12 famous cartoon animals compared to their real-life counterparts

Warner Bros.Scooby-Doo is a Great Dane.
  • Not all animated animals look like their real-life counterparts.
  • Artists sometimes take a lot of creative liberties when creating animal characters.
  • Sometimes animated animals have similar behaviours as their real-life counterparts.

Artists tend to take some creative liberties when they developed some of our favourite animated animal characters. From outrageous sizes to unbelievable abilities, their unusual characteristics is what make these animated creatures so compelling.

Take a look at some of the most beloved cartoon characters next to their real-life counterparts.


Scooby-Doo is modelled after one of the largest dog breeds.

Warner Bros/iStockScooby-Doo is modelled after a Great Dane.

The adorable mystery-solving dog Scooby-Doo is fairly similar to his real-life inspiration. Scooby’s breed is a Great Dane and they tend to be large, loveable dogs who are typically friendly and patient with people.

However, according to the American Kennel Club, Great Danes are known for being effective guard dogs, which is pretty different from Scooby’s easily spooked disposition.


The giant crab, Tamatoa isn’t so far off from the real-life crustacean.

Disney/iStockBoth have big claws.

Tamatoa from “Moana” is a larger-than-life crab covered in treasure and he’s based on the very large coconut crab.

Found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, this giant crustacean uses its massive claws to crack open coconuts. Although not quite as huge as Tamatoa, the coconut crab typically weighs around 10 pounds.


Artists took some creative liberties with Arthur the aardvark.

Arthur, the cuddly bespectacled aardvark resembles a bear more than he resembles an aardvark.

In Arthur’s first appearance in the 1976 book, “Arthur’s Nose,” he resembled a real-life aardvark with a long snout and sharp claws.

But over the years, Arthur lost many of those classic aardvark features. Creator Marc Brown explained to AV Club, “It wasn’t anything I was consciously doing. I just drew him and the more I got to know him … His nose got smaller and smaller.”


Squidward Tentacles isn’t a squid after all.

Paramount; NOAASquidward Tentacles is actually an octopus.

Despite his name and only having six tentacles, Squidward Tentacles from “Spongebob Squarepants” is an octopus.

It was revealed by creator Stephen Hillenberg that Squidward is an octopus and he has less tentacles because it makes him easier to animate. His large, bulbous head closely resembles that of an octopus, but that’s about where the similarities between the two end.


Aside from Remy’s chef skills, he’s quite similar to real rats.

Disney/iStockThey have similar appearances.

Remy from “Ratatouille” is a rat that has great taste in food and big dreams of becoming a chef, meanwhile his family members feast on literal garbage.

Rats do typically eat whatever they can find in human’s kitchen cabinets and can oftentimes spread diseases along the way. Remy’s animators didn’t stray too far from his real-life counterparts. Both creatures typically have grey fur, small pink paws, and a long tail.

Read More: 28 celebrities you didn’t realise voiced Disney characters


Roadrunners actually run on roads like their cartoon counterpart.

ABC/iStockThe real animal isn’t as colourful.

Road Runner, a speedy bird constantly outrunning his nemesis Wile E. Coyote, is known for his classic “meep meep” call. The real-life bird of the same name is a bit smaller than the cartoon and they typically have brown and white feathers, unlike their blue and purple cartoon kin.

Roadrunners can be found running alongside roads like their name suggests, marking a similarity between the real animal and the cartoon.


Eeyore doesn’t have hooves as a real donkey does.

Walt Disney Pictures/iStockReal donkeys probably don’t misplace their tails that often.

The perpetually gloomy, stuffed donkey, Eeyore from “Winnie the Pooh” doesn’t exactly look like his real-life counterpart.

Eeyore doesn’t have hooves like a real donkey, but both creatures have pretty large ears. Both animals can be grey with a dark mane, but donkeys aren’t quite as cuddly as Eeyore. In reality, many rely on donkeys to carry heavy loads over mountains and large stretches of land.


Sonic the Hedgehog is a bit speedier than real hedgehogs.

Youtube/Sonic the Hedgehog/iStockReal hedgehogs are not blue.

Classic video game character, Sonic the Hedgehog is known for his bright blue fur and super fast speeds. Real hedgehogs are brown in colour and covered in prickly spines. And even though hedgehogs can run faster than a walking child at six miles per hour, they’re not known for breaking the sound barrier.


Pumbaa’s love for eating insects isn’t a typical warthog trait.

Disney/iStockBoth have similar snouts.

One half of the “Lion King” comedic duo, Pumbaa is a warthog with a passion for eating insects with his buddy Timon, a meerkat.

Real warthogs are grazers who eat plants and roots and battle against insects from biting their skin. They rely on birds to eat those insects and will hide in the mud to escape the biting bugs.


Without his human clothes, Puss in Boots is similar to a house cat.

DreamWorks/iStockHe looks like a real-life house cat.

Fairytale character Puss in Boots from the “Shrek” franchise is a “Zorro”-esque, sword-wielding orange cat.

House cats don’t usually have enough energy for sword fighting all day. They sleep an average of 15 to 20 hours in a day. However, if you remove Puss’ boots, sword, and dynamic personality, he looks just like a cuddly house cat.


Jiminy Cricket is a great conscience, but not really a great cricket.

Walt Disney Pictures/iStockThey don’t have much in common.

Jiminy Cricket serves as Pinocchio’s tiny conscience with a big personality. Outside of his name, Jiminy isn’t much like a cricket at all.

He doesn’t have antennae or long legs for jumping. He teaches Pinocchio how to whistle, but he doesn’t chirp like a real cricket. Jiminy’s much better at being a conscience than he is at being a real-life cricket.


Sven is nearly identical to real reindeer.

Walt Disney Pictures/iStockThey both have similar colouring.

Trusty sidekick and comic relief, Sven the reindeer from “Frozen” is a close representation of reindeer. With his dark to light gradient fur, large antlers, and fuzzy hooves, Sven’s characterization is spot on.

However, Sven doesn’t really act like a reindeer. It would be unusual to see a reindeer separated from its herd and they don’t tend to have dog-like personalities.

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