The third Monday of February is President's Day, a day that is to celebrate the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Taking nothing away from their birthdays, we decided to look into the four-legged, sometimes three-legged, pets that roamed the yards at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!
Being the POTUS is a tough job, some would say. Having a pet by your side as a world leader might have made it a lot less stressful! For starters, there have been only three presidents not have a pet during their term. That's okay and understandable, they were busy running the country. Not having a pet as a president might make them an "odd man out" but some presidents owned very questionable pets. Let's take a look at some of the pets our current and previous Presidents have had.
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According to the above graph, the estimated number of pets owned by US Presidents is about 298 animals. President Theodore Roosevelt has the most pets owned as a president at 48. He owned a few strange pets that included a black bear, a badger, a hyena, and even a three-legged rooster. That list of "pets" is just the tip of the iceberg! President Calvin Coolidge owned, two raccoons, a donkey, a bobcat, lion cubs, a Pygmy hippopotamus, a wallaby, a duiker, a black bear, and 13 Pekin ducks. John Quincy Adams not only owned silkworms but also an alligator, which some think might be a myth. However, Benjamin Harrison did own two alligators who lived in the White House conservatory. He also kept two opossums as pets during his presidency. Nothing screams American pride like owning a Bald Eagle which President James Buchanan had as a pet. Martin Van Buren had two tiger cubs but Congress ultimately forced him to donate them to a zoo. Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, owned two grizzly bears. The next group of presidents all owned farm animals that did grace the White House grounds. William Howard Taft had two cows. George W. Bush had a longhorn cow. Very impressive is President Woodrow Wilson, who owned 48 sheep and a ram at one point during his time. While all the previously mentioned presidents had a wide assortment of weird pets, the majority of them also had dogs, cats, and other "normal" pets.
If you're wondering what other animals have been lucky enough to be the pets of Presidents and their families, CNN has made an interesting graphic for each of the Presidents.
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