We all know America has had some wild leaders in the past (and present) but what about their pets? The most common animal to grace the White House is a dog, and the long standing tradition of having man’s best friend lay down at the wise leader’s’ feet is rarely deviated from. We’d like to suggest some canine options to Donald Trump, since he’s the first prez with no pup.
We’re here to show you what happens when the fearless leaders of the ol’ US of A decide to employ a different sort of mascot.
1. Theodore Roosevelt and Josiah the Badger
Back in 1903, when you had to walk uphill both ways to wherever in a blizzard, President Roosevelt was touring the American West on a political campaign. During his ‘corking good time’ in Kansas, he managed to acquire a badger. Josiah the Badger was a bizarre gift from Pearl, a well meaning 12 year old girl. She shook Teddy’s hand, and passed him the vicious furbaby with little to no explanation. Already having ten dogs, two cats, two ponies, a garter snake, five guinea pigs, a rat, a macaw, a hen and a one-legged rooster Roosevelt probably thought, why the hell not? And so, Josiah was added to the family.
The badger quickly became a favourite of the Roosevelt children, and the nemesis of the gardener – who he would chase up trees. As Josiah grew and aged, he became more feared than ol’ Teddy in the White House and could be heard “hissing like a teakettle.” He was eventually sent off to the Bronx Zoo in New York.
2. Thomas Jefferson and his disastrous Grizzly Bears
Dating back to when it was not considered drag for men to wear tights and massive, curly wigs, Thomas Jefferson moved into the White House. He promptly acquired two grizzly bear cubs as a gift from a guy named Captain Zebulon Pike. It’s unclear whether the bears were intended as adorable pets or tiny, killing machines but in any case, it was an absolute disaster.
The bears were kept in cages on the White House lawn for two full months, growing bored and furious. Jefferson realized what a dangerous undertaking he had been forced into and promptly wrote his friend Charles Peale, selling the murderous furballs as “perfectly gentle” and “quite good humoured.” Once the enraged bears arrived at Peale’s museum, one went on a killing spree and had to be shot. And the other was shot as well, presumably for safety’s sake.
3. John Quincy Adams and the alligator
Following shortly after Jefferson’s terrifying and embarrassing mistake with the grizzlies, John Quincy Adams found himself in possession of a couple of ‘crocs. Well, one alligator technically but for the sake of alliteration. Marquis de Lafayette (a French aristocrat, noble military man and tbh kind of a dick) gifted the gator to Adams.
The president housed the snappy reptile in the East Wing bathtub. He liked surprising unsuspecting guests with the dinosaur-like creature.
4. Herbert Hoover and the Gator twins
John Quincy Adams wasn’t the only one having a snappin’ good time. The gator twins actually belonged to President Herbert Hoover’s son, but they did live at the White House while Hoover was in office. They regularly escaped from their bathtub abode to wander the halls and terrify the staff. The monsters also occupied a custom built pond, snacking on lily pad flowers and intimidating the ground keepers.
After one too many escape attempts, the Houdini reptiles were sent to the Smithsonian Zoo.
5. Calvin Coolidge and Billy the pygmy hippo
We’ll end this list of rampaging death animals with the baddest of them all, Coolidge and his pygmy hippo Billy. Billy, who’s full name was William Johnson Hippopotamus was a gift from Liberia for Coolidge’s exotic pet collection, which also included lion cubs and a domesticated raccoon – we wonder if Pumpkin has any presidential qualities? Unlike their sociopathic regular-sized hippo cousins, pygmy hippos are shy and well mannered.
Coolidge donated Billy to the National Washington Zoo where he turned into a total babe. Guys wanted to be him and girls wanted to be with him. He sired 23 baby pygmy hippopotamuses mostly with his main squeeze Hannah. The couple turned out to be terrible parents with Hannah rolling on one of their kids and crushing it to death, but managed to let at least 13 survive.
Billy was such a stud that the zoo got him a second mate, Matilda and he ended up having a ton more pygmy kids with his side chick. To this day, almost all of the pygmy hippos in captivity are descendants of Billy. Fun fact, the zoo named all of his children Gumdrop. Gumdrop XVIII was born right after papa Billy died from old age.
If you think Trump should invest in a White House mascot, let us know! Our vote is another bad ass bathtub alligator.