Why an Alligator + a Donkey Once Lived at the White House

by Lisa Hirsch Lozano 3:55 PM, February 17, 2017

Aired February 20, 2017

In honor of Presidents’ Day, we thought we’d take a look at presidential pets through the years, and animal expert Jarod Miller was kind enough to bring some real-life examples to meet Rach!

John Quincy Adams: Alligator

You read that correctly. Our sixth president John Quincy Adams and our 31st president Herbert Hoover both had alligators in the White House! President Adams, strangely, kept his in a BATHTUB. Rumor has it, he liked to scare White House guests with it. Years later, Herbert Hoover’s son had two alligators that occasionally wandered the White House grounds. When it came to meeting a real-life gator, Rach wasn’t too happy, initially telling Jarod to keep the toothy reptile away from her.

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Calvin Coolidge: Donkey

Calvin Coolidge had a donkey (among many other pets including lion cubs and a wallaby). Our real-life donkey visitor startled Rach when she brayed and whinnied around the stage. Who knew donkeys could be such @sses?!

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Teddy Roosevelt: Badger

Jarod explains that in 1903, a little girl in Kansas threw a badger at Teddy Roosevelt! He liked the little guy so much that he brought him home. Jarod says that the Roosevelt family bottle fed him until his teeth came in. Jarod’s real-life badger came with an accompanying sign for Rach that read “DON’T TOUCH BADGER.”

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Warren G. Harding: Bulldog

Dogs are one of the most popular White House pets (remember the Obamas’ dogs Beau and Sunny?). Both Calvin Coolidge and Warren G. Harding had pooches of the bulldog variety. However, the bulldog that paid us a visit preferred to roam around the studio rather than joining Rach and Jarod’s chat.