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Viewer Species Confusion

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Wait, you mean you're not a badger?

GameLand: And what do you think, how many gamers now understand that Sonic is a hedgehog?
Naka: No, not all of them. In Japan he's taken for a cat very frequently. It's easier for Americans — reference to hedgehogs exist right in the title of the game, so the "hedgehogness" of Sonic is a given to them. But French and German people, for example, are trying to see some other animals in him as well.

Similar to how Viewer Gender Confusion is the audience thinking the character is of the opposite gender (or isn't sure which gender the character is in general), Viewer Species Confusion is when the audience thinks the character is of a different species. Usually it happens when the character is oddly colored, if the character barely resembles the species they're supposed to be, or if they're a species the audience hasn't heard of.

This is an Audience Reaction. Informed Species if intentional, I Am Not Weasel if in-universe, and Cartoon Creature if it's not even supposed to be recognized.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Aggretsuko:
    • Ookami was mistaken for a fox by some viewers, but he is actually a maned wolf. This is an easy mistake to make because maned wolves are the same color as red foxes and are not very well-known.
    • Haida has also been mistaken for an African wild dog, but is actually a spotted hyena.
    • Some people believe Manumaru to be a leopard or a bobcat, but he’s actually a Pallas's cat.
    • At a glance, most viewers would probably consider Anai to be a dog, weasel, or meerkat, but he is actually a Japanese badger.
    • Tsubone is a Komodo dragon, but some fans assume her to be a snake with limbs added for the sake of anthropomorphism.
    • Puko is sometimes assumed to be a domestic cat instead of a cougar.
    • Due to her small size, Tsunoda is sometimes mistaken for a dik-dik instead of a Thompson's gazelle. Even Wikipedia made this mistake for a while.
    • The unnamed Loony Fan from Season 3 is a llama, but some assume him to be a horse, donkey, camel, alpaca, or kangaroo, since he wears a mask for most of his limited screentime and we only see his face briefly.
  • Terriermon from Digimon Tamers is supposed to be a dog, like the name suggests, but he looks more like a rabbit. It doesn't help that his twin, Lopmon, actually is a rabbit. The dub decided to just straight up change him into a rabbit. Muddling things even further is a piece of art the official Digimon twitter released for New Years 2018, themed after the Year of the Dog, featuring Terriermon... and Lopmon, who is supposed to be a rabbit.
  • Menchi in Excel♡Saga is a dog and is constantly referred to as such, but most people would guess "cat" upon seeing her.
  • The art-style of Ginga Densetsu Weed and Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin makes it hard to distinguish dog breeds. John the German Shepherd, for example, doesn't look much like a GS, while Cross the Saluki looks more like a spaniel.
  • Jewelpet:
    • Io is a species of rabbit characterized by having droopy ears; it's easy to think that he's a dog, especially in Twinkle, where he forms a trio with two dog Jewelpets. This mistake was canonized by the fourth season.
    • King is supposed to be a French Bulldog, but his color scheme makes him look like some sort of creature who decided to wear a pink rabbit outfit... with a pig-like tail. Truly the stuff that Mind Screw is made of.
    • Coal is the little known capybara. People tend to think he's a bear or a hippo.
  • The Mokonas from Magic Knight Rayearth, ×××HOLiC and Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- are usually thought to be a rabbits, when really they're just Mokona.
  • No-one really knows what My Hero Academia's Nezu, the principal of U.A. High School, is. The obvious answer would be a mouse or a rat (due to his long tail, his name being a pun on "nezumi", the Japanese word for "rat", and the obvious association between rats and experimentation). However, that leaves his size unaccounted for. His face also resembles a bear's somewhat, while his paws are closer to those of a feline or a canine. His Quirk does not provide an explanation for any of this. Whatever species he was originally, he is most likely heavily mutated, perhaps by the experiments he was put through. It's worth noting that this series has lots of animalistic characters who are actually human, so fans could have easily assumed that he was too. Instead, human is the one species that we know he can't be.
  • Chu-Chu from Revolutionary Girl Utena is often mistaken for a mouse due to his small size, round ears, and the fact that "chu" is typically a Japanese sound effect for a mouse's squeaking. He's actually supposed to be a very small monkey.
  • Much like Terriermon above, Sanrio's Cinnamoroll is a dog but could easily be mistaken for a lop rabbit.
  • Sarah in Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie is actually a Cat Girl, but since the American edit removed all scenes depicting her cat ears, American viewers often mistook her for a monkey. A good number of the fanbase also thinks of her as a human, not a cat girl.

    Comic Strips 
  • Sheila Roo from Pluggers is, as the name suggests, a kangaroo, but since she's not drawn with kangaroo feet or a kangaroo tail, many readers assume her to be a fox, coyote or some kind of long-nosed rabbit. Interestingly, her species was more obvious back when Jeff MacNelly still drew the strip.
  • The dog from Footrot Flats confused some irregular readers of the strip, and likewise some viewers of the movie who weren't familiar with the strip. Compounding the problem of his exaggerated cartoon features - which could just as easily be a caricature of a cat as they could be of a dog - was the running gag that he had been raised in a cat shelter and had adopted many feline behaviors as a result. The fact that his owner, Wal, occasionally tasked him with certain 'cat jobs' (such as locking him in a kitchen cupboard to kill the rat that had been raiding it) certainly didn't help the confusion. While much of the strip cements The Dog's species as clearly being,well... a dog, a reader who only saw select strips from the series could've easily gotten confused.

    Films — Animation 
  • Animalympics:
    • Most viewers mistake Tatyana Tushenko to be a ferret, mink, otter, or weasel, when she is actually stated to be a sable, a mustelid that’s usually overshadowed by the other mustelid species mentioned.
    • Bruce Kwokimoto is a puffin, but is usually mistaken to be a duck or penguin by viewers.
  • Balto: Steele is a malamute, not a husky. He gets mistaken for a large husky because his crush Jenna is one and because he has blue eyes (which are impossible in purebred malamutes).
  • Some people think the titular character of Bolt is a Bull Terrier, a mutt, or just a generic cartoon dog. He's actually a White Shepherd (a white off-shoot of the German Shepherd breed) but is very small for his breed. He's the same size as a house cat despite being an adult.
  • Cinderella 3D has multiple examples of this trope:
    • It's unclear whether Cinderella is an antelope, deer, cougar, fox, or something else entirely.
    • Is Cinderella's stepmother supposed to be a dog?
    • One of the characters looks like either a turkey or a vulture. If she is a vulture, this adds a another level of weirdness to a already weird film, because they ride non-anthropomorphic vultures.
  • Ice Age:
    • The two sea reptiles from the second movie, Maelstrom and Cretaceous, are subject to this. The fandom regularly refers to them as a Globidens and a Metriorhynchus respectively, but they are officially a pliosaur and an ichthyosaur.
    • Rudy is supposed to be a Baryonyx. Some viewers think he is a Suchomimus or even a badly drawn Spinosaurus. Also the Guanlong, Triceratops, Troodon, Harpactognathus, and Pterodactylus are often thought to be raptors, Chasmosaurus, Compsognathus, Pteranodon, and Quetzalcoatlus respectively (though the latter two weren't specifically identified by Word Of God).
    • Gavin, Gertie and Roger are said to be "Dino-Birds" (basically a made-up species of feathered dinosaur), but they are believed to be Dakotaraptor by viewers (despite Dakotaraptor not being able to fly like them).
    • Scrat is meant to be a prehistoric version of a ground squirrel, but some viewers have mistaken him for a modern squirrel, or a rat.
  • In the "Rite of Spring" segment of Fantasia, there is a small dinosaur with a domed head, shown chasing an Archaeopteryx. It's often believed to be an Ornitholestes (which was commonly shown attacking Archaeopteryx in contemporary paleo-art), a Compsognathus (because of its small size), or even a Velociraptor. What is it meant to be, according to the script? A Troodon. This one actually makes sense if you know that, at the time, Troodon was considered to be a pachycephalosaur, which explains its oddly-shaped head.
  • Kung Fu Panda
    • Master Shifu is supposed to be a red panda, but due to looking very little like one, viewers have mistaken him for a rat or fox.
    • Since snow leopards were rarely seen in fiction when the first film was released, many viewers called Tai Lung a tiger, despite his lack of stripes.
  • Many have a hard time identifying Spike from The Land Before Time as a Stegosaurus due to his lack of plates and a thagomizer (most likely thanks to his young age), thinking him to be some sort of ankylosaur instead. It doesn't help that we never see any adult Stegosaurus in the first film, despite Littlefoot's mother mentioning "spiketails" when telling her son about the different types of dinosaurs.
  • Zazu from The Lion King is often called a toucan by less-knowledgeable viewers. He's a hornbill, and is even referred to as one in the song "I Just Can't Wait To Be King".
  • Madagascar:
    • Mort is a very cute animal with buck teeth and a bushy tail, but he isn't a squirrel. He's a mouse lemur (which is a primate, not a rodent).
    • King Julien is not a raccoon, despite his face mask and ringed tail. He's a lemur.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017):
    • Captain Celaeno was thought by some to be a griffon when her design was first revealed, since only her top half was visible and she had a similar design as the griffons in the show the film was based on, along with long pointed ears similar to the kind griffons in other media are sometimes depicted with. Others pointed out her name doesn't start with a "G" like the other griffons in the show, and is a reference to a harpy from Greek mythology. Then her toy was revealed, showing she didn't have lion parts and looked more like a humanoid parrot than a griffon. That said, the confusion still persisted among many reviewers for a while, due to her brief appearances in the trailer.
    • Despite official sources calling him a hedgehog, many fans call Grubber a badger due to his black and white coloration.
  • Some people think Rita from Oliver & Company is an Afghan Hound, but she's a Saluki.
  • Brutus and Nero from The Rescuers are called crocodiles in the movie, but viewers often refer to them as alligators (most likely due to the film being set in Louisiana, where alligators are common, but crocodiles are rarely seen). It should be noted gators are distinguished from crocs by possessing an overbite, whereas Brutus and Nero both have interlocking teeth appropriate for crocs. That said, the concept art and some spinoff books do call them alligators, and cartoon alligators are often drawn with crocodile-type teeth.
  • Something of a pedantic example, but the White Mare form of the Snow Queen in Son of the White Horse isn't just a horse. The Queen transforms into an antlered hybrid between a reindeer and a steppe horse, with antlers made of flower petals. Her antlers disappear and reappear depending on the scene, but only after shedding them for good does she technically become a horse. According to the director, this was meant to symbolize how the ancient Asian tribes who had originally made up this story, and to whom the film was dedicated, switched their sacred totem animal from the deer to the horse.
  • Due to his lack of a wattle, Panchito Pistoles from The Three Caballeros is not immediately identifiable as a rooster by many viewers. Some call him a turkey, and Doug Walker called him a woodpecker in his Disneycember of the film (which he doesn't really look like either, though he does resemble Woody Woodpecker).
  • In You Are Umasou, there is a purple horned carnivore whom some viewers think is a Carnotaurus. It is actually supposed to be a Chilantaisaurus like in the book of the same name and this episode from the animated series (and the animal in question does have huge arms and three-fingered hands, in contrast to stubby arms and four-fingered hands like Carnotaurus).
  • Zootopia:
    • Mr. Big is often called a rat, mouse, vole or opossum. He's actually an arctic shrew, which isn't even a rodent (and neither are possums).
    • Finnick is sometimes mistaken for a Chihuahua, but he is really a fennec fox.
    • A few people have also called Clawhauser a leopard or jaguar, but he's actually a cheetah. This is probably due to him being much chubbier than real life cheetahs.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alpha (2018) features a big cat that many viewers assume is a saber-toothed cat, particularly Machairodus due to its long tail. However, the visual effects supervisor confirmed it was not a saber-tooth but a cave lion (a more accurate choice as cave lions did live in the movie's setting of Europe 20,000 B.C., when Machairodus was long extinct). The saber teeth were apparently added to make it look scarier.
  • The original Petey the Pup from The Little Rascals is a complicated example. Different sources differ on whether he's an American Pit Bull Terrier, an American Staffordshire Terrier, or a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The real issue here is that the American Pit Bull Terrier is not a "real breed", at least according to the American Kennel Club (it is according to several other international kennel clubs, however). American Pit Bull Terriers are combined with American Staffordshire Terriers in the AKC. Thus, Petey is listed as an Am. Staf on their breed site despite many others considering him an American Pit Bull Terrier.
  • Jurassic Park
    • The first movie contains a case of this. The two skeletons in the Visitor Center are a Tyrannosaurus rex and a sauropod. Said sauropod is often called an Apatosaurus or a Brontosaurus, but according to the script, it's an Alamosaurus.
    • The unnamed sauopod that appears briefly during the roundup scene in The Lost World: Jurassic Park is neither an Apatosaurus nor a Diplodocus, which it is often mistaken for by causal viewers. It's actually a Mamenchisaurus.
    • In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the skull that the Indoraptor is impaled on during the final battle is often called a Triceratops skull by viewers. According to the script, it's an Agujaceratops. However, Agujaceratops had holes in its frill that the skull in the movie doesn't have, which makes it look more like a Triceratops skull anyway. The film's producers, on the other hand, claim it wasn't supposed to be a specific type of ceratopsian at all, so make of that what you will.

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Based on the illustrations, no one can tell if Pat is a hamster, guinea pig or some kind of ape.
  • Baloo from The Jungle Book is identified as a brown bear in the text. However, many fans assume he is a sloth bear due to the story being set in India. However, it's possible that he is a sloth bear, and the text is only referring to his color.
  • Toto from Land of Oz is a nondescript terrier. Audiences have tried to distinguish his breed, with different results. Thanks to the MGM film he's usually pinned as a Cairn Terrier.
  • Nobody is sure what kind of animal Little Critter is. Many have theorized that he is a groundhog, hamster, guinea pig, wombat, or porcupine. According to this web page though, he says his species is a "Little Critter".
  • The Moomins:
    • Snorkmaiden and Snork are often mistaken for Moomins, because their species (Snorks) and their difference compared to Moomins (They can change color according to their mood) are rarely brought up after Comet in Moominland.
    • Snufkin and Little My are often mistaken for humans. It's not mentioned very often, but they're much smaller than humans: Snufkin is around the size of Moomins, who are said to have lived behind people's masonry heaters, and Little My was so small she needed to be seen through a magnifying glass when she was born. Their mother is also a Horned Humanoid in the book illustrations, and Mymbles and Snufkins (at least in the first book) are treated as a species.
  • Old Yeller: Old Yeller's breed is confusing to many because it's an obscure American breed. He's a "yellow cur", which refers to the Black Mouth Cur. Most people just think he's a Labrador (because he fits the Dog Stereotype and was played by a Lab mix in the film).
  • Nana in the Peter Pan books was based on a real dog named Luath. Luath was a Landseer, not a St. Bernard as Nana is portrayed in adaptations.
  • Despite his black-and-white pelt, the wolf-dog Alpha from Survivor Dogs is half-German Shepherd, not half-Husky or Malamute. He gets his coloring from his gray wolf side.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Yellowfang's short muzzle and long fur has many claim that she's a Persian. She isn't. She's a mixed-breed just like almost all of the Clan cats. She gets her Persian-like traits from her mother's side.
    • Kinkfur's perpetually messy fur has some fans claim that he's a Devon Rex or Cornish Rex. Kinkfur is mixed.
    • Bluestar is very frequently described as a Russian Blue, even on The Other Wiki. She isn't—she's mixed. She has greyish "blue" fur and a sleek build but has blue eyes, not green. Bluestar is not from a pure Russian Blue lineage, meaning that she's not a Russian Blue. She likely has Russian Blue in her blood, however.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Who's Your Doggie? is a documentary about finding the background of mixed-breed dogs. It shows how easy to be mistaken about dog mixes. For example, a dog that is speculated to be a Labrador Retriever and Corgi mix actually has Chihuahua, Toy Fox Terrier, Chow Chow, and Lab in him.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Even archeologists are not sure what the Egyptian god Set is supposed to be. There is an article on The Other Wiki about this.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppets:
    • Animal and Gonzo. No-one has any clue as to what either of them is, to the point where the latter was frequently referred to as a "whatever". Of course, Gonzo later turned out to be an alien. Gonzo also bears a strong resemblance to a Russian insectivore called a "desman". His puppet is a modified "frackle" monster from The Great Santa Claus Switch, an earlier Henson project.
    • There's also Beauregard. It's unclear just what exactly he's supposed to be, though some have theorized that he's a mole.
  • Sesame Street: Rosita is sometimes called a fruit bat by viewers. In reality, she's a monster, who was only designed to look somewhat like a fruit bat.

    Video Games 
  • In Adventure, the dragons look more like ducks, which was referenced in Homestar Runner.
  • All over the place in Crash Bandicoot. Combined with many of the marsupial animals being seldom seen in media, many kids mistook the characters for different animals.
    • Crash looks more like a tailless fox than a bandicoot, lacking the rodent like snout of a real bandicoot. Concept art reveals Crash was designed before he was assigned a species and his placeholder species was a wombat.
    • Tiny Tiger is officially a Tasmanian Tiger AKA thylacine, but looks more like a monstrous version of Crash and lacks the stripes of a real thylacine. Tiny has a lion like tail and roars like a big cat; as a result many kids mistook Tiny for a lion or actual tiger rather then a marsupial.
  • The bird mascot of Duolingo is an owl, but given his green coloration, ability to produce human speech, and diurnality, he's often confused for a parrot.
  • Hidden City: Violet's dog, Alligator, looks very much like a Great Dane (albeit a tiny one, as his ears only reach Violet's waist). Some users have also suggested that he's a bloodhound with cropped ears to account for his size. G5 Entertainment later reveals that he's actually a Doberman.
  • The Condor in Ice Climber looks more like a pterodactyl than an actual condor.
  • For some odd reason, people find the Insaniquarium alien Psychosquid to be an octopus, despite him not having any octopus-like traits. He has 6 arms and a coned head, two traits that belong to squids and not octopi.
  • Chica and Foxy The Pirate from Five Nights at Freddy's. Chica is a chicken, but is frequently mistaken for a duck, while Foxy is, well, a fox, but is often mistaken for a wolf or coyote. To be fair, though, their names aren't really stated in-game until the seventh night.
  • In Mass Effect, the turian species was supposed to be based on birds of prey, and "bird" is even used in-universe as a slang term for the species. However, many fans thought they more closely resembled felines due to the shape of their face (small, flat noses with W-shaped mouths). This was referenced in the Citadel DLC for the third game, where Grunt mutters, "They don't look like birds, they look like cats!", among other silly things, in his sleep.
  • The seagulls in Metal Gear Solid 2 have been called "pigeons" by some. No, really.
  • Moshi Monsters: Mr. Snoodle was called an elephant by some players, even by one of the creators at one point. In actuality, while he looks a little bit like one, he's really a Silly Snuffler, which is its own species.
  • Gregg from Night in the Woods is a fox, but players who are unaware have interpreted him as being a wolf or a dog, since his species isn't mentioned in-game.
  • One character from the PaRappa the Rapper franchise is Lammy, a lamb who looks more like a deer or a calf, or a human with stubby antlers, pointy ears, and round black nose.
  • Pokémon:
    • Raikou, Suicune, and Entei are often thought of as canines or felines by the fandom, when really they're based on creatures from Chinese/Japanese folklore (a Raiju, a Qilin and a Foo Lion respectively). The name "Legendary dogs" is puzzlingly prevalent for them, despite the fact that Raikou at least is clearly more akin to a sabretooth tiger than any kind of dog. Entei has some lion-like characteristics and Suicune... might resemble a very stylized leopard if you squint really hard(its inspiration was a hooved animal), but "Legendary cats" is less prevalent than "Legendary dogs". Some fans sidestep the issue entirely with the sarcastic moniker "legendary gerbils". Bulbapedia simply calls them "Legendary beasts".
    • Growlithe and Arcanine are striped like tigers, but also resemble and behave like dogs. They're actually based on a variation of the Shisa (A creature that could either be half-dog and half-lion or half-dog and half-tiger) from Okinawa folklore.
    • Poochyena and Mightyena are often thought of as dogs or wolves, when they're possibly based on hyenas, got half of their name from the hyena and their appearance looks like a mixture of brown hyenas and canines.
    • Fans tend to think that Nidoking and Nidoqueen are a strange combination of a rabbit and a rhino. In reality, they're based off of the kaiju Baragon.
    • Mew is sometimes mistaken for a gerbil by the fandom. It's actually a cat-like creature.
      • Likewise, Mewtwo is sometimes mistaken to be an alien. It doesn't help that it strikes a resemblance to both Giygas from the Mother video games and Frieza from Dragon Ball. Like Mew, it's supposed to be some sort of cat.
    • Fans can't seem to determine whether Eevee is supposed to be a fox, cat, or some sort of small dog. It doesn't help that its evolutions can have either canine and/or feline traits.
      • Espeon, on the other hand, is based on the nekomata. Although its ears resemble that of a fennec fox.
      • Umbreon resembles some sort of feline or canine. However, it is actually partially based on a black cat, and, oddly enough, a rabbit. This is because Umbreon is supposed to be a Shout-Out to the Moon Rabbit of Asian folklore.
    • Arceus has been called a horse, llama, giraffe, and a goat by the fandom. Its actually a Kirin (a unicorn-like creature from Japanese folklore. Also known as a "Qilin").
    • Lugia is often mistaken for a dragon by most of the fandom. Although it is partially based on one, Lugia is actually supposed to be a bird.
    • Paras and Parasect are sometimes mistaken for hermit crabs, though they're meant to be cicada nymphs.
    • Cranidos and Rampardos are sometimes thought to be Tyrannosaurs, when they are clearly pachycephalosaurs (although Pokémon X and Y later introduced proper T. rex Pokemon, Tyrunt and Tyrantrum). Doesn't help that the Pokédex states that Rampardos actively hunts other Pokémon.
    • Sandshrew and Sandslash are often assumed to be mice of some sort; the English Pokédex even describes them as "Mouse Pokémon." But they're actually based on the pangolin, an armadillo-like creature unknown to most people outside Asia.
    • Zorua and Zoroark are often mistaken for wolves, with many viewers thinking that the latter is a werewolf due to its claws being werewolf-like, when they're clearly both foxes, based on the kitsune, possibly of the more mischevious yako or nogitsune variety, contrast to Vulpix and Ninetales, who resemble the zenko kitsune in comparison.
    • Due to its name, Pikachu is widely considered to be loosely based on the Pika. Amongst those who don't know what Pika are, it's usually thought that Pikachu is a mouse. According to interviews, Pikachu was originally based on a rice-cake before becoming squirrel-based.
    • Psyduck is often taken to be "just a duck," but it's also based on the duck-billed platypus as well.
  • Talon from Primal Rage is really a Deinonychus, but is often called a velociraptor.
  • Chocolat from Solatorobo looks like and is thought to be a cat, but she's really a dog.
  • Several Sonic the Hedgehog characters are often mistaken for other animals, since most of them don't really resemble the animal they're supposed to be:
    • The biggest example would be Fang the Sniper from Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble to the point the translators were confused. He was originally given the Dub Name Change of "Nack the Weasel" and listed as a weasel/wolf hybrid. In reality, Fang is a jerboa/wolf hybrid.
    • Jet the Hawk was mistaken for a parrot by some due to his green coloration and squawky nasally voice.
    • Sonic, Shadow, Silver, and especially Amy don't resemble hedgehogs. Their quills are very stylized compared to a real hedgehog's. Sonic and Amy have furless stomachs and arms like hedgehogs, but Silver and Shadow don't. Amy's name is "Amy Rose", not "Amy the Hedgehog", so she causes the most confusion in her Modern design. With her bob-like quills, she gets mistaken for a cat. All of the hedgehogs often get mistaken for porcupines, even in official translations.
    • Sonic himself had many early Brazilian material calling him a porcupine, which might have spike-like hair but is a whole different animal.
  • Merasmus the Wizard from Team Fortress 2 has a monkey-like face and appearance, which will make some think he's a monkey for a second.
  • Undertale has a case of viewer breed confusion. No one is quite sure if the Annoying Dog is a Samoyed, American Eskimo dog, Japanese Spitz, or white Pomeranian. The file names have "pom" in it, so it's likely the last one is correct.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: Komasan is a lion-dog with some Shiba Inu influences. However, he just looks like a Cute Kitten rather than a Precious Puppy (likely because he is too young for a mane). Even more confusing, his evolved form Komane puts emphasis on the "lion" part of his design. The Art Evolution later in the franchise makes it so he's more obviously a dog.

    Visual Novel 
  • Monster Prom: One of the main characters, the Living Shadow Oz had met some confusion in regards to what sort of monster he is exactly, with a tendency for people to think of him as either a shadow or some sort of Humanoid Abomination, while these assessments aren't exactly incorrect, Oz's species was confirmed by the creators as being the Anthropomorphic Personification of fear itself, and the little creatures that sprout from him being phobias.
  • In Morenatsu, Kouya has the grey fur and golden eyes of a wolf, and yet he is actually a husky. Doesn't stop fans from confusing him for the former when they first see him. The same can be said about his father, whose design looks like an older version of Kouya.

  • The cats of Achewood could easily be mistaken for Pug dogs, given their round ears and black noses (and in Ray's case — let's face it — his personality).
  • Off-White: In once scene, the wolf Hati looks like a gorilla dispute the artwork being excellent.
  • Penny Arcade:
    • Hardware example: Div. Newcomers who have not yet read the older strips usually think he is a DVD player, when really he is a DIVX player.
    • Also, the wombat symbol is mistaken for a bear by newcomers.
  • DNA: Species X is a group of genetically engineered animals, although what species they are based on is unknown which has lead to many readers trying to guess what they are. The author has confirmed that they are not bats, or lemurs, or dogs, or cats, or koalas, or wolves, or mice. Since they were genetically engineered, they may be based on multiple animals.

    Web Original 
  • Battle for Dream Island: Some viewers often mistake Woody for a slice of bread due to his shape and color despite Tennis Ball outright stating he is made of balsa in the very first episode.
  • RWBY has a race of Little Bit Beastly people known as the Faunus, which is the cause for occasional fan confusion:
    • Neon Katt is a Cat Girl with a tail but no cat ears. As a result of her peppy personality and her Girlish Pigtails invoking big monkey ears, many fans thought she was a monkey Faunus upon first seeing her.
    • Adam Taurus is a bull Faunus, but many fans have trouble spotting his horns. They're small and they blend into his hair.
    • Downplayed with Blake Belladonna. Despite her hiding her cat ears with a bow, the fandom had her pegged as a cat Faunus from the very first episode. The only confusion is whether she's a housecat Faunus or a panther Faunus.
  • Russell the sea otter from Happy Tree Friends is commonly mistaken for a cat due to his whiskers.
    • Giggles is supposed to be a chipmunk, but her lack of a tail caused fans to mistake her for a bear. It was eventually confirmed that she does have a tail, but it's so short that we can't see it.
  • hololive: Virtual Youtuber / Idol Singer Fubuki Shirakami is a fox-girl, having fox ears and a tail. She's frequently mistaken by viewers as a cat-girl, especially since her avatar usually only shows her upper body, so her tail isn't visible. Her tendency to exclaim "Nya!" (the sound cats make in Japanese) when surprised doesn't help matters. She tends to get annoyed and proclaim "I am a FOX!" whenever this gets brought up.
    • Played for Laughs with some of the other members, especially the "Holobirds". Takanashi Kiara is meant to be a phoenix, but everyone calls her a chicken (not helped when her gimmick is running a fast food chain called KFP). Paviola Reine is meant to be a peafowl, but everyone calls her a turkey. Then there's Oozora Subaru always being called a duck, when she's just a regular human (started thanks to a botched ASMR stream where her voice was compared to Donald Duck). Though she's mostly accepted it, she's still annoyed that people think of her as a duck. There's also Momosuzu Nene, who also started as a normal human, but would later adopt a bear costume. Though everyone instead refers to her as a seal (which she's gracefully taken in stride). There's also Hakos Baelz, who takes the form of a rat, but everyone jokingly calls her a hamster (which she doesn't like).
  • One video featuring a hockey mask quiz has a contestant mistaking Curtis Joseph's mask for a bear. Even as the producers explain that the (decidely canine) animal is an angry dog, as Joseph's nickname for obvious reasons was "Cu Jo", the guy, along with stating he never heard of Cujo, refuses to change his mind.

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs: The Warner Brothers don't have a set species, thus no one has any clue as to what they are. Fans usually call them dogs for simplification reasons, but that's not completely accurate. Some viewers also genuinely think they're cats, but they've disproved that in an episode. Dr. Scratchansniff calls them monkeys but also knows they actually aren't.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball has a lot of examples of Informed Species, but the title character is an unusual one. The cat, Gumball, is an example in that he looks round and colorful enough that he could pass as an anthropomorphic piece of candy who is named Gumball because he is a gumball.
  • Arthur:
    • Arthur looks like a gerbil, mouse, bear or a hamster rather than an aardvark.
      • This gets acknowledged in "The Contest". Arthur and his friends watch a parody of the show called Andy and Company, Arthur takes offense when one of his friends calls the protagonist a "mouse": "He's not a mouse, he's a... something. I forgot."
    • Ape and bear characters, just as Francine (ape) and the Brain (bear), cause problems with fans. A lot of fans also just think ape characters are Token Humans.
    • Prunella was originally a rat in the books but her curly hair has caused people to mistake her for a poodle. This in turn has caused Creator Species Confusion as different sources refer to her as either a dog or a rat.
    • Similarly, the blind girl Marina introduced in the sixth season uses the same basic character model used for other rabbits on the series. Yet Marc Brown, the author/illustrator of the original Arthur books, once referred to her in an interview as a "variation on a dog," apparently because she has the type of nose normally used on dogs on the series. Later, however, she has been established as a rabbit.
    • It's actually easier to list the characters in the show who don't invoke this to some extent—those being Buster (obviously a rabbit) and Mr. Ratburn (obviously a rat).
  • Uniqua from The Backyardigans is an interesting example. Some viewers think she is some kind of bug, and some even call her a pig. According to Word Of God though, her species is actually called a "uniqua", hence her name having the word "unique" in it.
  • Danger Mouse:
    • Colonel K is a chinchilla, but due to his mustache and how he appears in scenes where it's hard to judge his size, several people think he's a walrus.
    • Penfold doesn't look much like a hamster, either.
  • Disney:
    • Pete is actually a cat, but practically everyone has thought he was a dog. This even carried into Goof Troop.
    • Goofy himself has confused a number of people. That being said, anyone that knows the character's origins, knows he was originally called Dippy Dog, and even had a tail originally. The confusion comes from his species never really being focused on, much like with Pete.
  • Launchpad McQuack from DuckTales is a duck, but his beak looks more like that of a pelican.
  • Heckle and Jeckle are often mistaken for crows, even though they're actually magpies (yellow-billed magpies to be exact). This is an understandable mistake though—-how many cartoons can you name that star magpies as characters?
  • Let's Go Luna!: Thanks to Joe Murray's trademark bizarre animal designs, there has been many an argument in the fandom over the species of certain characters, especially on the show's wiki. Plenty of people thought Leo was a dog when he is actually a wombat (not that he looks much like one anyways). There are also debates as to whether Salami Strong is a crocodile, a horse, or a hippo. Mr. Hockbar has been speculated to be everything from a gopher to a turtle to a lizard. As it turns out, he's supposed to be a vole.
  • Russell in Littlest Pet Shop (2012) is a hedgehog but is frequently mistaken, both in-universe and out, for a porcupine. He takes it completely in stride (at least unless he's sufficiently agitated, like in "In the Loop").
  • The Loud House:
    • Izzy is sometimes assumed to be a gecko or iguana, when in actuality, his species isn't defined beyond "lizard".
    • Charles is often described as a pit bull terrier by viewers. While this is mostly true, his grandfather is revealed to have been a Labradoodle in "Party Down", meaning he's actually three quarters pit bull terrier, one eighth Labrador and one eighth poodle.
  • Despite having his actual species in his name, Badgerclops from Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart is often mistaken for a panda bear because of his body type.
  • Martha Speaks:
    • Martha is sometimes assumed to be a Laborador or a Golden Retriever, when she's actually a mutt and doesn't even know what breeds she has in her except that she's apparently part pit bull.
    • Skits is sometimes assumed by viewers to be a Great Dane, when he's actually also a mutt. His fur is too woolly for him to be a Great Dane for one thing.
  • PAW Patrol:
    • Chase is a german shepherd, but due to his pattern, he's sometimes mistaken for a doberman.
    • Zuma is sometimes mistaken for a dachshund when he's actually a chocolate labrador retriever as his body is too short for the former breed. The actual dachshund on the show is Arrby.
    • The creators of the show confirmed that Tracker is a chihuahua, but he's a little too big for one. Perhaps he's a potcake dog?
  • The Raccoons:
    • Cedric and Cyril Sneer are supposed to be aardvarks, but are sometimes mistaken for naked tapirs, aliens, or even pink wolves that just look like aardvarks.
  • Regular Show: Eileen is a mole and Pops is a lollipop, but most people assume that the former is a tailed human, and the latter is a big-headed human.
    • Margaret is supposed to be a robin, but her mostly red coloring has lead many to think that she is a cardinal, despite the fact that only male cardinals are red.
  • Newcomers to The Ren & Stimpy Show sometimes think Ren the Chihuahua is a rabbit. Reportedly, some members of the crew also mistook him for a fly or mosquito upon seeing his early concept art, a mistake which was made a few times in-universe.
  • Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a character who is described as a dog despite looking, sounding, and acting like a cat.
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
    • According to some sources, Squidward is actually an octopus, but viewers assume he's a squid because of his name, Squidward. Word Of God is that the name "Squidward" flowed better than any octopus-related puns.
    • On Spongebob Wiki, Sheila was put into the 'Octopi' category when she was clearly a squid.
    • Many newcomers to the series, particularly younger viewers, have mistaken SpongeBob himself for a cube of cheese, based on him being a yellow cube with holes. The resemblance is even lampshaded in "Band Geeks" and "Picture Day". The entire reason his name is SpongeBob instead of simply Bob was to prevent this.
  • Ludo from Star vs. the Forces of Evil tends to be mistaken for a Kappa by fans who are familiar with Japanese media, since he has a hairstyle that kappa are often depicted with. However, Season 2 makes clear that he's really supposed to be a bird monster who never grew wings, unlike the rest of his family who are much more birdlike in appearance.
  • Summer Camp Island very likely confused lots of viewers with respect to species. The protagonists are an elephant named Oscar and a Hedgehog named Hedgehog but you wouldn't know that by looking at them. Oscar has tiny ears and a tiny snout (unlike his elephant-looking parents) while Hedgehog looks like a weasel. They're two examples of many (for example, a wingless bat character resembles a badger, likely because he was a badger in the original pilot).
  • Don Karnage from TaleSpin was confirmed to be a wolf, but his species was never mentioned in the show. Some viewers called Karnage a fox or coyote, as he clearly looks like a canine.
  • Timothy Goes to School has Fritz. Is he a skunk? A badger? Nobody seems to be sure. Even looking at official reviews for the original Rosemary Wells book that he appears in, Fritz and the Mess Fairy, doesn't shed any light on the subject. Publisher's Weekly calls him a "skunk," Kirkus Reviews describes him as a "badger." Presumably, this applies to Miss Appleberry (the occasionally-seen student teacher) by extension, as she appears to be the exact same species as Fritz.
  • Ravage from Transformers is supposed to be a robotic panther, but his design in the original Generation One cartoon looked more like a dog or wolf, leading to years of heated debate in the early fandom over what kind of animal he was meant to look like. Beast Wars seemingly managed to put the matter to rest by redesigning him to look more explicitly catlike... until, almost a decade later, Bumblebee reopened old wounds by having its version of Ravage look like a dog again! Lampshaded in the IDW comics, where Ravage getting constantly mistaken for a dog became a minor Running Gag.
  • In T.U.F.F. Puppy, two of Snaptrap's henchmen, Ollie and Larry, are said to be an opossum and a shrew, respectively. However, Ollie looks more like a weasel or brown rat, while Larry could easily be mistaken for an opossum, white rat or mouse.
  • Many eBay listings for Linny the guinea pig on Wonder Pets! often describe her variously as a "hamster," "hampster" or "hedgehog." The I Am Not Weasel references worked into the series may have been an intentional reference to this sort of confusion.

    Real Life 
  • Bears:
    • Giant pandas have historically been considered raccoons, until the advent of DNA testing, which revealed them to be bears.
    • There is a viral video online of an animal that many people thought was either a chupacabra, alien, other cryptid, or a undiscovered species. Close examination revealed it was a sun bear that suffered from one or more conditions that made it abnormally extremely small and hairless.
    • Despite the name, "black" bears can be brown, and grizzly bears can be black, making it possible to mistake one for the other. When encountering a bear, misidentifying its species can be very dangerous because the safety measures you are supposed to take are different for each species.
  • Canines:
    • The African golden wolf and its subspecies the Egyptian wolf have long believed to be jackals until recent genetic testing by scientists discovered that the animals are closer related to the gray wolf than the jackal, leading to this reclassification.
    • It can be hard to tell what breed a dog is. Malamutes and Siberian Huskies in particular are confused because of their similar appearance. The main difference is that Malamutes are bigger and built stronger. They may also be assumed to be wolfdogs (or less commonly, pure wolves) because of looking wolf-like, and the tendency for wolfdogs to be part Husky or Malamute. This is even ignoring more obscure husky-types like the Greenland Dog and Canadian Eskimo Dog, which also share similarities.
    • Due to its name, the Miniature Pinscher is often mistaken for a scaled down Dobermann Pinscher (similar to the Italian Greyhound or Toy Poodle). It's actually older than the Dobermann and is related to the German Pinscher. The German Pinscher itself tends to be mistaken for the younger Dobermann.
    • The Bichon Frise and Poodle are often mistaken for one another due to their similarly curly, often white, fur.
    • Poodles that don't have typical "Poodle cuts" are often mistaken for Poodle mixes (also known as "Doodles").
    • The Maned wolf's note  name is a misnomer, as it's not a true wolf. It's not a very tall fox either, the other animal it's commonly mistaken for. It's only very distantly related to all other living canine species.
    • In the Great Britain and North America, "Landseer" is just another name for the Newfoundland. In other countries, they're two separate breeds. The main difference is that Landseers are more sporty and long-legged than the bulkier Newfoundland.
    • Any large breed with short hair and a big head will inevitably be called a pit bull by most people who aren't familiar with dog breeds. This includes boxers, bull terriers, bulldogs, rotweilers, and English mastiffs.
    • Until the late 1990s, the American Center for Disease Control tracked dog attacks by breed, relying on visual identification by witnesses. They then decided to test visual identification against an animal's breed as established by breeder paperwork and DNA testing and discovered that visual identification was only accurate about 20% of the time, effectively making it pure guesswork. Following the results of that study, the CDC stopped tracking breeds involved in dog attacks.
    • Particularly large coyotes may be mistaken for wolves, especially when seen from a distance, at the side of a road, or in dark lighting. Coyotes that happen to be ruddy colored may be mistaken for foxes.
    • Despite the misnomer name, the "red" fox may come in other colors than red, such as sliver black or tawny. People may mistake these for coyotes because most people are not aware that not all foxes are red.
    • There are also many more species of fox than most people are aware of, many of which are not red. In America alone, in addition to the red fox, there is the gray fox, the kit fox, the swift fox, and the island fox. Any of these may be easily mistaken for coyotes because not many people are aware that these species exist, and they all are gray in color.
    • Yellow labs and Golden Retrievers are sometimes confused. The most visible difference is that retrievers are woollier than Labradors.
  • Extinct Animals:
    • The confusion between mammoths and mastodons. Mammoths have a high-domed skull and an upright posture, whereas mastodons have a low-domed skull and a sloping posture. Also, unlike mastodons, mammoths are part of the elephant family (but not ancestors of today's elephants, contrary to popular belief)
    • Some dinosaurs that previously have been considered separate species have been theorized to be the same species, just at different ages. It's currently being debated whether Torosaurus was actually a fully gown Triceratops or if they truly are separate species. Various genera related to Pachycephalosaurus are also debated to be the same species. The most infamous example of this is Nanotyrannus, which may or may not be a juvenile T. Rex.
    • Pterosaurs, sea-going reptiles like plesiosaurs and mosasaurs, basal synapsids like Dimetrodon, modern reptiles, and even prehistoric mammals are wrongly considered to be dinosaurs by a majority of people, while avian dinosaurs such as Archaeopteryx and modern birds are equally wrongly considered not to be dinosaurs.
    • Dinosaurs themselves are often incorrectly considered to be "giant lizards", due to the word "Dinosaur" being Greek for "Terrible Lizard" (actually, Sir Richard Owen intended it to mean "Fearfully-Great Reptile" as he considered Dinosauria to be a distinct group of great reptiles). Gets ironic when you realize that mosasaurs, often mistaken for dinosaurs as mentioned above, are true lizards.
    • Neanderthals are sometimes thought to be ancient humans. Actually, they're an extinct, human-like species that was related to humans but not the ancestors of us, although scientists do believe that a few Neanderthals may have interbred with cro-magons, which are the actual early humans.
  • Felines:
    • There is a urban legend that Maine coons are hybrids with raccoons, which is impossible.
    • Some tailless cats have been claimed to be cabbits (fictional rabbit/cat hybrids.) Lacking a tail is technically a deformity (even though it is intentionally bred in cats), and often results in the spine being too short, which can cause the cat to hop in a rabbit-like manner.
      • Additionally, many people assume that any tailless or short-tailed cat is a Manx, when in fact several breeds feature reduced or absent tails, and even mixed-breed cats can have this trait. To further the confusion, plenty of Manx cats have normal tails, as breeding two tailless cats can result in even more severe spinal issues.
    • Often, any colorpoint (cat with a marking pattern triggered by heat distribution; the cooler areas of the body [legs, face, tail, ears] are darker) is assumed to be a Siamese because this is typical and iconic for the breed. Siamese cats are colorpoints, but not all colorpoints are Siamese; they may be a Ragdoll, or breedless, without necessarily having any relation to a Siamese.
    • A similar issue is people thinking that tabbies are a breed. All "tabby" means that the cat has a certain pattern of stripes, dots, lines, or swirling and usually an "M" like marking on its forehead. Many cats, both breedless and pure bred, have this pattern. It's not a breed unto itself.
    • Many people don't realize "domestic short-haired/long-haired cat" is just a fancy term for "mixed breed."
    • The confusion surrounding cheetahs, leopards, and jaguars caused by them all being large yellowish cats with spots. Cheetahs are built lightly for extreme speed, have tear drop markings under their eyes, and have solid spots. Leopards are larger than cheetahs, hunt by ambushing their prey instead of running them down, and have rosettes (a type of spot somewhat similar to a rose, the center is yellowish like the background fur instead of being filled in like a cheetah's spots). Jaguars are larger than leopards, have larger rosettes than them, and live on a entirely separate continent. Another thing to remember is that while leopards and jaguars are big cats, cheetahs are not; they are classified under the subfamily Felinae, which means they are closer to domestic cats than those two.
    • "Black panthers" are leopards or jaguars with a dark coloration, not a distinct separate species unto themselves.
    • Snow leopards and clouded leopards are not actually leopards, they are just named that because their spots make them resemble them.
    • The name "Saber-toothed tiger" is a misnomer, they are not actually tigers. In fact, some of the species are not, cladistically, cats at all; the saber-toothed animals include predators from many different mammalian orders, some part of the cat family, some not. The genus most known to the public, Smilodon, is indeed part of the cat family, but it is classified under a completely separate (and extinct) subfamily, Machairodontinae. In other words, domestic cats, tigers, and smilodons are equally distant and related to each other, because all three are part of different subfamilies.
    • Wildcats have this issue. "Wildcat" is a part of their species name, not a reference to them being "wild" (AKA feral) cats. To be more clear, feral cats are descendants of domestic cats who went astray, while wildcats have been living in the wild since time immemorial. They are not the same thing. The distinction is important in conservation, because clueless people tend to assume that all cats are the same and proceed to treat wildcats the same as the domestic ones, including spaying and neutering them. The Scottish wildcat is an extremely endangered species because people mistake them for domestic cats. Due to prevalence of interbreeding with pet cats, pure Scottish wildcats are all but extinct in the wild. It should also be noted that pet cats are domesticated from African wildcats, much like how dogs are descended from wolves. The reason why they look so similar compared to the latter is because the time of domestication is much recent compared to dogs (cats were domesticated during the Neolithic, while dogs were domesticated during the Paleolithic).
    • Maine Coons are often confused with Norwegian Forest Cats (usually people assuming a Norwegian Forest Cat is a Maine Coon) due to both being large, long-haired cats. The Norwegian Forest Cat is larger and has a pointier face.
  • Sea Life:
    • Porpoises are considered to be the same animals as dolphins. They are not. Porpoises have spade-shaped teeth, triangular dorsal fins, and a shorter snout than most dolphins.
    • Dugongs are often confused for manatees due to similar appearances, to the point of being considered the same animal. Manatees have paddle-shaped tails with only one lobe, while dugongs have cetacean-styled tail flukes. Likewise, both "sea cows" are often considered to be related to pinnipeds or even cetaceans, when in reality, they're the closest living relatives of elephants.
  • Ungulates:
    • Good luck telling the difference between a mule deer and a white tailed deer if you're not a hunter. The main differences is the mule deer has larger ears, and different face markings and antler shape. Another way to tell is by all things, how they move. Mule deer sometimes bounce off the ground in a behavior called stotting, whereas white tail deer do not. note 
    • The confusion some people have with deer and antelope and assuming they are related or the same thing.
    • The Pronghorn antelope has a misleading name, but it's not related to true antelopes. They are closer to giraffes of all things.
    • Llamas and alpacas are commonly confused due to both being domesticated camelids from South America. Llamas are larger, have more elongated muzzles, banana-shaped ears, and are mainly bred as pack animals. Alpacas are smaller, have shorted muzzles, spear-shaped ears, and are mainly bred for their wool.
  • Rabbits and hares are often mistaken for one another, and both are wrongly thought of as being rodents by a lot of people. Among other differences, hares are larger than rabbits and are solitary.
  • Besides rabbits and hares, many small mammals are often mistaken for rodents: bats, weasels, hedgehogs, shrews, ferrets, mongooses, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and moles.
    • Mongooses, ferrets and weasels eat mice and rats.
    • Speaking of ferrets and weasels, those two species often get confused for each other, along with stoats and minks, due to being all part of the same family.
  • Ravens and crows are difficult to tell apart. Add the various species of grackles to the mix, and bird watching any of these species can quickly become confusing for the novice.
  • Ancient people often classified animals differently than we do today, leading to this trope. Dolphins and other cetaceans were considered fish, which we obviously now know is wrong and the fact that all cetaceans are mammals. Bats were considered birds, which makes even less sense than thinking them to be rodents. However, in some cases it's more a case of language evolution than changes in scientific analysis.
    • The term "Pachyderm" originated as a taxonomic order that included elephants, rhinos, and hippos, which were all grouped together essentially for having superficial similarities such as being huge, aggressive, and having thick wrinkled gray skin, until it was made obsolete when it was realized these animals don't have that kind of close relation to each other.
  • The Furry Fandom has a lot of problems with this trope mainly because of the strong stylization many artists use when drawing. Often, any canine character is assumed to be a grey wolf because of the prevalence of that species in the fandom, even if it's actually supposed to be a dog, fox, coyote, or even cat (if the artist is that bad.) Sometimes the character's species is actually perfectly clear and obvious, meaning this problem is not always the artist's fault.
  • People often have trouble telling crocodiles and alligators apart, since they look identical at first glance. But alligators have overbites, broad snouts, and a darker coloration.
    • Like dinosaurs, crocodilians are often thought of as lizards, when in fact they're more closely related to birds (and ergo dinosaurs) than to other reptiles.
  • Tuataras are often mistaken for lizards due to being similar in appearance. In reality, tuataras are from a separate order (Rhynchocephalia) than lizards (Squamata).
  • Pythons are not the same kinds of snakes as boas or anacondas. Pythons are Old World snakesnote  that lay eggs, unlike boas and anacondas which are (mostly) New World snakesnote  that give live birth.
  • The legless lizards (glass lizards and slow-worms, among others) are rarely in works and very easily confused for true snakes when encountered in real life—their head anatomy including earholes and eyelids marks them as lizards, but their lack of limbs is the only thing many people notice and probably why they're rarely featured in fiction. They can't be a Lovable Lizard because they're just enough like snakes, but not enough like snakes to be Snakes Are Sinister.
  • Hyenas are often thought of as dogs, due to being very social and canine-like in appearance, but in reality, hyenas belong to their own family which is to some degree more closely related to cats than dogs. Some people make the opposite mistake and think they're felines because of misreading or misunderstanding the "closer to cats" factoid - all this means is they are comparatively more related to felines than canines, it doesn't mean that they are actually felines. As said, they belong to their own very distinct family. To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent of claiming bears are in the dog family. While they may be more closely related to cats than to dogs, their closest relatives are actually mongooses.
  • Sloths are often considered to be primates, as they look somewhat like apes. In fact, sloths are more closely related to armadillos or anteaters.
  • Decomposing animals can look weird and be hard to identify. The internet is full of pictures of mysterious animals that have washed up on beaches and have been claimed to be everything from aliens to cryptids.
  • Domestic ferrets are commonly mistaken for Black-Footed Ferrets. They are, however, separate species. Mistaking them is comparable to mistaking a Husky for a Grey Wolf. This confusion is so prevalent that it's led to ferrets being banned in many regions due to fears that they're dangerous wild animals who can cause harm to the environment if they got loose.
  • The red panda is often mistaken for a type of panda because of the misleading name. The two species are not closely related. Ironically, the name "panda" was first applied to the red panda rather than the better-known giant panda.
  • Koalas are sometimes thought to be bears, hence being wrongly called "Koala bears," but they are not. They are marsupials.
  • The book Shiloh was inspired by the writer's own experience. While visiting friends in Shiloh, West Virginia she came across a skinny, mistreated Beagle in 1989. Her friends ended up adopting the dog. As it turns out, Clover was a mutt not a Beagle. The fictional Shiloh, however, is an actual Beagle.
  • In the fifth century BC, Carthaginian explorer Hanno the Navigator found “hairy and savage people” on an island off the western coast of Africa, whom his interpreters called “gorillai”. It’s possible they were not really gorillas, but they’re their namesake.
  • Some laypeople have a hard time determining which primates are monkeys and which are apes (though most people know that humans are apes and not monkeys). Generally, monkeys are the ones with tails.
  • Spiders:
    • Spiders as a whole are often thought to be insects, but that's not the case. Insects have six legs and three body segments while spiders have eight legs and two body segments.
    • In general, due to many different spider types having similar or identical markings, people have often confused one spider species for another.
    • Some people have mistaken other eight-legged species for spiders, such as scorpions and ticks.
    • Due to wolves themselves being big and hairy, people have mistaken big, hairy spiders for wolf spiders. Real wolf spiders are actually quite small. Most of the large, hairy spiders found inside are actually European House Spiders.
    • Most (but not all!) hobo spiders have a chevron pattern on their abdomens, and they all spin funnel webs and the males have enlarged palps. However, this has caused confusion for some people who assume any spider with one, two, or all of those traits is a hobo spider. The chevron pattern is common for spiders, all spiders in the same family as hobo spiders spin funnel webs, and all male spiders have enlarged palps.
    • Brown recluse spiders have a violin shape behind their eyes, which has led to other spiders with a violin-shaped mark on them being mistaken for brown recluses, even if the violin shape isn't behind the eyes.
  • Frogs are sometimes confused for toads and vice versa due to being in the same clade and looking similar. The main differences are that frogs have long legs built for jumping whereas toads have short legs and crawl, frogs are lithe while toads are dumpy, toads have broader faces, toads have drier, lumpier skin, and frog tadpoles are thinner and have spots.