Have any American Presidents owned an unusual pet?

When you consider the animals that have called the White House home, it sounds more like a zoo than the President’s residence...

Have any American Presidents owned an unusual pet? © iStock

There has been an alligator, elephant, hyena and wallaby to name a few – as well as the many more common pets such as dogs and cats. The African Grey Parrot owned by President Andrew Jackson (in office 1829-37) therefore sounds a bit of a tame choice. But it was anything but that.

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By the time of Jackson’s death in 1845, he had softened from a grizzled military commander into a godly man of high principles. So it must have been quite a shock when his funeral was interrupted by his pet parrot, unimaginatively named Poll, squawking profanities in front of the respectful mourners. Poll’s language was so obscene that the parrot had to be removed from the church.

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The aged bird had acquired Jackson’s saltier language from his younger days and had chosen the worst possible moment to showcase it!

Answered by one of our Q&A experts, Greg Jenner. For more fascinating Q&A’s, pick up a copy of History Revealed!