Art and commentary by Kimberly Harris

Jonathan Roosevelt was a piebald rat that was one of President Theodore Roosevelt’s many exotic pets. He lived in the White House in the early 1900s and liked to play with the president’s children.

A portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt's pet rat

Jonathan Roosevelt Rat's Presidential Portrait

There has been a longstanding rumor that Jonathan rode in Teddy Roosevelt’s front jacket pocket during his famous charge up San Juan Hill during the Spanish American War. The actual truth was that he stayed home and took advantage of Colonel Roosevelt’s absence to conduct a raid of his own on his master’s cheese cellar back at Oyster Bay, New York

Piebald is a generic expression used to describe an animal that has patches of black and white or other colors.

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