Can you remember when there were only 151 Pokémon? Sure, some of them were definitely on the weird side, but they were all individual and creative. Most importantly, it was not actually impossible, or at least really difficult to "Catch'em All!". These days, there are hundreds of Pokémon, and some of them are suspiciously close to animals that exist in the real world. To be fair, some of the animals that actually exist are strange enough to be Pokémon already.
It might not be possible to live in the Pokémon world and become a Pokémon master like we always dreamed of when we were kids, but it is possble to find some real-life Pokémon if you pay attention. These animals might not have special abilities or be able to fit in a Pokéball, but they are close enough to the real thing to fulfil some Pokémon dreams.
With so many Pokémon to design, there are some Pokémon that aren't based on animals at all. Some resemble plants, which is great for creating Grass Pokémon, and others are based on insects. A few Pokémon are based on legendary monster and dinosaurs, which is awesome. When things get questionable is when Pokémon are based on inanimate objects...how do Pokémon that look like trash and car keys evolve in the wild?
For those who have always dreamed of finding a real life Pokémon, check out this list to see which real animals inspired the Pocket Monster we all know and love.
24 This Little Pokémon Has Guts...Literally.
Poliwag is one of the most adorable Pokémon of all. Well, until you know the truth of where it came from, at least. Poliwag is a play on the word "polliwog", a North American term for a tadpole, or the larval state of frogs and toads. Tadpoles have a round body with a long tail, fins, and external gills before they metamorphose into adult frogs and toads. The less cute fact is that you can see right through them! Their insides are totally visible through their diaphanous skin, including their intestines. Why is this important? That swirl of entrails is what inspired Poliwag's cute belly swirl. It's not so adorable when you know what intestines are full of! At least tadpoles outgrow their visible intestines, but Poliwhirl, Poliwrath, and Politoad keep their swirl through all their evolutions.
23 Oh, What Weird, Tiny Eyes You Have...
Mudkip is one of the most beloved Pokémon in history. Pokémon fans are in love with this weird little water-dweller. What is Mudkip exactly, though? It has tiny little beady eyes, a bunch of fins that make no sense, and strange little orange starfish cheeks. It's hard to believe Mudkip is based on any real animal. A Pokémon this cute and weird must be pulled from pure imagination. Nope! Mudkip is actually based on the Axolotl, a neonetic salamander. The Axolotl is commonly known as the "walking fish" which explains Mudkip's confusing mashup of fins and legs. The Axolotl can also suck food right into its stomach with vacuum force. If that's not a real-life Pokémon move, I don't know what is. The Axolotl is an endangered amphibian that definitely looks like a made-up creature, making it the perfect basis for this cute little Pokémon.
22 This Pokémon Isn't So Legendary After All
Kyogre is the mascot Pokémon of Pokémon Sapphire and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire. It is a huge, ancient water-type Pokémon that has the power to control the oceans. With all that power, it must be based on some ancient, powerful monster, right? Wrong. Kyogre appears to be a giant version of a whale or shark. That's because it's both! Well, sort of. Kyogre is based on the Whale Shark, which is one of the least threatening sharks, so don't get your hopes up for some gruesome JAWS-type thriller. Whale Sharks are slow-moving, filter-feeding sharks. They can get really big, and can live up to 70 years, but they are slow, calm animals that have been known to let humans catch a ride or hang out in shallow water. Maybe the Whale Shark is the perfect animal to inspire Kyogre, who helps bring peace and calm to the seas.
21 An Animal Made Of Sludge?
Our oceans are full of grime, pollution, and general crap. Humans have a tendency to create all types of sludge and slime, which gets dumped unceremoniously into the ocean. Deep in the ocean lie untold mysteries, including some seriously weird animals. The Blobfish is one gross pile of strange that looks like a ppile of waste runoff that grew gross little eyes. Of course, there is an animal to match in the Pokémon world. Meet Muk, a nasty pile of sludge that definitely should not exist. I have never personally smelled a Blobfish, but I can't imagine it would smell much better than Muk, a Pokémon notorious for its hideous stench. The only thing that makes Muk creepier is the new Alolan evolution, which is just the same pile of sludge...but rainbow. Hopefully, we don't discover a technicolor Blobfish floating around anytime soon.
20 Not Just Any Mouse!
Even people who have never played a "Pokermanz" game in their life (I'm lookin' at you, Grandma) can recognize Pikachu. Pikachu is not just a beloved starter Pokémon and the mascot of the entire Pokémon franchise, but also an adorable, powerful Electric type Pokémon. Pikachu might seem cute and cuddly, but his chubby little cheeks pack a mighty powerful punch. Most people think Pikachu is just based on a mouse, which makes sense because "pika" is the Japanese sound for electrivity, and "Chu" is the noise Japanese people use to describe the sound a mouse makes. So Pikachu = Electric Mouse. If you look closely, though, Pikachu doesn't resemble just any rodent. It looks exactly like a Pika, a specific type of mouse that not many people know about. Paint some red cheeks on that rascal and you can have a real life Pikachu of your own.
19 Slow And Steady Is The Sloth Pokémon
Slowpoke might seem like it has a vibrant personality, but it is a slow, lazy Pokémon. It makes sense, then, that Slowpoke is modeled after a sloth. Sure there are not nay bright pink sloths in the wild, but the shape, sound, and movement of Slowpoke is a dead ringer for its sloth brethren in the real world. Sloths move slowly because of their environment and evolution. Sloths live in the trees and have a low-energy diet of leaves, so every movement counts. No wasted calories there! Most sloths also need sunlight and warmth to digest their food (even their digestive system is too lazy to finish its job!) That might explain why Slowpokes are always sunning themselves on rocks instead of doing anything useful. Unlike Slowpoke though, sloths are actually pretty smart animals.
18 Buzz Off!
For people who don't like bugs, bug Pokémon are a living nightmare. They are just regular bugs, but bigger, grosser, and so much scarier. The worst possible scenario is that they are modeled after some of the most awful real-life insects...but that is exactly what happened to Nincada. Nincada is not a cute Pokémon, but it is definitely more attractive than its inspiration. Nincada is modeled after a Cicada, a terrible insect that makes a creepy, incredibly loud noise at night to ward off predators. Cicadas are historically a sign of evil and ruin, and they are known to destroy crops in mere minutes. They spend most of their lives as grubs living underground, and only emerge ever 13-17 years. Just imagine a buzzing cloud of Nincada bursting from the ground and flying right at you. That's a side of the Pokémon world we hope to never see.
17 Are Dragons Real?
Charmander, Char! Charmander is a Fire Pokémon, and one of the starter choices in Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue. He is an orange Pokémon with a flaming tail, a tail that needs to stay lit for Charmander to stay alive. The baby dragon-like appearance and the mysterious fire element of Charmander makes it seem like it is based purely in myth, but Charmander actually resembles a real life animal. The Chinese Giant Salamander is a large, orange salamander that bears a striking resemblance to Charmander. Salamanders, in mythology, have an affinity for and a connection to elemental fire. Luckily, real salamanders don't grow into giant dragons like Charmander does when it evolves into Charizard. That would be truly terrifying!
16 This Pokémon Really Stinks
Vileplume doesn't hide its grossness— "vile" is definitely not an adjective most people would choose to include in their names. Vileplume is a Poison Type Pokémon. It's large flower, which is almost to large and heavy for its small body to support, releases a cloud of pollen that is toxic to humans and other Pokémon. Vileplume is based on a flower that, though rare, does exist in the real world. It is modeled after the flower Rafflesia Anoldii, which is known as the "corpse flower". It is the largest flower on earth, and has the stench of decaying flesh. Even Gloom, the pre-evolved form of Vileplume, resembles the corpse flower in its budding form. Thankfully, you won't find this stinky flower or a Vileplume in your own backyard.
15 This Pokémon Makes NO Sense
No one in their right mind likes Psyduck. It's a weird-shaped, duck-billed Pokémon that is famous for being really, really incompitent. In the Pokémon anime, Psyduck is constantly causing trouble and annoying Misty, no matter how hard she works to train him. Psyduck is just a mess. That might be because Psyduck was inspired by a real-life animal that also makes no sense. Whoever made the platypus was definitely joking. The platypus is a confusing mix of mammal and bird, with a beaver-like tail, a duck bill, and the ability lay eggs and produce milk for its young. The platypus would probably make a better Pokémon than Psyduck—at least it has a threatening stinger under its tail. Then again, the platypus doesn't have any psychic powers...that we know of.
14 Have You Heard Of This Caterpillar?
Caterpie is one of the cuter bug Pokémon. It's small, but its String Shot packs a powerful punch. In the Pokémon games, you will find plenty of them in the forest, and the bug-catching trainers love them. Of course, Caterpie is modeled after a caterpillar, that much is obvious. Did you know, though, that there is a specific type of caterpillar that looks almost exactly like Caterpie? The Pokémon designers barely had to make any changes at all. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar, which lives in Eastern North America, is one of the most popular species of butterfly in the USA. More importantly, it is a perfect twin for Caterpie. The actual butterfly, though, doesn't look much like Caterpie's evolutionary forms.
13 What's With That Nose?
If you're looking for a strange Pokémon, Drowzee has all the bases covered. It looks like a humaniod pig, with strange coloring and an elongated, snout-like nose. Overall, not a pretty sight. Drowzee makes up for its looks by being a powerful Psychic type Pokémon, but it still looks incredibly weird. Would you believe that this strange Pokémon is actually based on a real animal? Well, it certainly is, and the Malayan Tapir looks almost as silly as the cartoon Pokémon Drowzee. The Malaysian Tapir has the same body shape and nose, and is native to Asia. The Malayan Tapir is a solitary animal that is currently endangered. It is usually black and white, as opposed to Drowzee, which sports a bright, nauseating yellow.
12 Animal Or Vegetable?
Skrelp is a Water type Pokémon that vaguely resembles a seahorse. It also kind of looks like kelp. What it looks exactly like, though, is a Leafy Sea Dragon, an animal that certainly looks like it would inspire a Pokémon. Leafy Sea Dragons are marine fish that life primarily in the waters surrounding Australia. If you are not paying attention, you might mistake a Leafy Sea Dragon for kelp— which is why it is the perfect match for Skrelp. Skrelp starts out with only a few "leaves", but when it evolves into Dragalge, it resembles a Leafy Sea Dragon even more. Leafy Sea Dragons are fairly rare, and mostly seen in aquariums. It almost seems like a mythical animal, which is great for being turned into a Pokémon! Luckily, real Leafy Sea Dragons are not poisonous like Skrelp.
11 Is That A Pokémon Or A Dinosaur?
Lapras is a huge, shelled Water type Pokémon with powerful moves. It takes charge in the ocean. In the anime and the Pokémon games, Lapras is used to sail the seas, with trainers riding on its back through the choppy seas. These things make Lapras cool enough, but when you know what Lapras's origins are, it is even cooler. Lapras is not based on any modern animal, like a giant turtle or some sort of eel, but on something much more ancient and impressive. Lapras is the Pokémon version of a Plesisiosaur, a type of marine reptile from the latest Triassic Period. If you have never heard of the Plesioisaurs, they look a lot like the Loch Ness Monster would if it were real. Maybe Nessie is a Pokémon too!
10 This Weird Fish Makes A Big Splash
Everyone knows Magikarp, but not necessarily in a good way. Magikarp is a joke Pokémon, and hands down one of the most annoying Pokémon ever created. It is a giant goldfish with saucer-like eyes and basically useless powers. If you are hoping to Splash your enemy until they faint, Magikarp might be helpful. It needs water to Splash though, so if you try the move on dry land it mostly results in a sad, flopping, embarrassing Magikarp moment. The only benefit of Magikarp is that eventually, after you embarrass yourself by sending it into battle about a million times, has the ability to evolve into Gyrados. What a great reward for nurturing a crappy goldfish! Magikarp is based on a real giant orange fish, the Yellow Rockfish. Hopefully, those won't evolve into giant sea monsters anytime soon!
9 What's With The Bra?
Gorebyss is a Water Pokémon that is a little more disturbing than its cuteness leads you to expect. It is a long, eel-like Pokémon with a light pink hue. It has a long nose, which is used to eat. That's not so bad, right? well, Gorebyss literally gores its enemies with its long nose and sucks out their bodily fluids. It also eats kelp, which is much more kid-friendly. Gorebyss also has a really confusing addition of a seashell bra, just like Ariel in The Little Mermaid. The Long-Nosed Chimeara, the real life animal on which Gorebyss is based, thankfully doesn't share that trait. I does have a long nose that is very similar to Gorebyss's nose, though the Long-Nosed Chimaera just uses their nerve-ending filled nose to find prey.
8 Don't Call Me A Crocodile!
Krookodile's origins seem pretty clear. It is obviously based on a crocodile, right? It all makes sense, until you actually pay attention to the details. Krookodile is not just based on any old crocodile, but a specific animal called a Gharial. Never heard of it? Probably because it's rare and extremely endangered. The Gharial is native to the Northern area of the Indian Subcontinent, and less than 250 individual Gharial are alive. Krokorok, the pre-evolved form of Krookodile, looks even more like a Gharial because of its more neutral coloring. There is no doubt, though, that Gharial is the real-world version of this weird-looking crocodile Pokémon.There seem to be plenty of Krookodile in the Pokémon Universe, hopefully the Gharian are able to repopulate to match their animated pals.
7 Pitcher This!
If you have seen a Victreebell in Pokémon, you might be confused as to how it could possibly be based on anything real. It is obviously some sort of plant, but what kind of plant looks like a big yellow bucket? Meet the Pitcher Plant, a carnivorous flower from the real word that just happens to look like a very strange Pokémon. Pitcher plants have a modified leaf called a pitfall trap, which is basically a plant-based bucket filled with digestive fluids. The plant traps prey in its pitcher and slowly digests the food in its open-air plant stomach. Victreebell is not only a Grass Type Pokémon, but a Poisonous Pokémon as well. This connects it even more closely to the Pitcher Plant. Try not to get stuck inside— you might get dissolved before you get out!
6 Mew? More Like MEOW
Mew is one of the most popular Pokémon, largely because if its fascinating origin. Mew is a small, pink, Psychic Type Pokémon that was first introduced in Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green as a secret character for GameFreak developers, but regular players were able to catch it due to a glitch in the game. It is a Mythical Pokémon that is surrounded by rumor and mystery. Mew's fossilized eyelash was used to create MewTwo, one of the most powerful Pokémon in existence. Mew, though extremely powerful, is also pretty cute. In fact, it looks just like a hairless baby kitten. Sphinx cats naturally don't have the regular thick fur of a cat, which makes it a perfect doppelganger for this feline Pokémon. Does your cat have psychic powers?
5 This Pokémon Definitely Doesn't Hate Sand
Sandslash seems like the perfect desert Pokémon. Its neutral tones provide camoflage in the sand, and its sleek design and plated back are a perfect buffer for both enemies and sandstorms. These traits are all borrowed from a real world animal that is also perfectly designed for sandy living, which is convenient when designing Pokémon for different climates and settings. The Pangolin prefers sandy soils, but likes to live in the woodlands and savannas, wher eit can burrow in trees. Pangolins have large kratin scales all over their body, which makes the unline any other animal in the world. Luckily they have a closse cousin in the Pokémon world instead! Sandslash looks just like a Pangolin, and has many of the same physical features, including curling up in a defensive ball.
4 Would You Kiss This Pokémon?
Luvdisc is a pink, heart-shaped water Pokémon, reminiscent of a tropical fish. In Pokémon lore, Luvdisc earned its name by chasing after couples in the water. It is also a combiation of "love" and "disk", which denotes its flat shape. Luvdisc seems like a made-up Pokémon that was created for Valentine's Day, but it is actually based on a real animal. Luvdisc is inspired by real fish, the Kissing Gourami. Kissing FIsh are tropical fish that are recognizable by their protruding mouths. They are a popular aquarium fish, just as Luvdisc is a popular fish to spot in the ocean in Pokémon. Luvdisc has a special power, though. When two Luvdisc kiss, their bodies form heart-shaped wings that allow them to fly for short periods of time. That's something you won't see in the real world!
3 This Musical Bird Is The Cutest Pokémon
Chatots is a newer Pokémon, and its design is more of a literal interpretation of a songbird. It is a small, brightly colored bird with the shape of a music note integrated into its head, and a tail in the shape of a metronome. Chatot has a human-like tongue, which allows it o learn different sounds. Chatot integrates all the sounds it learns into a melody (which we assume is timed by its own metronome tail)! Chatot resembles a brightly colored, musical bird in the real world, too. It looks very similar to a masked lovebird, which shares its small parrot-like shape and coloration. Though Lovebirds don't have the same speaking abilities as Chatot, they are very intelligent and can be trained to do tricks and respond to humans.
2 So, You Ran Out Of Real Animals...
When there were only the original 151 Pokémon, each one of them was creative and different. Many Pokémon are based on real animals, which is a fun way to design these creative monsters. Eventually, though, as the number of Pokémon continued to increase, it seems that the creators ran out of ideas and were just drawing faces on random objects including keys, chandaliers, and literal trash. Trubbish is obviously based on trash just from its name, which is a poorly disguised "rubbish" with an added T for "trash". It also looks like a smelly black garbage bag, all tied up and ready for the dump. Hopefully whatever overtired Pokémon designer looked at their trash can and said "this is a great idea" has changed their ways, or we can look forward to some more gross, weird Pokémon in the future.
1 Pokémon Or Poké-MAN?
In line with some of the really strange Pokémon that have been created over the years, Mr. Mime is much more creepy than cute. In the Anime, Mr. mime is often seen cleaning or working in houses as a sort of Poké-Manservant instead of being trained and used in Pokémon battles like other Pokémon. Mr. Mime is based on real mimes. It was even nicknamed "Marcel" in some games, after the famous Marcel Marceau. It can solidify water particles with its fingertips to create objects, which is useful in its pantomime. Some darker Pokémon theories postulate that Mr. Mime is not only creepily humanoid, but an actual human posing as a Pokémon. That would be really creepy!