Exploring the Myth and Reality about cartoon animals

Cartoons have been a beloved part of many peoples childhood, entertaining audiences with colourful characters and crazy adventures. One of the enduring aspects of cartoons are the portrayal of animals, which often take on exaggerated characteristics and behaviours. From the lightning-fast Road Runner to the whirlwind Tasmanian Devil, these cartoon animals have captured our imaginations.

While the cartoon Road Runner may be a fictionalized version of this bird, it’s clear that the real roadrunner is a remarkable creature in its own right, perfectly adapted to its harsh desert environment. The cartoon Road Runner is depicted as a blue bird with long brown legs and a dark blue crest on top of its head. Living in the southwest American desert surrounded by cacti, boulders, and sand.

There really is a Roadrunner!

Roadrunner cartoon character

The Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus, the larger of the 2 species for roadrunner measures about 55 cm in length.

Roadrunners have various predators including coyotes. But the coyote can run at 65 km/h which is much faster than the speed of a roadrunner, so would have no problem catching up with one.

The roadrunner will be forever remembered by the sound ‘Meep meep’. Listen below to what they really sound like.

© Looney Tunes by Warner Bros.

© Bob DuHamel

What makes the real roadrunner really remarkable is its adaptability and intelligence. These birds are skilled hunters, preying on insects, lizards, and even snakes. They are also known for their distinctive appearance, with long legs, a crest of feathers on their head.

Greater Roadrunner walking in the Mojave desert, California USA
© Jessie Eastland

Another iconic cartoon animal is the Tasmanian Devil, portrayed as a spinning whirlwind of energy and chaos. With its ferocious growl and insatiable appetite, the cartoon Tasmanian Devil is a force to be reckoned with. The real Tasmanian Devil is a unique marsupial found only in Tasmania, off the south coast of Australia.

Tazzie Devil cartoon

While it shares some characteristics with its cartoon counterpart, such as its stocky build and powerful jaws, the similarities end there.

In reality, the Tasmanian Devil is a solitary and nocturnal creature, known for its scavenging habits and loud vocalizations.

© Looney Tunes by Warner Bros.

Unfortunately, the real Tasmanian Devil faces significant challenges in the wild, including habitat loss and Devil Facial Tumour Disease a contagious cancer, which has decimated populations. Efforts are underway to protect this iconic species, including conservation breeding programs and initiatives to control the spread of the disease.

Tasmanian Devil
Tasmanian Devil

Cartoon animals may entertain us with their exaggerated antics and larger-than-life personalities, but they often bear little resemblance to their real-life counterparts. While characters like the Road Runner and the Tasmanian Devil may capture our imaginations, it’s important to remember the beauty and complexity of the natural world they are based on. By learning more about real animals and the challenges they face, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the incredible diversity of life on Earth. So whether you’re watching cartoons or exploring the great outdoors, take a moment to marvel at the wonders of the animal kingdom, both real and imagined.

Australian Environmental Education logo with dragonfly