasure and come into conflict with the faeries who live there. After it's established that the faeries hate humans, one of them comments, "Penguins are a type of human, aren't they?"
  • In the "Black Velvetopia" level of Psychonauts, one of the artist dogs mentioned that he's forced to hide in the alley "Like a lowdown dog". One of the lines you have the option of replying with is "Okay, promise you won't take this the wrong way, but you ARE a dog".
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: The comics give us this intentional example:
    Sam: Who knows what effect it had on civilisation?
    Max: Maybe it's a planet of talking animals ambling about on their hind legs like humans!
    Sam: Oh, that's just silly.

  • Very prevalent in Nature of Nature's Art, as seen above. In fact, it's explicitly stated that animals took the name "man" for themselves.
  • Pointedly averted in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, "Why a Gorilla?", when the young (to-be-)Doctor is visiting a city of civilised gorillas as a Vampire Hunter and interviewing one of the gorillas about how his wife was turned into a vampire. His gorilla interpreter points out to McNinja that it was highly inappropriate for him to say that she may still have had some of her "humanity" left.
  • Discussed in Freefall. Doctor Bowman programmed his artificial intelligences (and Uplifted Animals) to defer to humans, but when he programmed the definition of "human" into them, he didn't restrict it to "one narrow subset of primate DNA". Instead, there's a list of qualifying traits, and the definition of "human" is meeting a certain number of them. Bowman himself is a chimpanzee, but Florence agrees that he's human without hesitation.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • "The Mustache" features Miss Simian talking about the human body...even though none of her students are human.
    • In "The Loophole", Bobert concludes that humanity is the biggest threat to life on earth based on what he examines other people doing, even though none of his references are human.
  • The cast of Arthur (and the book series it's based on) are basically a bunch of average kids, their families and teachers....who just happen to be different anthropomorphic critters. This is rarely mentioned, and they've referred to themselves as "people" at least once.
  • Bluey: In "Asparagus", Bandit explains that everyone should have table manners because "[they're] not animals", despite everyone being anthropomorphic dogs.
  • Count Duckula has the Count run afoul of a couple of Egyptian cultists, who believe that as soon as the god Ra has had his fill of Human Sacrifice, he will raise their pharaoh from the dead. Duckula lives in a world of anthropomorphic birds.
    Count Duckula: Ah, human sacrifice.
    Yubi: Well, more or less human, give or take a feather.
  • Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds zigzags this trope. The characters are often described (both in dialogue and in the linking narration) as though they were human, but there are also references to them being anthropomorphic animals, mostly dogs, though a few are members of other species. In particular, children and teenagers are referred to as "pups" and "puppies", while the words "cur" and "mongrel" are used as slurs.
  • In the Donald Duck short "Early to Bed", he quips "Maybe I'm just a duck, but I'm human. A man can stand just so much."
  • The Cartoon Network series I Am Weasel uses this trope frequently. A rather hilarious example may be when Weasel said something along the lines of, "They may only be baboons, but they're still human beings!"
  • Goof Troop: In one episode, a bystander said that PJ "can't be human". They also make frequent references to things being "humanly possible". Everyone in-universe seems to be some sort of cat (Pete and P.J.) or dog (every other "anthro" character) except for occasional cameos (which aren't human either).
  • Looney Tunes:
    • One of Elmer Fudd's few solo cartoons had him watching his boss's dog, Rover, for a few days. His boss informed him that Rover believed himself to be human and expected Elmer to treat him that way. Throughout the cartoon, Elmer would slip up (feeding Rover dog food, or have him watch a Lassie expy, etc), causing Rover to be offended.
    • In the 1941 cartoon, "The Cat's Tale", a mouse gets chased by a cat, and tired of it, tries to give himself the courage stand up to him. He looks at himself in the mirror and says, "What am I? A man or a mouse? I'm a man!" and proceeds to go out and talk to the cat. By the end of the cartoon, after all of his plans backfired and the cat is chasing him again. He gives himself another peptalk to try and go back out there, once again asking himself "What am I? A man or a mouse." He then shrugs and says, "I'm a mouse," and leaves it at that.
    • In "Daffy - The Commando," Daffy Duck wears a shirt labeled "Human Cannon Ball" when he flies into Berlin, Germany. Though knowing Daffy it isn't too off to think he'd wear one even if he is a duck.
    • In "Often an Orphan", Porky Pig is a farmer and he is harassed by Charlie Dog, who wants Porky to adopt him. At one point, he shows up at Porky's door with a pig under one arm and a chicken under the other, and says, "Hey! Whatdya say we have some ham and eggs?" Fridge Horror: Hey wait a minute! Porky Pig raises pigs on his farm?? Does that make him a cannibal?
  • The Looney Tunes Show: The episode "That's My Baby" Tina Russo's sister's baby, Zachary, is never referred to as a duckling even though he is one. He is instead always referred to as a baby as if he were a human baby. Also, he's drinking milk, which human and other mammal babies drink, not ducklings, or any other baby bird for that matter.
  • Mutant League: When primary hero Bones Justice (a living skeleton-like mutant) suffers a loss of confidence in his abilities and becomes a dick about it, his scaly friend Razor Kid works to bring him out of it. After recovering by the episode's end, a now confident Bones quotes Razor's own words back at him. "Hey, I'm only human. Sort of."
  • In South Park, Cartman's attempt to prank Butters by disgusing himself as a robot goes out of hand, and he ends up captured by government officials who believe he's a robot with memories and consciousness and has this trope in effect, a belief which lasts up until his Unrobotic Reveal.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Brainiac attributes (the Kryptonian) Jor-El's doomsday predictions to "human error".
  • Top Cat:
    • In one episode, TC leaves one of his gang as collateral for a loan. The lender is perplexed: "A human collateral?" Then again, the only time in the entire series when the gang actually behave like cats is when they spend the winter at Dibble's, and they all jump into the only bed, crowding Dibble out and pushing him onto the floor: anyone with a cat knows what THAT's like.
    • The episode "The Million Dollar Derby" has this line.
      Benny: I like animals. Some of my best friends are animals.
  • One episode of Thunder Cats 2011 has Lion-O speak of someone losing their humanity, even though there are no humans ever featured in the series.

Alternative Title(s): Furry Denial