Unusual Pets of the White House

Image Courtesy of Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Photo Collection

3. Sheep

Woodrow Wilson had a number of animals, but the most prominent ones are the flock of sheep he kept on the grounds.  It was a way of being able to cut down the costs of maintaining the grounds, as the flock (which at one point numbered 48 sheep) would eat the grass and keep its growth under control. Moreover, he donated their wool to the Red Cross!

Imagine seeing now a flock of sheep on the grass in front of the White House. It would be quite a sight to behold!

2. Alligators

Surprisingly (or not) there were a few presidents that have had alligators in the White House, though some believe that a few of them might have been just a myth or popular urban legends. However, during his presidency, John Quincy Adams has received the unusual gift of an alligator from Marquis de Lafayette during his visit to the United States.

What is even more surprising is that the President supposedly kept the alligator in one of the bathrooms in the East Room of the White House, in the bathroom. Comically, he is said to have used the alligator to scare guests from time to time! The president definitely had a sense of humor, and his alligator’s stay supposedly influenced his son to get two of his own.

1. Badger, Owl, Hyena, Bear… An Actual Zoo

Theodore Roosevelt had accomplished many things in his life, and besides holding speeches while injured, he also had a lot of animals. And when we say a lot, we mean it! From the normal pets, one could think of, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, to the more unusual ones, like a badger, a lion, a laughing hyena, a black bear, hens, and even a one-legged rooster!

One thing is for certain, the White House had not seen as many animals on their grounds until him, and the President was not shy in acquiring more animals. He even had a barn owl, a macaw, and a garter snake. And the most amazing thing of it all? All of them had their own names!

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