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Fantastic Fauna Counterpart

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Frog Men have pets and livestock too.
Sam: Look at the mangos!
Flint: You mean flamingos!
Sam: Flamangos!
Brent: There's a bunch of shrimp!
Manny: They look like chimpanzees.
Together: Shrimpanzees!

When it comes to Worldbuilding, writers often want to populate their world with a fantastic fauna different from our own. However, at the same time they want this fauna to be somewhat believable and/or familiar to the viewers. One way to achieve this is to make some of the fantasy species the exact counterparts of a real-world animal. Thus, we end up with things like giant insects flocking like pigeons, giant reptiles hunting in packs and howling like wolves, tentacled creatures swinging from trees like monkeys, or a cute furry alien that purrs like a cat. In a sense, each species acts like an Expy or a Suspiciously Similar Substitute of a different species.

The trope has two main variants. In one version, a number of fantasy/alien/prehistoric species are presented as counterparts to mundane, modern species. In the other version, the animals are mundane species, but clearly fill the role of other, more familiar species — for example, an underwater setting where fish and other sea creatures act like mammals and birds, a Mouse World where insects and other invertebrates are counterparts to larger animals, or a World of Mammals where there are other classes of animals replacing non-sapient mammals. A World of Funny Animals setting can use this trope to avoid Furry Confusion — if certain species are anthropomorphised, their original niche is filled in by a different species.

To qualify for this trope, it is not a requirement for every species in the setting to have a real-world counterpart. For example, the setting can have giant monsters or magical beasts which, naturally, don't have any real-life equivalent. Regular, mundane animals can also appear in the setting (even if they might have different names). As long as there is at least one species that plays the role of an obviously different real-life species, it counts — but of course, the more such species there are, the better. If the only fantastic species like this is the counterpart to a dog or a horse, add the example to the respective subtropes instead.

This phenomenon, to an extent, exists in Real Life and is called convergent evolution. It's a well-recorded phenomenon that in different parts of the world and/or in different time periods, species largely unrelated to each other but filling the same ecological role (niche) will evolve similar anatomical and behavioral traits, in response to similar pressures. However, these similarities will usually be superficial. But fiction likes to exaggerate this, with the fantastic species acting virtually identical to their real-world counterpart. They might even have surprisingly mundane names.

Common in fantasy and science fiction as well as in Speculative Biology. Specific variants include All Animals Are Dogs, All Flyers Are Birds, Horse of a Different Color, Seahorse Steed, Prehistoric Animal Analogue and T. Rexpy. When these are counterparts to livestock specifically, this will likely overlap with Fantastic Livestock; when they're vermin, it will instead overlap with Fantastic Vermin. If the animals are even named after their real-world counterparts, that's Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit". Compare Animalistic Abomination, where an Eldritch Abomination shows resemblance to a mundane animal; Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp", where the fantastic species is identical to the mundane species apart from its name and small cosmetic differences; and Informed Species, when an animal is intended to be a mundane species but doesn't look much like it. More often than not, these will be Mix-and-Match Critters. Might be subject to Binomium ridiculus if the writer wants to be scientific about it. Also compare Fantasy Counterpart Culture and Fantasy Counterpart Religion, where fictional cultures and religions replace real-life ones in a similar manner.


Works with their own pages:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • SD Gundam sometimes uses non-humanoid Mobile Weapons as stand-ins for animals, for example the Ball taking the place of dogs in the Knight Gundam series. SD Gundam Force features mice based on the Elmeth.

    Comic Books 
  • Deff Skwadron: Squigs, ferocious fungal organisms that follow Orks around everywhere, appear in variants resembling various Earth animals such as squigsharks, messenger squigeons (spherical critters with birdlike wings) and squighawks (pteranodon-like avians).

    Fan Works 
  • Prehistoric Park Reimagined: Many of the prehistoric animals take on behaviours, environmental roles, and niches similar to many modern day animals, with several larger herbivorous dinosaurs taking on roles similar to elephants and rhinos, dromaeosaurs and other raptors behaving similarly to jackals and wolves, the smilodon populator behaving a lot like lions, some prehistoric carnivorous fish like Dunkleosteus and Onychodus behaving similarly to sharks and eels, and even temnospondyls and pelycosaurs behaving similarly to crocodilians and monitor lizards.

    Films — Animation 
  • A Bug's Life: The Ant Queen keeps an aphid as a lapdog, while P.T. Flea uses millipedes as oxen to pull his circus train.
  • Cars: In a world of living vehicles, farming machines take place of cattle — tractors act like cows, gently grazing on wheat fields and tipping over when someone honks at them, and Frank the combine harvester acts like an aggressive bull, attacking cars who enter his field. There are also tiny VW Beetles that take the place of insects, and the first film's credits use submarines in place of whales and sea monsters shown on old maps.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: The characters discover that the FLDSMDFR has created an entire ecosystem of sentient food items ("foodimals") that often resemble real-world creatures, mostly with Punny Names. There are flamingo-like mangos ("flamangos"), chimpanzee-like shrimps ("shrimpanzees"), elephant-like watermelons ("watermelophants"), hippopotamus-like potatoes ("hippotatomuses") and so forth.
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
    • The opening narration of the first movie refers to dragons as the pests of the island Berk, comparing them to mice or mosquitoes. In contrast, the ending narration refers to them as the pets of Berk, comparing them to ponies or parrots.
    • In the sequels, shorts, and series, dragons are often used in similar ways to livestock animals, such as dragon racing.
  • Luca: The sea monsters herd goatfish that bleat like actual goats, and Luca even uses a shepherd's crook to handle them. Luca's father also raises crabs that he treats like show dogs.
  • Onward: In this Urban Fantasy story, dragons are the equivalent of dogs, whereas unicorns, out of all things, are garbage-eating, hissing pests in the vein of raccoons. There is also a reference to a dish called "griffin nuggets", indicating that griffins are the equivalent of chickens, plus “kraken legs” on a menu implying krakens are equivalent to frogs.
  • Rango takes place in a Mouse World inhabited by Funny Animals, but some species, rather than being anthropomorphic, take the place of domestic animals. Roadrunners are the counterparts to horses, and javelinas (small wild pigs) are draft beasts filling the role of oxen. Then it becomes weirder when one background character, a blacksmith, is an anthropomorphic javelina...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avatar:
    • Pandora's wildlife has a number of species that have a clear counterpart on Earth. The Na'vi are humans, of course, but the thanator is essentially a giant panther, the titanothere is a rhinoceros, the prolemuris are monkeys, the direhorses are horses, etc. The extended cut also features sturmbeest, which for all intents and purposes are buffalo (even being hunted by the Na'vi on horseback to further their resemblance to Native American hunters).
    • The sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water continues this trend with Pandora's oceans, with clear analogues for dolphins (the ilu, although their body shape is strongly plesiosaur-like), sharks (the akula, the name of which is even Russian for shark), and whales (the tulkuns).
  • The Dark Crystal: Some of Thra's native fauna fits the bill. The long-legged landstriders are the equivalent of horses, the round fuzzy fizzgigs are barking pets similar to dogs, and the nerbies are large, tame animals farmed for their meat, skin and milk similarly to cows. The armaligs can be seen as the equivalents of armadillos, but they have a very unusual role as the wheels of the Skeksis' carriages.
  • Man of Steel: There are water buffalo-like creatures on Krypton.
  • Star Wars has quite a few species in the faraway galaxy analogous to animals on Earth, such as banthas (shaggy yak-like creatures) and dewbacks (reptilian dinosaur-like beasts) being the camel-analogues on the desert planet of Tatooine, or the wampa (a yeti-like furry beast) being the equivalent of a polar bear on the ice planet Hoth. The Last Jedi also has fathiers, large creatures resembling a cross of llama and jackrabbit that are used as gambling racehorses on the casino-like planet Finn and Rose visit.

  • The Brightest Shadow: Monstrous aurochs — the wild ancestors of domestic cows — fill the role of cattle, cockatrices are raised like chickens, and bicorns are similar to goats.
  • In Harry Potter, fairies behave like insects. Garden gnomes are small garden vermin similar to gophers and moles. In some wizarding households, kneazles take the place of house cats, though just as many households have regular cats. And most notably, owls replace pigeons as messenger birds in the wizarding world.
  • Dougal Dixon's Speculative Biology books love this.
    • After Man: A Zoology of the Future has so many examples that it has its own page, as the book makes heavy use of illustrative examples to display convergent evolution. In particular, rats have taken over most of the niches left by now-extinct carnivores and developed into a variety of marten-, wolf-, bear- and seal-like forms, while the rabbucks — long-legged, running rabbit descendants — include species equivalent to deer, camels, antelopes, zebras, giraffes and even warthogs.
    • Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future has the descendants of humans taking on these niches. There are grazing ape-like humans, sabertoothed carnivorous humans, manatee-like aquatic humans and small parasitic humans to name a few. The original set of examples is explicitly invoked in-universe — after most of Earth's megafauna goes extinct and humans are the only large animals left, the far-future civilization uses the human genome as a template to create species intended to fill the niches of bygone bears, tundra grazers, plains grazers and forest apes. Later cases, however, are simply uncanny examples of parallel evolution.
    • The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution has giraffe-pterosaurs (even with giraffe colors), penguin-pterosaurs, koala-dinosaurs (yes, they live in Australia), manatee-dinosaurs, pangolin-dinosaurs (called pangaloons), and even naked mole rat-dinosaurs to name a few. There is also a bird, called the Tromble, that filled the niche of a wooly mammoth in the absence of large mammals.
  • Expedition: Darwin IV's fauna has a number of species resembling either extant or extinct Earth species. Gyrosprinters are fast, antelope-like herbivores, unths are large tusked arctic beasts similarly to mammoths, prismalopes are the equivalents of rodents, arrowtongues are large predators resembling a Tyrannosaurus rex, prongheads are pack-hunters similarly to wolves while physically resembling velociraptors, etc. In a bizarre version of this trope, the Emperor Sea Strider is a hundred-foot-tall bipedal creature that inhabits a region of Darwin IV called the Amoebic Sea, walking about on the gelatinous surface and feeding off of it from enormous mouths on the bottoms of its feet. As it's a giant microorganism-eating creature, the largest animal on the world, and restricted to the planet's closest analogue to an ocean, this essentially makes the Sea Strider the Darwin IV equivalent of a whale.
  • Gor:
    • Kaiila take the place of equines. They look similar but have paws instead of hooves and are carnivorous.
    • Sleen are large, weasel-like hexapedal animals in place of canines.
  • John Carter of Mars: Some of the fauna of Barsoom (Mars) have clear counterparts on Earth. The Banth is clearly a ten-legged lion, the Thoats are eight-legged reptilian horses and the Calot are stocky pets similar to bulldogs. The White Apes, despite their name, only look like white, four-armed gorillas, but their ecological role is more similar to large predators like bears.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Several animals native to Roshar play the role of real-world animals. Chulls are beasts of burden like oxen, axehounds are, well, hounds, songlings are similar to singing birds and cremlings are very much like crabs.
  • The Snouters: Form and Life of the Rhinogrades: The snouters generally avert this, as they evolve truly bizarre adaptations unlike any other vertebrate alive today. The Mamontops, however, is a large, shaggy herbivore with prehensile trunks to obtain food, essentially making it a counterpart of a woolly mammoth.
  • Discworld: It's mostly All There in the Manual, but the deep mountains are home to silicacious life beyond the humanoid trolls, including troll dogs, troll horses, and troll ducks.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alien Worlds (2020): Eden's native animals closely resemble familiar Earth creatures whose niches they approximate — the skittish grazers are essentially rabbits with moth-like antennae instead of ears, while their arboreal predators resemble blue-furred, six-limbed tarsiers.
  • Extraterrestrial (2005): Mudpods are essentially alien salamander beavers. They fell trees for food using a constantly-growing saw-like claw explicitly compared to a beaver's teeth, and build dams out of mud to create a network of lagoons that provides rich habitats for other species.
  • The Future is Wild:
    • In the ice age five million years in the future, the proximity of surviving animals to their modern relatives means that many strongly resemble real-life creatures. Shagrats are the rodent equivalents of musk ox, the snowstalker is a mustelid resembling both a polar bear and a saber-toothed cat, and the gannetwhales (despite their name) are seal- or walrus-like birds. The deathgleaner is a giant day-flying bat filling the role of a desert vulture.
    • 200 million years hence, most examples are less straightforward — the Megasquid, for instance, behaves much like an elephant but is also a part-time predator. However, the flish are flying fish behaving very much like birds, and the squibbons are squids living in trees like gibbons, down to monkey-like social behavior.
    • In a notable aversion, 200 million years in the future, the niche of sharks is filled by... sharks, which are every bit as efficient and deadly as they are today or were 400 million years ago.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power:
    • The so called wolves that attack the Harfoots look a lot like entelodonts who only behave like wolves.
    • The slaver warg from the Southlands looks like a gigantic pug with hyena and wolves characteristics.
  • Prehistoric Planet has many unconventional dinosaur examples: the Dreadnoughtus battle for harems like elephant seals, the Carnotaurus puts up an elaborate mating display like a bowerbird, the unspecified troodontid starts fires to flush prey out like a firehawk, the Velociraptor hunts pterosaurs on cliffs like a snow leopard, the Deinocheirus wades in shallow swamps to eat water plants like a moose, and the Therizinosaurus is shown as a foraging omnivore with a taste for honey, much like a bear.
  • Star Trek:
    • Vulcan has the seh'lat, the equivalent of an Earth bear. Large wild ones are an example of Bears Are Bad News; smaller ones can be domesticated.
    • Klingons have targs, which are like a cross between a boar and a large dog; they can be kept as pets or slaughtered for dinner.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has Cardassian voles, which act like generic vermin such as rats.
  • Walking with…: The franchise uses this to some extent when characterizing prehistoric animals.
    • Walking with Beasts: The examples here broadly justified, as wooly mammoths and Deinotherium are actually related to elephants and so are Australopithecus to chimpanzees, so it makes sense that they would behave like their modern relatives. Smilodon, however, is portrayed with a social structure identical to modern African lions, which is very unlikely — if nothing else because the lions' social structures are unique among modern felids. The most extreme example in the series is Ambulocetus, which is portrayed as a mammalian crocodile.
    • Walking with Dinosaurs: The European species of Iguanodon is given zebra stripes, and makes a zebra-like whinny at one point. Utahraptor, a fast and stealthy predator, is given a cheetah-like coloration with black dots on a yellow base, complete with tear stripes — and in the companion book, it's mentioned the females do most of the hunting, similar to lions. Anurognathus is treated as the Jurassic equivalent of tickbirds, flying on the bodies of sauropods and hunting insects on their skinnote .
    • Walking with Monsters is especially guilty of this. The prehistoric fish Hyneria beaches to hunt amphibians like an orca hunting for seals; Cephalaspis migrates from the ocean to freshwater like salmon, where Brontoscorpio try to catch them like grizzly bears; Diictodon burrow like reptilian gophersnote ; Lystrosaurus migrate in large herds like wildebeest, crossing rivers where they are hunted by primitive crocodylians.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Illithidae, animal-minded aberrations related to illithids in the same manner in which common mammals are related to humans, often resemble, and occupy ecological niches largely equivalent to, more familiar animals. Cessirids look and act like much like wolves, kigrids fill niches equivalent to those of aggressive omnivores and scavengers such as boars, hyenas and bears, and saltors parallel near-human apes. Embracs are the only exception, as the closest analogy to their niche would be a predatory animal that acts like a carnivorous plant.
    • The bat-winged, proboscis-faced, blood-drinking stirges largely act as fantastical counterparts to mosquitoes and vampire bats.
    • It's a default game assumption that housecats exist in the setting. However, there's also the pseudodragon, which has gone from being merely a cat-sized dragon to essentially a scaly flying cat: it naps a lot, it enjoys stalking mice, it'll be a familiar for a wizard but is very independent and fussy, and so on.
    • In the Abyss (the realm of demons) there is a species of non-sapient demon called the Abyssal Chicken. As their name implies, they are small, winged bipeds with limited flying capabilities that can be cooked and eaten like regular chickens. Unlike what their name implies, they are toothy, eyeless, featherless and untamed.
  • Ironclaw takes place in a World of Funny Animals that avoids Carnivore Confusion with several species of "lizard" (read: Domesticated Dinosaurs) and Planimal taking the place of fauna. This allows, for instance, boar PC to go on a tusk-melon hunt. There are also constrictor snake gourds, bull-like aurochs radishes, and many more.
  • Turnip 28: Almost all flora and fauna on Earth have been replaced by the Root with tuberous parodies of their former selves. There are very few living things that don't have the DNA of a root vegetable and even human beings are found to have turnips or radishes growing out of their bodies.
  • Wanderhome: On Hæth, a World of Funny Animals, the local fauna consist of insects and other arthropods. The playbooks paint this dynamic, as a Moth-Tender can be a pigeon carrying for carrier moths, or a Shepherd can be a ram herding chubby bumblebees.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Among the kroot's bestial offshoots, kroot hounds are essentially alien dogs, krootoxes are alien apes, and knarlocs are alien theropods — the great knarloc, in particular, is a straightforward T. Rexpy.
    • The grox is a 5-meter-long reptile-like animal from planet Solomon whose highly aggressive nature is made up for by its extreme value as livestock (very delicious and nutritious meat, high environmental adaptability, extreme omnivory), such that it's very widespread across the myriad worlds of Imperium, taking the role that cattle do in real life.

    Video Games 
  • Bug Fables: Pillbugs serve as a stand-in for dogs and cats, as they are commonly kept as pets by sapient bugs. Aphids are a stand-in for cows and chickens, as they are commonly farmed for their eggs and dew (which serves as a substitute for milk). Weevils are akin to wolves, being vicious, predatory quadrupedal beasts that even howl. The traveling caravan uses the snail as a stand-in for mules, having it carry their wares during their travels.
  • Club Penguin: Puffle creatures are puffles that are usually based on a real-life animal. Examples include dog puffles, cat puffles, bunny puffles, and even dinosaur puffles.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, most of the wildlife in Vvardenfell is some variety of either Armless Biped or Big Creepy-Crawlies, with Nix-Hounds, Kagouti, and Alit replacing dogs, wolves, and other predators, Nix-Oxen, Guar, Kwama, and Netches replacing livestock, and Silt Striders acting as beasts of burden, similar to elephants.
  • The Eternal Cylinder: Trebhum's planet is filled with bizarre Starfish Aliens unlike anything seen on Earth, and yet many wildlife behave similarly to Terran wildlife. Examples include the Onkifurt, a Living Gasbag that broods in nests and hunts from the air like a bird of prey; the Belly Mouth Omnogrom, a large woodland omnivore similar to a bear; and the insectoid Hophopop that as a small jumping grazer is similar to rabbits and hares.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds have a number of creatures in the Dark World and Lorule that take the place of more familiar and mundane beings in Hyrule, typically moving and attacking in the same way but with more alien and monstrous appearances. For instance, the crow enemies encountered in Hyrule are replaced by Dactos, small pterodactyl-like creatures, while large bats common in Hyrulean dungeons are replaced by Chasupas, giant eyeballs with bat wings. This also occurs for Hyrulean monsters; the octopus-like Octoroks, for instance, are replaced by the more alien-looking, antennaed Slaroks, while the fishlike Zora are replaced the cyclopean Ku.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild features woolly rhinos wandering around the colder and more northerly parts of the map.
  • Pikmin 3: Whiptongue Bulborbs, with their elongated snouts and long, sticky tongues, are the local microcosm's equivalent of anteaters.
  • In Pokémon, many Pokémon fill the niches of real-world animals, though of course All Animals Are Domesticated, with even large powerful creatures being kept as companions by people.
  • Valheim: Lox are enormous crosses between lizards and musk oxen that can be domesticated for their fur and meat, but also used as Awesome, but Impractical mounts.
  • Warframe takes place in the distant future where Earth's modern fauna is long gone, their niches now occupied by creatures bioengineered by the Orokin.
    • Players can get furry companions in the form of kubrows — essentially egg-laying dogs with bat-like noses, bred for roles like hunting, protecting or scavenging; and kavats — long-legged, scaly, multi-tailed cats that can work as attack animals.
    • In the overgrown forests of Earth and on Plains of Eidolon, you can meet kuakas — screechy rodent-like creatures that are omnivorous scavengers like rats, but with spikes growing out of their spines; and condrocs — scavenger birds which are essentially condors by a slightly different name (and a goofier appearance). The marine life includes such creatures as moray-like mawfish, crustaceans called karkina and predatory fish called sharracs, which sure enough resemble sharks.
    • The Orb Vallis on Venus is home to pobbers — adorable gerbil-like critters that are prey for virminks — also adorable critters that look like a combination of mustelids and foxes; and sawgaws — predatory birds that resemble owls. You can also encounter kubrodons — the bigger, meaner cousins of kubrows that are apex predators of the Vallis filling the role of Savage Wolves; bolarolas — critters covered in scales who can roll up to flee, so armadillos basically; and stovers — massive cave-dwelling "proto-kubrows" that are equivalent to bears.
    • The outbreak of the Infestation on the Martian moon Deimos gave birth to a unique ecosystem that is home to such creatures as wolf-like predasites and fox-like vulpaphylas, alongside others that aren't such obvious analogues.
    • Duviri is home to various familiar-looking animals that look like chunks of their bodies were removed and the rest was porcelainized. These critters include ridable kaithes (horses), tamms (sheep), krubies (wolves), kexats (wildcats), rablits (...rabbits) and paragrimms (owls, complete with association with intelligence).

    Web Animation 
  • No Evil: Jackalopes are used as beasts of burden, and are treated as the counterpart of oxen or donkeys. Chupacabras, meanwhile, are large, bear- or wolf-like predators.

  • In Majestan, where City of Somnus is set, they have several kids of exotic beasts of burden (including huge capybaras), messenger bees the size of a cat, chicken-sized dodos (that are Explosive Breeders and fill the niche of chickens) and mimmoths among others.
  • Unsounded: The most common livestock are Monnies, or Monocorns, which are used for their meat, milk and hides while cattle don't exsist in the setting. While they're essentially single horned goats they're different than real world goats given the coagulating properties of their blood which is used as a common ingredient in various foods.

    Web Original 
  • Alien Biospheres has enough to gain its own page.
  • Amphiterra, being an alternate Earth where frogs, instead of reptiles and mammals, became the dominant species of the planet, has frog versions of many different animals of our timeline, such as the gibbon-like tree frixel, the tyrannosaur-like catastrophic fraggon, and the mammoth-like foaming squander.
  • Bosun's Journal: Many posthuman strains come to closely resemble ancient animals in appearance and behavior. Woolly humies, an artificially designed livestock species, strongly resemble sheep; their wooly manoth descendants instead resemble mammoths; changeling sphinxes, feline in appearance, evolve to hunt woolly humies in cooperative prides in a manner similar to lions; the spindly stabbers are flightless descendants of azhdarchid-like flyers; desert ravers and their crushjaw descendants are essentially mammalian theropods; thumbsucking facecrabs are flat, crab-like beings that walk on eight finger-derived legs and hunt for food using the long nails of their thumbs.
  • Snaiad has shades of these among its creatures: the Kahydrons are akin to canids (though some of the larger species are omnivores similar to bears and one species is a full-on herbivore like a panda), the Fuckers are ambush predators like big cats, and the Allotaurs are akin to rhinos and elephants. However, as the author repeatedly states, all these similarities are only skin-deep, and many vertebrates on Snaiad have no close Earth analog, such as the tiny insect-sized vertebrates called Picotheres. There are also no flying vertebrates: the niche of birds is instead occupied by invertebrate organisms similar to flying slugs.
  • Hamster's Paradise:
    • The descendants of hamsters filling every concievable niche on a terraformed, seeded Serina-like planet, such as the grazing ungulopes filling the niches of deer and gazelles, the giant aquatic seavers filling the niches of baleen whales, the predatory carnohams filling the niches of big cats and bears, and flying ratbats filling the niches of birds and bats, with one flightless ratbat group, the blubbats, filling the niche of penguins and polar bears and the scaly, near-ectothermic rattiles filling the niche of many different types of lizards and even tortoises. The oceans in the meantime are devoid of fish, and thus shrish, descendants of krill, fill the niches of various fish such as sardines, sharks, eels, stingrays and flounder.
    • Later eras add descendants of snails filling a wide array of marine animal niches: swimming sea slugs called pescopods begin taking over fish niches, while one group, the notiluses, develop prehensile tentacles and give rise to six-armed cephalopod-analogues known as skwoids. Other odd gastropods are the asterisks, flat-bodied slugs resembling starfish, and quillnobs, which are sessile like barnacles.
    • In the Temperocene Era, some hamster descendants fill very unexpected roles: the wingles are flying rattiles with insect-like wings derived from hair that fill the niche of hummingbirds, the sea-going sarchon is an armored predatory cricetacean that's basically a mammalian Dunkleosteus, the daggoths are eyeless subterranean burrowers resembling star-nosed moles but fill a niche like cave salamanders, and most bizarre of all is the shroomor, a free-living mass of cancer cells that fills a role akin to a slime mold or a fungus.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia is set in a world where frogs and toads are the main equivalent to humans and everything else is scaled accordingly. Thus, the frogs keep spiders as dog-like pets, ride giant snails similarly to horses or donkeys, and farm giant caterpillars with cow-like colorations for dairy (i.e. it's implied, though not explicitly stated, that they create cheese from the caterpillars' mucus). Meanwhile, there are flies that act like birds (actual birds also exist, but they are monstrous predators that eat frogs), and hedgehogs that hunt in packs and cackle like hyenas. Also, an entire episode revolves around a caterpillar acting and looking like a cat.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra's fauna is a combination of real-world animals (penguins, octopi) and Mix-and-Match Critters made from real-life animals. The latter often stands in for their real-world counterparts — turtleducks (ducks with turtle shells) inhabit ponds, polar bear dogs are fearsome predators, et cetera. In one scene, Team Avatar is very confused that the Earth King's pet bear is a regular bear and not a Mix-and-Match Critter.
    Katara: The King is throwing a party at the palace tonight for his pet bear.
    Aang: Don't you mean platypus bear?
    Katara: No, it just says, 'bear'.
    Sokka: Certainly you mean his pet skunk bear?
    Toph: Or his armadillo bear?
    Aang: Gopher bear?
    Katara: Just, 'bear'.
    Toph: This place is weird.
  • The Flintstones: The eponymous family has a sauropod dinosaur acting like a dog and a saber-toothed cat acting like a house moggy. Other prehistoric animals replace objects, such as vehicles and household appliances.
  • Futurama: In the 31st Century, owls have taken over the niche once filled by vermin like mice and raccoons, and can often be seen coming out of holes in walls. Cattle, which are stated to be extinct, have been replaced by giant beetle-like, black-and-white spotted alien creatures called buggalo.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: Miniature dinosaurs are the main fauna of the show's world. Pterodactyls soar the skies like sparrows or pigeons, while small sauropods and ceratopsians skitter around like squirrels. Gar's Bodega even has a baby T. rex as a pet.
  • Silly Symphonies: "Merbabies" has a circus parade scene where aquatic animals appear in the roles of typical circus animals. There are carriage-pulling seahorses, octopuses lumbering like elephants (with one tentacle acting as their trunk), crabs swinging in a cage like apes, a tigerfish with black and yellow stripes roaring like an actual tiger, and snails resembling seals, balancing pearls like balls on their noses.
  • In Spongebob Squarepants, there are worms in place of dogs, snails in place of cats (although there is also a breath-holding Funny Animal Superhero cat named Kenny in one episode), seahorses in place of horses, scallops are birds (they even chirp!), and jellyfish in place of bees.

    Real Life 
  • A major cliche in artistic portrayals of dinosaurs is depicting them as behaving similarly to modern-day animals they resemble: Pteranodon was often depicted hanging upside down like a bat, Deinonychus was usually portrayed hunting large prey in packs similar to modern-day wolves, and sauropods were often represented as essentially being reptilian elephants (or hippos, wallowing in shallow water), to name the most common examples. Many of these artistic tropes have since been debunked by new discoveries, but many of them still persist in popular culture and the public imagination.