14 Animals Who Ran for Office

Meet the top dogs of local politics.
Meet the top dogs of local politics.
ScottMDigital/iStock via Getty Images

According to Suetonius in The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, the Roman emperor Caligula planned to make his favorite horse, Incitatus, a consul. Like the supposed depravities of Caligula himself, the appointment of Incitatus is one of many commonly held notions about Ancient Rome that is open to question, if not largely debunked by historians. But the idea of electing an animal to office didn’t end with Caligula, who was stabbed to death by conspirators in 41 CE. During the last century, dogs, goats, rhinos, mules, and more have all run for office—and some have actually won.

1. Ioiô

In the 1920s, disgruntled locals in Fortaleza, Brazil, decided a local goat named Ioiô would make a far better city councilor than the human candidates presented to them. Though he wasn’t an official candidate, many voters wrote Ioiô’s name on their ballot sheet. Unfortunately, the votes for Ioiô were deemed inadmissible, but nonetheless, the goat became quite the celebrity in Fortaleza. He died of old age in 1931 and was promptly stuffed and given to the Museum of Ceará, where he stands to this day.

2. Boston Curtis

In 1938, Republicans in the town of Milton, Washington, unwittingly elected a mule as their new precinct committeeman. The ruse was the work of Milton's Democratic mayor, Kenneth Simmons, whose goal was twofold: to embarrass the Republicans and make a statement about the inefficiency of the primary system. With no other names put forward, Simmons registered a mule, whom he named Boston Curtis, to fill the vacant Republican post. Despite knowing nothing about this mysterious candidate, voters elected Boston Curtis with 51 votes. It was only when the results of the uncontested election were announced that residents of Milton realized they had elected a long-eared brown mule as their new committeeman. After the hoax was revealed, it was declared the mule had "returned to the democratic fold."

3. Cacareco

Cacareco's skull at the São Paulo Zoo.Mike Peel, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

In 1959, a 4-year-old rhinoceros named Cacareco was peacefully minding her own business at the zoo in São Paulo, Brazil—until someone decided she’d make a better candidate than the 540 other contenders in São Paulo’s city council elections, many of whom were seen as corrupt or woefully inadequate. The idea caught on, and Cacareco won by a landslide, with her name written on roughly 100,000 ballots. The closest human candidate received just 10,079 votes. Election officials rejected her candidacy, but the electorate had made its point. To this day, the term “Voto Cacareco” (Cacareco Vote) is used in Brazil to refer to a protest vote.

4. Colossus

Colossus was a nearly 500-pound silverback gorilla—one of the largest ever held in captivity—who lived at Benson's Wild Animal Farm in Hudson, New Hampshire. In 1980, as a publicity stunt for the zoo, Colossus was put forward as a presidential candidate for the Vegetarian Party in the New Hampshire primary. Colossus’s campaign manager, a chimpanzee, entered the secretary of state’s office to fill out the paperwork. His human owner, meanwhile, argued the gorilla was entitled to be on the ballot, as he met the age requirement and was born in the United States. Colossus never quite made it to the White House, but he was included in a series of presidential primary trading cards authorized by the state library, alongside George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton.

5 and 6. Billy Gumboot and Tai

When the small town of Whangamomona declared its independence from New Zealand in 1989, its first order of business was to elect a president. The self-proclaimed Republic of Whangamomona elected Ian Kjestrup, a human, as its first president, despite Kjestrup having no idea he was on the ballot. After he retired, Billy Gumboot, a goat, won by a landslide in 1999. The second non-human president of the republic was voted into office in 2003. Tai, a poodle, ruled for just one year, her presidency marred by a non-fatal attack by another dog, which some locals claim was a political assassination attempt. Tai was the republic’s last non-human president. The current president, John Herlihy, took office in 2017 and was reelected in 2019, despite opposition from a teddy bear, a sheep, and a cockatoo.

7. Macaco Tião

A Statue of Macaco Tião in the Zoological Garden of Rio de Janeiro.Fulviusbsas, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

Macaco Tião was a notoriously bad-tempered chimpanzee who lived at the Rio de Janeiro Zoo from 1963 to 1996. Despite his cantankerous nature, Tião was much loved by staff and visitors alike, and made the local news on more than one occasion after throwing feces at visiting politicians. His fame skyrocketed in 1988 when the anti-establishment Brazilian Banana Party entered the chimp as a candidate for mayor of Rio de Janeiro. He received 400,000 votes and came in third.

8. Winnie

In 2000, Winnie the pig was the star of a continuous protest by farmers outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Due to her newfound fame, the farmers decided to put Winnie forward as a candidate for mayor of London. They registered the pig just before the deadline, but the campaign was soon thwarted: Election officials became suspicious when they saw the check for the candidate’s £10,000 registration fee: The name of the bank on the check was Piggybank PLC, a bank strangely not recognized by the officials.

9. Morris

When two university graduates decided that none of the 2013 candidates for the mayor of Xalapa, Mexico, were up to scratch, they decided a cat called Morris would be a worthy alternative. The feline candidate soon became popular online, and received a questionable 12,000 votes, enough to potentially place him fourth in the field of 11 candidates. It wasn’t without some controversy, with some critics arguing that Morris split the opposition vote, handing the victory to Mexico's powerful ruling party. The cat’s campaign staff rejected this, saying “Let's be realistic ... Who divided the vote? A simple cat, or the fragmented opposition?”

10. and 11. Max I and Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller II

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The United States has a fine tradition of electing animals to office, with some towns regularly electing four-legged mayors. The unincorporated town of Idyllwild, California, has elected two canine mayors since 2012. Mayor Max I was the first golden retriever to take office, but he was an aging political veteran when elected and sadly died a year later at just over 12 years old. The town soon began looking for a successor. Another golden retriever, Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller II, was elected in 2014 at just 11 months old. Despite his inexperience, Mayor Max II proved to be a hugely popular mayor, and upon his third election was appointed mayor for life.

12. Barsik

After a series of high-profile corruption cases, residents of the Siberian city of Barnaul were fed up with their mayoral candidates. So, in 2015, they decided to vote for a cat named Barsik. In an unofficial poll, the cat destroyed his six human candidates, winning 91.2 percent of the 5400 votes cast. The protest vote was a resounding success, but Barsik was not registered as a mayoral candidate and was therefore unable to take office.

13. Crawfish B. Crawfish

When Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced he was entering the Republican presidential race in 2015, he faced an unlikely challenger: A crawfish. His Bayou State rival, Crawfish B. Crawfish, mounted a ferocious online campaign, spearheaded by the "Can This Crawfish Get More Supporters Than Bobby Jindal?" Facebook page. And while Crawfish B. Crawfish’s campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, he did manage to get more Facebook followers than your average freshwater crustacean.

14. Lincoln

In 2019, a 3-year-old Nubian goat named Lincoln became the first honorary pet mayor of the small Vermont town of Fair Haven, defeating rival cats and dogs and a gerbil named Crystal. Despite pooping on the inaugural podium, Lincoln went on to have a successful year as mayor. But in the cutthroat politics of Fair Haven, no goat can rest easy. In January 2020, Lincoln found himself in a tense battle to win reelection. Two candidates entered the fray: Sammy, a 6-year-old German Shepherd rescue dog, and Murfee, a 3-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and certified therapy dog. After the March 3 election, Murfee was declared the winner.

The 10 Best Air Fryers on Amazon


When it comes to making food that’s delicious, quick, and easy, you can’t go wrong with an air fryer. They require only a fraction of the oil that traditional fryers do, so you get that same delicious, crispy texture of the fried foods you love while avoiding the extra calories and fat you don’t.

But with so many air fryers out there, it can be tough to choose the one that’ll work best for you. To make your life easier—and get you closer to that tasty piece of fried chicken—we’ve put together a list of some of Amazon’s top-rated air frying gadgets. Each of the products below has at least a 4.5-star rating and over 1200 user reviews, so you can stop dreaming about the perfect dinner and start eating it instead.

1. Ultrean Air Fryer; $76


Around 84 percent of reviewers awarded the Ultrean Air Fryer five stars on Amazon, making it one of the most popular models on the site. This 4.2-quart oven doesn't just fry, either—it also grills, roasts, and bakes via its innovative rapid air technology heating system. It's available in four different colors (red, light blue, black, and white), making it the perfect accent piece for any kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Cosori Air Fryer; $120


This highly celebrated air fryer from Cosori will quickly become your favorite sous chef. With 11 one-touch presets for frying favorites, like bacon, veggies, and fries, you can take the guesswork out of cooking and let the Cosori do the work instead. One reviewer who “absolutely hates cooking” said, after using it, “I'm actually excited to cook for the first time ever.” You’ll feel the same way!

Buy it: Amazon

3. Innsky Air Fryer; $90


With its streamlined design and the ability to cook with little to no oil, the Innsky air fryer will make you feel like the picture of elegance as you chow down on a piece of fried shrimp. You can set a timer on the fryer so it starts cooking when you want it to, and it automatically shuts off when the cooking time is done (a great safety feature for chefs who get easily distracted).

Buy it: Amazon

4. Secura Air Fryer; $62


This air fryer from Secura uses a combination of heating techniques—hot air and high-speed air circulation—for fast and easy food prep. And, as one reviewer remarked, with an extra-large 4.2-quart basket “[it’s] good for feeding a crowd, which makes it a great option for large families.” This fryer even comes with a toaster rack and skewers, making it a great addition to a neighborhood barbecue or family glamping trip.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Chefman Turbo Fry; $60


For those of you really looking to cut back, the Chefman Turbo Fry uses 98 percent less oil than traditional fryers, according to the manufacturer. And with its two-in-one tank basket that allows you to cook multiple items at the same time, you can finally stop using so many pots and pans when you’re making dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Ninja Air Fryer; $100


The Ninja Air Fryer is a multipurpose gadget that allows you to do far more than crisp up your favorite foods. This air fryer’s one-touch control panel lets you air fry, roast, reheat, or even dehydrate meats, fruits, and veggies, whether your ingredients are fresh or frozen. And the simple interface means that you're only a couple buttons away from a homemade dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Instant Pot Air Fryer + Electronic Pressure Cooker; $180

Instant Pot/Amazon

Enjoy all the perks of an Instant Pot—the ability to serve as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, and more—with a lid that turns the whole thing into an air fryer as well. The multi-level fryer basket has a broiling tray to ensure even crisping throughout, and it’s big enough to cook a meal for up to eight. If you’re more into a traditional air fryer, check out Instant Pot’s new Instant Vortex Pro ($140) air fryer, which gives you the ability to bake, proof, toast, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Omorc Habor Air Fryer; $100

Omorc Habor/Amazon

With a 5.8-quart capacity, this air fryer from Omorc Habor is larger than most, giving you the flexibility of cooking dinner for two or a spread for a party. To give you a clearer picture of the size, its square fryer basket, built to maximize cooking capacity, can handle a five-pound chicken (or all the fries you could possibly eat). Plus, with a non-stick coating and dishwasher-safe basket and frying pot, this handy appliance practically cleans itself.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dash Deluxe Air Fryer; $100


Dash’s air fryer might look retro, but its high-tech cooking ability is anything but. Its generously sized frying basket can fry up to two pounds of French fries or two dozen wings, and its cool touch handle makes it easy (and safe) to use. And if you're still stumped on what to actually cook once you get your Dash fryer, you'll get a free recipe guide in the box filled with tips and tricks to get the most out of your meal.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Bella Air Fryer; $52


This petite air fryer from Bella may be on the smaller side, but it still packs a powerful punch. Its 2.6-quart frying basket makes it an ideal choice for couples or smaller families—all you have to do is set the temperature and timer, and throw your food inside. Once the meal is ready, its indicator light will ding to let you know that it’s time to eat.

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

A Two-Toed Sloth Accidentally Hitched a 40-Mile Ride in a Truck's Engine Bay

Tony Hisgett, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0
Tony Hisgett, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Most sloths move at a maximum speed of 6 to 8 feet per minute, but one two-toed sloth in Costa Rica shattered that pace on a recent joy ride. As Jalopnik reports, the female sloth traveled 40 miles after sneaking into a truck’s engine bay undetected.

The vehicle's drivers noticed something was out of place when they stopped to check the engine and saw a tuft a fur. They reached out to Toucan Rescue Ranch, a wildlife rehabilitation center near San Jose, which identified the stowaway as a two-toed sloth. Though it had been on board for over an hour, the animal managed to survive the road trip unscathed.

The animal caretakers at TRR dubbed the sloth Lola la Trailera, or "Lola the Truck Driver," after the 1983 Mexican action movie of the same name. She was exhausted and aggressive when she arrived at the center, but after feeding her a diet of Pedialyte, wild leaves, and steamed veggies, the caretakers were able to restore her to full health. She was returned to the forest she originated from following six days of rehabilitation.

A sloth's usual lack of speed isn't a sign of laziness—it's a survival tactic. Fat and protein are limited in the rainforest canopies where sloths reside, so they must conserve energy by limiting their activity. But as Lola la Trailera proved, sloths have the potential to move much faster with a little assistance.

[h/t Jalopnik]