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Unusual Pets for Unusual People

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And there's no one more unusual than him.

On the other hoof, why did I have her for a best friend, anyway? I was a normal Gothamite, a fine, upstanding citizen. So were my parents. So was Bruce, after a fashion. But my best friend? She was a psychologist-turned-harlequin, had been disowned by her parents, almost died in an asylum, and she used to have pet hyenas.
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In fiction, the type of pet a character owns is often used to signify their personality. Dogs are the default, cats are often used for introverts, and fish are usually only for young characters as their first pet (especially if they need to learn about death). So what of the other pets out there?

As a form of Animal Stereotype, less mainstream pets like rodents, reptiles, or ferrets tend to be owned by characters who are oddball, awkward, or loners. Reptiles and rats (though rarely mice) are often the go-to pet for villainous and malicious characters, while others tend to signify the owner is atypical. Exotic pets are almost never owned by an 'average' character. Large predators (like a Panthera Awesome) as pets often imply that the person is rich and/or powerful, if a bit eccentric.

Compare Heroes Love Dogs (for characterizing heroes/good guys), Crazy Cat Lady (an eccentric woman who hoards cats as her pets), Right-Hand Cat (the odd fondness of villainous characters for cats), Right-Hand Attack Dog (the dogs' strong association with villains as active fighting partners), Familiar (the association of cats or other odd animals as magical companions for witches), and Cool Pet.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Anthy of Revolutionary Girl Utena is an eccentric introvert who has a pet monkey (supposedly) named Chu Chu. One joke has Nanami attempting to make Anthy look bad by in front of Utena and Miki by pretending Anthy had a snail, snake, and octopus for pets. In turned out Anthy had a bunch of snails, a mongoose that eats the snake, and though the "octopus" in her closet was just a balloon, she seemingly adopts the one Nanami brought.

    Comic Books 
  • Hellblazer: Mako's first appearance shows him holding a baboon and a hyena on chains. He doesn't use them at any point, but are a very handy "Do No Mess With" shorthand.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) comics, Princess Luna gets a pet opossum named Tiberius to go with her somewhat unusual, introverted and gothic persona.
  • Sabretooth has a case of this in Weapon X (2017). Creed is a sadistic, serial killing, beast of a man with a mutation that gives him tendencies of a big feral cat. What pet does he end up with? A Siberian Tiger! It's still a cub, but Creed takes a liking to it instantly. He gently picks it up & cradles, getting amused when it chomps on his finger.

    Comic Strips 
  • Nero. In Het Wonderwolkje The crazy pirate Abraham Tuizentfloot owns a pet pelican who flies him around.
  • Dethany, the Perky Goth in On the Fastrack, has a raven called Lenore.
  • In FoxTrot, uber-nerd Jason has a pet iguana named Quincy that he loves to use to torment his sister Paige. (One strip—where Paige wants a cat—mentions that Peter and Jason have allergies, which might explain Jason's choice. But, honestly, it seems like the kind of pet he would have gone for anyway.)
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    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: Princess Jasmine owns a pet tiger. She's a Rebellious Princess.
  • Anastasia: Rasputin is undead and has a pet bat. Bartok is loyal to a point.
  • Lilo from Lilo & Stitch, a quirky girl with a dark streak, goes to the animal shelter and gets the weirdest looking pet there, actually an escaped alien who she thinks is a puppy. Before she does, she asks the shelter attendant for a lobster.
  • Rapunzel from Tangled has a pet chameleon. She grew up in a tower and was locked away from society for eighteen years, therefore she is a bit of an awkward Plucky Girl.
  • Long John Silver from Disney's Treasure Planet is a corpulent alien cyborg who's Faux Affably Evil. His pet is Morph, a sentient blob of pinkish goo that's immune to gravity and can mimic anything it encounters. As long as Silver maintains his rugged but genial facade, Morph remains his loyal companion. However, once Silver shows his vicious and ruthless pirate side, Morph recoils from him and flees to Jim Hawkins.
  • The titular heroine of Moana has a pet piglet and a pet chicken (who specifically is noted as being odd due to his noticeable stupidity.) She is considered an odd one out amongst others on her island, because she wants to sail the seas while the others fear going past the reef.
  • The Rescuers:
    • Madame Medusa, the greedy child-abducting villain of The Rescuers has a pair of alligators named Brutus and Nero.
    • McLeach, sadistic poacher and villain of The Rescuers Down Under had a pet monitor lizard named Joanna.
  • Pocahontas: Pocahontas' free-spirited and unusual nature is emphasized by the fact her two animal companions are a raccoon and hummingbird.
  • Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame' "otherness" is showcased by her goat.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective takes this trope Up to Eleven. When Ace Ventura's landlord notices unusual noises and questions Ace on them, Ace claims he knows nothing. As soon as the landlord leaves, an entire zoo comes out of hiding.
  • A Clockwork Orange. Sociopathic Alex owns a pet snake. This detail was not in the novel and in fact Malcolm McDowell was frightened of snakes.
  • As in the animated series, and referenced in the page quote here, the pet hyena owned by Harley Quinn gets some decent screen time in Birds of Prey (2020) - see featured image on the page. In the movie, there's only one, named Bruce (after "that hunky Wayne guy"). Harley herself is ... also quite special.
  • In Licence to Kill, the coldblooded drug lord Franz Sanchez has pet iguana that acts as his Right-Hand Cat.

    Literature 
  • In David Eddings' Belgariad and Malloreon series, Chief Eunuch Sadi keeps a small, very poisonous snake named Zith as a pet. As he is also a Master Poisoner this is justified.
  • Coraline:
    • Mr. Bobo is a retired circus performer who keeps a bunch of mice he says he's training to do circus acts. He's presented as an oddball older man.
    • Mr. Bobo's "Other" version has a group of villainous rats who act as spies for the Other Mother.
  • Dark Life. Annoying Younger Sibling Zoe holds a variety of outrageously dangerous sea life (such as snakes) as pets. Her power of animal control keeps them from being harmful to her.
  • The titular creature in Disgusting McGrossface has a pet rat, which is said to be part of his grodiness.
  • Doctor Dolittle has an entire menagerie living in his house, with normal pets like a dog alongside a pig, a parrot, a duck, an owl, and a monkey.
  • In the second and third Earth's Children books, Ayla adopts a cave lion and a wolf as pets. She also has the more mundane horses, though even having those as pets is considered highly unusual in the setting, as domesticating animals is a new concept many people have never even considered trying or thought possible. Some people say they can believe she can tame horses and maybe even a wolf but draw the line at a lion...until they see her petting said lion and climbing on his back. It marks Ayla as someone who is innovative, willing to go outside the norm, has impressive abilities and a great deal of courage given she shows no fear towards even the predatory animals; even though she often wants to fit in she inevitably stands out, seeing as she's accompanied by her pets almost everywhere she goes.
  • Harry Potter:
    • All of the allowed pets at Hogwarts are animals associated with magic, which fall into this (aside from cats, which are just as popular with Muggles, although at least some students' cats are magical cat-like creatures called kneazles). In particular Neville's toad Trevor marks him out as a Butt-Monkey, (since he was given it as a gift even though they "went out of fashion years ago", according to Hagrid) and Ron's rat, Scabbers (who's a hand-me-down, like everything else of Ron's but turns out to be more than he seems in the third book). Word of God tells us that Trevor eventually escaped into the Black Lake on the Hogwarts grounds right around the time that Neville Took a Level in Badass.
    • The series also features Rubeus Hagrid, a reckless and immature half-giant Fluffy Tamer. Over the course of the series, he keeps many dangerous magical creatures as pets, including a Giant Spider, a three-headed Hell Hound, a baby dragon and a bizarre and deadly Hybrid Monster called Blast-Ended Skrewt.
  • Hilda and the Mad Scientist: Mad scientist and purported monster-maker Dr. Weinerstein has a pet bat, until Hilda chases it out of the house, to his dismay.
  • In InCryptid, Alex has a pet church griffin (head and wings of a raven, body of a large cat), and when he was younger he had a coatl. His whole family lives with the sapient (and religious) Aeslin mice, but they're not really "pets". His fiancee Shelby has a garrinna (a griffin with a galah head and thylacine body), showing how alike they are.
  • In Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy Dr. Nora Barlow, a geneticist who is personally responsible for a lot of the Organic Technology used by Britain in that alternate timeline, has a pet thylacine named Tazza. Many people mistake him for a fabricated beast and have to be told that he's actually completely natural.
  • One Cool Friend: Strait-laced and tuxedo-wearing Elliot adopts a penguin, and his lenient, absentminded father, who loves tortoises enough to have a themed scrub brush, owns a tortoise named Captain Cook.
  • Ratman's Notebooks: Willard and its sequel Ben both feature social misfit loners who have rats as pets.
  • The titular Stargirl is an eccentric Blithe Spirit type of girl. She has a pet rat named Cinnamon who she often carries around, even to school.
  • Sherlock Holmes: In "The Speckled Band", the client-of-the-week's violent stepfather kept pets from his travels abroad, including a leopard, a baboon, and the adder he used for his murders.
  • In A Tale of the Dark Fairy: Mistress of All Evil, Maleficent was raised amongst crows. She kept several as pets even after being adopted by Nanny. Her favorite bird, however, is her cherished pet raven Diablo. Even as a child she loved him. Diablo fits her aloof personality but, due to stereotypes attributed to ravens, he also fits her evil persona.
  • Thursday Next: Thanks to de-extinction actually being a thing in their reality, the title character has a pet dodo, and her parents, like the above-mentioned Dr. Barlow, have a thylacinen.
  • In The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign many summoners use animal vessels. Heiress Aika has a liger, Shigara a squirrel that survives her ascension to Divine-Class, and Biondetta an albino snake.
  • Wicked: There was an Ozma in the past known as "Ozma the Scarcely Beloved". She received her title for her high taxes. She is well-known for her pet ermines.
  • Mrs Gogol, the voodoo witch in Witches Abroad has a black cockerel called Legba, which she claims to be a dark and terrible spirit. He isn't. He does, however, have extremely prominent spurs, which persuade even Greebo to look elsewhere for lunch.
  • In A Wizard of Earthsea, Ged ends up with an otak as his familiar. It's explicitly noted that otaks are not easily domesticated at best, and it is shown when his otak nearly bites some of the other students at his school.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Addams Family had as a housepet a full-grown lion they call Kittycat. (This gag was not included in the films.) In addition, Pugsley has a pet octopus, Morticia has a pet vulture, and Wednesday likes to raise thoroughbred spiders. Some of Morticia's plants may also count.
  • From the Disney sitcom Jessie, adopted Funny Foreigner Ravi has a monitor lizard named Mr. Kipling.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus. The Fish License sketch has John Cleese asking a license for his pet halibut. The man behind the counter (Michael Palin) finds this strange and unnecessary. Cleese then defends himself by referring to other historical people who had unusual pets, such as Marcel Proust. Cleese's character also wants a license for his pet bee, who is called "Eric the Half-a-Bee" ("bisected accidentally").
  • The Munsters are known for many aspects of their kooky lifestyle, including their menagerie of different kinds of pets: Grandpa has a pet bat named Igor who frequently stays down in his basement dungeon, Eddie has a dragon named Spot who lives under the staircase, and the family has a raven that lives in a cuckoo clock (and often sticks his head out to caw, "Nevermore! Nevermore!")
  • In the pirate comedy Our Flag Means Death, Cloudcuckoolander Nathaniel Buttons has a pet seagull named Karl that he claims can talk to him. He later relates Karl's untimely death to the gull's "wife," Olivia, who seems to comprehend him.
  • In an episode of Quantum Leap, Al mentions having had a pet cockroach (named Kevin) as a child. Though he mentions is as part of a monologue about how much better Sam's childhood was than his own, Al does actually remember the roach fondly.
  • In the meta Supernatural episode The French Mistake, Sam and Dean are at Jared Padalecki's house and discover that the actor has a pet alpaca.
  • In the 1966 Live-Action TV version of Tarzan, the jungle-raised Tarzan has a pet chimp named Cheetah.
  • Sherlock and Joan from Elementary keep a tortoise named Clyde. While not a rare pet, it's unconventional by fictional standards. Sherlock has Manchild and Cloudcuckoolander tendencies. Both him and Joan have unconventional jobs of being consulting detectives.
  • Torchwood's Cardiff branch has a collective example in the form of their "office pterodactyl", who apparently wandered through the time rift some time prior to the first episode and ended up becoming the team mascot. His name is Mywyfany, although this was only confirmed from secondary sources.

    Music 
  • "New York City" by T-Rex was inspired by the sight of one of these:
    Did you ever see a woman coming from New York City
    With a frog in her hand?
    • Bolan himself had a pet mouse called Boink

     Video Games 
  • Diner Dash Adventures has Queenie, a Selfiegram-obsessed girl who has a pet pig named Princess.
  • Kosodate Quiz My Angel: Each pet you have chosen has an accessory that boosts one of your daughter’s personality parameters. note 
  • In Legend of the Crystal Skull, recently-deceased eccentric Bruno Bolet kept a pet iguana named Iggy, which he trained to do tricks and dressed in little costumes. He also regularly fed a wild alligator that lives in the marsh behind the cemetery he managed.

    Web Comics 
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • The Verres family has a cat-like pet named Jeremy who was brought home by Tedd's father one day. Jeremy has spines/spikes on his back that become erect when he's frightened or angry and his jaws are powerful enough to open metal cans of catfood. Tedd is a Mad Scientist and his father is part of an organization that deals with the unusual (supernatural, aliens, etc.).
    • Adrian Raven has a similar "cat". He's confused when Grace isn't the slightest bit surprised by it (since she lives with the Verres and by extension with Jeremy).

    Web Original 
  • There is a comic that judges people based on their preferred pets. Dogs are the "normal" default, but anything besides a cat or a dog is varying degrees of weird and/or creepy.

    Western Animation 


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