(Image credit: Flickr member ilovememphis)
At the age of two, little Elvis Presley cried for two days when his pet rooster died. Elvis always had a fondness for animals, even stuffed ones, including his beloved teddy bear, which he named "Mabel."
Elvis had a huge collection of teddy bears in the early days of his career; they were sent to him by swooning girls by the score. He even had a model of "Nipper," the RCA dog, which he kept in his bedroom in later years. In 1957 in L.A., Elvis simulated a sexual act onstage with a stuffed version of "Nipper," which got him plenty of severe criticism.
Elvis had several pet dogs over the years. As a boy, he looked after two small dogs that he named "Woodlawn" and "Muffy Dee." When he was serving in the army and was stationed out in Germany, he kept a poodle named "Champagne."
He liked giving dogs as gifts to the women in his life he loved. He gave his beloved mother, Gladys, a dog called "Sweet Pea;" he gave a toy poodle named "Little Bit" to his early girlfriend, Anita Wood; he gave a poodle named "Honey" to his wife Priscilla; and he gave "Foxhugh," a Maltese, to one of his last girlfriends, Linda Thompson.
By the end of 1960, Elvis' pet collection at Graceland included a monkey, spider monkeys, peacocks, chickens, pigs, poodles, and a Great Pyrenees dog called "Muffin." Elvis had a chow called "Get Low" in the seventies who outlived his master by a year.
Elvis wasn't so fond of cats, although stray that turned up on the Graceland grounds would be found new homes. He did reputedly have a pet cat called "Wendell," named after his co-star in his movie Loving You, Wendell Corey.
When Elvis and his family moved to Graceland mansion in 1957, the barns were stocked with pigs and chickens. That year, Elvis drove out to the country, filled the back seat of his Cadillac with geese and brought them back to Graceland to keep the lawn trim.
Elvis also kept a few donkeys he had been given in the drained Graceland swimming pool when he first moved in, until work was finished on the fence around the property. Thought the larger farm animals were gradually pensioned off, Elvis retained a hen house at Graceland for a supply of fresh eggs. At one time or another, Elvis also had goats and turkeys (one called "Bow Tie").
Elvis donated a wallaby to the Memphis Zoo after receiving it as a gift from Australian fans in 1957. He became a serial wallaby donator by repeating the gift in 1962.
(Image credit: Flickr member Geir Arne Hjelle)
Elvis was briefly a cattle rancher when he bought the Circle G Ranch in 1967. He bought horses for all his entourage and his wife Priscilla. Elvis loved riding his horse "Rising Sun." He often went out riding with Priscilla, he on "Rising Sun" and she on "Domino," the horse Elvis bought for her. Once "Rising Sun" got upset and started running amok with Elvis on him. Elvis couldn't so anything to stop him. Finally, after a wild, uncontrolled ride, "Rising Sun" came to a stop. Most people would have been scared in such a situation, but Elvis was furious. According to a witness, Elvis jumped off the horse and -literally- punched him in the face (much like the famous scene in the Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles a few years later).
For a while, he had a peacock on the Graceland grounds, but the bird started damaging the cars, after which it was given away. He also owned myna birds, one of which could say, "Elvis! Go to hell." The Graceland menagerie included mules at one time. Snakes that happened to venture onto Graceland had a rough time. A maid remembers Elvis blazing away with a rifle at a tree after a snake was seen slithering up the trunk.
He acquired his first monkey, a spider monkey called "Jayhew" back in 1956, to liven up his home. His best known pet was a very fresh, mischievous chimpanzee called "Scatter." Elvis loved this crazy monkey, but hardly anyone else shared the King's affinity. Elvis enjoyed walking around and carrying "Scatter" on his shoulder and often brought him out to Hollywood when he was filming movies in the '60s. "Scatter" liked to wear clothes, drink whiskey, and tear up rooms. Elvis bought him a wardrobe of suits and ties. "Scatter" had the annoying (at least to the women involved) habit and penchant for pulling up women's dresses. When drunk, he had no qualms about about engaging in public masturbation. "Scatter" was reputedly poisoned in revenge by a maid he had bitten. Other sources pin his demise on alcohol-related liver problems.