Blog posts What Type Of Animal Is Pikachu

What Type Of Animal Is Pikachu? Revealed (2023 Updated)

With its adorable appearance and friendly nature, Pikachu is one of the most loved Pokemon in the game and the series.

His yellow fur, red puffy cheeks, lightning bolt-shaped tail, and pointed ears make him the most recognizable character in Pokemon.

However, what type of animal is Pikachu? Read on as we take a closer look at his origins to help you determine which animal Pikachu was based on.

Pikachu’s Real Animal Type Revealed

Photo of Pikachu

Pocket Monster (Pokémon) graphic artist Atsuko Nishida revealed in the Yomiuri newspaper that a squirrel, not a mouse or rabbit, inspired Pikachu's design in Pokemon Red and Green [1].

That's right - he's a squirrel and is far from being a rabbit, as most people thought.

But how many Pokemon types are there?

Why Is Pikachu A Squirrel?

In an interview, Nishida revealed she was into squirrels when she made the character.

She wanted something with puffy cheeks and found squirrel tails cute, but she wanted a lightning element, so she shaped Pikachu's tail like lightning.

Throughout the years, Pokémon fans thought the cute yellow creature was an electric mouse type (as the Pokedex labels in Pokémon Red and other versions).

It wasn't until the Pokémon Red and Green illustrator revealed the story behind Pikachu's origins that his real classification was established.

Atsuko Nishida also added that squirrels weren't popular in Japan when she came up with this concept.

How Was Pikachu Originally Made?

Image of Pikachu


Our cute main character was originally made in pixel art, inspired by a Daifuku (a mochi rice cake with sweet filling).

According to one of its developers, Pikachu is one of the most difficult characters to create since he has to be appealing both to Japanese and American audiences.


Pikachu was first seen in video games and trading cards in 1996. It wasn't until the later version that his vibrant and cheery yellow color was seen.

In the promotional artwork of Pokemon Red and Blue, Pikachu has a white with yellow colored body and a little hint of red and ears with black tips.

Pikachu is an evolved form of Pichu that evolves into Raichu, and its colors remain the same in the evolution stages.


Pikachus are friendly little creatures with cheeky and cheerful traits. However, this electricity-type Pokemon can be aggressive when angered.

In the live-action film, Detective Pikachu is quite similar to its anime version, except he talks a lot and wears a hat.

Check out some cool Pikachu gifts here

Why Is Pikachu Still Considered A Mouse Character?

It was decided by the creators of this series to make Pikachu more like a mouse-type Pokemon, supporting Tajiri's description of Pikachu as an electric rodent.

The name Pikachu came from "Pika," an onomatopoeia that means electric spark, and "chu," another onomatopoeia for the squeak a mouse makes.

Therefore, the animal Pikachu can be construed as "electricity-crackling mice."

Fun Facts

Image of Pikachu Holding a Stone

Its Origin

Satoshi Tajiri, a founder of the Pokémon franchise, classified this electric-type pokémon as a mouse type, making it the most famous electric rodent.

When exposed to a Thunder Stone, it turns into a Raichu (its evolved form).

In the later series, its predecessor, Pichu, was introduced and evolved into Pikachu after having a close bond or relationship with its trainers.


Male and female Pikachu are different. Females have a dent at the end of their tails that looks like a heart, while males have a lightning-designed tail.

They also appear like pika animals with short round bodies, short tails, yellow fur with brown markings, pointy ears, and red circular pouches on their cheeks like how a squirrel stores food.


To know what animal is Pikachu based on, just take a look at the pika [2]. Its animal behavior resembles squirrels (e.g., storing food in its cheeks).

This mouse-inspired anime character in the famous game and anime series Pokémon is super effective against water types and ineffective against grass types.

Though this electricity type is cuddly and nice, Pikachu can get wild when threatened, especially when you step on its tail. You can also check out some awesome Pokemon party ideas here


What kind of squirrel is Pikachu?

In the main series, its developers have revealed that it is a squirrel-inspired Pokemon. It can be linked to a pika - animals considered a relative of rabbits, found in Asia and North America.

What other Pokémon is based on a squirrel?

Another Pokemon based on a squirrel is Skwovet. It has a light grayish-brown color underbelly that extends to its mouth and some parts of its cheeks.

It can stretch its cheeks many times at its normal volume and store tremendous amounts of food.

On A Final Note

Pikachu is one of the most famous Pokémon in the world and has become a Japanese icon in pop culture. It also serves as the mascot for Nintendo in Japan.

If you love Pikachu and want to purchase officially licensed merchandise to add to your Pokemon collectibles, don't forget to check Toynk out.

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