Doctor Dolittle can talk to animals and has no hesitation to use them for his work. Yet I don't seem to recall him ever using animals to get around for non-normal use (for example, he's always taking a car or boat, instead of flying across sea by bird. I'm not referring to riding a horse, or even a Pushmi-Pullyu).

So, am I remembering correctly? Does Doctor Dolittle use animals for unusual transport anytime during the original books by Hugh Lofting?


He flies to the moon on the back of a giant Luna Moth named Jamaro Bumblelily. I suppose that counts as unusual transportation....

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Also, at the end of The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, he and his friends travel home under the sea inside the shell of the Great Pink Sea Snail.

Our new quarters we found very satisfactory. Inside the spacious shell, the snail’s wide back was extremely comfortable to sit and lounge on—better than a sofa, when you once got accustomed to the damp and clammy feeling of it. He asked us, shortly after we started, if we wouldn’t mind taking off our boots, as the hobnails in them hurt his back as we ran excitedly from one side to another to see the different sights.

-p. 307 of the June 1988 Dell paperback edition (which does not include the following color image, but it is in the Project Gutenberg copy)

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  • Great. But anything in-earth? – TheAsh Nov 8 '17 at 18:42
  • Yes, added it to the answer. – Organic Marble Nov 8 '17 at 19:43

The Monkey Bridge

Dr. Dolittle uses a whole bunch of monkeys as a bridge, to get across a chasm to the Land of the Monkeys.

But the big monkey who was carrying the pig dropped him on the ground and cried out to the other monkeys. "Boys—a bridge! Quick!—Make a bridge! We've only a minute to do it. They've got the Captain loose, and he's coming on like a deer. Get lively! A bridge! A bridge!" The Doctor began to wonder what they were going to make a bridge out of, and he gazed around to see if they had any boards hidden any place. But when he looked back at the cliff, there, hanging across the river, was a bridge all ready for him—made of living monkeys! For while his back was turned, the monkeys—quick as a flash—had made themselves into a bridge, just by holding hands and feet.
And the big one shouted to the Doctor, "Walk over! Walk over—all of you—hurry!"
Gub–Gub was a bit scared, walking on such a narrow bridge at that dizzy height above the river. But he got over all right; and so did all of them.
John Dolittle was the last to cross. And just as he was getting to the other side, the King's men came rushing up to the edge of the cliff.
The Story of Dr. Dolittle, chapter 7: "The Bridge of Apes"

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  • Good find, but I meant mainly cross-sea long-distance transport (ie riding in a whale, bird flying him etc.) – TheAsh Nov 8 '17 at 17:42

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