The Roosevelts' Assorted Pets

Kermit with a guinea pig from a family portrait.
Kermit with a guinea pig from a family portrait.


Among the Roosevelt family's many pets were a handful of guinea pigs. Theodore noted: "their highly unemotional nature fits them for companionship with adoring but over-enthusiastic young masters and mistresses."

Five were named "Bishop Doane; Dr. Johnson, my Dutch Reformed pastor; Father G. Grady, the local priest with whom the children had scraped a speaking acquaintance; Fighting Bob Evans, and Admiral Dewey."
Ted with Eli Yale the Hyacinth Macaw.
Ted with Eli Yale the Hyacinth Macaw.

Courtesy of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, National Park Service, Oyster Bay, NY

Not without a feathered flying friend, there was a Hyacinth Macaw named Eli Yale.
Due to the parrot's colorful plumage, Theodore is said to have commented that it "looked as if he came out of Alice in Wonderland."
The bright blue bird lived in the White House greenhouse (later torn down to make way for the West Wing, which today houses the Oval Office).
Quentin with two white rabbits.
Quentin with two white rabbits.


At age 5, little Quentin Roosevelt was presented with two white rabbits, which he called "the valuablest kind with pink eyes."

Archie Roosevelt was also the owner of a rabbit, named Peter. The family made sure Peter was given a proper burial after he passed away.

"Archie, in his overalls, dragged the wagon… in which poor Peter Rabbit lay. Mother walked behind as chief mourner, she and Archie solemnly exchanging tributes to the worth and good qualities of the departed. Then he was buried, with a fuchsia over the little grave."
Archie with Josiah the badger.
Archie with Josiah the badger.

Harvard University

At age 9, Archie Roosevelt was granted a pet badger named Josiah, "whose temper was short but whose nature was fundamentally friendly."

The boy would carry him about, holding him in his arms, "clasped firmly around what would have been his waist." When it was suggested by his father that the badger might take advantage of his situation to bite his face, Archie, seeing this as an "unworthy assault on the character of Josiah," replied:

"He bites legs sometimes, but he never bites faces."

Last updated: March 8, 2022

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