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"SOMETIMES, THEY'RE DINOSAURS."
Alt text for This Dinosaur Comics strip

So, we have an anthropomorphic animal who acts just like a human. Stands on hind legs, talks, interacts with humans just like he's one of them, they treat him just like a human... it seems the only difference between him and a human is that he has fur and a tail. But then, when the audience has forgotten what he is... he does something that's actually animal-like! If he's a dog, he might suddenly stop what he's doing to chase a cat, if he's a cat, he might happily give someone a dead mouse.

This trope doesn't necessarily involve an Anthropomorphic Shift, but can sometimes be applied after a shift has occurred to remind us that the character is still as much an animal as he was before.

If he's trying to hide the behavior, but it accidentally comes out, it's My Instincts Are Showing.

This is a furry reminder, reminding both the audience and the characters what species a character really is. Contrast Furry Denial.

Examples of Furry Reminder include:


Anime and Manga

  • There is an Inuyasha episode where, at the start, Kagome gets Inuyasha to fetch a stick.
    • Inuyasha, sit!
    • He'll also shake off like a dog when wet, or scratch his ear with his foot.
  • Jackie Chun in Dragon Ball defeats Man-Wolf in the Budokai by making him 'fetch' a bone thrown out of the ring.
  • Neko-sensei from Princess Tutu will occasionally wash himself like the cat he is,
  • The chimeras in Fullmetal Alchemist sometimes exhibit traits of the animals they've been fused with. Some inherit handy things like enhanced senses of smell, increased strength, the ability to climb vertical surfaces or an "animal instinct" which tells them when they should fight and when they should run away, some do things only vaguely related to the animal they're fused with like adhesive saliva projectiles and shooting spines but others just do funny things like pee standing on one leg.
    • The last one is just Martel joking on Dorchetto's expense.
    • In Brotherhood, Dorchetto embarassedly/angrily states that he only did that once.


Comic Books


Film

  • Done in Up, in which the dogs are distracted by squirrels. (This proves handy on a number of occasions.)
  • The animals in Fantastic Mr. Fox do various animal-ish things throughout the film, but the real kicker is how they eat at the dinner table.
  • Puss in Boots is full of it, usually in relation to Puss himself, who acts like a Zorro Expy, until we see him drink milk (by rapidly lapping from the shot glass), purr, make big kitty eyes (usually intentional), make cat noises when someone hits him with an object, chase a sunbeam, or bring an apparently dead animal to his adopted mother.
  • Dr. Doppler from Treasure Planet is an anthropomorphic dog who for some reason actually eats out of a dog dish. With a spoon.


Live Action TV


Newspaper Comics

  • Garfield likes to try to eat birds.
  • Hobbes in Calvin and Hobbes often likes to hide and then pounce on Calvin.
    • He also subscribes to National Geographic...so he can look at all the attractive female tigers.
  • Pooch Cafe: Poncho (and all of the other dogs in the strip) can talk and think like humans, but their instincts will sometimes get the better of them and they'll do things like chase cars or eat garbage.
  • In Peanuts, Snoopy, despite a gradual Anthropomorphic Shift over the first couple of decades, still lives in a dog house and eats from his dog bowl.


Video Games

  • Cyberswine: Cyberswine behaves like a robot and a human so much that you would forget that he is also a pig. The few times he laughs, he will actually snort like a pig.
  • Sam and Max Freelance Police: Sam and Max are a dog and a rabbit. They very rarely actually exhibited animal-like behaviour, until The Devil's Playhouse, where Sam's doglike qualities were suddenly constantly exaggerated for comic effect. More specifically, he's shown to pant with his tongue out in hot places, growl and bark when angry, have trouble eating peanut butter (which is actually the solution to a puzzle), and wear a plastic cone when he gets injured. At one point, Max claims that one of Sam's worst fears is 'being put in a carrier to go to the vet's'.
    • Max's rabbity qualities are underplayed compared to Sam's other than his bounciness and fondness of gnawing on things, but there's still a few references in Season 3 - at one point, he mentions to Sam that he's constantly chased around by beautiful women. Sam promptly replies that they've been through this already and the women only want to test cosmetics on him.
    • From the comic book:

 Sam: (beaten up and disraught) They kicked me -- and punched me -- and swatted my nose with a rolled-up magazine.

    • Sam's crying in Hit The Road sounds like dog 'crying', or whining, rather than like human tears. And his singing in the Telltale games sounds more like a dog howling along to music (but with words!) than it does human singing. His Big No in They Stole Max's Brain! is less of a human shout, and more of a dog's howl.
    • In the Hit The Road comic story, Sam attacks a hoodlum robbing a convenience store by biting his hand. He admits afterward that he's never done that before and it was embarrassing.
    • Combined with Fridge Horror for Dead Baby Comedy effect in Hit The Road, when Max cheerfully observes that as a rabbit, he can only expect to live to be five. [1]
  • In the Sly Cooper games, one of the titular protagonist's idle animations has him using his cane to scratch his back, which results in one of his legs twitching like a dog's (even though he's a raccoon).
  • In Solatorobo, Caninu (dog-people) are shown as catching flying discs in their mouths like regular dogs in lore, and Red himself is quite fond of chewing on a Stock Femur Bone.
  • The birds in Hatoful Boyfriend are mostly an inch between Civilized Animals and Funny Animals, but Oko San, a fantail pigeon, is more birdlike than the others. He talks in coos which are translated, has a hyperactive, arrogant and extremely stupid personality, and his 'human' portrait is just a pigeon in a school uniform. He was based on the writer's real life pet bird, and serves mostly to remind the player that the cast really are birds.
    • At one point, San is made to wear a maid costume as part of a class fundraiser. Ryouta, a rock dove, tries to convince him he looks okay, and holds up a mirror to prove it. San, since his species lacks the ability to pass the mirror test, can't tell that it's his reflection and starts trying to court it.
    • When the class all leave wishes on the tree for Tanabata, everyone leaves well-spoken messages except for Oko San, whose is covered in footprints and spots of ink (or possibly droppings).


Webcomics

  • Florence, the "Bowman's Wolf" engineer in Freefall, acts very human (though she admits she has to fake some of her behavior for the benefit of the humans and human-programmed robots with which she interacts), but she'll run on all fours if she's in a hurry, and will happily chase a thrown ball.
    • Her catching instinct has sometimes caused her serious trouble, for example while being in a moving car, or seeing a fast-moving object on screen.
      • When she's not forcibly reminding herself otherwise, she has a habit of interpreting other peoples' behavior as though they were wolves. Her captain, who comes from a species of scavengers, is constantly doing things like stealing her half-finished lunch while she's distracted, leading her to assume he's behaving like an omega wolf for her benefit, which clashes with her notion of him being higher up the chain of command.
  • Krosp III, Emperor of All Cats from Girl Genius, was an ordinary cat uplifted through Mad Science, and given dominion over all cats... but that didn't work out so well (being cats and all.), so he ended up joining up with the titular female genius, Agatha, to avoid getting 'disposed of' as a failed experiment. He's highly intelligent and sophisticated, talks, and generally acts human... except for when he merrily bites the head off a live rat, or runs off chasing a piece of string. The last one was particularly noticeable, since it was Agatha specifically demonstrating to him that despite his advanced intellect, he was still a slave to his feline impulses.
  • While Lunar Exalted technically start out human and only become animal-themed shapeshifters after exaltation, Marena still demonstrates the trope nicely in this Keychain of Creation strip.
  • Sebastian, eloquent, sophisticated and sarcastic talking, magical housecat from Clan of the Cats is often foiled in his arguments when somebody teases him with a cat toy. This became even more of an issue when he became a kitten for awhile.
  • About the only resurgence of animal behavior (except for Doc's appetite) in The Whiteboard is Jake turning into a spray grenade when surprised.
  • Drugsand Kisses in this strip a character is shown tearing up bread to feed to ducks, the camera moves and it is revealed the ducks are anthropomorphic beggars


Web Original

  • In Happy Tree Friends, Petunia and Disco Bear were on a date, and Disco Bear acts a bit too... forward... with her as they're in the parked car. Cut to a shot of Disco Bear getting sprayed while Petunia is off screen. Since she's a skunk, that probably wasn't Mace....
  • In the Universal Mary-Sue Litmus Test, one of the "De-Suifier" questions asks "If your character is a non-human, does he/she react in very non-human ways or in ways more appropriate to his/her species?" Hovering over the word "reacts" lists some examples, including "A wolf hybrid whose first instinct is to eat the roadkill" and "A half-cat who actually spits at people he/she finds threatening".
  • Black Betty, a superhero from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe who possesses animalistic "skunk powers", including a fairly impressive set of claws, fangs, and a nicely heightened sense of smell in addition to the first thing you thought of when you read the phrase "skunk powers". She's been known to make involuntary musk attacks when startled or surprised.
    • Likewise, the superheroine Felina (a Catgirl) can be easily distracted by small, quick movements, and has been known to take naps on any random flat surface around her team's headquarters.
  • In Darwin's Soldiers, the writers often reference anatomy or behaviors of the nonhuman characters to reinforce the point that they are well, nonhuman. Canine, feline and equine characters often have their ears described as flattening or pivoting towards sounds and in response to various stimuli. Snake characters are always mentioned as slithering or having fangs or gulping down food whole. Avian characters are sometimes shown using their beaks as weapons.
    • The most extreme example was when Dr. Zanasiu reminds his girlfriend (who is a d-hole) that he has forty six chromosomes while she has seventy eight. By the way, the chromosome counts are accurate.


Western Animation

  • Family Guy has Brian, who started as a talking dog, but through the course of the series, has become more and more human. Although every once in a while, you're reminded that he still is a dog:
    • Not being able to stand when in a moving van
    • Occasional barking
    • In a Flash Forward, when he's shown in heaven, Brian admits that he died from eating chocolate.
    • "Holy crap! You can talk!"
    • A lot of the comedy in Brian comes when he acts like a dog while still talking in a deep, suave human voice:

 "Yes, I would like the ball. Yes, I would - I would enjoy playing with it. Yes. Please may I have the ball?" (runs off, returns) "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you threw the ball."

"Hey! Hey you! Hey, other dog! ... F*** YOU!"

    • Occasional references are made to his age (seven), and Peter also addressed the fact that Brian will only live a fraction of the time Peter will.
    • In the earlier episodes he used to sit similar to how a dog would. In recent episodes though he sits like any other normal human would.
    • He also lives in irrational terror of "Mr Hoover" and has an intense dislike of dog whistles.
  • Eek the Cat is a Talking Animal/Funny Animal that often partakes in human activities, but is also a pet cat and cannot speak to his owners, although he appears to be able to speak to other human characters.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants bragged that he could "reproduce by budding", and then proved it by sprouting multiple heads.
    • He also mentioned that his people were sedentary and filter-feed.
    • Mr. Krabs once acted embarrassed after shedding his shell.
    • There was also an episode where Sandy Cheeks shows her squirrel nature by preparing to hibernate for the winter.
    • Squidward is normally depicted with his tentacles arranged as if he were a biped, however from time to time he'll be seen in a decidedly more cephalopodian light, even secreting ink on Spongebob in the bathtub[2]
  • Futurama - the Chicken-Lawyer, with a very Matlock-style bearing, is reassuring a little girl on the witness stand, then suddenly lunges at her with an alarming squawk.
  • The Simpsons - In the episode "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)", Homer encounters his spirit guide, a "Space Coyote" (talking coyote), who explains to Homer that he must go on a quest to find his soul mate. After about a minute, when the conversation begins to get serious and intellectual, the coyote unexpectedly begins aggressively gnawing on Homer's ankle. Homer kicks him off and says "Hey! Knock it off!" to which the coyote responds "Sorry, I am a coyote".
  • In Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Pete is acknowledged to be a cat.
    • In one episode, Daisy and Minnie toss a ball of yarn to Pete and he gets distracted by it for a while.
    • In another episode, Willie calls Mickey, Donald, and Goofy a mouse, a duck, and a dog respectively.
  • In one cartoon shown within the show, House of Mouse, Mickey says that Pete is the only cat that Pluto can chase.
    • In some episodes, Mickey is shown drinking from a giant water dispenser, like the ones used for small pets. He also exercises on a large hamster wheel.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has many. Lauren Faust wanted it to be clear that the ponies were ponies, not pony-shaped humans. This is mainly and most clearly done through careful integration of actions that actual horses do. Ponies occasionally do things such as lay back their ears to show unhappiness or paw the earth when aggressive. "Sonic Rainboom" even has Rainbow Dash flicking her tail when being taunted by another pegasus -- which, again, is something that real horses do when annoyed. Now that is attention to detail.
    • Seems to be averted, however, with many of the horse noises the ponies might at a first glance seem to make -- they can even "whinny" with their mouths closed[3], and even otherwise, the mouths don't tend to move when the sound is heard. Since the attention to detail is there, this is unlikely to be an oversight. Instead, many of these noises (harder to tell with snorts, of course, and not all cases need to be the same) seem to be symbolic -- same as the jet plane noises sometimes heard in conjunction with pegasuses flying or preparing to take off, or the "beep beep beep" when someone[4] is walking backwards carrying a pile of stuff.
    • A number of reminders come up in the form of the ponies' diets. In one flashback, Rarity is designing costumes for a school pageant, and if you look carefully, it becomes clear that it's about the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, baked goods, hay, and flowers. In another instance, Pinkie Pie sings a song to try to smooth relations between ponies and buffalo: "We all eat hay and oats. Why be at each others' throats?" When Pinkie Pie's trying to be spooky about Zecora, she says, "I heard that Zecora... eats hay!" Twilight Sparkle points out they all eat hay. Twilight Sparkle also picked flower petals to try to figure out which one of her friends should go with her to the Grand Galloping Gala in "The Ticket Master"... then eats the petals right after.
    • During Rarity's "Art of the Dress" song, she sings at one point about the parts of the body to be covered - and they're all horse parts: "Croup, dock, haunch/shoulders, hips". For bonus points, the patterns she cuts are appropriate for each part named.
    • At one point, Pinkie rolls around in the grass. You may think it's just her randomness, but real horses do that a lot.
    • In the episode "Over a Barrel" there's a saloon in Appleloosa called "The Salt Block" where ponies serve salt to customers. This may seem bizarre but if you're familiar with real horses then you would know that salt is an important source of nutrition for horses (usually served in a form of solid blocks of salt). It also helps them keep cool especially in hot areas (like the desert environment where Appleloosa is) through the minerals the salt they consume provides.
    • In "Baby Cakes", the Cake's foals are able to run around full-tilt at a month old. This is perfectly possible for real foals, since they can walk within a few hours of birth (and, in the wild, will be abandoned if they can't stand up within a few minutes). In that episode, the month old Pumpkin Cake is clearly teething. Guess when real ponies start to grow teeth. Yup, at about a month old.
  • Occurs in an episode of Birdz:

 Eddie: Sleepy, I still can't believe you've done the essay! I mean, who can find the time?

Sleepy: I'm a bat, I'm up all night. (yawns) What else am I gonna do?

    • This becomes a Brick Joke later in the episode, when Sleepy mysteriously shows up in Eddie's bedroom:

 Eddie: Sleepy! What are you doing here?! It's the middle of the night!

Sleepy: Eddie, I'm a bat! (Face Palm) We've been through all this!

  • In The Amazing World of Gumball Gumball once napped in a cat-like fashion on his neighbor's porch and when stranded in a forest remembered that he was a predator, tries to roar, but just ends up meowing. In "The Mystery" Darwin (a goldfish) states he doesn't know where he was earlier because he has incredibly little memory.
  • These happen a lot in Kaeloo, especially with Mr. Cat and Stumpy the squirrel. While Kaeloo herself does not display many of these, she goes all out in Let's Play Simon Says, in which she snatches Stumpy's console from him with her tongue and later tells Mr. Cat that she was planning on buying herself a bowl and a little ladder.
  • Tuff Puppy has a lot of this, mostly from Dudley Puppy. Dudley often chews his own butt and uses his sense of smell to find clues.
    • Kitty drinks from the water fountain with her tongue and goes crazy for cat toys and catnip.
  • Swat Kats generally sees the populace lean towards the more human end of the scale, with the only reminders (aside from the lame cat-puns) being references to consumer goods such as "hairball eliminator," the apparent substitution of milk for alcohol, and the one time in the series that Razor gets a furball, which is a bit of Fridge Logic since they are shown to have bathtubs and showers, so should not get furballs in the first place.

Notes

  1. In all non Hit The Road continuities, Sam and Max age like normal humans.
  2. Not what it sounds like.
  3. At least seen with Twilight's Rearing Horse pose in "A Dog and Pony Show"
  4. Specifically Spike in "Feeling Pinkie Keen"
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