Animal World


What are some unusual animals that have been White House pets?

Several unusual animals have resided at the White House. In 1825, the Marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834) toured America and was given an alligator by a grateful citizen. While Lafayette was the guest of President John Quincy Adams (1767–1848), the alligator took up residence in the East Room of the White House for several months. When Lafayette departed, he took his alligator with him. Mrs. John Quincy Adams (1775–1852) also kept unusual pets: silkworms that feasted on mulberry leaves. Other residents kept a horned-toad, another a green snake, and still another a kangaroo rat. Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) brought home a badger that was presented to him as he campaigned in Kansas. The Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) household contained rabbits and a pair of goats named Nanny and Nanko. President Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) kept a raccoon as a pet instead of eating it for Thanksgiving dinner, as was intended by the donors from the State of Mississippi. Given the name Rebecca, the raccoon was kept in a large pen near the President’s office.

Other unusual White House pets were:

U.S. President Pets
Martin Van Buren (1782–1862) Two tiger cubs
William Henry Harrison (1773–1841) Billy goat; Durham cow
Andrew Johnson (1808–1875) Pet mice
Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) Lion, hyena, wildcat, coyote, five bears, zebra, barn owl, snakes, lizards, roosters, raccoon
William Howard Taft (1857–1930) Cow
Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) Raccoons, donkey, bobcat, lion cubs, wallaby, pigmy hippo, bear


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