Follow TV Tropes


Partially Civilized Animal

Go To

These animals are a notch higher than the Nearly Normal Animal, Speech-Impaired Animal, and Talking Animal, but not quite Civilized Animals. They're Partially Civilized Animals.

Like the Nearly Normal Animal, Speech-Impaired Animal, and Talking Animal, the Partially Civilized Animal is very much an animal when it comes to thought processes, personality, instincts, priorities, and motivations. They are more frequently depicted as just walking on four legs than on walking on two legs or walking both ways. Like the Civilized Animal, they may wear a few accessories or articles of clothing (often in pantless fashion), often have some sort of Mouse World, and can be anywhere on the Sliding Scale of Animal Communication.

Partially Civilized Animals can make human-like arm and hand gestures and many can grasp objects as if they have opposable thumbs. Like Nearly Normal Animal, Speech-Impaired Animal, and Talking Animal birds, Partially Civilized Animal birds can have Feather Fingers, but their wings have to look completely like wings.

This is between the Civilized Animal and the Nearly Normal Animal, Speech-Impaired Animal, and Talking Animal on the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism.


    open/close all folders 

     Anime & Manga 
  • Pui Pui Molcar is about giant guinea pigs that primarily act like the small versions of their kind, but are capable of communication (albeit through squeaking), the ability to use tools and weapons, and understanding of pop culture.

     Fan Works 
  • This trope is Invoked in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction series called the Triptych Continuum to explain the strange phenomena from the base show of certain species being able to speak and interact with ponies, yet still being treated as, well, normal animals. The phenomena is explained in-universe as "Tenant Species"; species that have almost, but not quite, achieved full sapience, being held back by overwhelming bestial instincts that render them incapable of founding their own civilizations. As such, ponies (and, implicitly, other truly sapient species) "adopt" these species into their own civilizations, giving them land to occupy and preventing them from hurting themselves or being exploited, whilst the "tenants" pay rent for this protection in various ways. The specific fanfic A Duet for Land and Sky, in its third chapter, addresses the phenomena in detail and lists some of the more notable tenant species:
    • Cattle suffer from a combination of timidity and an overwhelming herd instinct; not only do they startle easily, but in groups, they tend to unthinkingly fall in with the behavior of the group. This means flash-mobs and panic-stricken stampedes are things that cattle are extremely prone to. However, they only suffer this when herded with other cattle. A single cow or bull, isolated from the rest of their race, becomes fully sapient and competent to manage their own life for as long as they remain isolated from other cattle.
    • Sheep are incredibly passive, and will basically do whatever they're told without question (something elaborated on in the fanfic Half!, which explains that sheep basically never grow out of that childish naivety of believing whatever they're told). As such, they're considered legally incapable of owning their own property or signing any form of binding contract.
    • Pigs are eating machines and also incredibly selfish; they were adopted less out of pity and more fear of what they might do to secure food if left to their own terms.
    • Alpacas are both incredibly territorial, violently temperamental, and nauseatingly unhygienic, with a tendency to basically kick and projectile vomit at anyone who comes within range.
    • A blogpost released in March 2021 fully breaks down the phenomena of tenants, noting that only nine such species have ever been discovered in the aftermath of the hellish Discordian era. Only Equestria, the minotaur realm of Mazein, and the griffon nation of Protocera have populations of tenants, and there are very strict laws governing their care and residence. There are three in-universe theories about the phenomena; the least popular (or at least acceptable) is that they are natural inferiors to true sapients, whilst the theories that they are either an interstitial stage between animals and sapients, or else once-sapient species that were nearly devolved back to the level of animals during the Discordian era, are more publicly acceptable. It's also theorized that goats may be on the verge of evolving from "animal" to "tenant", and cattle likewise are the only tenant species to show that they may be slowly evolving out of their tenant status into full-fledged sapience.

    Films — Animation 
  • The dinosaurs in The Good Dinosaur, particularly Arlo's family of farming Apatosaurus and the Tyrannosaurus rex who act like cattle ranchers.
  • The Little Mermaid (1989): The marine fauna is quite civilized. Visible examples include crustacean Sebastian, who is Triton's/Atlantica's royal maestro, and Scuttle, a talking seagull who enjoys teaching Ariel about human things (even if they are completely wrong).
  • The animals from Madagascar and its spin-offs use crude tools, wear simple clothes and occasionally go bipedal. But there is no doubt that they are animals, and they can't talk to humans (the animals can understand human speech, but it doesn't work the other way around for most humans).
  • Puss in Boots (2011): The normal cats in the Glitter Box have their own bar and musicians, but different from the more anthropomorphic Puss in Boots and Kitty Softpaws, they walk on fours, do not talk and are more animalistic.

  • Blue Moose: The Moose is an excellent waiter, he enjoys fine food and speaks English and French. He is also quite polite, but he insists that he is not tame. He comes and goes as he pleases.
  • The badgers in The Cold Moons are treated by humans as ordinary badgers. For the most part they also live as normal badgers. However, they also can talk with one another, have religious lore, can use herbs as medicine, and can build basic technology such as stretchers made out of branches. In the case of the main characters, they live in a large community with laws and a parliament.
  • Many of the dinosaurs in Dinoverse. They don't speak in language and have no concept of clothing, but they are pretty much universally pretty bright, anything with fingers is quite dextrous, they have good grasps on emotions and ideas like repayment or fairness, and some live in communities that tend to be tightly knit.
  • Erin Hunter:
    • Canines in Survivor Dogs have religious beliefs, rituals, and their own societies, but are otherwise normal dogs and wolves. Unlike in its sister-series Warriors, they don't use medicine.
    • The characters in Seeker Bears are bears who have religious beliefs, simplistic rituals, and some basic knowledge of healing herbs. They are treated like normal bears and view the world from a POV that is noticeably non-human.
    • Warrior Cats is a bit hard to put on the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism, but most probably this level. They're normal domestic cats living in an ordinary human world (well, normal aside from the fact that they can talk to each other and some can get nine lives), but they have their own society of four Clans in the forest with a firmly structured ranking order and rules, have a religion, and use healing herbs.
  • The wolves in Firstborn act like normal wolves for the most part however they understand how basic medicine works.
  • Animals in Tailchaser's Song have their own cultures, complex religions, rituals, and have a sense of monarchism. They, however, for the most part act like animals and are treated as such.
  • In Who Moved My Cheese?, the mice Sniff and Scurry still act on mouse instinct and can't talk to Lilliputians other than through gestures, but they wear (and can tie) shoes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in That Mitchell and Webb Look, with a series of recurring sketches involving a farmer who acts like and talks to his horse as if it was one of these. In fact, it's simply a Not At All Civilized Animal (i.e. just a regular horse), but this doesn't stop the farmer from reacting with a violent tantrum whenever the horse responds to his overtures with nothing but uncomprehending disinterest.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones "Laterals" are mutations who look exactly like normal animals instead of the Beast Men who make up most of the Vector population. They can talk, usually wear clothes (including some sort of pants), and most are fully integrated into larger Vector society, but they don't have thumbs.

  • Early on, My Little Pony characters were this. They were talking horses with a culture and monarchy, yes, but they also were shown living in stables and wearing horseshoes. A few years into G1 the characters shifted into Civilized Animals and have stayed that way ever since.

    Video Games 
  • Red XIII from Final Fantasy VII walks on four legs and generally acts like the ...pumadogthing he is, but at the same time able to talk, extremely intelligent and wears a hair decoration.
  • The Bunny Children from Epic Mickey are this, even though Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (their father) and Ortensia the cat (their mother) are full-fledged Funny Animals.
  • Okku the Bear-King in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer is a bear telthornote . He can wax philosophic with the best of them, but he's still a bear.
  • In one-shot game Nip for Speed, the player controls a passenger in a vehicle, which is being driven by an orange cat. With its paws. Minutes into the game, the player can give the cat a gun, which the cat holds, while still driving the car, and a lit cigar.
  • In Octopath Traveler, various tribes of hostile beast people appear in random encounters throughout Orsterra: Lizardmen in the Frostlands and Sunlands, Froggen in the Flatlands and Riverlands, Birdians in the Coastlands and Cliftlands, Ratkin in the Highlands and Woodlands, and Caits rarely and randomly in any place. While they wear clothing, wield fairly sophisticated metallic weapons, and have hierarchical societies, they seem incapable of meaningfully communicating with humans.
  • Monkeys are one of the enemy types in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. They’re smart enough to wield swords. They’re smart enough to wield guns. They’re learning how to brew alcohol by stuffing hollow logs full of fruit and waiting for it to ferment. Some of them even wear minimal clothing, like hats or loincloths. But despite their intelligence, they show no other signs of organization or culture; their weapons (and hats) were clearly stolen from humans, and in all other respects they’re still just monkeys.
  • Sonic's "animal friends" from the Classic Sonic the Hedgehog games are Woodland Creatures who Funny Animals can interact with, though they seem to be nonverbal. The artwork seen in Sonic The Hedgehog The Screensaver depicts them doing anthropomorphic things like riding cars.


    Web Original 
  • Wolf Song: The Movie: the wolves all live in the forest and have dynamics similar to those in the real world (although not completely identical), but sometimes use swords, books and handcuffs among other things. Oh, and the villains also practice slavery
    Western Animation 
  • Boo Boom! The Long Way Home: Jack the bulldog. Due to being a military dog trained by the American army, he has a lot of knowledge about military weapons and tactics (like being able to identify any weapon he sees) and, as the series finale shows, can even operate a tank. Other than that however, he is still very much a dog who can only talk in Animal Talk and walks on all fours.
  • The Lion Guard: Just like in the movie, the Pride Lands seem to be about as close as an ecosystem can get to resembling a monarchy with law while still more or less being the ecosystem it's based on. The royal lion family is clearly in charge of everything. All animals have "jobs" they are supposed to perform to maintain the Circle of Life such as crocodiles keeping fish populations in check and hyenas eating what other predators leave behind. The animals have organized events like funerals and concerts and many can be seen playing together. On top of all that, the show even has a justice force in the Lion Guard whose job is to maintain peace, save animals from disasters, and deal with animals upsetting the Circle of Life. But when you look past all these human-like elements, you still more or less have an African savanna ecosystem. Predators hunt prey animals, herbivores migrate and graze, many animals steal from and fight with others, and visually the animals have very little anthropomorphism beyond their faces.
  • All animals in Littlest Pet Shop (2012) behave in this way. Most, but not all, walk on two legsnote , Shivers (a wild squirrel) is shown to have a house of sorts, and more domesticated animals are shown taking up human hobbies like stage magic. Furthermore, all animal species can speak to each other, but not to humans (except Blythe). Language barriers among animals exist, but are regional and cultural rather than based on species.
  • Coco the monkey from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse walks on two legs and wears a skirt, a strapless top, and a bow on her head, but she is mostly a "normal" monkey otherwise.
  • Most of the characters in Tom and Jerry act like humans except for Quacker, who is a Talking Animal, and the goldfish, who is a Nearly Normal Animal. Other than walking on two legs and coming up with complex plans, though, they still live like animals.
  • Dog from WordWorld is a non-talking, four-legged dog, but he owns a house. Most other four-legged residents, including Elephant and Tiger, belong in this trope, too.

Alternative Title(s): Partially Civilised Animal, Demi Civilized Animal


Kirarin Revolution

Meet Na-san!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / PartiallyCivilizedAnimal

Media sources: