Nov 22

November is National Novel Writing Month in the United States, a thirty day challenge for writers of all levels to punch out a fully-fledged novel. Here at ARKive, we were inspired by National Novel Writing Month to dig through the ARKive collection for the top ten memorable animal characters of some of the world’s best loved novels. See if you don’t recognize some of these faces!

White Fang by Jack London

This story of the savagery of nature and man centers around the young wolf-dog hybrid, White Fang. Make sure you check out some of our gorgeous grey wolf photos on ARKive!

Grey wolf photo

Watership Down by Richard Adams

When we first started talking about animal novels at the office, Watership Down was one of our clear favourites. Hazel, Fiver, and the rest of the rabbits search for a safe and peaceful homeland in this classic story.

Rabbit photo

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

This novel about a teenager, a zebra, a hyena, an orang-utan and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, adrift at sea after their ship sinks, is a symbolic exploration of survival. It begs the question, who is the tiger?

Tiger photo

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

This classic children’s fantasy novel has a number of animal characters, but none are as mighty as Aslan, a majestic lion, and the true king of Narnia.

Lion photo

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Moby Dick, the enigmatic great white whale in Herman Melville’s classic novel, was actually a sperm whale, and has been thought to symbolize many things, including fate, nature, and even the entire universe.

Sperm whale photo

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

This classic tale features so many animal characters, it was hard to choose just one! Reptiles are under-represented in novels so we went with the villainous python, Kaa.

Asiatic rock python photo

Jaws by Peter Benchley

Although this novel may have inspired the film that contributed to a misguided worldwide fear of sharks, there is no doubt that the great white shark is a powerful and impressive predator.

 Great white shark photo

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

It might not be able to fly, but we wonder if the blue monkey might have been the inspiration behind the winged monkeys summoned by the Wicked Witch of the West?

Blue monkey photo

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

While the ROUSes (Rodents Of Unusual Size) which inhabit the Fire Swamp in this classic and humorous love story might not be real, the capybara from South America is a real life rodent giant, at over a metre in length and weighing as much as an adult human!

Capybara photo

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

Although the Galapagos giant tortoise hasn’t been mistaken for mountains like Morla the Aged in this epic tale, it can weigh in at an impressive 320kg.

Galapagos giant tortoise photo

What do you think of our picks for top ten animal characters? Did we leave any off our list? If so, let us know in comments below, and explore ARKive to find out more about their real life counterparts!

Tatiana Petrone, Program Assistant, Wildscreen USA