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"Reptile house? What's that?"

In Real Life, there are many species that theorists have speculated can evolve over time into something of comparable sapience and intelligence to humans. Not all of them are mammals.

In fiction though, many works exist in universes full of nothing but humanoid animals or humans interacting with humanoid animals. Many of these works feature humanoid animals of many types, but often focus exclusively on mammals. More specifically land-based mammals, as rarely are exclusively aquatic mammals, such as dolphins or manatees, ever included.

This trope can occur for many reasons. The designers might find humanoid reptiles or birds too weird looking or hard to draw. Or possibly, they also being mammals, just prefer mammalian animals or are more familiar with how mammals work. Another reason for this might be a way to avert Carnivore Confusion. Instead of having Vegetarian Carnivores or having characters eat meat without explanation as to where it's from, instead it's implied (or outright shown) that they eat non-anthropomorphic birds or reptiles.

This trope is sometimes subverted by throwing a token bird or reptile into the mix.

See also No Cartoon Fish. Compare Furry Confusion, where anthropomorphic and non-anthropomorphic animals coexist without any taxonomical distinction.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • The Coco Pops mascot lives in a world where there are animals populating jungles and cities. The animals we see are mostly mammals, with some birds and reptiles.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Downplayed in Aggressive Retsuko: While most of the characters are mammals, there are several bird characters (at least two secretarybirds, an ostritch, and, at least in the Netflix version, an owl), a reptile in the form of a Komodo dragon, and an amphibian in the form of an axolotl. It would seem that, given that one episode of the TBS series shows a plate of squid-based food, marine invertebrates at the very least aren't sapient, but given that the same episode also shows a plate of poultry of some kind, it isn't exactly clear...
  • Most of the major beastmen in BNA: Brand New Animal are mammals (Michiru is a tanuki, Shirou is a wolf, Marie is a mink, etc.), with a few birds and reptiles as supporting characters.
  • Maple Town features Funny Animal rabbits, bears, dogs, and foxes but no fish or birds and reptiles only appear as background characters in Palm Town.
  • In One Piece, the Minkmen are all Beast Men who are based on only mammals. All of them, including the ones based on herbivore mammals, can and do eat meat (usually that of reptilians or fishes).
  • In Seton Academy: Join the Pack!, every student shown is a mammal, whether a Little Bit Beastly girl or an upright realistic-looking male. However, the teachers are dinosaurs (well, most of them are dinosaurs with one pterosaur and one spider-monkey), while the headmaster is a prehistoric anthropod called an Anomalocaris.

    Art 
  • Downplayed in Beast Fables. There are werebeasts for all of the major land animal groups (tetrapods and certain arthropods), but mammals are the most dominant clade.

    Comic Books 
  • Averted in Maus; the central characters are depicted as mice and cats, but the animals depicted also include frogs, fish and moths.

    Films — Animation 
  • Zootopia is a city populated by evolved mammals set in a world where humans never existed. Therefore, animal species domesticated by humans (such as domestic dogs) rarely appear, although there are a handful of exceptions (for example: domestic sheep, horses, and pigs exist). Word of God mentioned that primates were not shown in the movie because they appeared too human-like (but didn't deny their existence, and concept art for the movie features a bushbaby), and has hinted, but not confirmed, that a city inhabited by reptiles and birds may exist. The only non-mammals seen at all are the non-anthropmorphic houseflies flying around Yax’s head, a fish restaurant, and the implications of another restaurant called Bug Burger.
  • Subverted in Rock Dog. Initially it seems to take place in one of these. It features mammals such as dogs, foxes, goats, cats, sheep, and wolves. However, reptiles such as crocodiles also show up.
  • In Cat City, only cats, mice, rats and vampire bats are portrayed as anthropomorphic, whereas caimans, snakes and parrots are Nearly Normal Animals (although the parrot can talk). The sequel throws an anthropomorphic badger into the mix except it doesn't, the badger in question is a mouse in disguise, but also shows a non-anthropomorphic leopard, sloth and buffaloes.
  • Inverted in The Good Dinosaur, where dinosaurs (at least non-avian ones) and pterosaurs are sapient Partially Civilized Animals, but mammals (including humans) and birds are Nearly Normal Animals.
  • Subverted by Robin Hood (1973); the majority of the cast are mammals (including foxes, lions, bears, wolves, rabbits, mice, badgers...), but there are a few token non-mammals, like Sir Hiss and Lady Cluck (who are, respectively, a snake and a hen.)

    Literature 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Delver's Guide to Beast World: Sapient beasts are based on mammals, with the exception of dragons and kobolds, who aren't true beasts as they originated in another universe and immigrated after the gods uplifted the Beast World's mammals. There are still non-sapient or "quiet-minded" mammals though.
  • Ironclaw started out with mammals and birds anthropomorphized while reptiles (some resembling dinosaurs) as wildlife and beasts of burden. But then Jadeclaw, which is established to take place on the same planet, threw in anthropomorphized reptiles, amphibians, and even arthropods.

    Video Games 
  • A majority of the Sonic the Hedgehog cast are mammals, though Team Chaotix, which consists of two reptiles and one insect, and the Babylon Rogues, a team of birds, are thrown in.
  • Inverted with Splatoon, where almost everyone is a marine invertebrate or a fish, some of whom can transform into human-like forms. The only mammal is Judd (and his clone), a cat who's the Last of His Kind. Splatoon 3 reveals that there's another one; Mr. Grizz is a grizzly bear, and his plan is to turn Earth into a World of Mammals once more.
  • The two races in the Little Tail Bronx series are anthropomorphic dogs and cats.

    Web Animation 
  • All the characters in Happy Tree Friends are mammals, mostly woodland creatures. The show only has ever had one non-mammalian character with Sneaky the chameleon, who only ever appears in the W.A.R. Journal episode of the Ka-Pow spin-off.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Every character in Archibald the Koala is an anthropomorphic koala or badger, with no other species to be seen.
  • Downplayed in Arthur. Almost all the characters are mammals, but non-mammals very occasionally show up. Most often, Funny Animal reptiles and birds appear in the background or as gags.
  • Inverted in SpongeBob SquarePants. Almost all of the characters are invertebrates or fish, with the only recurring mammal characters being Sandy (a squirrel in a diving suit) and Pearl (a whale). Other whales have appeared from time to time as background characters, the episode "Sun Bleached" has a one-shot seal character, and Kenny the Cat appears in his eponymous episode.
  • Inverted in Amphibia, where the only animals that are sapient and anthropomorphic are amphibians such as frogs, toads and newts. The few mammals that appear other than our Token Human lead (such as hedgehogs and weasels) are non-sapient and often monstrous.
  • Timothy Goes to School plays this straight. All of the characters are mammals, while other animals seem to be the same as in real life. For example, Nora (a mouse) has a pet lizard.
  • Subverted in both versions of DuckTales. Most of the world's populace are birds as well as mammals. Anthropomorphic reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates are shown to exist, although the only ones seen are supernatural beings.
  • Llama Llama is populated entirely by mammals, with the added caveat that the main cast are all herbivores that would normally travel in herds, i.e. llamas, sheep, giraffe, gnus, etc. Minor/background characters have included other types of mammals, such as dogs, cats, chipmunks and even hippos. The only non-mammal character that plays any role is a pet duck that is owned by Llama Llama's grandparents.

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