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Celia: Doesn't anyone think it's odd that tropical birds were flying around in this climate?
Haley: Have you ever read an encounter table? Nothing surprises me anymore.
Belkar: I once fought 1d3 dire camels in a swamp. No joke.


The bane of Naturalists, just as Anachronism Stew is the bane of Historians. This is a Trope that can manifest several different ways.

Generally, filmmakers use whichever animals they can get for a scene involving wild animals, especially in films set in Darkest Africa or The Amazon. Whether the animals are in the right environment, on the right continent or displaying appropriate behaviour is something they just hope we won't ask about.

Notorious in the case of elephants for scenes in Darkest Africa, since the only trained elephants available tend to be Indian, not African.

Glaringly obvious in the case of monkeys, as the cutest monkeys, the ones with the round faces and prehensile tails, are exclusive to the New World. Old World monkeys have long, wrinkly, often brightly colored faces and bare, often colourful, butts with non-prehensile (most of the macaque family and the colobus family) or vestigial tails (the drill and mandrill), so any film in Africa, India, Asia, or the Middle East featuring a cute little monkey hanging by its tail will annoy a naturalist like a Shakespearean costume at King Arthur's court annoys an English historian.

Also, scary things like snakes and spiders will consist of whatever the pet store had in stock. Never mind where these animals live. Never mind if they're even really dangerous either.

Can qualify as a full-fledged biology fail in cases where the animal wouldn't even be able to survive in the environment where it's depicted, never mind being in the wrong place. Fishes are perhaps the most common victims of this, as when freshwater species such as piranha or electric eels are shown living in the ocean, where salinity ought to kill them in minutes.

Misidentified wildlife is another feature of this Trope. This tends to happen to birds a lot. Some movies show a bird making generic ambient noise type calls, usually via stock footage. This ruins any sense of immersion for birdwatchers, who will immediately ask, "Hey, what's a White-throated Sparrow doing in feudal Japan?" Indeed one will eventually come away with the impression that there are no birdwatchers in Hollywood.

Occasionally, a movie or TV show will attempt to justify Misplaced Wildlife by identifying an animal onscreen, such as that White-throated Sparrow, as something completely different - even if it's a species that looks nothing like the creature onscreen.

Also, sometimes background sound effects contain sounds of animals not native to the setting of the film/TV show. Perhaps the most notorious example is the use of the distinctive "laugh" of the Australian kookaburra in jungle scenes set in Africa, or anywhere else other than Australia. This began with MGM's early-30s jungle movies like Tarzan, the Ape Man, and ever since, everybody has used this sound as jungle background.

Naturally, this Trope occurs much less often when the filming actually takes place within the area where the story is set. Also, this Trope generally applies only to normal animals. Funny Animals can be easily called as immigrants of some sort if found out of their element.

Note that this trope can also occur with plant life. In fact, it occurs often enough that Misplaced Vegetation is its own Sister Trope.

See also Noisy Nature, Diurnal Nocturnal Animal, Somewhere a Palaeontologist Is Crying, Somewhere an Ornithologist Is Crying, and Polar Bears and Penguins.

Examples of Misplaced Wildlife include:

Played Straight


  • Any film, TV series or cartoon (and there are quite a few) which show penguins in the Arctic, or polar bears or walrus in the Antarctic. People have generally wised up about this, though, so it rarely appears any more without some Lampshade Hanging.
  • Americans often use Old World vultures for scenes that don't take place in the Old World. These vultures also seem to exclusively be shown in deserts. While the Turkey Vulture, which actually does live in the United States (and is one of the most common vulture in the United States), does live in deserts, it also lives in most of the rest of the continental United States. They aren't an uncommon sight driving down any highway in America, though moviegoers don't expect them to appear soaring over a forest instead of a desert. They also don't get concerned when the misplaced vultures previously mentioned let out the cry of a Red-tailed Hawk (actual American vultures can't make any noises other than hissing).
  • Any instance of a creepy scene in a graveyard or spooky forest at night where a flock of crows takes flight in raucous caws and startles our protagonist. Sure, they might be found in those locations by daytime, but most birds have pretty poor nighttime vision, corvids among them, and would not take flight at night unless they had a very pressing reason to do so—like their perch falling down. They certainly wouldn't sit around and caw derisively to set the mood, because crows are diurnal; they'd be sleeping; huddled together if it's cold. This is justifiable in situations where our protagonist passes close enough to startle the flock, causing the group to take flight and make a lot of noise, in turn startling our protagonist.
  • In some Hollywood movies shot on location or outdoor sets in California, one can hear the calls of the Wrentit, a bird only found in coastal California.
  • Many films, regardless of setting, will feature the sound of frogs "ribbiting" in order to add ambiance. In real life, this sound won't be heard except on the West coast of North America (Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia), as it is a call unique to the Pacific Chorus Frog. The stock sound was recorded in and around the Hollywood area many moons ago, and has since been inserted into footage as far flung as the forests of England, the jungles of Vietnam, and the Australian outback.
  • Both in movies and on TV, the Madagascar hissing cockroach finds work as a stand-in for virtually every roach, beetle, or unspecified creepy bug ever filmed. Granted, they're easy to rear in captivity and docile enough to stay where you put them, but you'd think the name would be a clue that they're also this trope.
  • Likewise, many low-budget films or crime shows will toss a few mealworms onto a prop corpse, trusting viewers will be too squicked out by the wriggling to realize they aren't maggots, and in fact are beetle larvae that not only don't eat decomposing flesh, but are vegetarians who only eat plants.
  • Many works taking place in a desert will feature enormous, glossy black rainforest scorpions, such as the Emperor. This is most likely due to the ease of procurement and harmless nature of the species; it actually requires high humidity and would die in a desert. Some works will avoid this, and instead will use Arizonan species in "Egypt".
  • If you're watching something set in prehistoric times, more often than not it's just a lot easier to just give up on seeing any animals in the parts of the world—or the times in history—they were actually found in. Indeed, the BBC's "Walking with..." series is one of the only notable productions to very, very consciously avoid this. But some big mistakes are still be made. A pack of Utah''raptors shown living on a European island. In South America, the Pteranodons who aren't known from that place. Then there is the Asian Ambulocetus that somehow swam to ancient Germany (the narration Lampshaded this, but it still makes no sense).
  • Patriotic artists seem to like painting Bald Eagles in environments other than the large bodies of water they tend to prefer, being opportunistic fish-eaters. Often, its simply because it looks majestic. Never mind what the Eagle is going to eat in the middle of a desert, or a wide open prairie like in Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Anytime they're seen in film, they're generally dubbed over with the majestic scream of the Red-Tailed Hawk, as opposed to their less-impressive squeaking and grunting.
  • Inverted by Passenger Pigeons. They never turn up in period pieces, and considering how ludicrously common they were said to be, this might count as a (unique) instance of this trope. This is because no living Passenger Pigeons still exist since they've gone extinct, and other than through the use of CGI or using Mourning Doves in place of them, which falls into this trope, you'll never see one.
    • Many period pieces set in England run into the opposite problem—many have to reshoot scenes due to collared doves singing in the background during filming. Collared doves only arrived in the UK in the mid 1950s.
    • Little egrets may give the same problem in the future—they're now fairly common in southern England but only started to turn up in any numbers in the late 1980s/early 1990s. This would only be a problem near waterways though.
  • Traditionally, in period pieces set along the Eastern seaboard to the Gulf Coast—meaning every single Civil War-era recreation ever—we should also be seeing noisy, brightly colored parakeets as well, believe it or not. Imagine Gone with the Wind with flocks of parrots dotting the landscape...
    • The New World averted this; computer-generated Carolina Parakeets, based on still-living relatives (Mitred Conures), were used in a brief scene. This is what happens when your writer/director is also a birdwatcher.
  • Documentaries about the Black Death invariably show domesticated rats running loose on piles of corpses. At the very least, they're the wrong species (Rattus norvegicus, not Rattus rattus); in the worst examples, the rats' fur shows patterns, such as hooded or albino, that wouldn't survive to adulthood in nature.
    • A related trope is any horror movie using rats for a grossout or Cat Scare. The rat will often be patterned, frequently be obviously a juvenile fresh from the pet store, and will always nonchalantly stare at the actor/camera instead of the instant fight or flight response that makes wild rats so unnerving.
  • The calls of the Kookaburra and the Indian Blue Peacock most often embellish the soundtracks of Hollywood jungle movies.
  • The haunting call of the Common Loon, which is native to North America, can be heard anywhere where a strange haunting sound is needed. Anywhere from tropical rain forests to Asian bamboo forests.
  • As can be seen below, many live-action works that need monkeys will use Capuchin monkeys, even if it's not set in Central or South America. This may be justified by the relative intelligence of the Capuchin which makes it easy to train, as well as other factors such as audience appeal or obtainability. Doesn't stop primatologists and the like from facepalming at works that place wild Capuchins outside of the New World, though.
  • Most films with "dangerous" spiders making an appearance show tarantulas, or other similar scary-looking to a layman, but non-venomous spiders, in part because they look big and scary, and partially because they show up better on the screen. Presumably they're also used to limit the risk of crew-members getting poisoned.


  • Averted in the Coke commercials with the polar bear family for almost a decade... until the latest commercial in the series. Sigh... Possibly justified in that the penguins are on vacation, as they float in on patches of ice.
  • In the Snickers Feast ads with a Viking and a pilgrim, the Viking's headdress is made partially from the hide of raccoons, which are specific to the Western Hemisphere. He could have been a Viking who traveled to North America, but it's doubtful that the makers of the commercials thought about that.
  • There's a Hyundai commercial with a car driving past a lot of wild animals that are impressed by its look. Most of them are common North American forest species, but there's also prairie dogs (which don't belong in the woods), plus lemurs and an emu (which don't even belong on the same continent as the rest).

Anime and Manga

  • More of a translation problem, but nearly every animal in an anime or manga that is referred to as a raccoon is in reality a raccoon dog (or tanuki), a completely unrelated animal. Raccoons are native to the Americas. Some, like the one below, may be referring to actual raccoons since they are an invasive species now found in 42 out of 47 prefectures.
  • Rascal the Raccoon is a 1977 anime series with a main character that is a raccoon. At the time it was very popular, leading to around 1,500 raccoons that were imported as pets each year after the success of the anime series, so it became something of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
  • The main island of Japan hosts a sort of urban-dwelling dove similar to a morning dove with a very distinctive call: hoot-hoot / low grumble. This call is heard in Kaleido Star even though the beginning of the story is set in Los Angeles.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler has, among other things, tigers in Africa. When the author found out that tigers don't live in Africa, he admitted to not doing the research... and then, since it's a Gag Series, lampshaded it in a flashback in a later chapter by portraying an African savanna with such diverse species as pandas, unicorns, dinosaurs, and a "dragon" that looks rather like a person in a costume.
  • This is brought up in Petshop of Horrors: Tokyo, in a chapter where D points out to Wu Fei that many of the animals that are considered normal in Japan were actually imported from other countries.
  • The Jungle in Haré+Guu contains oddly drawn bears. The manga even says in a small box "Note: there are no bears in the jungle." Said jungle also seems to have pokute as its primary form of wildlife, so...
  • The "Best Wishes" arc of the Pokémon anime apparently featured Pikachu in the Unova region, which ironically did not feature such Pokémon (or any Pokémon from the first four generations) there. This was only because Ash brought the Pikachu with him, there have yet to be any appearances of the 493 Pokémon from prior generations in the wild. There were also instances of certain Pokémon appearing in a region in which they're normally not native to, especially during both the Hoenn and Sinnoh arcs. Some of these can be excused if they have a trainer who might have brought them there, but not so much when they're found in the wild.
  • Kimba the White Lion has the title character living in a jungle while real lions live in savannas. Justified when Kimba's odd home is made into a plot point involving the heritage of the white lions. Although real African lions typically live in open grassland and low tree density savannah, it's not unknown for them to live in bush and forest habitats. It's even more normal for Asiatic lions where mixed open forest(or jungle)/grassland (high tree density savannah) habitat is more normal.
  • Arashi no Yoru ni features bison, cougars, grizzly bears, prairie dogs, skunks, raccoons, wild boars, raccoon dogs, and baboons living in a forest with several goats and wolves.

Comic Books

  • The So Bad It's Good Black Condor comic book series has the title character's parents being killed while they were in Mongolia and himself being raised by condors... which live nowhere near Mongolia.
  • During Kurt Busiek's run on The Avengers, a Snowbird Expy called Silverclaw shows up; she can only turn into animals native to South America. The cheetah was retconned into a jaguar next issue (though she changed into that for speed), but they never tried to explain the cockatoo.
  • Both used and averted in Incredible Hulk #250 when Silver Surfer visited the North Pole and encountered large groups of penguins. To avert a storm of No-Prizes, the editor wrote in the bottom of the panel that he knew penguins lived on the opposite side of the world but the artist drew them so cute that he left them in.

Films — Animation

  • The Jungle Book
    • In Disney's version (set in India), Monkey People look mostly correct, with the glaring exception of Louie the orangutan (native to Indonesia).
    • Strangely, Louie was kept in both the Live Action Adaptation and "The Kipling group of Fables" in the comic book Fables, despite being a Disney addition and neither part of Rudyard Kipling's work nor a genuine "Fable". In the live-action Jungle Book it was at least acknowledged that Louie was out of place. But since Fables are influenced by people's beliefs about them, it's not impossible that Louie exists simply because more people have seen the Disney movie than read Kipling's books, and Word of God is that he simply Did Not Do the Research.
    • The Jungle Book 2 has an Ocelot make a small appearance during a song. Ocelots live in South America. Same goes to the hippos considering how they live in Africa.
    • In the animated spin-off Jungle Cubs, aside from Louie there's baboons (there's some evil ones during season 1), babirusa, cheetah (surprisingly, they were cheetahs in India until the early 20th century) and many other critters.
  • Abu in Disney's Aladdin, who looks like a New-World monkey in Arabia. There was mention in the animated series that Abu was imported as part of a traveling circus before he was adopted by Aladdin, and his tiny vest and hat was an artifact of this past, though this may have been an Author's Saving Throw. And Iago the parrot seems to be a very small version of a Scarlet Macaw. We had to wait for the Television Series of the Film to get an explanation: during a jaunt to the Amazon, Iago mentions he left the area a while back.
  • Despite including a parody of this trope (listed below) Disney's Tarzan messed up by having lemurs (native only to Madagascar) in mainland Africa. At least they put a leopard in the place of the book's lion, which, given the jungle setting, is much more appropriate.
  • The Lion King came oh-so-close to avoiding this trope... if only it wasn't for those leaf-cutting ants and anteaters, native to South America. Whoops. The sequel also slips up by putting an exclusively rainforest-dwelling Okapi in the savanna... although it is an African species, just from the wrong part of Africa.
    • And then there's the Animaniacs version of The Lion King, which for some reason, featured tigers living in what appears to be Africa. Though knowing Animaniacs, this may have been a Lampshade Hanging on the above instances.
    • The Animaniacs version also apparantly kept the leafcutter ants.
  • Bambi, set in Northeastern America, came very close too—until the California Quails show up. Bambi himself was originally a Roe Deer and the story took place in a German forest. But the setting was changed and he was made a White-tailed Deer to be more familiar to the American audience.
  • The Quails also appear (to cluck with disapproval at the Dwarves' dirty floor) in Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (which also featured raccoons, both native to North America), which is implied to take place in Europe. Those Quails get around!
  • And there they are again in Sleeping Beauty!
  • And there they are AGAIN again in Pocahontas! Now, it is true that some animals ranged farther into the eastern parts of North America in pre-colonial times, but come on, and that's not even touching on the moose. It leads one to think that the filmmakers have never even been to Virginia, given the spectacular Artistic License Geology of the landscape. Elk would have been more accurate if they were looking for something larger than a white-tail in Colonial times. There's also a large grizzly bear with cubs, even though there are only black bears in Virginia.
  • Dinosaur had prosauropods and a Brachiosaurus interacting with Cretaceous-period dinosaurs, as well as lemurs, which did not evolve until well after dinosaurs went extinct. Meanwhile the Carnotaurus that appeared was found only in South America, with relatives in Africa and southern Europe. Thus, this movie had Misplaced Wildlife and Anachronism Stew simultaneously. The opening scene also featured a Koolasuchus, which was a giant amphibian that only thrived in arctic regions (the South Pole, to be precise, on the exact opposite part of the planet). Even taking tectonic shift into account, those didn't belong there.
  • Finding Nemo was very impressive with its well researched Great Barrier Reef fish. Pity they didn't extend the research to the birds, using American species of Pelican and Gull instead of Australian ones.
  • The Little Mermaid has newts living in saltwater habitats and a coral reef that would be more appropriate off the coast of Australia than in the chilly Atlantic Ocean. The sequel also features a walrus living in what appears to be Antarctica.
  • Pinocchio for some reason, had ostriches living in both Italy and Pleasure Island.
  • Tangled apparently featured a chameleon character living in what appears to be a medieval Northern European kingdom. There are chameleons in southern Europe, but it's unlikely they'd get up that far.
  • Robin Hood takes place in Medieval England, but features North American species such as raccoons and grizzly bears, but also African and Asian species such as lions, elephants, hippos, and rhinos.
  • Mulan II featured grizzly bears and several North American wildlife pestering the main characters during one of the songs from the film in what appears to be an Asian setting.
  • The Emperors New Groove had a Eurasian Red Squirrel living in a South American jungle.
  • Ice Age has animals misplaced in time as well as space. At the very least, they used animals that were all around after the dinosaurs died out (with the exception of the second film's hesperornithines, mostly flightless Mesozoic diving birds). Especially confusing the mains haven't aged between the two movies, but they're set at opposite ends of the titular ice age... And then comes Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, when the first movie had humans. Oy...
  • Golden Films' The Jungle King Lions don't live in jungles.
  • The stop-motion animation of Fantastic Mr. Fox comes very close to entering this trope, depending on your interpretation of the film. Although American animals such as the possum, beaver, and grey fox are present, this could just very well be an artistic choice on the director's part. After all, some of the animals that could have more easily been represented by their American counterparts, such as the badger, were instead obviously portrayed as the Eurasian variety—fitting as the film is set in the English countryside. Some believe that because the animals are all portrayed as American, and the humans as English, the film could represent the American Revolution... in which case, is it acceptable for a few of the animals to be American species, if a theme of the film is all about said animals/culture fighting for their own identity? Mind = blown.
  • Kung Fu Panda has an elderly Galapagos tortoise living in ancient China as one of the film's main characters, while the sequel featured evil gorillas (native to Africa) commanding armies of evil wolves.
  • That cute little desert mouse, Priscilla, in Rango Word of God is she's actually an aye-aye. The film is set in the Mohave Desert, and the aye-aye is native only to Madagascar.

Films — Live-Action

  • The movies Big Fish and Sideways (deleted scene) replaced turkey vultures with one of the closely related yellow-headed vulture species. Since only turkey vultures that cannot be returned to the wild can be kept in captivity, it is apparently much simpler to just import a foreign lookalike.
  • Airplane! somehow had an actual turkey vulture, though. On the other hand, the elephant in Stryker's Africa flashback was actually an Asian elephant.
  • In 10,000 BC, woolly mammoths built the pyramids that resemble the Egyptian ones. Even a layman should be able to figure out giant woolly animals wouldn't live anywhere near a desert. Then there's the Terror Birds in the jungle, which were probably meant to be (South American) Phorusrhacids. More likely, they were there so that the producers could say they technically had dinosaurs chasing cavemen in their movie.
  • Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid took place in Asia (specifically Borneo) — even though most of the animals in the film are native to South America, particularly the title serpent itself (to say nothing of the tiger that appears briefly, since it's native to neither South America or Borneo). This may be a case of failing geography rather than biology, as they might've belatedly decided to change the film's location. There's also the DEADLY golden silk orb-weaver seen several times during the film. Impressively, it's not too out of place (Nephila is a very widespread genus, and there are several Asian species). On the other hand, it's not exactly DEADLY, as the many, many people who live with these things could easily tell you.
  • The Transylvanian armadillos(!) in Dracula (1931). There's also an opossum; Browning probably meant for them to stand in as giant rats, but...
    • The Spanish language version, shot from the same script on the same sets at night after the English-speaking cast and crew had gone home, does use rats. The director made a point of watching the English language footage every night before getting to work, and then making his version better. He didn't know what the armadillos were for, either.
    • One theory is that the armadillos and opossums are actually a result of censorship; showing actual live rats would have been against the rules as too "revolting" for an American audience, so rat stand ins were rather bizarrely used. The Spanish version would have been shown in areas where this limitation wouldn't have applied, so they got away with using real rats.
    • As the Spanish-language version was intended for Latin American markets, much of its intended audience would know that armadillos (native to that part of the world) are harmless and nothing like rats. English-speaking audiences—at least, the ones outside of Texas—would be less likely to know how very inoffensive these animals are, so might (stress might) actually have found them a bit creepy.
    • Then there's the bats. The connection between vampires and bats was never very strong in the classic vampire myths. Stoker mostly came up with it after reading about vampire bats somewhere and incorporating them into the story. The problem is that vampire bats are native to Latin America. The only place in Eastern Europe you're likely to find them are zoos.
  • Indiana Jones
    • Raiders of the Lost Ark
      • The monkey looks like another Capuchin. At least the monkey was a pet, and not necessarily native.
      • The big, hairy spiders that climb all over Indiana Jones and his guide are Mexican red-kneed tarantulas, native to deserts and scrublands, not rainforests.
      • The boa constrictor that falls on Marian, even though constrictors aren't found in the arid regions of Egypt.
    • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
      • Indy misidentifies the large bats as vampire bats, which aren't found in India. Granted, he might've been yanking his companions' chains about those. In reality, if you see a bat you can in any way describe as large it's probably a "megabat", which are also know as "fruit bats", because that's what they eat.
    • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
      • The siafu ("big damn ants!")are native to Africa, not Peru, and aren't nearly as big in Real Life. This could be a case of misidentified wildlife on Indy's part instead, as the Amazon notoriously does have similar army ants.
  • In The Leech Woman, our main characters are trekking through Africa. Although the Stock Footage is correct about what animals are in Africa (except for a typical alligator/crocodile confusion hodge-podge of shots at one point), scenes on sets have a New World monkey climbing a tree away from the characters, and an Indian elephant with African elephant-style ears glued onto its head.
  • Night at the Museum has a blatantly New World Capuchin Monkey in The Hall of African Mammals. (And worse, they go to no effort to hide this—the little guy is labeled in the movie as a Capuchin.) Another one of its denizens is only half right. The ostrich isn't a mammal, but it is at least native to Africa. The ostrich may actually be Fridge Brilliance, since many museum displays show not only the animal but its prey, and the ostrich is prey to several African mammals.
  • Speaking of Dracula, Nosferatu features a striped hyena in Transylvania. But in truth, it was probably meant to be a werewolf.
    • Lovingly parodied in The Monster Squad, where the same animals appear in the Transylvania prologue.
    • Dracula adaptations seem to have this problem bad; the furry webcomic version features Jonathan Harker the coyote (originally meant to be a fox, but the guy doing the strip likes coyotes), and a Eastern European ship's crew contained a kangaroo. This is particularly silly since Quincy Morris was from Texas, so making him a coyote would've been appropriate.
  • Not even live-action Disney is immune to this. In Mary Poppins the robin that lands on Mary's hand during the "Spoonful of Sugar" song is an American robin, in England, well outside its normal range. Ironic, given that the American version was named after the British robin redbreast in the first place. Bonus points for showing two MALE Robins building a nest outside the window.
  • One Hundred and One Dalmatians (the live action version) has skunks and raccoons in England.
  • In Outbreak, we see a herd of South American black-capped capuchins running away from a burning rainforest in Africa.
  • In the opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey the hominids, in a semi-desert African setting, are accompanied by tapirs, when there's no evidence that they ever existed in Africa. In the novel, they were boars, so it was probably just a case of being unable to get a large animal of that sort passive enough to use in filming, especially since one shot involves a hominid angrily shoving a tapir aside. Boars are nasty, and would probably attack the actors if they shoved it like that. Word of God is that one reason they used tapirs is because they were more exotic-looking and "prehistoric" appearance.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen features tigers in what looks to be Africa.
  • The Pygmy Nuthatch in Charlies Angels is a South American Troupial, a relation to the oriole—a much bigger and different coloured bird. Pygmy Nuthatches are not found in one small spot like Cameron Diaz declares either. And the call heard in the movie matches neither bird!
  • Used for comedic effect at the beginning of UHF.
  • Tropic Thunder features a vicious man-eating panda in the jungle along the Vietnam/Laos border. In Real Life, giant pandas are found only in China, and nowhere near the border with Indochina. To say nothing of the fact that real life pandas aren't carnivorous.
  • Troy contains a moment where a llama is seen in the city of Troy, despite the fact that llamas are new-world animals and would never have been found in ancient Greece/Troy. The same crowd scene has a cage filled with budgerigars (commonly called parakeets in the US). These are small Australian parrots that weren't discovered until the 19th Century.
  • Rare case of Old World monkeys in the New World: In The Rundown the characters are twice sexually pestered by baboons in South America.
  • Many things have been told about how Three Hundred fails (and pees over) History forever, but the fact the Persian war rhino is an African two-horned rhino instead of one of the one-horned Asian species is rarely brought up (granted, there is a two-horned rhino in Asia, the Sumatran rhino, but it is a hairy, very small creature with two very short, almost flat horns). Anyway, rhinos never were domesticated nor used in warfare...
  • Bringing Up Baby has a leopard from South America. Leopards are old world cats, found in Africa and Asia. South America is the domain of jaguars. One wonders why they called the cat a leopard, as Baby was even played by a jaguar. Someone forgot to do their homework in zoology, it seems.
  • The spiders in Arachnophobia are Delena cancerides from New Zealand, a species known for being slow and harmless. This is somewhat evident to the arachnology fan watching the film, as they are so slow and inert that they sometimes have to be urged to move by sticks that are visible in-shot. The "big bad" spider toward the end is a bird-eating tarantula, more dangerous owing to being large and aggressive (if not particularly poisonous). The film is set in the USA, though the spiders supposedly come from South America.
  • The "venomous snakes" in the temple in The Mummy Returns are mainly coral snake mimics. Coral snakes and their mimics live in the Americas, not in Egypt. If you're using prop or CG snakes anyway (and they were, at least when snakes were being kicked or thrown around) there is really no excuse for them to be Misplaced Wildlife. Probably intentional, given writer/director Stephen Sommers' love for 1930s films in all their absurdity.
  • The first Alien vs. Predator movie is set in Mysterious Antarctica and has a Cat Scare involving a penguin. Problem is, the bird shown is an African penguin, only found in, well, Africa.
  • Oddly enough, the first Tarzan movie had Asian elephants disguised as African by attaching cardboard tusks and ears to them. They got rid of the disguise in the sequels. This was probably done because African elephants are notoriously difficult to train.
  • Justified in Jumanji. The jungle that the Jumanji world is composed of is not a real-world environment, but a fantastical, magical creation of the game, hence all sorts of misplaced wildlife spring from it. For instance, Pelicans, lions, rhinos, zebra and elephants all don't live in the jungle.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked featured a meerkat (referred by Alvin as a honey badger) living on a tropical island.
  • In Adam Sandler's 2008 comedy You Don't Mess With The Zohan, Zohan and his arch-nemesis Phantom are seen on the Palestine beach competing about which one is the tougher, letting themselves get bitten by a piranha to prove their point. It's presence is a two-fold mistake, because a) piranhas are found in South America, and b) they are fresh water fish. (This is for pure humour, but the writers could have picked a crab or anything more appropriate for the setting.


  • Edgar Rice Burroughs had Tarzan fight a tiger at least once. Also lions, which live in Africa but on the savanna, not the jungle. To Burroughs' credit, he realized the mistake and removed the tiger when the serialized Tarzan of the Apes was collected as a novel. The only other tiger to appear in the novels occurs in Tarzan and the Foreign Legion which is set on Sumatra, which does have tigers.
  • Quite a few animals in Twilight don't exactly run rampant in the Pacific Northwest. At least, not enough of them to feed a clan of vampires. Or blame mysterious deaths on.
  • The latest Alex Rider book has monkeys in Australia. Umm...
  • Jules Verne, of all people, could sometimes fall into this, even though he usually tried to explain it. Especially in The Mysterious Island, where the island in question was the last remnant of a sunken continent which connected Australia, Asia and the Americas, which is why kangaroos and agoutis live on the same island.
  • In the book The Swiss Family Robinson, the characters are shipwrecked on a tropical island which is home to Eurasian buffalo and onagers, African lions, South American ocelots and boa constrictors, Australian kangaroos, and Antarctic penguins. The movie makes quite a spectacular attempt to justify this: the characters theorize that the island is all that's left of a land bridge between continents, and somehow representatives of every single place it reached got stuck there when the rest of the bridge eroded away. In this case it's because Science Marches On: before the theory of plate tectonics gave a plausible mechanism for continental drift, the idea that continents could move was considered fringe science, and land bridges were often invoked to explain similar fossils found oceans apart.
  • Stephen King's Desperation takes place in the Nevada desert during the summer and includes a few scenes with hordes of fiddleback spiders. Said spiders do not live this far to the west (we do have grass spiders with stripes vaguely reminiscent of the fiddleback, but the resemblance ends there), and they prefer a temperate climate.
  • The Dr. Seuss book Horton Hears a Who! has an elephant and a kangaroo living in the same jungle. Highly unlikely in any case, but then again, this is Dr. Seuss we're talking about, so real world rules or any sort need not apply.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series takes place in a fantasy world where all mammals, birds, amphibians and turtles are sentient. Few of the animal species he encounters should be living on the same continent, let alone in the same village.
    • At one point, after having met Australian animals, Jon Tom goes to a place where Australian animals exclusively live. Even there, the habitats within Australia are inextricably mixed together.
  • In one of Paul Doherty's mystery novels set in Ancient Egypt, Queen Hapshetsut appears in court wearing an outfit trimmed with jaguar fur. Presumably the author meant to say "leopard", as jaguars are exclusively a New World big cat.
  • Paddington Bear came from "Darkest Peru". Spectacled (also known as Andean) bears are native to Peru and other regions of South America, but unfortuantely Paddington Bear looks absolutely nothing like a Spectacled bear.
  • The Autobiography of a Monkey has monkeys with clearly prehensile tails and tigers, both in Africa.
  • "Leiningen Versus the Ants" demonstrates the power of a massive army ant swarm by having them devour a non-Amazon native elk.
  • Pride and Prejudice And Zombies features a sequence where the Bennett sisters come across a tide of animals fleeing the "unmentionables". Said tide includes the North American animals chipmunks, raccoons and skunks, which were nowhere to be found in Regency England.
    • As if the author had heard about complaints and decided to give people something to really gripe about, the spiritual sequel Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters features well-to-do English families having rattlesnake and armadillo for dinner, while a servant's grave is despoiled by a scavenging hyena.
  • The Sherlock Holmes novel "The Speckled Band" not only featured a nonexistent snake called the "swamp adder" as the titular speckled band, but also mentioned cheetahs and baboons living in India. In real life, cheetahs would have become extinct in India around the time the book was published, and baboons are actually native to Africa.
    • The novel was first published in 1892. The last solid evidence for cheetah in India was in 1947 and they are officially regarded as extirpated in India in the 1950s. They would have been rare in the 1890s but not yet extirpated. The baboon reference may also have been Macacus rhesus (the Rhesus Macaque) which has very occasionally been called the "Indian baboon" in English (even though it's not a baboon at all).
  • While Fragment averts this trope in its fictional portion, the epistolary prelude describes several Real Life examples of invasive species which have managed to invoke it with great success.
  • The short story The Scarlet Ibis featured a strange red bird (the titular scarlet ibis) appearing in Florida, deathly ill or injured (shortly after a storm). It dies, right before the narrator accidentally kills his younger brother, who buried it.
  • Clayton Emery's Beasts of Sherwood Forest has chipmunks and other North American species in 12th century England.
  • In Jeanne Faivre d'Arcier's Le Dernier Vampire (The Last Vampire), one character mentions a remedy her grandmother, a healer from Reunion island, made out of snake venom. There are no poisonous snakes in Reunion island.
  • Warrior Cats was first set in an English forest, with appropriate flora and fauna. However, as the series went on, it began introducing more and more New World animals, culminating in the cats encountering a cougar in the mountains. The authors have since stated that the series takes place on a fictional island on which both British and American wildlife are present.

Live-Action TV

  • Lost has polar bears on a tropical island, alongside horses, chickens, and cows. Explained as being brought to the Island by The DHARMA Initiative, who were doing research on gene manipulation for adaption to different climates.
  • Radar O'Reilly in the TV series M*A*S*H keeps, among his animals, a pet skunk. Cute and cuddly, and possibly still armed... but not exactly a native of Korea, though they never actually say where he got the skunk.
  • In The Twilight Zone episode "The Jungle", various aspects of the African jungle come to haunt some guy with a curse on him. At several points during the episode, we hear a kookaburra laughing in the background. Kookaburras live in Australia, not Africa.
  • Back in the year 2000, CBS caught a lot of crap from birdwatchers who recognized the birdsong on the network's golf broadcasts as belonging to birds not native to the location of the tournament. Yep, they admitted that they were piping in "ambient birdsong" to their telecasts. Oops.
  • CSI
    • The CSI: Miami episode "A grizzly murder" features a brown bear, presumably a grizzly, in Dade County, which is about as far as you can get from the Grizzly Bear's current, historical and post glacial range in the USA. There are some Black Bears in Southern Florida, but most are west of Dade.
    • The complete opposite happens in the original CSI episode "Unbearable". Like in the above case, the episode opens with a hunter that has been killed by a bear (a Kodiak in this case). The fact the species is foreign is precisely what brings the CSI in since that makes the person who released the bear accountable for manslaughter, and the clues eventually lead to a zoo that has been selling animals for illegal hunts. CSI Miami's take? The bear is treated the whole time as if it was native to the region, it's never clear why was the CSI brought in (though they find evidence of foul play immediately) and the clues eventually lead to yet another murder of an attractive woman in an expensive hotel suite. Comparing these two episodes is probably the best way to illustrate what makes both series so different.
  • One episode of Gossip Girl has Serena and Trip crashing their car because there are wolves on the road. In New York. (They might have been coyotes or Eastern Red Wolves rather than true wolves.)
  • On Little House On the Prairie, one can hear the "chi-ca-go" call of the California Quail. Little House is set in Minnesota, and the Quail is only found west of the Rockies. It really can't be helped, since it was filmed in California.
  • Power Rangers Jungle Fury (emphasis on Jungle), which sees the usage of a tiger, jaguar, cheetah, lion, chameleon, elephant, bat, shark, gorilla, penguin, antelope, wolf, and rhino. Power Rangers has done this for a long time, even when Saban ran the series: the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers had 7 Dinozords, only two of which were actually legitimate dinosaurs. At least Jungle Fury was originally planned to be named Beast Fist, so it made somewhat of a bit of sense. Power Rangers Wild Force and Gaoranger might better be considered an Anachronism Stew, since it's clear that the animals they chose were all over the place, jungle, desert, woodland, etc., and had no real one location, like a Jungle, Forest, etc. The only time Wildlife gets misplaced were with the animal-based weapons of the Jungle Sword (Lion, Tiger, Eagle, Shark, Bison) and Jungle Blaster (Falcon, Deer, Giraffe, Rhino, Armadillo.)
  • A segment of David Attenborough's Life of Birds featuring a bird endemic to the South-West of Australia—accompanied by the calls of birds only native on the eastern seaboard of the country.
  • In a Disney adaptation of Swiss Family Robinson (a series spun off from their film adaptation), the family meets a falconer and his... bird. A bird that is played by 3 different species over the course of the episode. By the time she is shown flying (via stock footage of a falcon) and then landing on the man's wrist (suddenly, she's a Golden Eagle), you wonder how the producers thought we wouldn't notice.
  • A park ranger on Bones once tried to kick the show's crime scene investigators out of her park, on the grounds that their activities might disrupt a migratory flight path for a rare species of booby. All 6 species of boobies (the birds) are native to tropical islands and coastlines, mainly in the Pacific, so would have no reason to migrate over a crime scene that's within driving distance of Washington D.C.
  • On The History Channel's Battles BC, CGI elephants are shown fighting for India against the invading army of Alexandar the Great. African elephants, not Asian: the ears are distinctively larger in the former.
  • The telemovie Hart to Hart Down Under had a tiger in the Australian Outback.
  • The old pirate serial The Buccaneers repeatedly uses kookaburra sound effects. It's set mostly in the Bahamas.


  • Bluebirds are not native to England, so there's very little chance of them flying over the White Cliffs of Dover—something the cliffs' current guardians admit freely: "Obviously bluebirds sounded more romantic than sea gulls!"
  • On the Savannah, the freaking SAVANNAH, the lion sleeps tonight. (Lions do not live in the jungle.)

= Newspaper Comics

  • Justified Trope in The Phantom. There are wild tigers in the African country of Bengali because an Indian Maharaja once brought a group of them from India some hundred years earlier.
  • Lampshaded in a Polar Express parody in a FoxTrot comic strip: The conductor welcomes Roger to the North Pole... until Roger points out the presence of penguins. "Stupid Map-Quest!"
  • The daily comic strip Crock follows a French Foreign Legion unit in North Africa. It routinely features cacti, which only occur naturally in New World deserts. May be a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, since several species of cactus from the new world have become naturalized through the Mediterranean basin, with most having been imported more than 100 years ago for use either as crops or ornamentals.
  • The May 24, 1986 Calvin and Hobbes strip has Calvin imagining him being a crocodile in the amazon. Okay, but he then imagines his dad as a hippopotamus.

Puppet Shows

  • In Muppet Treasure Island, the second half takes place on an unidentified North American island. Miss Piggy is brought to the ceremony by an Asian elephant (and not a Muppet one either). What makes it worse is that the story takes place in the 17th Century, long before any zoos were built in North America, let alone the Caribbean islands. Given that it's The Muppets, this might very well have been an intentional Lampshade Hanging.

Tabletop Games

  • Despite most of Ravenloft setting's domains being spooky versions of European nations, they tend to have a mixture of North American and European wildlife (e.g. hedgehogs and skunks on the same random false-alarm encounter table). Justified in the case of the African-flavored Wildlands' tigers, which the Dark Powers put there deliberately to have a blood-feud with the native lions.
  • Many role-playing games' encounter tables for aquatic creatures don't bother to distinguish between freshwater and saltwater species, probably because there aren't many choices to work with.

Video Games

  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, which is set in a densely wooded Russian jungle (huh?), is positively loaded with species that simply aren't supposed to be there, reaching right into the cryptozoological on occasion. This meta reason is that it was an attempt by Hideo Kojima to keep players from guessing the location of Snake Eater from the demos. In the game one of your Mission Control later Hand Waves this by claiming the Soviets brought them in as "test subjects."
  • Sonic the Hedgehog. Marine the Raccoon uses Australian slang, while the actual echidna has an American accent. Also, said echidna is a descendant of the Maya civilization, a Mesoamerican tribe, and has dreadlocks. There's a fancomic somewhere with Knuckles freaking out over trying to figure out his nationality.
  • Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy features numerous species of armadillo running around the deserts of Ancient Egypt. The fact that they're magical armadillos doesn't excuse the fact that they're still armadillos.
  • Not counting the various sentient animal residents of Animal Crossing, all of the fish in the game have just been pulled from various continents and thrown in the water. You can catch a koi, then find a black bass downstream from it, and then catch a barracuda right afterwards. This is lampshaded at one point in one of the sequels, and in the first game: "I caught a piranha! Which river is this, anyway? I'm glad I didn't take a dip!"
  • Crash Bandicoot. Being on fictional Australian islands, one could be forgiven for having mainland and island species together in one place. One could also be forgiven for having Tasmanian Tigers and Dingoes (the former is classed as extinct although people claim that they've seen it since, and the latter is not technically a native species but could have been brought over from the mainland), but why on Earth is there an island inhabited by POLAR BEARS? That just misses the wrong hemisphere, never mind continent. A more subtle mistake is the Komodo Dragon (a species native to islands in Indonesia). The anthropomorphic characters can be somewhat justified by the fact that they're all N.Cortex's experiments (and thus, may have been imported). The Polar Bear... Not so much.
  • The Tomb Raider series sometimes places species in locations where they either never existed or are now extinct (for example, lions in Egypt and China, where they are long gone, brown bears in Peru, and piranhas in India and the South Pacific). To say nothing of the dinosaurs.
  • It tends to be discreet, but if you notice the raccoons showing up (often!) in Battle for Middle Earth II, it will ruin the idea that Middle-Earth is supposed to be the Old World...
  • The Jedi Knight series did this. Sand People appear on all sorts of planets, for...some reason.
  • The SNES game Lester the Unlikely has a giant spider boss where hitting it results in an eagle sound (or rather, what the media thinks an eagle sounds like). Perhaps they couldn't find any other sound on the cartridge that was more appropriate. Seagulls make the same eagle sound.
  • Final Fantasy XII. Japanese players of this game likely didn't notice, but American blue jays are not the best choice for generic sea bird calls in the ambient noise soundtrack for the Phon Coast.
  • Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 apparently featured what appeared to be emperor penguins (native only to um, guess) living on various planets that otherwise have a tropical setting. And the inhabitants of the ice planets? bunnies. They could have been king penguins however, since they look exactly like emperor penguins, but live in the tropics.
  • Will Rock features, along with other monsters, tigers, lions, and Nile Crocodiles in Greece.
  • Jabless Adventure features Pokey, a talking cactus in the middle of The Lost Woods. You ask him what he's doing there, and he's not sure. Later in the game, you encounter Pokey again, in a volcano. He explains that he dug his way there.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl has a rare Mon example. The Pokémon Rayquaza raises out of a lake like it's some sort of sea monster. It's supposed to live in the earth's ozone layer.
  • Not seen but heard in The Lost Vikings II: one of BGM tracks in the Amazon Jungle contains sounds of various wildlife... among them elephants.
  • Justified in Hatoful Boyfriend, which takes place at a prestigious high school for sapient birds, and so attracts students and faculty from all over the world. The heroine still lampshades the unlikeliness of encountering a mourning dove in Japan.
  • Played with in Dwarf Fortress. Different kinds of wildlife will only exist in certain biomes, but the biomes are defined by weather and terrain patterns, not by continents. It's not unusual to find parrots, jaguars, and pandas in the same jungle.

Web Animation

Web Original

Western Animation

  • An old Mickey Mouse short, Mickey Down Under, features an ostrich deep in the banana jungles of Australia. Obviously it was meant to be an emu, but the animators simply drew an African ostrich.
  • Looney Tunes
  • The monkey Nkima in Filmation's Tarzan cartoons looks New World.
  • The original George of the Jungle and the remake are set in a fictional jungle that looks primarily African, but includes animals and vegetation you wouldn't see in the wilds of Africa. An especially odd use of this trope is in the newest animated series, where one of the characters seems to be a Thylacine, an extinct marsupial from Australasia.
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • The title sequence shows them discovering a dodo bird on a mountaintop. Dodos lived exclusively in the undergrowth of tropical deciduous forests, and would be ill-suited to an alpine environment.
    • This show also claims that vipers and badgers are the natural predators of platypi. Platypi are exclusive to Australia, which had neither badgers nor vipers until the latter were accidentally introduced in recent times.
    • One of Doofenshmirtz's traumatic backstories involves him being raised by ocelots, which are explicitly referred to in the movie as "South American wildcats". Yet Druelselstein is presumably in continental Europe...
  • The Venture Brothers had an episode where the boys were in South America, and there was an orangutan. The natives also practiced circumcision, so they probably were really in Indonesia.
  • In a first-season episode of Ben 10, the Tennysons cross a Mexican jungle in which a chameleon (complete with 3 horns and goggle-eyes) is visible in the treetops. True chameleons aren't native to the New World, although feral populations (of different species than the one shown!) do exist in California and Florida
  • An in-story example of this can be seen in the Star Wars the Clone Wars TV series episode "Trespass". The creatures the native Talz are riding throughout the episode are Narglatch, fan-tailed cat-like creatures that are native to Naboo. Not only the wrong climate zone (Naboo is mostly tropical), but the wrong planet. What's even worse is the fact that since the Talz are not advanced enough to have space travel, so the appearance of the Narglatch could not be explained by the Talz having brought them to the planet. Furthermore, the Talz themselves are from another planet.
    • This tends to happen a lot not only on The Clone Wars, but in the Star Wars universe in general. On the series, it's somewhat justified in that they have a limited number of CG models and have to re-use creatures on several planets.
  • American Dad is pretty bad at this: the characters live in "Langley Falls" Virginia, but one episode had Stan take his family out camping into nearby mountains where they get chased by a Grizzly Bear... an animal native to the Western United States (a Black Bear would have been more appropriate) and since American Dad tends to use Lampshade Hanging for things out of place (including the alien member of the cast), the fact that they didn't point this out means it was probably an error. Another episode had Stan narrowly escape a Mountain Lion in the woods... Lions were extirpated from the Eastern U.S. by the beginning of the 20th century (aside from a small and critically endangered population in Florida). Producer Seth MacFarlane is from Rhode Island, about a day-trip away from Virginia, so either he really doesn't know any better or he's been living in California too long.
  • Transformers
  • Beast Wars tries to avoid this by not being very particular as to what species of animal the cast transform into (and having the decency to explain Dinobot and Megatron's dinosaur alt-modes as being scanned from fossils), but it still has some odd placements, such as the gorilla that the computer scans for Optimus Primal being in the middle of what appears to be a desert. In a more literal sense, the fact that most of the animals on the cast are in the same shot, centimetres apart from one another, is unusual. The wildlife placements are made far more odd when it is revealed that the series takes place in North America, where the Autobot's Ark crashed. Even allowing for the prehistoric setting, many of the animals scanned in the first episode, as well as the proto-humans, are very out of place.
    • Beast Wars II, the Japan-only anime sequel, has at least one Tasmanian Devil on Gaea, which is Earth in the distant future. Plus, the surface of Gaea is a jungle. Other examples abound, such as the question of how Big Convoy of Beast Wars Neo has a mammoth alt-form when he's apparently never even been to Earth/Gaea.
  • The Fairly OddParents TV movie "Fairy Idol" shows penguins... living in the North Pole.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine
    • A picture book based on the show apparently showed American Robins living on the Island of Sodor, which is supposed to be located between the real-life islands of Man and Britain.
    • Another picture book based on this show was actually about Thomas and Stepney finding a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton on Sodor, despite that dinosaur being native to North America (they really should've either uncovered a Megalosaurus or a Baryonyx, both of which are actually theropod dinosaurs that are native to England). Well at least the dinosaur skeleton the Narrow Gauge locomotives found in the show is actually that of a Dacentrurus (a small stegosaurid native to England).
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, despite taking place in a deliberate Fantasy Kitchen Sink, gets special mention for having a giant squid in a lake in "The Showstoppers".
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place in a world littered with platypus bears, skunk bears, armadillo bears, gopher bears, and polar bear dogs. The Gaang is baffled when they learn that the Earth King owns a pet... bear—just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill northern grizzly bear.
  • The Danger Mouse episode "The Bad Luck Eye of the Little Yellow God", ostensibly set in Brazil, is jampacked with African wildlife.
  • One episode of DuckTales (1987) had Scrooge McDuck, the nephews, Webby, and Ms. Beakley go to Antarctica to protect a colony of penguins from a giant carnivorous walrus that was trapped in an ice cube for thousands of years, but was accidentally freed by Webby's tuning fork, causing said ice cube to shatter. In real life, walruses are native to the Arctic, not Antarctica. A leopard seal would be more appropriate however, since they are giant seals that live near Antartica which feed on penguins.
  • The Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Kiwi's Big Adventure" features a crocodile in the tropical jungles of New Zealand.
  • The blue foxes in The Animals of Farthing Wood, which are not found in Europe. In the original books there's no indication that the foxes in White Deer Park look any different to Fox and Vixen—the TV series probably introduced it as Color-Coded for Your Convenience.

Real Life

  • Thanks to notorious Drug Lord Pablo Escobar, there is now a small population of hippos in Colombia.
  • Birds occasionally fly to places they aren't normally seen in, such as Siberian birds in Alaska or American birds in Europe, due to being blown off course by strong winds during their migration. That said, this is such a rare occurrence, it tends to make the news.
    • And it doesn't just happen to birds either. A West Indian Manatee (more readily associated with Florida) spent his summer in Cape Cod in 2008.
    • The Wild Parrots of Brooklyn.
    • Pasadena, California has a large, non-indigenous population of naturalized parrots. According to the "Parrot Project of Los Angeles", the parrots are of at least five species. Some residents have come to enjoy the birds as part of their unique city's culture, while others consider them to be loud pests. Many theories surround the mystery of how the parrots landed in Pasadena and claimed the area as their own. A widely accepted story is that they were part of the stock that were set free for their survival from the large pet emporium at Simpson's Garden Town on East Colorado Boulevard, which burned down in 1959.
    • The same Monk Parakeets thrive in Florida, and also in isolated colonies in several other major American cities including Chicago. Technically these are "introduced" rather than misplaced—They were released as pets and have become feral versus winding up in the wrong place due to some natural phenomenon. This is unfortunately pretty common, as evidenced by the European Starling being ubiquitous across North America and the also European House Sparrow now being one of the most numerous birds on the continent, despite the latter's declining numbers in countries it is native to according to its article on That Other Wiki. Amazingly, both of these species have only been introduced to North America in the last 150 years or so. A story mentioning flocks of House Sparrows in New York City would have qualified for this trope as being wrong not that long ago.
    • The Ring-necked Pheasant, so beloved of American hunters and artists and also the state bird of South Dakota, was brought to North America in 1857. They are originally native to Russia and are also naturalized in much of Western Europe.
    • The common parakeet, or budgie, has been marching, proverbially, into the Netherlands driving out the native Sparrow (which as mention above is doing just fine in its non-native North American habitats).
    • The Rock Pigeon[1] ended up this way due to human intervention. The species's adaptability combined with feral populations ending up on every continent except for Antarctica ended up giving what originally lived on European cliffs a very wide range, to the point where their non-native status outside their original range isn't brought up much due to how common and widespread they are, as well as the fact that these countries often have their own native species of doves and pigeons, in contrast to how the House Sparrow and European Starling stand out in North America since their families are mostly restricted to the Old World; although the Americas have species called sparrows, they're actually in the same family as Old World buntings.[2] The fact that Rock Pigeons outside their native habitat are descended from domesticated specimens also results in varying colors among individuals.
  • The story of how Singapore got its name—once upon a time, there was a fishing village called Temasek. Then a prince called Sang Nila Utama arrived, and upon reaching the shores of the island saw a creature that looked like a giant cat, with a red body, a black head and a white chest. He asked his assistant what the animal was and was told it was a lion. Hence the place was called the "Lion City" (i.e. Singapura) from that point on.
  • Actual misplaced wildlife: there is a herd of South American Rheas living in northeastern Germany, of all places. Apparently, winters here aren't that much worse than in Argentina.
    • There are also a few colonies of escaped wallabies living wild in the UK.
    • The grey squirrel is native to North America but now so common in the UK that most people never see the native red ones, to the point that there is currently a campaign to introduce squirrel-hunting—and squirrel-eating—to the UK, specifically targeting the Grey Squirrel, so that the Reds have a chance to thrive again.
  • Monkeys were released/escaped into the Everglades after the filming of the Tarzan movies there. While the movies were set in Africa, not Florida, they now depict accurately the fauna of the Everglades. When they were being filmed, they didn't...
    • Certain species of large constrictors often kept as pets have escaped or been illegally released when they got too big in such numbers that their populations in Florida may now be self-sustaining. So yes, now we do have potentially man-eating snakes.
    • The same is true for several species of parrots/parakeets in various areas.
  • The rise of various "Beast of X" sightings and rumours circulating in rural northern England roughly coincides with a tightening of regulations on keeping large predators as pets. This is probably not a coincidence.
  • There are many sightings of "black panthers" and maned lions in North America and Australia.
  • It is widely believed that the countryside surrounding Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire supports a thriving wallaby population.
    • And aside of the wallabies there are Japanese sika deer all over the place, American gray squirrels driving native red squirrels into extinction and more Pere David's deer, Chinese water deer and Reeves's Muntjacks there than in their native China. British mammal fauna is completely FUBAR. Even rabbits weren't native to Britain until the Normans introduced them as game animals. Native British hares have mostly been displaced into isolated mountains and marshes by the fast-breeding continental coneys.
  • Some introduced species have become so widespread, their presence can be felt all over the world. One of the most ubiquitous, the rat, has spread so relentlessly that biologists haven't got a clue what sort of habitat their wild ancestors originally came from.
    • The most widespread and familiar rat is the Norway rat (also called the Brown Rat). While, like any inhabitable place, there are rats in Norway today, it's definitely not their original, indigenous location. They were called Norway rats by an English biologist in the 18th century, when the brown rat didn't even exist in Norway.
  • You wouldn't expect to see gray whales on the coast of Israel, would you?
  • Dromedary camels are native to the North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, where they are now completely domesticated. The only wild population is in Australia, where they were introduced.
  • Many domestic species are like this: wild horses in the United States are descendants of animals brought over from Europe by Spanish explorers or that escaped from captivity. Likewise, feral populations of cats, dogs, goats, sheep, and pigs are now common in many places that they're not native to. Pigs in particular have proved so able to colonize new territory that they've become a serious ecological problem in places like California, Hawaii, Florida, and Australia.
    • However, horses evolved in North America, and only got to Eurasia relatively recently. They died out in North America about 10,000 years ago, before being reintroduced. Mustang defenders have argued that wild horses should be allowed in National Parks in the American Southwest because the archeological record shows they lived there before humans did.
  • Non-native dolphins, sharks and seals sometimes turn up off the Atlantic coast of Britain.
  • Pigs are native to Europe and Asia. Polynesians introduced them across the South Pacific. Spanish explorers introduced them to North America, South America, and everywhere else they went. Today, feral pigs are found from the US to Argentina, in Australia, and in a whole slew of other places they're not supposed to be. Unfortunately, due to their fast growth rate, high reproductive rate, ability to eat almost anything, and the general lack of predators capable of dealing with them, they've become a huge problem in most of the places they've been introduced to.
  • On June 2011, a young emperor penguin ended up on the coast of New Zealand.
  • Every now and again, a walrus will be seen in or around Northern Scotland, even though that's still quite a ways away from the walrus' natural habitat, the Arctic Circle.
  • The South American nutria (looks like a cross between a rat and a beaver) has invaded many parts of the USA and Europe after being introduced there by fur ranchers.
  • The common starling was not native to North America until 1890, when Eugene Schieffelin and the American Acclimatization Society released 60-100 in Central Park as part of a plan to introduce every bird species mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare to America. They are now over two-hundred million strong and a major pest bird.
  • Fish also get misplaced—sometimes intentionally and sometimes not—in various rivers and streams around the world. In North America, numerous species of Asian carp have infested lakes and rivers across the United States, and on occasion so have northern snakeheads. Alligator Gar, native to the Southeast United States have been found in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkmenistan and Singapore. The South American arapaima has been introduced to lakes and rivers in Thailand and Malaysia. There are varying reasons for this, from fish owned by private collectors escaping or being released into the wild, introduced to remove pest species or as part of conservation efforts.
  • The cane toad, native to South and Central America, was released into numerous islands in Oceania, the Caribbean, Hawaii and Australia where they were intended to reduce or eliminate cane beetles that were eating cane sugar, a valuable crop. The toads succeeded in their mission, but rather than stop at the beetles, they went on to eat anything else they could fit in their mouths. In addition to that, they have a deadly venom that frequently kills predator species. The lack of predators and an abundance of food sources have caused cane toad populations to explode and become a serious pest species that have destabilized every ecosystem they were introduced to.
  • And just sometimes this works out all right. The fallow deer used to live in most of Europe until an ice age drove it all the way back to Turkey and beyond. Then the Romans came along and they apparently liked the deer so much they introduced the animals to, well, most of Europe.
  • The old "Parisian Sewer Rat" carnival sideshow gig. If it's not a silly-looking rubber/plastic monster rat, it's typically a capybara, which are native to marshlands in South America.

Aversions and Parodies

Anime and Manga

  • Ranma ½
    • Done intentionally in the story "An Akane to Remember". The forested valley of Ryûgenzawa is filled with the most unlikely of creatures, including a platypus, porcupines, herds of frill-necked lizards, cranes, koalas and one or two dodo birds. However, it's noted in the story itself that they don't belong there and were in fact imported from other countries: in the original manga, Shinnosuke's grandfather used to be the caretaker at a zoo that was built there, while the anime explains them as exotic pets that the old man collected. Akane, Ranma and Ryôga were more concerned about the fact they were all bigger than human beings anyway.
    • At another time, Ranma, Genma, and Sôun must find a way to get past the girls bathing in a hot spring. Genma and Sôun have the bright idea of painting Genma's panda form so he more closely resembles a vicious grizzly. The problem? The only paint they have on hand is white. The girls immediately see through this. ("Whoever heard of a polar bear in Japan?") Cue the bucket to the face.
    • Also, there's an octopus spring at Jusenkyô, which seems to be nowhere near the ocean. Even the Guide has no idea how it can be possible.
  • One episode of Tenchi in Tokyo features Washu's spy devices being tampered with by a monster and twisting the real events into bizarre occurrences in telephone-game style. One sequence ends up with "A hippo and a cow are trying to push Tenchi off a cliff." The incredulous response from Ayeka when she sees the resulting image being "Where did they find a hippo in Japan?!"
  • In an earlier episode of Naruto, this actually becomes relevant. Sasuke spots a white hare, in an environment where it most definitely doesn't belong and figures somebody brought it to pull a Cat Scare on them. Then Zabuza shows up.

Comic Books

  • In The Black Island, there is a gorilla on the island, which is in Scotland. However, the residents of the nearest village have no word for it other than "the beast", and it's being kept as a guardian by the villains (who probably imported it on the black market).
  • In a comic based on Super Mario Land 2, which ran in an issue of Nintendo Power, Mario finds an octopus in a lake. He asks the octopus about it, and the octpus realizes that's why he's been feeling sick. Mario offers to pour some salt into the water, but after doing so, realizes that he poured in sugar, instead... (Contrast with the actual game, where the octopus is alive inside a sleeping whale.)

Films — Animation

  • In Disney's Tarzan, a baby Tantor worries about there being piranhas in the river—mistaking a young Tarzan for a piranha. The adult elephants have a discussion about how there are no piranhas in Africa—they're native to South America.[3] Then Tarzan pops up and they all panic.
  • About midway through Up, Mr. Fredriksen and Russell are in Venezuela. Russell complains that he's tired. Mr. Fredriksen tells Russell to hurry up before a tiger eats him, but Russell whines that there aren't tigers in Venezuela.
  • In the Disney feature Saludos Amigos, during the "Gaucho Goofy" segment, we see Goofy wielding the bolas against an Argentine ostrich. Initially the ostrich appears to be an African ostrich, but the narrator then points out that unlike the African ostrich, the Argentine ostrich doesn't have decorative tail-feathers. The tail-feathers are then pulled off the ostrich's body.
  • Madagascar: Surprisingly, the movie (for the most part) avoids this trope. Not only do they populate the island with its native lemurs, but they correctly include the little-known fossa as their predator. Though they did slip up by having a hummingbird.

Films — Live-Action

  • In Animal Crackers, Captain Spaulding (Groucho Marx) is telling of his African adventures, which include shooting a polar bear in the jungle. When Mrs. Rittenhouse (Margaret Dumont) objects that polar bears only live in the Arctic, he explains: "This bear was anemic and he couldn't stand the cold climate. Besides, he was a rich bear and could afford to go away in the winter." No such Hand Wave is offered for the 6 tigers also mentioned in the speech (just a lame pun). By the time Spaulding gets around to saying that "the principal animals inhabiting the African jungle are Moose, Elks, and Knights of Pythias," it's pretty clear that he never went anywhere near Darkest Africa and that his speech is justified by the Rule of Funny.
    • In a borderline Funny Aneurysm Moment, he also said it was preferable to shoot elephants in Alabama, because the Tuscaloosa. That same year, a sportswriter with flair for the dramatic, first referred to members of the University of Alabama, located in Tuscaloosa, as a herd of elephants, the birth of the Big Al mascot.
  • Elf includes a collection of stop-action wildlife at the North Pole. Even though this is a silly fantasy story, the movie twists the penguins-in-the-arctic cliché by having puffins, which look a lot like penguins. (The extinct flightless Great Auk, Pinguinus impennis was the origin of the name penguin. There is a similarity.)
  • In Forbidden Planet, Morbius keeps a surprising menagerie of Earth animals on Altair-IV, which hadn't been brought there aboard the Bellerophon with Morbius and the other colonists. The theory is advanced that these animals could have evolved on Altair-IV and subsequently have been brought to Earth by Krell Ancient Astronauts—but their Earthlike protective coloration is clearly inappropriate for this alien planet. Then one of these animals is accidentally killed, and an autopsy suggests that this Misplaced Wildlife is not "wildlife" at all...
  • Cleverly averted in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone. They couldn't get a boa constrictor, only a Burmese Python, so they changed the reference from Brazil to Burma and removed the snake's use of the word "Amigo".
  • Averted in the movie Cast Away through the simple expedient of having no visible (or audible) wildlife whatsoever aside from the crabs and fish the main character catches for food.
  • There's a jungle in the Madonna movie Who's That Girl? with all the usual suspects; cockatoos, kangaroos, zebras, patagonian felixes, etc., but it's artificial (the biggest artificial jungle on the Lower West Side), so they were stocked into it anyway. And it's on top of an apartment building.
  • Lampshaded in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, where a "tiger" attacks a British soldier in Africa. Several characters incredulously ask, "A tiger? In Africa?" only to be shushed by others in the scene.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Rabbits were probably introduced to Britain by the Normans, believe it or not, so technically the Vorpal Bunny shouldn't have been there in Arthurian Britain either. Although there seems to be an alternative, more recent theory that the Romans may have brought some over, which might let them off. (And the legendary Arthur is usually presented as though he was a 13th-century knight, rather than a 6th-century warlord). Possibly it was really a Vorpal Mountain Hare: a species that was widespread in Britain until introduced European rabbits and hares began to compete with it. The animal in the movie was white, so any markings that would distinguish its exact species were obscured by albinism.
    • Then there's the debate over how coconut shells turned up in England. They could have been carried by an African swallow, but not a European swallow. But then, African swallows are non-migratory...
  • In An American Werewolf in London, David and Jack start half-jokingly speculating about what's making the howling sounds in the distance. David first suggests a coyote, and Jack retorts that there aren't any coyotes in England.
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights features the characters sending a message via "12 Century Fox" [4] to deliver messages, but the fox they use is a gray fox, which is not native to England. The movie is an Anachronism Stew that runs on Rule of Funny, and the fox even makes the sound of the dolphin from Flipper (that is, a sped-up kookaburra) when it runs off. The bird that lands on Marian's hand after her bath is a bluebird, also not native to Britain.


Live-Action TV

  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: Lampshaded and subverted in "Scott of the Antarctic", where an egotistical film star throws a tantrum when he is informed that the lion that he is supposed to fight doesn't live in the Antarctic. A compromise is worked out, and the movie gets a different setting and a new title: "Scott of the Sahara." Then they go and leave in the part where another character in the film fights a penguin (a 20-foot tall electric penguin with tentacles).
  • The UK version of Being Human (UK) has a number of short videos that were released to the internet, one of which is a video record of the night George was attacked. When they hear howling in the distance, the American tourist he's walking with suggests wolves, and is contemptuously shot down — "you don't get wolves up here."


  • Parodied in the Tragically Hip song "Gus: The Polar Bear from Central Park".
  • Parodied in the song "Tarzan and Jane" by the Danish band Toy-Box, which opens with a chorus of "jungle" sounds, including various birds singing, large cats growling, monkeys calling, sheep bleating, and elephants trumpeting.
  • Referenced in "That's Right", which has been performed by billy Lee Riley and Ray Ellington:

Kangaroos come from Kalamazoo, zebras ziggin' in Zuiderzee, brother I got news for you, that story don't ring so true to me.


Newspaper Comics

  • The comic strip Sherman's Lagoon at times features a polar bear. This particular guy seems more interested in lounging around in the tropics, though—he's a tourist.

Video Games

  • Endless Ocean
    • Mostly averted in the first game by having the "ocean" in question be the fictional Manoa Lai sea. Still, one would wonder what polar bears, orcas, belugas, walruses, etc. are doing in a tropical climate...
    • In the sequel, all your dolphin pals except for the tropical ones get misplaced once they follow you home to sunny Nineball Island. Particularly the river dolphin. The river dolphin that you get by taking along a dolphin from the Arctic.
    • The sequel otherwise averts this trope by having species be in their proper environments in appropriate areas around the world. On the rare occasion of genuine misplaced wildlife, the characters will wonder, "How'd that get there?" aloud, often offering up a (usually fairly plausible) theory. One sub-quest even has you rescuing some marine fish that have managed to wander into a freshwater area and made themselves very sick in the process.
  • The 3rd Hugo Adventure Game has an elephant in the Amazon. When you go "Look Elephant", the flavor text sheepishly admits that elephants don't live in South America and explains it by it escaping from a circus and more or less admits it's just there to be a puzzle. Next question: Why is there a big circus in the middle of the Amazon Jungle? In the same Hugo game, the natives are eating "roast hyena". Hyenas are native to Africa and Asia, not South America.
  • In The Magic School Bus Explores the World of Animals, you have to identify Misplaced Wildlife and send it back where it belongs.
  • The Monkey Island games take everything that would make a realistic setting and gleefully throw it out the window, as can be expected from a series that places vending machines in 17th century Caribbean. It comes with plenty of lampshading.

Stan: Some claim it was sailed back by a crew of chimps.
Guybrush: Chimps? There aren't any chimps in the Caribbean!
Stan: Oh, shut up. It makes a good story.

  • In Flight of the Amazon Queen you encounter a gorilla styled ghost blocking your way; you can get rid of it by pointing out that gorillas only live in Africa, not in South America. The same happens when the "gorilla" has half on and half off a pink and purple polka-dot suit with which the ghost claims to be a vicious dinosaur.
  • Fallout 3 usually does a good job of putting animals in the right places, mirelurks (mutant crabs) near water, feral ghouls (zombies) in the underground and so on. Occasionally it messes up and spawns a giant scorpion inside a town.
    • The scorpions themselves being in the former Washington D.C. area gets explained as well. They are the descendants of pre-war emperor scorpions which were quite popular in pet stores. The normally mildly venomous scorpions have since mutated into highly venomous, bullet-resistant giants. Fallout: New Vegas also manages to throw in mutated versions of the native bark scorpion, as well as what are presumably non-native emperor mutants.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Subverted in a Jana of the Jungle episode where a captive elephant breaks loose and is rampaging through the South American rain forest. Here, the elephant is explicitly shown not to be native to the region, forcing Jana to explain to the frightened natives that it is a simply a large animal before she sets out to find it and prevent it from causing irreparable damage or being killed by the natives.
  • Parodied in a The Simpsons season 12 deleted scene: Homer collapses during a marathon in Springfield, USA, and is dragged off by hyenas.
  • Averted in Go, Diego, Go! All or nearly all the animals are shown in their correct environments and make the correct sounds.
  • More a lampshading than a parody, but in the Rankin and Bass's Christmas special Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, set apparently in northern Germany, Kris Kringle (not yet named Santa Claus) meets a penguin who's trying to find the South Pole. Kris immediately says that the penguin is about lost as he could get.
  • A similar situation in the Bugs Bunny cartoon 8-Ball Bunny, in which Bugs reluctantly helps a little penguin get back home to the South Pole, only to learn that the penguin was born in captivity. In Hoboken!
  • Happens curiously often in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. Ponyville gets an awful lot of sea creatures for a landlocked small town.
  • One of the many Something Completely Different episodes in the television series Pucca resets Sooga as a jungle island inhabited, among other things, by elephants, lions and giraffes. Before you point out that those don't live in the jungle, or the sometimes extreme differences in wildlife between an island and the mainland, more important is that Sooga is a fictional location in Korea.

Real Life

  • Time to spoil the ending of every single "brain teaser" set in Australia, ever. There are no bears or wolves or whatever other misplaced animal the story featured heavily in Australia (well, there are dingoes...). The guy telling the story is a blowhard.
  • Thanks to the oil-spill disaster, word is now out that oil companies (not just BP) drilling in the Gulf of Mexico merely duplicated their recovery plans for spillages occurring in Alaska. This includes guidelines about how to assist walruses and polar bears endangered by a spill.
  • Scott of the Antarctic took guns and ammunition to fight off polar bears. They observed that some penguins were covered in scars and deduced the existence of predators. Luckily for explorers, the predators in question are killer whales. And Leopard Seals. Given, Leopard Seals are man-eaters, cunning hunters, and bloody swift. The armaments were a good idea anyway.
  1. or Rock Dove as it was called before ornithologist organizations adopted a name more consistent with the bird more often informally being called a pigeon than a dove
  2. Details on the page for Call a Smeerp a Rabbit
  3. They're right, too.
  4. a pun on "fax" and 20th Century Fox