21 Pokemon Based on Animals in Real Life

Do you know that Pokemon exist in real life? I don’t mean that literally but most Pokemon based on animals that inhabit our own Earth. Get ready to embark on a captivating journey as we uncover the secrets behind the Pokémon based on real animals. Let’s have a look at Pokemon in real life.

1. Dragalge – leafy seadragon

The first Pokemon based on animal is an aquatic character that draws inspiration from the leafy seadragon, specifically the species Phycodurus eques. These marine fish can be found near the shores of Australia. While the resemblance between the character and the Pokémon is striking, there is a notable difference in their abilities.

Unlike the Pokémon, which can release a potent corrosive poison, leafy seadragons are completely harmless and peaceful creatures. They rely on their intricate camouflage to evade predators by seamlessly blending into drifting seaweed.

2. Dewgong – dugong

Dewgong is a Pokemon inspired by the real animal – the dugong, a marine mammal that bears a resemblance to both the narwhal and the beluga whale. Dugongs, commonly known as sea cows, are chubby creatures inhabiting warm coastal waters where they sustain themselves by consuming seagrass.

Despite their misleading name, dugongs are not closely related to cows; rather, they are distant relatives of manatees. In contrast to its real-life counterpart, Dewgong thrives in colder climates and makes its home on icebergs within frigid oceans.

3. Quilladin – Procupine

Quilladin is a grass-type Pokemon that are based on real animals. It’s inspired by porcupines. These small to medium-sized rodents are covered in sharp, barbed quills that act as a deterrent to predators. Their quills serve as a formidable defense, making it difficult for predators to approach or attack them. Contrary to popular belief, porcupines cannot shoot their quills but instead rely on a swift, backward slap of their tails to embed the quills into an attacker. To know more about porcupine’s defense mechanism, you can check our “Porcupine Facts” article.

4. Drowzee – Malayan tapir

Drowzee, a Pokémon characterized by its short and flexible trunk and barrel-shaped body, bears a striking resemblance to tapirs, a group of large mammals consisting of four distinct species found in various parts of the world. In particular, Drowzee is the Pokemon based on a real animal – the Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus). Both species display bodies with two contrasting colors, although Drowzee’s hues are not as vibrant.

These herbivorous creatures stand at approximately 1 meter tall and utilize their prehensile trunks to pluck fruits and vegetation from branches. Tapirs can be observed inhabiting the jungles of Central and South America, as well as Southeast Asia.

5. Caterpie – Eastern tiger swallowtail caterpillar

Caterpie is another Pokémon that exist in real life. It draws inspiration from the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar. However, while Caterpie bears a resemblance to this caterpillar, its evolved form, Butterfree, actually shares more similarities with black-veined white butterflies rather than the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

This captivating caterpillar exhibits a remarkable form of mimicry based on a fascinating creature. It showcases two colored spots on its thorax that closely resemble eyes, serving as a deterrent to potential predators. These predators are tricked into mistaking the spots for a snake, allowing Caterpie to evade danger successfully. Furthermore, when faced with a threat, it can deploy an organ called an osmeterium that resembles a flickering serpentine tongue, further enhancing the illusion.

6. Krookodile – gharial

Krookodile, a Pokémon inspired by crocodilians, particularly bears a striking resemblance to the gharial species known as Gavialis gangeticus. Gharials are crocodiles that primarily feed on fish and are typically found in freshwater river systems in India and Nepal. One distinctive feature of gharials is their elongated snout that widens towards the tip, which is perfectly adapted for catching fish.

Unlike other crocodilians, gharials don’t engage in stalking their prey; instead, they rely on their specialized snouts to detect vibrations in the water and swiftly snatch passing fish. It’s important to note that gharials are currently classified as critically endangered, making encounters with these remarkable creatures extremely rare.

7. Psyduck – platypus

The Psyduck is a Pokemon based on an Australian animal. It is definitely inspired by the platypus. Similar to the platypus, this character thrives in semi-aquatic environments, such as freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers. Due to its unique and peculiar blend of characteristics, when scientists initially examined a platypus specimen, they entertained suspicions of it being a fabricated creation—a melding together of various animal parts.

Such skepticism is understandable considering the platypus is an egg-laying mammal equipped with a bill and venomous spurs. To see how weird the platypus is, you can read our post.

8. Shellos – Loch’s chromodoris

In the realm of Pokémon based on animals, we encounter Shellos, an aquatic creature belonging to the Water type, making its debut during the Diamond and Pearl generation. This marvelous Pokémon draws inspiration from an intriguing being known as Loch’s chromodoris, an exquisitely hued sea slug.

Within the Pokémon, Shellos manifests in two distinct variations, characterized by vibrant shades of blue and pink, reminiscent of the dazzling and diverse palette adorning its real-world counterpart.

9. Magikarp – Yelloweye Rockfish

Magikarps are real Pokemon animals. They are inspired by the Yelloweye Rockfish. This fish is known to have been highly valued for its delicious meat; however, its population has been on the decline since the 1980s.

10. Wooper – axolotl

Next is Wooper, an aquatic Pokemon of the Water type. This cute Pokemon in real life takes its inspiration from the extraordinary axolotls – a unique aquatic species that retains its juvenile characteristics even in adulthood. Unlike tadpoles, axolotls never undergo a metamorphosis to reach a mature form, remaining fully aquatic with gills throughout their lives. Unfortunately, these captivating creatures are becoming increasingly scarce in their natural habitats due to various factors such as fishing, pollution, and the loss of their habitats.

Fascinatingly, the name “Wooper” is derived from the Japanese term “Wooper Looper,” which specifically refers to the marketing of axolotls as pets. With its distinctive physical features like widely-spaced eyes and frills, Wooper stands out as one of the Pokemon with an imaginatively crafted name and a visually reminiscent design.

11. Heliolisk – Frilled Lizard

The next Pokemon based on animal is Heliolisk. This character is based on the frilled lizard. These unique creatures are renowned for their distinctive frill, which expands dramatically when they feel threatened or are displaying during courtship rituals.

Frilled lizards typically inhabit woodlands and savannas, where they spend their time perched on tree branches or hiding amidst vegetation. They are agile climbers and possess excellent camouflage, blending in seamlessly with their surroundings. With their remarkable frills and acrobatic abilities, frilled lizards are truly remarkable creatures of the reptile world.

12. Gorebyss – Long-Nosed Chimaera

Gorebyss, which made its debut in the third generation of Pokémon, is a visually appealing creature inspired by the Long-Nosed Chimaera, a fish recognized for its elongated snout. At first glance, Gorebyss may appear harmless, but as you delve deeper into its characteristics, it becomes increasingly disconcerting.

According to its Pokédex entry, this Pokémon feeds on the bodily fluids of its prey, further accentuating its eerie disposition. While officially based on the snipe eel, Gorebyss exhibits a remarkable resemblance to the Long-Nosed Chimaera, a spectral-looking cartilaginous fish inhabiting the depths of various oceanic regions.

13. Zigzagoon – Raccoon dog

The tanuki, also known as the Japanese Racoon dog, is a captivating creature exclusive to Japan. In the realm of Japanese folklore, tanukis are mischievous tricksters known for their shape-shifting abilities and melodic singing.

While not widely acknowledged globally, these endearing creatures have left their mark in various forms of entertainment, including anime, games, and movies. The Japanese inspired Pokemon is directly influenced by raccoon dogs, featuring distinct physical characteristics such as the bandit-patterned mask and a blend of white and brown fur. In its Galarian variant, Zigzagoon resembles European badgers, offering a unique twist.

14. Poliwag – Glass-Frog Tadpole

Poliwag, a unique Pokémon from the first generation, is based on the glass-frog tadpole. Unlike regular tadpoles, glass-frog tadpoles have see-through bodies that reveal their intestines. The swirl on Poliwag’s underside represents the coiled intestine of these tadpoles, which is both fascinating and slightly gross.

15. Stunfisk – Stargazer

Stunfisk, a Pokémon introduced in the Black and White generation, takes its inspiration from the unique Stargazer fish. Despite Stunfisk’s adorable appearance with its bug eyes and mouth facing upward, it shares resemblances with the Stargazer, a fish famous for having eyes positioned on top of its head.

Stargazers employ a strategy of ambushing their prey by concealing themselves in the sand and swiftly leaping upwards, utilizing their upward-facing eyes. However, unlike Stunfisk, they do not possess the capability to generate electricity and discharge it.

16. Hippopotas – Hippo

Hippopotas is one of the Pokemon real-life characters. It’s a ground-type Pokemon based on an African animal – the hippo. Despite their seemingly docile appearance, hippos are incredibly powerful and can be quite aggressive, especially when defending their territories or young. The hippos have formidable jaws and sharp, tusk-like incisors that can easily crush bones or inflict severe injuries. They spend much of their time in the water, where they keep cool and protected from the sun.

17. Sandshrew – Sunda Pangolin

The origin of Sandshrew is a topic of discussion among fans, with differing opinions on its resemblance to certain animals. Some believe it bears similarities to an armadillo, while others argue that its name and poisonous claws suggest a resemblance to a shrew. However, a closer examination of the Sandshrew’s appearance and movement reveals that it shares notable similarities with the Sunda Pangolin.

Sunda Pangolins, also known as Malayan Pangolins, are fascinating creatures that inhabit the forests and grasslands of Southeast Asia. They are unique mammals with a remarkable appearance, covered in tough, overlapping scales made of keratin, which serve as armor against predators. Sadly, Sunda Pangolins face significant threats due to illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss.

18. Mightyena – Hyena

Mightyena Pokemon seems to be based on hyenas, particularly the brown hyena. Nevertheless, it also exhibits certain resemblances to wolves. These unique hyenas possess a distinct appearance with a shaggy, brownish-gray coat, a robust build, and a sloping back. Unlike their more well-known spotted cousins, brown hyenas are solitary or live in small family groups, making them less social in nature.

They are highly adaptable and primarily inhabit arid regions, including deserts and semi-deserts, where they scavenge for food. Brown hyenas are known for their exceptional ability to crack open bones, enabling them to access nutritious marrow. They may be less known than other hyena species.

19. Corsola – precious coral

This Pokémon and its inspiration, the pink-red precious coral, are easy to notice. However, there exists a fundamental distinction between the Pokémon and its natural counterpart. While the Pokémon possesses its own cheerful visage, corals are not singular organisms but rather collective entities. The visible “coral” is, in fact, a community comprising genetically identical individual coral polyps.

Each polyp functions as an independent animal. To know more about the coral polyp, you can read our article. They can construct substantial formations; for instance, precious coral can grow to tower heights of up to one meter.

20. Rhydon – Javan Rhinoceros

Rhydon’s physical features, include its horn, bipedal gait, and thick tail. These features make them look like a specific rhino species known as the Javan Rhinoceros. This particular rhino also possesses a solitary horn and possesses tough, armor-like skin akin to Rhydon.

Unfortunately, the Javan Rhinoceros is among the world’s most critically endangered animals, with fewer than 100 individuals remaining primarily due to the illegal act of horn poaching.

21. Skuntank – Skunk

As the name, you can know that the Skuntank Pokemon is based on which animal. Although the character has the appearance of a skunk, its face looks like a cat.


Skunks are small mammals known for their distinctive black and white fur patterns and the potent odor they can release as a defense mechanism. However, these creatures are not aggressive, they only spray their infamous musk when they feel threatened. Found in various parts of North and South America, skunks have adapted to diverse habitats, including forests, grasslands, and urban areas. To find out more about the stinky skunk, you may read our article.


These are 21 Pokemon based on animals in real life. By drawing from the natural world, Pokémon not only entertain but also serve as a gateway to learning about real animals and their unique characteristics. This connection fosters a deeper appreciation for the diversity of life on Earth. Through their representation, these real animals in the Pokemon world also promote conservation and environmental awareness, reminding us of the importance of protecting our planet and its inhabitants.

Pokemon based on animals: the Pikachu
According to the author, pikachu modeled after a squirrel

Animal Facts 276

We are passionate animal enthusiasts with over a decade of experience studying animals. With a degree in zoology and conservation biology, we've contributed to various research and conservation projects. We're excited to bring you engaging content that highlights the wonders of the animal kingdom. We aim to inspire others to appreciate and protect wildlife through informative content grounded in expertise and passion. Join us as we delve into the captivating world of animals and discover the incredible stories they have to tell.

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