Dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, even snakes and turtles are all common pets, and most people think of them when they think about having a pet. But some people don’t want common pets.
Throughout history some famous people have had odd pets that most people wouldn’t think of as animals to necessarily keep around the house. The following are 10 odd pets of famous people.
- Ramses II is considered the most powerful pharaoh of ancient Egypt. What pet does a pharaoh keep around the house? An adult male lion. The lion also followed Ramses into battle and its name has been translated as “Slayer of His Foes,” or “He Who Repels the Enemy.”
- Marquis de Lafayette was a hero of the American Revolution and he frequently visited America. At one point during the presidency of John Quincy Adams, Lafayette brought along his pet alligator. While he was a guest at the White House, the gator was kept in a bathtub and it is said he and Adams enjoyed hearing about the startled expressions of people who went into the bathroom only to be greeted by a large reptile.
- Pope Leo X (pope from 1513 to 1521) was given a pet white elephant at his coronation. Hanno the Elephant was considered very intelligent and it became the pope’s favorite pet, with a residence next to Pope Leo’s. It was also brought out for the most important ceremonies. Unfortunately, Hanno did not survive long. He grew sick and the “finest” doctors only made his condition worse. When Hanno died, Pope Leo had it buried in a place of honor and had the artist Michelangelo paint a fresco of it.
- Salvador Dali had an anteater as a pet. There is a famous picture of the famed surrealist artist walking his anteater in the streets of Paris.
- Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, had two grizzly bear cubs as pets. The bears stayed at the White House for about two months before they were sent to a museum in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the bears became too big and one of them escaped from its pen and ran loose before being shot and killed. Both bears were mounted and put on display for visitors.
- Emperor Nero, the notorious ruler of Rome that it is said played music while Rome burned, had a pet tigress. The animal was the emperor’s favorite and would even eat meals at the table with the emperor, including when there were guests present. And, of course, it is reported that the tigress was also used to execute those who displeased Nero.
- Lord Byron was one of the 19th-century’s most famous poets. While at school at Cambridge’s Trinity College, Byron found out that dogs were forbidden as pets. Not one to comply easily, Byron made sure the rules only forbade dogs (they did) and then went out and got a pet bear. The school could not remove the pet because of their own rules and Byron remained roommates with the bear throughout his school years and beyond.
- Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, had one of the oddest collections of pets ever. During his presidency, Roosevelt had what could be considered normal pets at the White House, including dogs, cats, and guinea pigs, but at his summer home he had a zebra, hyena, lions, and bears kept at a sort of zoo.
- Audrey Hepburn, the famous actress, was given a fawn to bond with for a movie role, and the actress decided to keep it. Some pictures even show Hepburn and the fawn at the grocery store.
- Michael Jackson had probably the most famous odd pet in the list. Bubbles the chimpanzee slept in a crib in Jackson’s room and even used the toilet. When the King of Pop went on tour in Japan, the chimpanzee went with him.
Can you think of other odd pets of famous people? Want to discuss more about the pets or people in our list? Please comment below.