Mario franchise strategy guide/Species/Animal Friend

In the Donkey Kong Country series of video games, including Donkey Kong Land and Donkey Kong 64, Donkey Kong and his simian friends have a series of animal buddies that can be found throughout levels and then used to assist the player in finding bonuses or defeating the Kremlings and other enemies. Various animal buddies also appear in other games, such as in Donkey Kong Jungle Beat and Donkey Kong Jet. Most of Donkey Kong's animal buddies were created by Rare and are owned by Nintendo.


Most animal buddies can be ridden when released from a crate, allowing the player to take control of their special powers. Also, when released from a crate, the player will not take damage directly if riding on an animal buddy; instead, the animal buddy will simply run away and, in some cases, can be caught and ridden again (Squawks is the exception to this; if the player is hit while being carried by Squawks, he will drop one Kong, but the player still controls Squawks as long as the other Kong is still present.)

Also, the animal buddies can be transformed into through the use of special barrels in Donkey Kong Country 2 and onwards. The player will transform into whichever animal buddy is pictured on a specific barrel. The player controls the animal buddy directly in these situations and can take hold up to two hit points at once to correspond with the two Kongs. An extra hit point can be earned by hitting a DK barrel as usual when the player only has one.

In Donkey Kong 64, Rambi and Enguarde can only be found in crates, but they are played with in a similar fashion as when they are found in barrels in the Donkey Kong Country games.

Some animal buddies cannot be ridden or directly controlled at all, and instead perform utility functions, such as lighting up dark areas or collecting treasure.

Starting in Donkey Kong Country 2, some areas are off-limits to animal buddies. These will be marked with signs that show the animal's icon in a circle with a slash going through it. However, if the player brings the animal buddy to the sign successfully, a reward will usually appear in compensation (such as a balloon for extra lives or access to bonus areas).

In Donkey Kong Country 3, animal crates are rare, they were phased out in favor of animal barrels. For example, there are no animal crates (Except Parry) between the first level and the 29th level: Pot Hole Panic, which has the only Enguarde crate in the entire game (In the SNES version).

Interestingly, the animal buddies never appeared in the television series based on the games.

In the "Appearances" lists in each of the profiles below, the SNES game title also refers to its Game Boy Advance re-release unless otherwise noted.

Animal buddiesEdit

Rambi the rhinocerosEdit

Rambi the rhinoceros is one of the most well-known of Donkey Kong's animal buddies, appearing in more games than any other, except for Enguarde and Squawks. While he has not appeared in every Donkey Kong game, he is always the first animal buddy to be found in each game he appears in. He is able to defeat most enemies simply by running into them with his horn protruding from the front of his nose. He can also use his horn to break walls and open up hidden areas. In Donkey Kong Country 2 and all subsequent games, Rambi can charge at very fast speeds which allows him to break down heavier walls. In Donkey Kong 64, he can only be used in the "Jungle Japes" level and a few minigames, and is transformed into by Donkey Kong, with no other character being able to play as him. Rambi was also intended to appear in Rare's now cancelled Donkey Kong Racing.

In Mario Kart DS, one of Donkey Kong's karts resembles Rambi. He also cameos in Donkey Konga, where he and Cranky Kong dance at the bottom of the screen in challenge mode.


Enguarde the swordfishEdit

Enguarde the swordfish has the most non-cameo appearances of any animal buddy, tied with Squawks, and the most playable appearances bar none. Enguarde swims with more precision and speed than that of the Kongs, and can defeat most underwater enemies with his pointed bill on his front. However, being a fish, he is essentially useless on land. In Donkey Kong Country 2 and all subsequent games (except for Donkey Kong Land III), he has a supercharge similar to Rambi's that can also break down certain walls as well as propel him across land if necessary. In Donkey Kong 64, he can only be used in the "Gloomy Galleon" level and a few mini-games, and only Lanky Kong can transform into him. Enguarde is one of three animal buddies the player fights a boss with. In Donkey Kong Country 3 and Donkey Kong Land III, the player uses him in the boss fight with the sea urchin Barbos.

As with Rambi, Enguarde was scheduled to make an appearance in Donkey Kong Racing. Interestingly, early shots portrayed multiple different coloured swordfish.

According to Nintendo Power's Donkey Kong 64 Player's Guide, Enguarde is a French swordfish. This is most likely evidenced by his name (which derives from the phrase, "En guarde!"), as he has never had a speaking role.


Expresso the ostrichEdit

Expresso the ostrich can run at fast speeds, as his name implies, and he can glide by flapping his wings. He wears white sneakers. He is the only animal buddy that can be directly controlled by the player with no offensive abilities whatsoever, but small enemies will pass under his body due to his long, spindly legs. He is the only animal buddy besides Rambi to appear in Donkey Kong Land, but he didn't return in the original version of any subsequent game (possibly because his gliding ability was taken over by Dixie Kong and, later, Tiny Kong.) However, in the Game Boy Advance remake of Donkey Kong Country 2, Expresso is playable in a racing mini-game that rewards extra bonus items for winning. He is one of Cranky Kong's favorite animal buddies, as Cranky states in his commentary in the instruction manuals. An ostrich that looked like Expresso appeared in Jinxy's Dunes in Banjo-Pilot; this may be a leftover from the game's former being, Diddy Kong Pilot, that was not removed when the game was remodeled with Banjo characters.


Winky the frogEdit

Winky the frog has the ability to jump very high, and can defeat most enemies by jumping on them, including some that none of the Kongs can damage when jumping. Winky has the smallest number of major appearances of all controllable animal buddies, as he only appears in the original Donkey Kong Country. However, Rattly in Donkey Kong Country 2 has extremely similar abilities and a slightly similar physical appearance; therefore, he is often considered to be Winky's replacement. Like Expresso, he is one of Cranky Kong's favorite animal buddies; in fact, he can be seen in Cranky's Monkey Museum in Donkey Kong Country 2.


Squawks the parrotEdit

Squawks the parrot has the most non-cameo appearances of any animal buddy, tied with Enguarde. He is the only animal buddy to possess multiple different powers. In Donkey Kong Country, he was not directly controllable. He only appeared in one level, Torchlight Trouble in Gorilla Glacier, where he would carry a lantern around and follow the player through the nearly pitch-black stage.

In Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Country 3, and their Game Boy counterparts, he was directly controllable. Much larger than before, he could fly (either carrying the Kongs or alone) and spit eggs at the enemies. Thus, Squawks plays almost identically whether released from a crate or transformed into via a barrel in these games, though the presence of the Kongs makes him a bigger target for enemies, and can weigh him down.

Also, Donkey Kong Country 2 contained a blue parrot similar to Squawks that could only float downward slowly, while Donkey Kong Country 3 featured a purple parrot that could fly normally and pick up barrels, but could not spit eggs. These are two separate parrots with two separate color schemes. The two parrots are often confused for each other; one or both is often called "Squeaks" or "Flapper" on various fansites, but the only official name given to them are "Squawks' Cousins". Squawks and his purple cousin, given the name "Quawks", appear in Donkey Kong Barrel Blast.

In Donkey Kong 64, Squawks was returned to his original size, and he served as the player's guide throughout the game, but in certain areas, he reprised his roles from previous games; he could carry Tiny Kong if she shrunk herself, and he would carry a lantern in some dark caves. In the same game, purple parrots (in addition to green ones) are also seen during cinematic sequences, but they're essentially background characters.

Squawks is also the first animal buddy to fight against his own boss: King Zing, in Donkey Kong Country 2. (Rambi is actually the first to encounter King Zing, but only Squawks can fight him.)


Squitter the spiderEdit

Squitter the spider has the ability to spin webs. Some webs (executed by pressing the Y Button) can be used as projectiles to defeat enemies, while others (executed by pressing the A, L, or R Buttons) can be used as temporary platforms (in Donkey Kong Land 2 to make a platform you must shoot a web by pressing B and then press select while the web is still on the screen). The manuals for the games constantly refer to how "cool" he is. Like Expresso, he wears orange sneakers, one on each of his eight legs. In addition to that, he would also get hurt by jumping on top of enemies. He usually appears in fire-themed levels, like the first lava level in Donkey Kong Country 2 and the factory levels in Donkey Kong Country 3.


Rattly the rattlesnakeEdit

Rattly the rattlesnake is coiled up like a spring, allowing him to jump very high. He plays very similarly to Winky, but he has a superjump similar in nature to Rambi and Enguarde's supercharges. He is the first animal buddy to appear in a barrel (allowing the player to control him without the presence of the Kongs) instead of a crate.


Clapper the sealEdit

Clapper the seal is an unplayable animal buddy who can cool down water when he is touched. He only appears in two levels per game; in "Lava Lagoon," he cools down the boiling-hot water so that the Kongs can safely swim in it, while in "Clapper's Cavern," he turns ordinary water into ice so that the Lockjaw monster in the water cannot reach them.


Glimmer the anglerfishEdit

Glimmer the anglerfish is another unplayable animal buddy who can light up the dark level known as "Glimmer's Galleon"; in fact, he appears in no other levels, making him extremely similar to Squawks's single appearance in the first Donkey Kong Country. Glimmer appears on the box art for Donkey Kong Land 2, but he never appears in that game. Also, an anglerfish similar in appearance to Glimmer can be briefly seen in the trailer for the now cancelled game Donkey Kong Racing.


Ellie the elephantEdit

Ellie the elephant appears to be Rambi's replacement in Donkey Kong Country 3, as they both are similar looking animals, and Ellie appears in the first level of her game as Rambi previously did. However, she plays differently. She can carry barrels (even pulling them in from a distance) and collect water in her trunk (allowing her to shoot it at the enemies), but, in classic cartoon form, she is extremely afraid of Sneek and will run any time she sees him. One particular level ("Stampede Sprint," in the secret world Krematoa) even centers around Ellie running uncontrollably after coming upon a trio of Sneek. Ellie is one of three animal buddies to fight a boss. She fights the waterfall monster Squirt in the area "Cotton Top Cove". She is also one of the only female animal buddies.

In Donkey Kong Land III, she plays differently than she does in Donkey Kong Country 3. First, she has an unlimited water supply, and she can spray water in any level she appears in. Second, she does not run from mice at all. Lastly, she cannot drag barrels in her trunk like in Donkey Kong Country 3.

In Donkey Konga, she appears at the bottom of the screen in Street Performance mode, dancing to the beat of the music played with Diddy Kong.


Parry the parallel birdEdit

Parry the "parallel bird" is an unplayable animal buddy who flies directly above the player's head at a specific distance (hence, he is moving parallel to the player.) He can collect treasures out of the player's normal reach, and the player usually receives significantly high rewards if Parry reaches the "No parallel birds" sign. However, he can be knocked out in a single hit from any enemy except Booty Birds. He is the only unplayable animal buddy to appear in more than two levels.


Hoofer the wildebeestEdit

Hoofer is a wildebeest that lives in snow regions. He was featured in Donkey Kong Jungle Beat to use as Rambi's replacement. Like Rambi, he has the ability to ram into objects and moves at high speeds. When obtaining the fruit items at the end of stages, Hoofer can perform a huge jump which earns players a certain number of beats depending on the distance travelled. Hoofer is known as Mooshin in the British manual.


Orco the killer whaleEdit

Orco is a killer whale found only at the beach of Pristine Sea in Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Her abilities are similar to that of Enguarde the Swordfish, because she can ram into things, which uncovers hidden areas that Donkey Kong alone cannot reach. Orco also has the ability to jump very high out of the water in order to reach airborne beats, and to find the exit.

It is probably safe to assume that Orco is female, since it has babies, but this is not confirmed. She is known as Shachee in the British manual.


Flurl the squirrelEdit

Flurl is a flying squirrel used in the same manner as a parachute in Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Flurl is always found sleeping in trees, and the player is able to wake him up and use him to glide, floating across an area collecting beats in the air. He is known as Ressar in the British manual.



Helibirds are a type of bird that hover upwards in a similar manner as a helicopter. Helibirds can carry characters with their feet, flying into the air to collect beats and get to higher areas. There are multiple helibirds appearing in a variety of colors: blue (the main color), green, orange, purple, pink, and black. All of them are playable, with the exception of the black helibird, which one of the monkeys uses in "Helibird Dash". A similar creature known as a Chopperbird appears in one level, and in "Ninjape Rally", the Ninjapes each have their own miniature helibird.


Glower the tadpoleEdit

In the dark interior areas of the "Gloomy Galleon" stage in Donkey Kong 64, players can find a tadpole (or possibly a small fish) with a flashlight on its head that will follow the Kongs or Enguarde, fulfilling the same role as Squawks and Glimmer in previous games. This buddy is not found in a crate and can not be ridden.

This character is frequently called "Glower the Tadpole" on various fansites, but an official source for the name has not yet been given.


Almost animal buddiesEdit

Nibbla the fishEdit

Though he is seen as an enemy under normal circumstances, he appears in the level "Fish Food Frenzy" as a friend to the Kongs — so long as the player keeps him well fed. If the player continually feeds him Kocos, he will remain blue, smiling contently as he follows the Kongs throughout the level. However, if the player feeds Nibbla one of the many spiny-shelled Lurchins scattered throughout the level, or simply fails to feed him enough, his mood will gradually worsen until he finally satisfies his hunger by attacking a Kong. Nibbla's status as an animal buddy is debatable, as its feeding requirements acts much like an obstacle and inconvenience. However, for his help in clearing enemies from the level, he may be considered "partly" an animal friend. Also of note, there is a "No Nibbla" sign at the end of "Fish Food Frenzy", but no reward is given when bringing Nibbla past it.


Yoshi the dinosaurEdit

Though not technically an animal buddy, Baby Donkey Kong is able to ride on Yoshi in the game Yoshi's Island DS. Yoshi is capable of slurping enemies up with his tongue and turning them into eggs, which he can throw.



One of the original animal buddies in Donkey Kong Country was supposed to be a giraffe and Donkey Kong would climb up his neck to reach higher places. However, he was replaced by Winky the Frog who could easily jump to high places whenever it was needed.