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Seldom Seen Species / Literature

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  • The educational picture book Angel Falls: A South American Journey is full of this. It features caiman, peccaries, coral snakes, jaguarundis, margay, and other obscure South American animals.
  • The Animal Antics A to Z series has exactly that — at least one animal that begins with each letter of the alphabet. As such, there are common animals like a dog and a goat, but there's also unusual ones, such as a quokka.
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  • Animorphs: Most of the animals morphed are very common in fiction, but now and then, the characters morph some more unusual ones, such as anoles (first used in in book #1), shrews (#2), ospreys (#2), northern harriers (#5), wolf spiders (#10), spider monkeys (#11), golden eagles (#20), giant anteaters (#24), ringed seals (#25), cockatiels (#35), pit vipers (#38), bobcats (#50) and anacondas (#53).
  • Astrosaurs features numerous obscure dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.
  • Bravelands mostly features well-known African animals but it also references more obscure ones, such as bushbuck and dik-dik. The main baboons in the series are either Olive baboons, Chacma baboons, or Yellow baboons.
  • Carnosaur features Tarbosaurus, Altispinax, Megalosaurus, and Scolosaurus.
  • The Cold Moons stars European badgers and takes place predominantly, if not exclusively, in Wales. A part of its Scenery Porn is namedropping numerous obscure plants and animals, including yellowhammers, linnets, hen harriers, merlins, and chaffinches.
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  • Alfie from Dear Hound is a Scottish Deerhound. There is also a Ragdoll cat character.
  • Along with the usual Stock Dinosaurs, The Dinosaur Lords also makes use of several lesser-known genera such as Einiosaurus and Germanodactylus.
  • Dinotopia features not only Stock Dinosaurs but also more obscure prehistoric animals.
  • Discworld has morepork owls as the namesake and symbol of the city of Ankh-Morpork; the live owls appear at the heralds' college in Men at Arms. In real life though, they aren’t well-known outside their native New Zealand and rarely appear in fiction.
  • The Earth's Children series goes into intricate detail about the wildlife, including such animals as the saiga antelope, the chamois, and the cave bear. Flipped, a 'dirk-toothed tiger' gets barely a mention.
  • The lammergeier in Iain M. Banks's Feersum Endjinn.
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  • Forests of the Night features an anthropomorphic mongoose, attached to a battalion of tiger Super Soldiers as their medic.
  • The Frances TV series and the Frances the Badger children's books feature an American badger as its main character.
  • Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs has Sid the Scelidosaurus. There was also an Anchisaurus character that was absent from the animated adaptation; similarly, one episode of the series had a Nanosaurus character.
  • The owls in Harry Potter include some commonly-mentioned species, but also the lesser-known eagle owl and Scops owl. Similarly, lesser-known mythological creatures such as basilisks and Hippogriffs appear.
  • In His Dark Materials, Lyra's dæmon settles as a pine marten.
  • House of Tribes by Garry Douglas Kilworth stars a yellow-necked mouse.
  • Dr. SeussIf I Ran the Zoo has a bustard.
  • The Immortals featured pygmy marmosets in the third book.
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth makes references to extinct animals Deinotherium, Pterichthys, Lophiodon, Anoplotherium, Protopithecus, Pterodactylus, and Glyptodon.
  • Velociraptor (along with a few other genera) was obscure back when Jurassic Park was written. But then the book and movie popularized them so that they are inescapable in dinosaur media these days, though they almost always get depicted like the ones in Jurassic Park when in reality they were only 2-3 feet tall and covered in feathers. Dilophosaurus is an example that also caught on, albeit to a lesser degree.
    • Spinosaurus and Mosasaurus are cases similar to Velociraptor.
    • Several genera that are still rather obscure to this day also make appearances in the franchise: such as Procompsognathus, Othnielia, Microceratus, Dryosaurus, Cearadactylus, Mussaurus, Hypsilophodon, Ornitholestes, Mamenchisaurus, Corythosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Herrerasaurus, Troodon, Tylosaurus, Dimorphodon, Baryonyx, Sinoceratops, Stygimoloch, and Natsutoceratops. Metriacanthosaurus, Proceratosaurus, Segisaurus, and Euoplocephalus are also implied to have been among the species present in the park of the first book/film.
    • The second book also includes Pachycephalosaurus and Maiasaura, which are among the better-known species but aren't nearly as prolific as the likes of Tyrannosaurus and Stegosaurus, as well as Carnotaurus, which have chameleon-like color-changing abilities. The carnotaur and its color-changing wasn't adapted into the film version, but was included in the arcade game, of all things. The carnotaur finally makes an on-screen appearance in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
  • Rudyard Kipling used a lot of unusual animals in his books:
    • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is about a mongoose. The story also features such seldom-seen Indian fauna as the krait, the chuchunder (Asian musk shrew)note , and the tailorbird.
    • A "sea cow" — most likely Steller's Sea Cow — appears in Kipling's The White Seal (and the Chuck Jones Animated Adaptation). In real life they were hunted to extinction 27 years after their discovery in 1741, but in The White Seal they found a safe place and still thrive around 1900s. The story also makes mention of a basking sharknote .
    • Another Kipling example: Bears are common enough in fiction, but how many times have you seen a sloth bear? Probably just in The Jungle Book, and the Disney cartoons and features it inspired. Adaptations often design him after a brown bear to make him more easily recognizable and also because the original translation refers to Baloo as a brown bear (though that could just be referring to his color rather than his species).
    • While pythons are common in fiction, they'll rarely be identified as a rock python like Kaa.
    • The Jungle Book also has Tabaqui the jackal. Certain adaptations have changed his species to the black-backed jackal or even a striped hyena, due to the Indian golden jackal looking too similar to wolves.
    • Red Dog features dholes as the main antagonists.
    • Chil is a brahminy kite.
    • Crocodiles may be common in fiction, but very few are portrayed as mugger crocodiles like Jacala.
  • This is pretty much the whole idea of Last Chance To See by Douglas Adams and environmentalist Mark Carwardine and the associated television series with Stephen Fry and Carwardine. Both are based around an adventure to see species on the brink of extinction and for some, it truly could be the "last chance to see." In fact, during the planning of the television series, the Yangtze river dolphin featured in the book was declared extinct, necessitating a change to search for blue whales for the final episode instead.
  • Llama Llama:
    • The main protagonist is a llama and and his best friend is a wildebeest. This makes the Llama Llama series one of the few depictions of an anthropomorphic llama and wildebeest in children's media.
  • The Lost World features jararaca, agoutis, Brazilian tapirs, Pterodactylus, Dimorphodon, Megalosaurus, Dryopithecus, Pithecanthrophus, Glyptodon, Megaloceros, Phorusrhacos, and Toxodon.
  • Aralorn of Masques can turn herself into a mouse. As she works as a spy, she is diligent about using just the right species for the location, and has a rather impressive selection of subspecies to choose from. The only flying animal she can turn herself into is a goose, not your typical shapeshifter choice, either.
  • Andre Norton:
  • Primitive War features Utahraptor as the main threat. Stygimoloch, Kaprosuchus, Hypsilophodon, and Microraptor also make appearances in the novel.
  • Raptor Red not only prominently features Utahraptor but also includes Acrocanthosaurus, Kronosaurus, Gastonia, Aegialodon, Trinitichelys, Ornithodesmus, Platypterygius, Astrodon, Bernissartia, and a generic therizinosaur.
  • Redwall is known for focusing on the seldom used ends of the mustelid spectrum, such as pine martens and wolverines.
  • A mongoose also appears in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Crooked Man."
  • The Spellsinger series includes increasingly-exotic species among its Funny Animal cast in its later books, including the likes of the pangolin, javelina, silky anteater, viscacha, and aye-aye.
  • Survivors:
    • Instead of the more commonly used (and dominant) red fox, foxes in Survivors are gray foxes.
    • Most of the dogs are common breeds but Martha is a Newfoundland.
    • According to Word of God, some of the dogs are mixed with more obscure breeds such as Blue Heelers and coonhounds.
  • Touching Spirit Bear prominently featured a Kermode bear, a subspecies of black bear with white fur.
  • Some of the birds that appear in the Nursery Rhyme "Who Killed Cock Robin?" include a rook, a lark, a linnet, a kite, and a thrush.
  • Owl from Winnie-the-Pooh. Based on his appearance in the books and the fact that he was based on a real animal in Ashdown Forest, he's probably a tawny owl.


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