A Pokémon can learn Bite even if they aren't Dark type.

I understand that moves that have names that fit the "role" of that Pokémon make sense, like it makes sense for an animal Pokémon to know Bite even it's not Dark.

Does this ever get addressed in any way in the games, shows, or comics?

  • 8
    Also, how can Zubat learn "Mean look" when it doesn't have eyes.
    – Valorum
    May 3, 2016 at 18:56
  • Does it matter what "type" the pokemon is? The type of a move is just the effect the move has. Why wouldn't something with teeth be able to bite? May 3, 2016 at 18:58
  • 1
    @Richard it's looking at you with it's mouth ;) May 3, 2016 at 19:38
  • @Valorum Similarly, Voltorb and Electrode can be taught Sucker Punch, despite not having any arms! Sep 16, 2016 at 16:00

3 Answers 3


Pokémon learning moves outside of their type could be related to the Pokémon's design rather than their type.

Keep in mind, Bite wasn't always a Dark type. In the first generation Bite was a Normal-type and didn't become Dark in Gen-II+. (Which in the remakes of Red/Green it made my strategy of buying the Magikarp not crazy as Gyrados curb-stomped Misty's at level 20!). Any Pokémon can learn normal type moves, provided they have the proper appendages (Geodude can't learn Megakick, and so on...)

Often, Pokémon would learn moves that were outside of their type because of creature design, i.e., Gyrados (Water/Flying), Rattata (Normal), and Raticate (Normal) learning Bite because of having a jaw with fangs.

Let's circle back to Gyrados. It's type is Water/Flying, and it can learn a couple of moves outside of it's type such as Bite and Dragon Rage. The reason it has these moves is because it's designed to look like a dragon, and is based off of a Japanese legend where a carp jumps up a waterfall and becomes a dragon.

Zubats are another case where design comes before type designation. It's type is Poison/Flying, but it learns moves like Supersonic (Normal), Bite (Dark), Leech Life (Bug), Astonish (Ghost), and Haze (ice). This Pokémon is based off a vampire bat, which sucks the blood out of prey (Leech Life), uses echolocation to fly around (Supersonic), and flies at night and in caves which can surprise people (Astonish).

When it comes the actual design of Pokémon, a team of designers come up with ideas/designs and they get handed to a committee, and then added to the game with to keep some balance in the roster. While I don't see the details in this article on Gamasutra with Hironobu Yoshida, from the way he describes the process it goes

  1. Draft pokemon art, keeping it on a server so other artists can see it as well.
  2. Submit to committee, who critiques and selects the roster for the next game, sending back rejected with notes for improvement.
  3. Moves/types get assigned.
  4. ?????
  5. Added to Pokédex.
  6. Profit.

So all in all, it's not really explained in universe why a Pokémon learns a move outside of it's type. It's all a mix of game design/mechanic. Also I'm using the games as the primary canon as they came first, and are the driving force in any new canon in the other media (with yellow being the only exception)

  • Pokemon can perform moves that make sense to the pokemon's physiology. A pokemon's type doesn't solely dictate it's moves, it dictates what it is weak against. May 3, 2016 at 18:59
  • @GorchestopherH It's a major determinate though, as type does limit what moves it can learn via TMs and HMs. I.e. a Pikachu can't learn surf, and Charizard can't learn Hydropump
    – CBredlow
    May 3, 2016 at 19:15
  • 2
    Of course, but that's because a pokemon's type goes a long way in determining its physiology. There are many examples of typed moves that can't be learned by similarly typed pokemon. Voltorb (electric) can't learn thunderpunch, but Dusclops (ghost) learns it by leveling. This is because Dusclops uses it's hands to fight and Voltorb doesn't have hands. They've really added depth with their moveset. Not all dark types can learn bite, but pokemon who appear to fight with their jaws can. A Bite from a Squirtle isn't water type, it's still a dark "acting" action, therefore it's dark. May 4, 2016 at 12:41

In Episode 287 of the anime, All Things Bright and Beautifly, one of the major plot points is Ash getting his Pikachu to learn the Steel-type move Iron Tail.

In the transcript of the episode, we see all of the following addressed:

  • The fact that Pikachu can learn Iron Tail
  • The reason why a Pokemon like Pikachu can learn it ("a Pokemon with a strong and fully developed tail can learn and use this technique")
  • The reason why a Pokemon like Pikachu should learn it: ("how effective this kind of attack can be against rock types" - note that in this episode, Ash is preparing for his battle against the Rock-type Gym Leader Roxanne)
  • How Pikachu went about learning the move (by exercising his tail in various ways)

This is an example of the anime directly referencing the ability of a Pokemon to learn moves explicitly outside of its typing... although in this episode, it is never explicitly stated that Iron Tail is a Steel-type move...

Relevant snippets from the episode transcript:

Chaz: Now, we're going to teach Pikachu the Iron Tail attack.

Ash: Iron Tail attack?

Pikachu: Pika? ("Iron Tail?")

Chaz: Let's start with a demo. Sentret, use Iron Tail on this rock.

(Sentret does so, destroying the rock)

Ash: No way!

(The rubble lands at Ash's, Ben's and Chaz's feet)

Ash: Awesome!

Pikachu: Pika! ("I'll say.")

Chaz: So you see how effective this kind of attack can be against a Rock Pokemon? But a Pokemon with a fully developed tail can learn this technique.

Ash: Right!

Pikachu: Pika Pika! ("Understood, Chaz!")

(Pikachu soon starts giving his tail a workout by lifting a rock tied to it while Ash does pushups)

Ash: Come on, Pikachu. You gotta build some strength in your tail if we're gonna have a chance of winning.

Ash: Iron Tail! We've gotta get you to learn Iron Tail! Come on!

Ash and Pikachu training


Ash: Let's do it, Pikachu! Iron Tail! (throws a bunch of balls at Pikachu) (Pikachu smacks each ball with his tail, then Taillow smacks his head against a tree to make some berries fall for Pikachu to swat with his tail and finally Treecko spits his twig at Pikachu, only for Pikachu to swat it away, too. After swatting away the twig, Pikachu's tail starts to glow, shocking Ash)

Pikachu: Pika? ("What's this?")

(As Pikachu speaks, the glow fades)

Pikachu starts learning to use Iron Tail


U see, water types can easily learn ice type moves because ice is frozen water and vice versa.

Similarly, steel , rock type can learn ground type because they are mined out of ground.

Dark and ghost types need more concentration power to control and create more havoc , so psychic type moves comes in handy

Most plants are poisonous, grass types easily learn poison moves and plants are most normal things in nature. So normal type moves. In fact they can/ should easily learn ground type moves too.

Psychic types use lots of electrical signals in their brain, so they can learn electric type.

Poison types can learn electric attack, because moving chemicals cause electricity

Electricity can produce heat so it can learn fire type move.

Bug type and fairy types can learn psychic type because they kind of charm people in different way. Example butterfly

Dragons are reptiles right? Cold blooded which can breath fire and ferocious flying creatures. So, it can learn fire, ice, flying, fighting, normal easily.

This is just for single type Pokémon. In dual type for instance, gastrodon, it can learn both ice and rock type moves.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. This is interesting speculation, but can you provide any evidence, anywhere this is addressed in any of the official works?
    – DavidW
    Feb 24, 2022 at 17:26
  • 1
    How far does this logic get you? Gyrados, a water/flying type can learn flamethrower (fire type) and thunderbolt (electric type), both via TM. And that's not to mention Hidden Power, also usually taught via TM, which used to allow almost any Pokémon to learn almost any type move.
    – Laurel
    Feb 24, 2022 at 17:46
  • I appreciate a new answer after all these years. But if you look at my question it’s not really about why or how these moves and types exists or make sense. My question is if it’s even addressed in the games, shows, or comics. Something like “Ash was so proud of Pikachu for learning the Fairy move Charm” Feb 25, 2022 at 22:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.