15 Things You Didn't Know About Animals In 'One Piece'

One of the most delightful things about One Piece is the wide range of unique species that populate its world. From ordinary creatures like dogs and camels to fantastical beasts like Sea Kings, the world is full of fascinating animals. Want to learn more about them? We've got you covered with a whole list of things you didn't know about animals in One Piece.

Here's a surprising fact: the Den Den Mushi are based on an actual attempt by a French occultist to create a telegraph system out of psychic snail energy. Also, did you know that there's a spin-off video game where the Sea King that bit off Shanks' arm is a mother? 

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    Den Den Mushi Are Living Creatures

    Den Den Mushi might seem like machines, but they are living creatures that can be categorized in different ways. Oda has some notes about how they're categorized. 

    "They're animals. Insects.

    Baby Den Den Mushi: Its small size makes it portable. However, its signals are weak, and cannot reach over the sea to another island.

    Den Den Mushi: Too big to carry around, but its strength makes it useful for talking to far-off islands. Can also act as a fax machine if the accessory is attached.

    Black Den Den Mushi (different species): They do not grow as they age. They enjoy eavesdropping, but dislike communicating with others. Commonly used as listening devices, or "wiretaps".

    Since being raised by humans gets them plenty of food, they don't mind being used and tamed."

    Because they're living creatures, they need to be trained to perform certain functions. Oda explains:

    "Denden mushis are living creatures so it depends on how you train them. To place on silent mode, say 'Shh' and nod your head. Volume might depend on their training and what you feed them."

    While they can be trained, owners can't really control their Den Den Mushi's mimicry abilities - that's up to the individual creature. Oda says:

    "Den Den Mushi have the power of mimicry. It can copy the appearance and distinguishing features of anybody nearby. Second, if someone else is on the other side of the line, the Den Den Mushi can also catch their facial expressions while they talk and can reproduce them. What they choose to reproduce and appear as is entirely dependent on the mood of each individual Den Den Mushi. They aren't machines, they're living creatures so there aren't any hard and fast rules for how they transform."

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    The Den-Den Mushi Has A Strange Historical Basis

    The Den Den Mushi - snails that serve as communication devices - are one of the more bizarre aspects of the One Piece universe. Even stranger, it turns out that they have a basis in history.

    In the 1850s, French occultist Jacques-Toussaint Benoît created a device called the Pasilalinic-sympathetic compass. According to Benoît, snails generate a special fluid when they mate. This fluid created a telepathic link between snails, which could be harnassed by humans to send messages. He created a scaffold made from 10-foot-long wooden beams with zinc bowls on them. The bowls were lined with cloth that had been suffused with copper sulfate, and connected to 24 snails that were glued in one spot. Each snail was matched to a letter of the alphabet. When one of these snails was touched, the corresponding snail on an identical device was supposed to react. 

    This device did not work, and Benoît disappeared after the first test was a failure. But the concept got a second life in the form of the Den Den Mushi. 

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    What Happens When You Don't Salute A Hiking Bear?

    What Happens When You Don't Salute A Hiking Bear?
    Photo: Eiichiro Oda

    One thing that the series makes very clear is that if you come across a Hiking Bear, you must salute it. What happens if you fail to do so? Oda has the answer.

    "What I'm going to tell you is extremely important, so PLEASE remember it. Hiking Bears are bears that love mountains. They simply cannot allow people with bad manners onto the mountain. The punishment is this: sitting in [the] correct Japanese style for one hour. It's very difficult. The people who suffer this have severely cramped legs, and they all say the same thing. "Please kill me, now". But the bears will not allow it. But that's what they get for insult the beloved mountain... (From the "Drum Kingdom Animal Encyclopedia")"

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    The Sea Kings That Shirahoshi Summoned Are Familiar

    When Shirahoshi accidentally summoned a group of Sea Kings to stop the Noah from falling, some viewers might have noticed that the Sea Kings look familiar. That's because they're the exact same group of Sea Kings that first appeared when the Straw Hats entered the Calm Belt. While this was likely done to avoid having to come up with new designs, it's still a fun throwback. 

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    Sea Kings Taste Delicious

    Anybody who gets the opportunity to try Sea King meat should not pass it up. Apparently, it's a delicacy in the One Piece world. Luffy doesn't exactly have gourmet tastes, so the fact that he we impressed doesn't mean much, but it's also Zoro's favorite food, and is generally well-regarded as a choice dish. 

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    Zunesha Has Multiple Inspirations

    After it committed an unnamed crime, Zunesha was condemned to endlessly wander the oceans. It isn't allowed to stop, and is only allowed to defend itself from attacks with explicit permission. 

    It seemed to have been inspired by a number of sources. The first is its design, which is confirmed to be inspired by Salvador Dali's painting The Elephants. Oda said:

    "Yes, you focused on something interesting. Indeed, if you think of the form of a normal elephant, you think something like "sea? But it's too deep [for elephants to stand in the water]!". The truth is, the scientific name of this elephant is "Naitamie Norida Elephant" which possesses oversized legs with multiple joints. Maybe I will include this in the main story someday, but that's basically it.

    T/L note: Backwards for dari no e mitai na = It looks like Dalí's picture."

    Zunesha's name likely stems from Ganesha, an elephant-headed Hindu god. The fact that it carries a society on its back may be inspired by the Hindu myth of the World Elephants, who stand on the back of a giant turtle and support the world with their bodies. Finally, its punishment may be an allusion to the medieval Christian myth of the Wandering Jew, who was cursed to endlessly walk around the world after he mocked Jesus before he was crucified.