Presidential Pets

Chickens and Lizards and Bears, oh my!

All kinds of strange animals have lived in the White House over the years. Here are a few of the most strange pets that have ever occupied the presidential mansion:

Thomas Jefferson

Had a pet mockingbird that would take
food from the president's mouth.

Abraham Lincoln

Gave his sons two goats, named Nanny and Nanko,
which little Tad Lincoln harnessed to an
overturned chair and made it a chariot.

Grover Cleveland

Loved animals and at different times
had canaries, rabbits, foxes, and rats.

Theodore Roosevelt

Had turned the
White House into a zoo.
Among the pets he owned
were chickens, bears,
lizards, a blue macaw
parrot named Eli,
and a pig named

Martin Van Buren

Had been given two
tiger cubs from
the Sultan of Oman.
Listening to his
terrified family's advice
he donated them to
the Washington zoo.

William Howard Taft

Insisted on having his favorite
dairy cow, named "Mooly Wooly,"
brought to the White House
upon his election so he could have
fresh milk every morning.

Andrew Jackson

Kept fighting roosters
at the White House.
He would hold cock-fighting
tournaments on the lawn
of the White House.
Today, of course,
this is an illegal activity.

Zachary Taylor

Had a beloved horse named Old Whitey that
could often be seen munching on the
White House lawn.

Rutherford B. Hayes

His wife Lucy had a Siamese cat-supposedly
the first in the U.S.-that had been
sent to her by the American consul in
Bangkok, Thailand.

William McKinley

Had a parrot that could whistle the song "Yankee Doodle."

Calvin Coolidge

Was the owner of a
raccoon that he
and his wife would
walk on a leash
around the
White House lawn.

Herbert Hoover

His youngest son had two alligators.
They lived in the White House
confined in their own room.
They would sometimes get out
and slither around the hallway
scaring White House staff!

Lyndon B. Johnson

Had two beagles named "Him" and "Her."
Once, LBJ picked them up by their ears
and when the public saw the picture
LBJ received hate-mail.

What kind of pet (or pets) does your family have?