|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
A Talking Animal (or at least someone who looks like one) is constantly mistaken for another species as a Running Gag. Often, it can be their Berserk Button, particularly if they consider it a Fantastic Slur. This trope often leads to Insistent Terminology.
Trope name is a reference to Cow and Chicken spinoff I Am Weasel. Not to be confused with I Am Not Shazam. Contrast this trope with its Inversion, Ass in a Lion Skin, for when an animal wants to be taken for another species.
Anime & Manga
- In the episode "The Mysterious, Lecherous Monk" , Inu-Yasha and Miroku persist in referring to a weasel demon as a "raccoon dog" (tanuki) even when he tries to remind them that "I'm a weasel, dang it!" This despite the fact that one of Miroku's oldest friends (and frequent accomplices) is a tanuki, so you'd think he'd know the difference.
- Also in Inuyasha, it's a Running Gag that Shippo is constantly mistaken for a tanuki, leading to him saying "I'm a kitsune!" (i.e. a fox).
- From a different episode:
Villagers: Are you in league with that cat demon? (they mean Kirara)
- In another episode, the gang have to fight a tribe of panther demons. Much to them, and their more human like leaders' anger, the main characters often call them cat demons.
Shippo: It's the cat demons from the west!
- Of course, if not for his father and half-brother's transformations, it'd be easy to conclude that Inu-Yasha is a cat demon; claws sharp enough to use as deadly weapons aren't exactly a dog trait after all.
- Zafira of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, gets this every so often, even from his long-time allies.
Vita: I'm jealous of Zafira, it's so convenient being a dog...
- Technically, he takes the form of a small dog while on Earth, having been convinced by Arf that it's less intimidating than his wolf form.
- Genetically there's no difference between dog and wolf, they're still the same species.
- He also prefers to be called a "guardian beast" rather than a "familiar" (an even finer distinction, which Fate's wolf familiar Arf claims to be different only in terminology).
- Yuuno often appears in weasel form, and is occasionally taken for a Familiar. In reality, he's a shapeshifting mage.
- Technically, he takes the form of a small dog while on Earth, having been convinced by Arf that it's less intimidating than his wolf form.
- Mahou Sensei Negima
- One Piece's Tony Tony Chopper is frequently mistaken for a tanuki in his hybrid form and a yeti(at least once) in human form. Of course, his real form is that of a reindeer. Franky has also referred to him as a "Gorilla" and even "Gorilla-Deer" when he realized he was a Devil Fruit user.
- In the Funimation dub, Chopper is also frequently called a "raccoon-dog".
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Neo Spacian Aqua Dolphin is called a fish by Judai, and replies that he is a mammal.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Xiao May is thought to be a cat by everyone in Amestris, but she's really a tiny panda bear. Note that the Chinese word for panda literally means "bear-cat".
- Shadows of Spawn -- a manga adaptation of Todd McFarlen's Spawn. Ken Kurosawa (who is the series' Spawn) encounters an intelligent wolf spawn named Mangler, whom he often mistakes for a dog.
- A running gag in Doraemon: when someone first meets him, they think he's a tanuki. This makes Doraemon really mad since he's a robotic cat without ears.
- Fritz the Bitter Goblin in the Duel Masters dub gets very upset when he's called a squirrel.
- Like Zafira above, Val of Otogi Juushi Akazukin would like to remind us that he's a wolf, not a dog.
- Even if the domestic dog is still genetically a clear canis lupus, that is, a wolf.
- Belbel in There Beyond the Beyond is a magician who looks suspiciously like a rabbit, and gets mad when compared to one.
- In Digimon Savers, Masaru's little sister calls Gaomon a dog, prompting him to point out "Would a dog wear boxing gloves?"
- Averted in Dorabase with Shiroemon, despite the recent Art Evolution making his ears longer (thus looking like a rabbit). But probably enforced since it is Art Evolution.
- Similarly averted with Trump (Drump in some translations), despite having the longest ears in the series for cat robots. Then again, whether or not he was a cat is never pointed out in-series.
- Used in Turnabout Storm; Phoenix Wright calls Twilight Sparkle a "Talking Horse" shortly after first seeing her, she is quick to correct him (doubling as a small Comically Missing the Point moment from Phoenix's perspective).
Twilight Sparkle: Excuse me! I am not a horse, I happen to be a pony.
- He also mistook Rainbow Dash with an earth pony in another opportunity, she didn't take that one lightly. 
Rainbow Dash: What the hay are you talking about!? I'm not an earth pony, I'm a pegasus!
Films -- Animation
- Inversion. Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective is a rat, but to call him one is seriously pushing his Berserk Button. He prefers the title of "a big mouse". The Basil of Baker Street book series (on which this movie was based) has "Padraic" Ratigan as a mouse.
- Over the Hedge features a turtle who corrects anyone who call him an amphibian. It also features a pest exterminator with a freakishly strong sense of smell:
Pest exterminator: (sniff) raccoon, squirrel, two opossums, skunk, amphibian--
- There is some confusion when Mulan meets Mushu for the first time, hence the page quote. He's just not the size you'd expect for a dragon.
- Of course, Mushu goes on to call Mulan's horse a cow for the rest of the movie.
- Call Pumbaa from The Lion King a pig only if you're in a real hurry to die. Simba and Timon can get away with it, though.
- In Tangled, Flynn keeps referring to Rapunzel's chameleon sidekick Pascal as a frog.
- At one point in Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase, Fred attempts to bullfight a lion. At first he shouts, "Toro, toro!" which causes the lion to look around in confusion, as if to say "Bull? Where?". Fred thinks for a moment, then shouts, "Leo, leo!"
- Elsa the Pterodactyl from We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story apparently hates being referred to as a bat.
- Lampwick from Pinocchio refers to Jiminy Cricket as a beetle just right before he turns into a donkey.
"You mean to tell me you take orders from a grasshopper?"
Films -- Live-Action
"TreeBeard some call me."
- Though this is only the case in the movie; it never comes up in the book. Still, it probably makes sense -- most shepards wouldn't like being called "sheep", even if their name is Mr. Sheep-Herd.
- From the Mystery Science Theater 3000 take on Eegah:
Character from film: It's not a monster! It's a giant!
- Krull from Tim Burton's version of Planet of the Apes seriously dislikes being called a "monkey":
Krull: Monkeys are further down the evolutionary ladder... just above humans!
- This also pops up in Escape From The Planet Of The Apes. Cornelius tells the commission not to call him and Zira monkeys because it's offensive to them.
- In the Redwall books by Brian Jacques, the heroic and generally weapon-ready hares absolutely cannot stand being referred to as rabbits. (Rabbits in the Redwall world tend to be quiet and passive.)
- The Librarian from Discworld (who is an orang-utan) gets very upset when people call him a monkey. Typically, he expresses it by hanging them by their ankles and banging their head against the floor. To the point they fear to just say the word monkey, when trying to tell someone not to call him a monkey....
- Well, not all the time. At one point in Soul Music, Glod thwarted a prank by UU students with "These boys called you a monkey. I'd make them feel sorry, if I were you..."
- Not to mention a few gags where a very, very overstressed character calls the Librarian a monkey, everyone else flinches, and he pats their hand and offers a soothing "ook" instead. (Aw.)
- Although, in one case, a drunken perpetrator is mysteriously pitched over the side of a bridge on his way home that evening.
- "You don't use the 'M' word. Gets right up his nose, sir. He can't help it, he loses all self-control. Like a red rag to a wossname, sir. 'Ape' is all right, sir, but not the 'M' word. Because, sir, when he gets angry he doesn't just go and sulk, sir, if you get my drift. He's no trouble at all apart from that, sir. All right? Just don't say monkey. Ohshit."
- To the extent that the word orang-utan is said to be a BhangBhangDuc (the Disc's Borneo, one presumes) word meaning "definitely NOT a monkey".
- Still with Discworld, the short and wiry Nobby Nobbs of the City Watch requires a document signed by the Patrician certifying that he's human to convince some people. Even Death, masquerading as the Hogfather, was unable to determine what species he was.
Death: And what's your name, little... person?
- The Nac Mac Feegles of Discworld also insist that they are not the generic "gnome", but "Pictsies". And the spelling is also important: They are not "pixies".
- In one scene in Wolf Speaker, Daine is telepathically communicating with Tkaa, who then passes on her message to Numair, while riding in the mind of a marmot named Quickmunch. Later on in the conversation, Daine informs Numair that if he keeps on incorrectly identifying Quickmunch's species, the marmot will bite him.
- In the first Percy Jackson book, Percy meets the Greek-mythological dragon known as Echidna. He mentions the Australian mammal called the echidna, which was named after the mythological dragon. Echidna is irked by this comparison; she always hated having a small anteater named after her.
- In one United Kingdom Sonic the Hedgehog book, an imaginary creature (long story) refers to Sonic and Tails to Sonic as "you and your ilk". Tails replies indignantly, "I'm a fox, not an ilk." The fault is Tails', though, as "ilk" is an infrequently used term used similar to "kind" used to describe similar cohorts. The creature was merely referring to Sonic and Tails as both being real animals.
- In the Myth Adventures series, people from the dimension Perv are Prevects, not Perverts, and don't you forget it.
- In Doctor Who, several species of aliens resent being described as looking like Earth animals (or, in the case of the Sontarans, boiled potatoes).
- The Vinvocci resemble cacti, but object being referred to as such by the jubilant Wilf (and the Doctor, who actually is just correcting Wilf's grammar after Wilf calls them "cactuses"), calling the choice of terminology "racist". They also dislike being mistaken for Zocci, who look similar to them but are short and red instead of tall and green.
- The Abzorbaloff resents Rose mistaking it for a Raxacoricofallapatorian.
- The Doctor can get a bit tetchy when people tell him he looks human.
Amy: You look human.
- Occurs with human John Crichton in Farscape. Due to being pretty much physically identical (at least externally), he is often mistaken for a Sebacean, which is unfortunate since they're mostly bad guys.
- Data, one Star Trek: The Next Generation, would occasionally correct people that he is an android, not a robot.
- In 1968, the band Canned Heat teamed up with Alvin and The Chipmunks to do a version of the Chipmunk Song ("Christmas Don't Be Late"). The intro to the song was Bob "The Bear" Hite barging into the Chipmunks' recording session as it was Canned Heat's turn to use the studio, and asking somebody to "get those mice out of here", drawing protests from the insulted chipmunks.
- Flanders and Swann's The Gnu Song has two references to g-nus (that's the way they say it in the song) objecting to being confused with "similar" animals like bison, okapis and hartebeests. One even threatens to sue over it.
- To this day since its release, people think Three Dog Night's Joy To The World is called "Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog," simply because it's the song's first line.
- Extremely common on EBay, where anything with spots will half the time be labeled as "tiger pattern", and vice versa.
- In the ZBS Foundation series Ruby: Adventures of a Galactic Gumshoe, rat-faced alien Rodant Kapoor has to constantly correct pronunciation of his name. ("Not rodent, Rodant!")
- In The Muppet Show episode with ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, his dummy Charlie McCarthy sees Kermit the Frog and tells Bergen, "Call the janitor, there's a toad loose in the stage." Kermit corrects him, explaining that "frogs are handsome, debonair and charming, while toads are ugly and give you warts." McCarthy then backtracks himself: "I guess the toad is supposed to be here."
- The King from the Muppets' rendition of "The Frog Prince" kept making the same mistake about Kermit's little nephew Robin.
- From Muppets Tonight, Pepe is constantly telling people that he's a king prawn, not a shrimp.
- Also from The Muppets, there is the Running Gag surrounding Gonzo the Great and his indertemined species. He's been called an alien, a "Whatever", a "Weirdo", a "Thing", etc.
Kermit: [Gonzo looks] a little like a turkey. Yeah, a little like a turkey, but not much.
- Upon creating a Holy Dragon in Disgaea 3 Absence of Justice, it'll take a moment to inform your other characters, that despite looking like a dog, it's indeed a dragon, after which it says "woof".
- Buzz Buzz, an insect of indeterminate species who provides much of the exposition early on in Earthbound, introduces himself thus: "A bee I am... not..." Shortly afterward, Lardna Minch mistakes him for a dung beetle and squishes him.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, it's common knowledge that nobody ever should call a Bangaa (the reptilian humanoid race of Ivalice) a lizard; that is, common knowledge to everyone but the protagonist, who crashlanded in the world almost immediately before. Said innocent confusion instead leads to Marche almost getting, one would expect, killed. Likewise, upon their first prolonged meeting, Marche confuses Montblanc, a Moogle, for a stuffed animal...
- The sequel has a Shout-Out where Montblanc manages to prevent Luso from making the same mistake. (Luso knew they were Bangaa, but he didn't know how far his insult would hit.)
- Jak and Daxter: Daxter has been referred to as everything from a muse (which apparently are green cat-things in Jak's world) to a muskrat.
- In an inversion of the trope name, though, he is, in the most literal sense, weasel (He's an otter/weasel, both members of the family Mustelidae).
- Max of Jays Journey refers to Atolla, a man turned into a lion, as a "talking kitty" throughout the game. Mind, Max has his own issues, but an NPC makes the same mistake, referring to Atolla as a "calico", to Jay's utter bewilderment.
- The Wind Fish in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening reminds you that it is neither wind nor fish when you finally meet it.
- In the SNES (among other systems) game The Lost Vikings II, the vikings are joined by a werewolf, Fang; it's a Running Gag after he joins the group to have the vikings mistake his species (or at least make horrible animal puns in his presence).
- Lunar: Eternal Blue has Ruby, a cat-like Non-Human Sidekick who never passes up a chance to inform people that she's a baby Red Dragon.
Ruby: Hel-lo! Time for your eye exam! I am not a cat!
- In Sonic and the Secret Rings, the Djinn Erazor repeatedly calls Sonic a "blue rat", even when he was sucked back inside of his lamp for the rest of eternity. And each time he did, Sonic repeatedly reminded him that he was a hedgehog, and not a rat. Sonic got the last word in that argument.
- In the Nintendo DS RPG The World Ends With You, Shiki sewed herself a stuffed cat named "Mr. Mew", and she gets extremely angry when Neku (repeatedly) mistakes it for a pig. "Go, Mr. Mew!" "Get 'em, piggy!"
- In Sam & Max Hit the Road a fisherman catches a giant fish:
Fisherman: Holy mackerel!
- In Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World, the main characters are accompanied by a Centurion (a spirit-creature) named Tenebrae, who has a vaguely lupine appearence. When the party runs into Collette, a hero of the previous game, she promptly starts referring to Tenebrae as a "doggie", much to his annoyance. When he requests a name more appropriate of his power and dignity, he is instead titled "Mr. Doggie."
- The species of Exploitation Now's Ralph is a Running Gag in the strip. Whatever people guess, he denies with indignation. (He looks most like a no-name-brand Moogle.)
- In Fletcher Apts, the main character Bob, a hamster who is rather ambiguous-looking, is mistaken for different rodents (a squirrel here and a rat here) and produces a rant about it, which no-one pays attention to.
- George Fennec, from Kevin and Kell, is often thought to be a rabbit. (A fennec is a type of fox with huge ears.)
- In Freefall, Florence Ambrose, a red wolf, get almost invariably mistaken for a dog on first contact.
- In Schlock Mercenary, the title character is often mistaken for a pile of dung.
- In We Are Our Avatars, Kyon once mistook Silver for, of all things, a parrot. Later Hohenheim mistakes him for a parakeet. And mind reading Pikadevil revealed that he believes that he is a hen. His being mistaken for a bird has become a Running Gag. And then The Lost Vikings came along, and mistook him for a platypus, a duck, a swallow, a goat, a cow, and an elephant of all things and later on, he learns that he's 1/16th bird.
- Klonoa's a Phantomillian; he's not a Mobian, he's not a rabbit, and not a nekomata.
- In a video of "Chip Cheezum"s, where they're Retsupuraeing someones LP of "Okami", the kid starts calling Ammy a...bunny. Chip then rages that Ammy is not a bunny, she's a dog. Of course several youtubers then pointed out Ammy is actually a WOLF. The original description read "IT'S A DOOOOOOOOG", but later "SHUT UP IT'S A WOLF" was added.
- I Am Weasel
- Not even I.M. Weasel himself is exempt from this, with other characters, particularly the Red Guy, referring to him as a squirrel and other such animals.
- I.R. Baboon has the same problem, being called a monkey and a lowland gorilla, among other things. Note that technically, Baboons are monkeys. So, it's probably a case of being too generic since "monkey" can apply to any species of tailed primates not including the prosimians (i.e., lemurs).
- Looney Tunes has some examples:
- Some of the myriad Looney Tunes shorts featured Henery Hawk, an angry chicken-hawk who would violently react whenever anyone called him otherwise.
- The black-and-white cat that Pepe LePew would always "romance". He constantly thinks she is a skunk.
- In The Looney Tunes Show, Daffy thinks Speedy Gonzales is a rat.
- In the same show, Mac and Tosh occasionally get mistaken for squirrels, to which they respond in deadpan unison, "We're gophers."
- Quark, of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, is constantly being mistaken for a duck, despite being human. "I'm not a duck!"
- The Angry Beavers are constantly mistaken for weasels. Or, more commonly, for "pointy bird things". It's not surprising at all -- even for a kid's show, they don't look remotely like beavers except their tails.
- In the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Out of Scale", "Ratso" Ratskiwatski sends his two thugs out for squirrels for his daughter. They pick up Chip and Dale. None of the humans can tell the difference, and call them squirrels throughout, each time corrected with a "[We're] chipmunks!" from one or both of them. Not that they ever pick up on this...
- Fang from Dave the Barbarian is always being mistaken for a monkey. She even is delighted that when she meets her idol, he calls her a human. (Even after him doubting for a second.)
- In the 60s Hanna-Barbera cartoon Wally Gator, the title character had been mistaken for a lizard, a dinosaur, a dragon, a wolf, and a monster.
- Possibly the example to beat all others goes to Rufus of Kim Possible, a naked mole rat. Various characters assume him to be a gerbil, bald mouse, nude rat, and mutant vermin. And in one case, an alien genetic experiment.
- Doctor Hamsterviel of Lilo and Stitch: The Animated Series is frequently mistaken for a gerbil or other small rodent, insisting that he is, in fact "hamster-like". Though he really does look considerably more like a gerbil/rabbit hybrid than a hamster.
- Mighty Max:
- Virgil is constantly referred to as a chicken. ("Fowl, actually.") Which makes it even more confusing since Virgil has revealed more than once that his race is in fact the next evolutionary stage of mankind. So somehow humans managed to evolve from bipedal primates into a class whose fossil record indicates they should have evolved from therapod dinosaurs? Eh, my brain hurts.
- There was also an episode with Beetle Brow with a running gag of "Bug." "Beetle." "Whatever!"
- Pinky and The Brain are mice, not rats.
- Rocko's Modern Life:
- Rocko is typically mistaken for a beaver. He was also mistaken for a dog once. As he's explained many times, he's a wallaby -- "Like a kangaroo, only smaller."
- On the same show, Heffer was often referred to as a cow, and would have to correct people (usually his father) that he was technically a steer. This is justified in that a "cow" is a female bovine, while a "steer" is a male that was neutered as a calf. It's very much like calling a eunuch a "girl" or "woman". Some people tend to get mad when you refer to them as the wrong gender. Of course, his saying that he's a steer, rather than a bull, raises some Unfortunate Implications.
- Actually, his father will correct others for the mistake too.
- In one episode of The Simpsons, Bart and Lisa are rescued by a clan of hillbillies. The patriarch claims that he married a bear after wandering away from a school excursion. His (human) wife keeps loudly insisting that "I ain't a bear!" He's so convinced that he responds to everything she says with "Raar raar raar! No one understands you, she-bear!"
- Not quite animal, but Larry the Cucumber of Veggie Tales is often mistaken for a pickle, which bothers him.
- In the first episode of Xiaolin Showdown, Raimundo refers to Dojo (who is a small dragon) as a gecko. Dojo is... not pleased, and shapeshifts into his larger form to intimidate him. This may be a reference to the Mulan example.
- Done with much humor in one of the episodes of Disney's Legend of Tarzan, where a greedy scientist catches a supernatural silver gorilla with healing abilities. Much to his annoyance he repeatedly has to remind his henchman that it is an ape, and not a "giant monkey".
- SpongeBob SquarePants. This has happened to Sandy Cheeks a few times, especially in the episode "Someone's in the Kitchen with Sandy", where townsfolk mistake a naked Sandy for a ferret and even a goat among other things.
- Aaahh Real Monsters. Ickis is rather insistent that he is not a bunny.
- The Ren and Stimpy Show:
- Ren is constantly referred to as other animals like a rat, a weasel, and even, most commonly, a mosquito and he angrily corrects then that he's a chihuahua.
Ren: I'm an Asthma-Hound Chihuahua!
- Also, Stimpy himself is mistaken for a dog by his two-episode-lasting owner George Liquor. Even after Stimpy corrects him, he still insists otherwise.
Stimpy: I'm a cat.
- A Kids WB promo for Channel Umptee 3 had Jim Cummings mistakenly identifying Ogden the Ostrich as a chicken.
Ogden: [points to Chicken Boo] See? Chicken! [points to himself] Not a chicken!
- Another not-animal but not human so it probably counts: Fairly Oddparents Faries don't like being confused with Pixies and vice-versa.
- Ironically enough, Rainbow Dash's original incarnation was an earth pony, thus making this a Mythology Gag of sorts.
- Technically, he should be saying "león", but eh, details
- The fish is actually a prop, and it's Max talking inside.