When it comes to creating fictional characters, creators and animators can draw inspiration from anything: natural disasters and phenomena, their own imagination, other characters and even animals. While many of these characters look completely different from their inspirations, there are some of them which bear a striking resemblance to the things which they were inspired by.
Pokémon is just one of the many franchises whose characters are based on animals, whether they be real or fantastical, based on folktales and lore. To further add to the complexity of the Pokémon, they all fall into categories known as types, which their physical features are specially adapted to. For example, many of the Water-type Pokémon possess features similar to animals found in water environments, such as shells, fins, gills and tails. Further, most Pokémon can evolve from one version to another as they gain strength and level up.
How well do you know your Pokémon? If you were given images of, say, 40 of these fictional creatures, would you be able to tell what real-life animals they were based on? Some will definitely be easy to identify, but only a real expert can correctly name all of the animals that they were inspired by.
Take this quiz to see how well you will perform.
Beedrill is a Bug/Poison-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation I as an evolved form of Kakuna. The Pokémon’s design was based on a bee, but many people have likened it to the Asian giant hornet.
Ursaring is a Normal-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation II as the evolved form of Teddiursa. The Pokémon is based on a bear but incorporated features from both the sun bear and the Ussuri brown bear.
Seel is a Water-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation I and later evolves into Dewgong. The design of the Pokémon is based on a seal pup, most likely that of the harp seal.
Victreebel is a Grass/Poison-type Pokémon which evolves from Weepinbell when it is exposed to a Leaf Stone. This particular Pokémon is based on the carnivorous plant known as the pitcher plant.
Seaking is a Water-type Generation I Pokémon which evolves from Goldeen once reaching level 33. The Pokémon is based on a variant of the orange goldfish with the coloration and markings of a shubunkin goldfish.
Rhydon is a Ground/Rock-type Pokémon which evolved from Rhyhorn at level 42 and is then able to evolve into Rhyperior. The Pokémon takes much of its inspiration from the rhinoceros, with some features taken from different dinosaurs.
Tauros is a Normal-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation I as the counterpart of Miltank. Based on the constellation Taurus, the Pokémon’s design is similar to that of a bull, with elements of a bison.
Metapod is a Bug-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation I as the evolved form of Caterpie. The Pokémon’s green segmented body resembles a green chrysalis, which is the pupal stage of the butterfly.
Pidgey is a Normal/Flying-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation I. It is able to evolve into Pidgeotto and later Pidgeot. Although its name is closer to "pigeon," it resembles the cedar waxwing.
Kakuna is a Generation I Bug/Poison-type Pokémon which evolves from Weedle starting at level 7 and evolves into Beedrill starting at level 10. Its design was based on the pupa stage of a bee, a form which it stays in until it evolves.
Clauncher is a Generation VI Water-type Pokémon which is able to evolve into Clawitzer. The Pokémon is based on the snapping shrimp, although some people have likened it to a mutated American lobster.
Charmander is a Fire-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation I and is able to evolve into Charmeleon and then Charizard. It is one of the starter Pokémon in many of the games, and its design is based on a salamander.
Poliwag is a Water-type Pokémon which is able to evolve into Poliwhirl and later Poliwrath or Politoed. It is based on the transparent tadpole, found in Costa Rica, whose skin is see-through, allowing its internal organs to be seen.
Dewgong is a Water/Ice-type Generation I Pokémon which evolves from Seel beginning at level 34. Although its predecessor is based on a seal, Dewgong is based on an aquatic mammal called the dugong, which can be found living in tropical waters.
Krookodile is a Ground/Dark-type Pokémon which is the evolved form of Krokorok and can evolve into Sandile. The maroon, black and white colored Pokémon bears much resemblance to the gharial, also known as the fish-eating crocodile, mainly because of its long snout.
Stunfisk is a Ground/Electric-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation V. One of the many animals that the Pokémon has been said to be based on is the stargazer – a fish which likes to bury itself in the sand.
Psyduck is a Water-type Pokémon which was first seen in Generation I and is able to evolve into Golduck once it reaches level 33. Although it is called Psyduck, its main inspiration was a platypus, with a few elements from a duck.
Articuno is an Ice/Flying-type Legendary Pokémon which was introduced in Generation I. Anatomically, it is very similar to a rare bird called the quetzal, but the Pokémon’s color is significantly different.
Huntail is a Water-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation III as the evolved version of Clamperl after being traded while holding a Deep Sea Tooth. Because of its crest and fins, the Pokémon has been likened to an oarfish.
Sandshrew is a Ground-type Pokémon which is able to evolve into Sandslash when it reaches level 22. The Pokémon has qualities of an armadillo, but most of its physical features resemble the pangolin.
Bulbasaur is a Grass/Poison Pokémon which is able to evolve into Ivysaur once it reaches level 16 and then into Venusaur when it gets to level 32. It is said to resemble a frog, with the bulb on its back being a lily or onion.
Paras is a Bug/Grass-type Pokémon which is able to evolve into Parasect once it reaches level 24. The name "Paras" is a shortened form of the word parasite, in reference to the parasitic mushroom growing on its back. The animal itself is a cicada nymph.
Emolga is an Electric/Flying-type Pokémon which was first seen in Generation V of the Pokémon series. The white rodent-like creature with yellow cheek patches (which it uses to create electricity) and yellow wing flaps resembles a flying squirrel.
Luvdisc is a Water-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation III and is not known to evolve into or from any Pokémon. It was named after the discus fish and also based on the fish called the kissing gourami.
Mudkip is a Water-type Pokémon which is able to evolve into Marshtomp once it reaches level 16 and then Swampert once it reaches level 36. It is one of the starter Pokémon in many of the video games, and it is based on the axolotl, or perhaps the mudpuppy.
Goomy is a Dragon-type Pokémon which is able to evolve into Sliggoo and Goodra at higher levels. The Generation VI Pokémon has been said to resemble the nudibranch – a type of sea slug.
Vileplume is a Grass/Poison-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation I and evolves from Gloom. Like its predecessor, it is based on the foul-smelling corpse flower – the largest individual flower in the world.
Sandslash is a Ground-type Pokémon which was first introduced in Generation I as an evolved form of Sandshrew. The Pokémon shares many traits with the pangolin, and many of its powers are also based on the physical traits of the animal.
Shellos is a Water-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation IV and comes in two different colors – the pink West Sea and the blue East Sea. They are based on the sea slug known as the Chromodoris lochi.
Caterpie is a Bug-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation I and is able to evolve into Metapod and then Butterfree. It is a stylized version which is said to resemble the Asian swallowtail caterpillar, also called the Chinese yellow swallowtail caterpillar.
Vulpix is a Fire-type Generation I Pokémon which is able to evolve into Ninetales after being exposed to a Fire Stone. It is based on a fox, specifically the kitsune, a Japanese mythical creature known for its many tails and being able to breathe fire.
Drowzee is a Psychic-type Generation I Pokémon which is able to evolve into Hypno once it reaches level 26. The Pokémon, which resembles a tapir, is able to put people to sleep and then get a sense of the person’s dreams.
Rattata is a Normal-type Pokémon which can evolve into Raticate once it reaches level 20. While its name indicates that it is based on a breed of rat, the specific type may be the large rock rat, or the Elvira rat, which can be found in India.
Mankey is a Fighting-type Generation I Pokémon which evolves into Primeape once it reaches level 28. Most of the features of this Pokémon are based on those of a Barbary macaque, but there are also features of a baboon.
Magikarp is a Water-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation I and is able to evolve into Gyarados once it reaches level 20. Not only is it based on the yellow-eyed rockfish, but it also shares the real fish’s colors.
Chatot is a Normal/Flying-type Pokémon which was first seen in Generation IV of the Pokémon series. Its name comes from a combination of "chat" and "parrot." The Pokémon resembles a small parrot known as the masked lovebird. Chatot's head is shaped like an eighth note, and its tail is a metronome.
Pikachu is an Electric-type Pokémon which was first introduced in Generation I and was typically seen alongside Ash as one of the main characters in the series. Pikachu is based on a small rodent known as the pika mouse, for which it was named.
Gorebyss is a Generation III Water-type Pokémon which evolves from Clamperl when holding a Deep Sea Scale. The Pokémon has been likened to many different animals, one of which is the long-nosed chimaera. Others include the pipefish and the snipe eel.
Farfetch’d is a Normal/Flying-type Pokémon which was first introduced in Generation I. It is based on a Japanese saying which translates to “A duck comes bearing green onions.” The grey bird is often seen holding the vegetable, even in battle.
Mr. Mime is a Psychic/Fairy-type Pokémon which was introduced in Generation I as a purely Psychic Pokémon. Its inspiration comes from a human mime.