You would think, given how diverse our natural world is, that a mere 500 or so Pokemon would barely scratch the surface in terms of Pokemon based on real-life creatures. But even with the same animals being used for Pokemon design again and again – there are three based on ducks in the first 151 original Pokemon alone – not many corners of the animal kingdom have been left unturned.
Above: Psyduck (Wisdom), Golduck (Power) and Farfetch'd (Courage)
But even with all this repetition, trying to think of an animal that hasn't had a Pokemon based on it is tougher than you'd think. Kangaroo? Kangaskhan. Hyena? Mightyena. Sloth? Slakoth. Giraffe? Girafarig. And so on. That's not to say there aren't more than a few Pokemon that are difficult to classify in terms of real-life (Clefairy, for example), but we would roughly estimate that about 95% of Pokemon are based largely on a real-life animal or object. (Factoid: Did you know that a pika is a real rodent?) We're not advocating uncreative, animal-based Pokemon designs; it's just that so many Pokemon are already based on animals that it's impossible to talk about Pokemon design without referring to all the real-world stuff Pokemon are based on.
While obviously there are tons of individual species not covered by Pokemon, we tried to only include animals that haven't already had a close relative Pokefied – for example, there hasn't been a chipmunk Pokemon, but there has been a squirrel (Pachirisu) which is pretty close. That said, here are our eight picks for animals we're shocked haven't been made into Pokemon yet.
The noble drop bear would be only the second representative of the marsupial category in Pokemon, right next to Kangaskhan. And if you’d rather think of him as a bear, his only compatriots would be Teddiursa and Ursaring. Pretty unusual given how much everyone loves a cuddly little bear, no matter how awful they smell and sound (we're not counting Spinda here, who we've deemed as vaguely panda-esque).
While Teddiursa and Ursaring are normal type, a koala Pokemon could easily have a Grass type added to it given how much time they spend up in tree limbs. A koala Pokemon moveset would definitely have to include Rest and possibly Sleep Talk given how notoriously sleepy they are, as well as a few moderate Grass type moves. Body slam could also work if you imagine them falling out of a nearby tree onto their enemy.
Dolphins offer a versatile template for Pokemon creation. A dolphin can be fun and frolicking, like a Lisa Frank notebook
dolphin that leaps out of the water playfully, leaving a rainbow in its wake. But they can also be cold-blooded killing machines, since real-life dolphins have been observed
committing infanticide on fellow dolphins and killing porpoises for no known reason other than that they find it amusing.
With so many water-type Pokemon, many of which are based on the same types of animals (there are a whopping six Pokemon designs based on sea slugs alone – Eastern Shellos, Western Shellos, Eastern Gastrodon, Western Gastrodon, Phione and Manaphy), it's surprising we haven't seen a dolphin-based Pokemon already.
A platypus would feel right at home in the Pokemon world because it's already an egg layer. Maybe it could be the result of an unholy union between a Psyduck and a Bibarel? Pokemon of different species can already mate successfully, so why not create a new species based on a specific interspecies pairing?
Not only is the platypus one of the only egg-laying mammals, it's also one of the only venomous mammals. So naturally, a platypus-based Pokemon would have to be at least part Poison-type, and ideally be a Poison/Water combo. They look adorable on the surface, but male platypuses can deliver an excruciating poison sting via their venom-filled ankle spurs, the effects of which can last for weeks or months. If the rumors are true about new weather effects in Black & White, where, for example, you can set up a "poison field" to enhance the effectiveness of poison-type moves, a platypus Pokemon could be a formidable foe indeed.
While lizards and other reptiles definitely have a presence in the world of Pokemon, (see: Bulbasaur, Charmander, Treecko, Kecleon etc.) there’s nothing quite similar to a Gila monster; a big slothful, poisonous reptile. Arbok doesn’t count – he’s a snake.
While they’re not extremely big in real life, a Gila monster Pokemon should be pretty big, and increase dramatically in size over its evolutions. Even though in real life a Gila monster’s poison is relatively mild, the Pokemon version would have to be a Poison type, perhaps mixed with a Dragon or Dark type after its first evolution because of its big scaly lizard vibe. Its large size would also reflect a strong physical attack/defense stat.