Theodore Roosevelt and his Animals

Theodore Roosevelt, often referred to as Teddy, was the 26th President of the United States from the year 1901 to 1909.  Aside from having a position in the government, Roosevelt was also a historian, naturalist, conservationist, and writer. Interestingly, aside from the several roles he had portrayed over his years, Roosevelt was also known as an animal lover. In fact, when he moved to the White House in 1901, he brought along him his wife, his six children, and his wildest menageries one has ever seen.

Below are some of the First Family’s most beloved and memorable pets.

Tom Quartz

If you love cats, you’ll probably relate to Roosevelt, who owned a cat named Tom Quartz. According to Roosevelt, Tom was the clever kitten he had ever seen. In fact, one of his dogs named Jack was quite scared of Tom. Aside from being a clever cat, Roosevelt had stated that Tom Quartz was also a playful little weird creature who took delight in scaring and spying on Jack. However, Roosevelt and the family still adore the love-hate relationship between these two pets.


BlackJack, also known as Jack, is a Manchester Terrier who was among the many pets of the Roosevelt family. BlackJack was not just a dog but an absolute member of the Roosevelt family. In fact, Roosevelt had said it himself in a letter with the enclosed picture of Jack. Aside from that, when Jack died during their stay at the White House, they had him buried in the backyard. However, his remains were then exhumed and reburied in their Long Island Estate at Sagamore Hill. Roosevelt stated that he couldn’t bear burying Jack beneath the eyes of presidents who might not care for little black dogs.

Peter the Rabbit

Peter, the rabbit, was particularly a pet of Roosevelt’s fifth son, Archie. Although the rabbit’s name was quite generic, for Archie, it was one-of-a-kind. When Peter the Bunny had passed away, the Roosevelt family had a funeral ceremony, which Theodore himself had written. In the letter to Kermit, Teddy had mentioned that his wife and Archie had exchanged tributes to the good qualities and worth of Peter the Rabbit. Afterward, Roosevelt also mentioned that the rabbit was buried with a fuchsia over its little grave.

Emily Spinach

You might be thinking that dogs, a cat, and a rabbit was quite normal as a pet. But did you know that the Roosevelt family also had a snake pet named Emily Spinach? Yes, and it was the pet of Theodore’s eldest daughter, Alice. The snake was named Emily Spinach since it was as green as the Spinach and as thin as Alice’s aunt Emily. More interestingly, Emily, the Spinach was not the only snake in Roosevelt’s menageries. In fact, they initially have four more snakes which Quentin, Teddy’s youngest son, have purchased in a pet store. However, because of an incident where one snake had sent people running away from a meeting, the snakes were sent back to the store where they came from.

Jonathan the Piebald

Jonathan the Piebald is a rat that Roosevelt described as a friendly and good-natured animal. He had also mentioned that among their several more family pets that include two kangaroo rats and flying squirrels, Jonathan the Piebald rat was the only one who likes to crawl all over everybody.

Eli Yale

Eli Yale was a very loud, bright blue macaw that Roosevelt described as a bird that seems to come out of Alice in Wonderland. In fact, in a letter that Roosevelt sent to an author named Joel Chandler Harries, he mentioned that Eli Yale was a gorgeous macaw that could bite through a boilerplate. This gorgeously looking blue macaw used to live in the White House greenhouse, which was now the West Wing of the White House.


Bill is a lizard that Roosevelt had acquired during his travel. In fact, it was a gift he had given to his son, Archie, among the other animals, which he brought home to his kids somewhere in 1903. According to his letter to Archie, he had a couple of treasures to divide among his children when he gets back. He also then stated that one of those treasures was Bill the Lizard, who lives in a small box.