Arthur is an animated TV series aimed at viewers from ages 4-8. The show, which is one of the longest-running animated children’s series in television history, is based on popular children’s book author/illustrator Marc Brown. Its main character, Arthur “Timothy” Read, his family and friends have been entertaining children since September 1996.
Like in other animated series, it’s not uncommon to hear people asking questions about the real identity of a certain character. In the case of the Arthur show, one of the most common questions a lot of children and adults ask is “what kind of animal is Arthur.?
Considering that its physical characteristics have evolved during the first half dozen books, it’s easy to see why many people would be confused.
So, what animal is Arthur supposed to be? Well, this is exactly what this article aims to answer.
In short,Arthur is a brown aardvark with a big head, black muzzle, and large pink ears. Arthur is a silly character who loves to have fun and never stops.
What Animal was Arthur?
Arthur is an aardvark. Most people have time and again confused it for a mouse or anteater. However, this is not true. In fact, his true identity has been explicitly mentioned on the show on several occasions.
However, it’s easy to see why people would get confused about the kind of animal Arthur is as his appearance varies somewhat from an aardvark (except for the ears). In order to make him into an anthropomorphic aardvark, they had to take a few liberties in the design, which is understandable in a kid’s cartoon show.
Arthur’s Character in the TV Show
With the actual identity revealed, let’s learn a little bit about this interesting character in one of the most beloved children’s animated shows in history.
Arthur Timothy Read is an aardvark boy who is the oldest child and only son of David and Jane Read. His mother is a work-at-home accountant while his dad operates a catering business. He is the older brother to sisters Kate and D.W. He is a third-grader at Lakewood Elementary School in the fictitious Elwood City.
Arthur is often seen wearing a yellow sweater, a white polo shirt underneath, a white undershirt that is tucked into blue jeans, a brown belt, red and white sneakers, and white socks. He also wears red-brown glasses.
However, his attire often changes depending on the season, event, or occasion.
Arthur is generally regarded as an average person. He is an average student who enjoys the library and loves reading books. He is a terrible pianist and constantly neglects practice unless he is forced by his parents. However, with proper practice and motivation, the character’s piano skills have been shown to be quite good.
His love for sports is immense as he is constantly seen participating in various types of sports throughout the show.
Arthur’s character is weird and funny at the same time. He does seem like an intelligent person but is always frustrating those around him with his failure to use common sense. He is always getting in trouble, occasionally cheats, breaks promises, and is quite evasive especially when questioned about his reasons for causing trouble.
His relationship with his family is good, although he is constantly fighting with his 4-year old sister D.W for constantly interrupting, pestering, and annoying him over everything.
Arthur’s relationship with his baby sister Kate is a good one. He is often seen as caring and protective towards her. He likes to make her laugh by making funny faces or stupid mistakes.
Arthur has a best friend known as Buster Baxter. He also has a few other friends like Muffy Crosswire, Francine Frensky, Ladonna Compson, Alan Powers, and others.
That said, let’s discuss more about the animal that Arthur is supposed to be.
A few other characters people often get confused about:
What animal is Muffy from Arthur?
Mary Alice Crosswire, who is more commonly known as Muffy is a monkey. Muffy’s character in the show is wealthy and is often seen as snobbish, though she does often make up for it through her friendships with the other characters.
What animal is Brain from Arthur?
Alan Powers, who is more commonly known as Brain is a bear. Brain is very polite and well-mannered. He loves science and tends to try to solve problems logically.
The aardvark is a medium-sized nocturnal mammal that is native to Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa where suitable habitats like woodlands, grasslands, savannahs, and bushland are available. They generally avoid rocky habitats as it makes digging burrows much harder.
The animal is easily distinguished by a long pig-like snout which it uses to sniff out food.
Because of its burrowing habits, the aardvark is nick-named “earth pig” or “ground-pig”. The name aardvark actually means earth pig or ground pig in Afrikaans.
In addition to its pig-like snout, the aardvark also has ears that resemble those of a rabbit and a tail that is almost similar to that of a kangaroo. Surprisingly, despite its resemblance to these animals, neither one of them is closely related to it.
Aardvarks are typically nocturnal animals. They spend the daylight hours hiding in the deep burrows they’ve dug in order to avoid the sun’s heat. They live in these burrows and raise their offspring there. A nocturnal feeder, the aardvark diet mainly consists of ants and termites which it digs out of their hills using its sharp claws and strong feet. However, it’s also known to eat a fruit known as the aardvark cucumber. It’s the only type of fruit this animal eats.
Its strict diet forces it to forage longer distances, usually between 10-30 kilometers from sunset to sunrise.
When foraging, the aardvark points its large nose to the ground and its ears forward. This clearly indicates that the animal uses its sense of smell and hearing to search for food.
An interesting fact about the aardvark is that it walks zig-zag while foraging. The main reason for this is that the zig-zag movement prevents it from repeating the same route. After about 5 to 8 days, they return to find new termite nests.
Female aardvarks normally give birth to a single offspring every year. The mother takes care of her young one from birth up to 6 months, after which they venture out on their own and start digging burrows to live in.
The aardvark is mainly hunted by predators like lions, African wild dogs, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, and pythons. Humans also hunt it for meat. Its powerful sense of hearing keeps it alert and can run very fast in zig-zag to outrun its predator. It also digs very fast to hide from predators.
Aardvarks are not considered an endangered species.
What about Arthur’s Friends
- Buster Baxter: A Rabbit
- Binky Barnes: A Bulldog
- Sue Ellen Armstrong: A Cat
- Mr Ratburn: A Rat
- George Lundgren: A Moose
How Many Animals in Arthur?
The Number of Animals in Arthur is Seven this Includes a Cat, Rat, Aardvark, A Moose and a Rabbit.
Why Does Arthur not look like an Aardvark?
The main reason why Arthur doesn’t look like an Aardvark on the TV show is due to the fact that the original book Arthur slowly changed over time to the current TV show Arthur which is more stylized and cartoony, making him look less like an aardvark.
Bottom Line – What Animal is Arthur the Cartoon?
Arthur the aardvark’s character is an interesting one. But what’s more interesting is learning the real animal behind that character and some useful information about them such as their diet and their habitat. Hopefully, you’ve learned all there is to know about Arthur the TV show character and the aardvark he represents.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.