Presidential Pets

George Washington kept horses. James Madison had a parrot. And Barack Obama went the traditional route with a good old dog. Pets have long been inhabitant of the white house - and many have become as famous as their presidential owners. But there may be a few pets you haven't heard about -and some interesting stories that may surprise you. Read on, and learn a little more about the pets our leaders have chosen to keep.

There's an alligator in the White House! John Quincy Adams was gifted an alligator by the Marquis de Lafayette, which he allowed to live in the White House. He also kept Silkworms, which belonged to his wife

This place is a zoo! Martin Van Buren housed an exotic pair of tiger cubs at the White House during his presidency. They were a gift from the Sultan of Oman. Congress eventually convinced him to send the furry duo to the zoo. A herd of elephants once made it's home at the white house as well. Owned by James Buchanan (who also kept a pair of Bald Eagles), the elephants were a gift from the Kind of Siam. Then there was Calvin Coolidge. He and his wife, Grace had quite the menagerie of characters at the white house, including a pygmy hippo named Billy, a wallaby, a bear, a donkey and a number of dogs and cats.

The Siamese come to America. If you own a Siamese cat, you should thank U.S. President, Rutherford Hayes. The first Siamese kitten in this country actually belonged to him, and he also owned several dogs, a goat, four canaries, one mockingbird, and a number of Carriage horses.

In defense of animal rights. Millard Fillmore cared so much about furry creatures that the helped found the American Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Later, he acted as the president of the Buffalo chapter of the organization.

Of course, there are many more stories that I can't cover here. Luckily, you can read up on them over at Petcentric. Just don't expect to find any stories about James K. Polk or Chester A. Arthur. These two presidents preferred to keep a human only White House.

Which presidential pet is your favorite? Share your thoughts with other readers below.