What kind of animal is Arthur the TV star? An aardvark, though with some big differences

For nearly 26 years, the bespectacled Arthur Read warmed the hearts of children and adults alike through his self-titled TV show. “Arthur” debuted in October 1996 and is based on the Arthur Adventure book series, written and illustrated by Marc Brown.

The show ended Feb. 21, 2022, after 25 seasons. Executive producer Carol Greenwald had confirmed in July 2021 the show was being cancelled. During its run, “Arthur” covered topics ranging from gay marriage to dyslexia awareness.

Among the animated series’ cast was a range of anthropomorphic animals from rabbits to rats. Even though Arthur has been a large presence on our screens, many fans are still unsure what he is.

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What animal is Arthur?

Arthur is an aardvark, though there are differences between the actual animal and him. Aardvarks are nocturnal, insectivore mammals native to Africa, according to National Geographic.

Other than Arthur being from the fictional Elwood City, another dissimilarity between the aardvark and Arthur is their facial structures. Aardvarks are known for their long, pig-like snout that is used to sniff out insects. In the show, Arthur has a flat nose with tiny nostrils, unlike his real-life counterpart.

Arthur Read is an aardvark from Elwood City with a flat nose, unlike his real-life counterpart.Arthur Read is an aardvark from Elwood City with a flat nose, unlike his real-life counterpart.

Arthur Read is an aardvark from Elwood City with a flat nose, unlike his real-life counterpart.

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Did Arthur always look that way?

Originally, Arthur was designed with a more true-to-form snout. The first book in the series titled “Arthur’s Nose” chronicled the character coming to accept and love his nose, after classmate Francine Frensky complains about it, prompting Arthur to try to fix it.

As the book series continued, Arthur and his family’s design began to change. Their snouts receded, and their aardvark paws, claws and tails disappeared entirely.

These design changes made their way into the PBS Kids show that many are familiar with.

Why was ‘Arthur’ cancelled?

The series was confirmed as cancelled in summer 2021. During an appearance on the podcast “Finding D.W.,” Kathy Waugh a writer on “Arthur,” said the show had completed production in 2019.

A reason for the cancellation was never provided, but episodes of “Arthur” continue to be broadcast on PBS Kids.

“ ‘Arthur’ is the longest-running kids’ animated series in history and is known for teaching kindness, empathy and inclusion through many groundbreaking moments to generations of viewers,” said Carol Greenwald, executive producer, in a statement obtained at the time by USA TODAY. “In the winter of 2022, the 25th and final season of ‘Arthur’ will debut. ‘Arthur’ will continue to be available on PBS KIDS for years to come.”

End of ‘Arthur’: The longest running kids animated series in history, is ending

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What kind of animal is Arthur? An aardvark but with some differences