Aloysius Snuffleupagus

From Academic Kids

Aloysius Snuffleupagus is one of the Muppet characters on the long-running educational television program for young children, Sesame Street. He resembles a wooly mammoth, without tusks, and he is a friend of Big Bird. He attends Snufflegarten and has a baby sister named Alice.

For many years, Big Bird was the only character on the show who saw him (he only came along when Big Bird was alone). The other characters teased Big Bird when he said he had seen the Snuffleupagus, because they didn't believe there was such an animal, often despite evidence to the contrary (such as an oversized teddy bear that Snuffy had left behind). This was modeled in part on the imaginary friends some young children have.

The "Goodbye" episode (1985)

By the mid-1980s, the storylines had the adult characters becoming increasingly frustrated with Big Bird using Snuffleupagus as a scapegoat whenever something went wrong while they were out of the room. In one episode, newspapers on Sesame Street carried the front page headline, "Snuffy's got to go!"

This running gag ended with the Nov. 18, 1985 episode of Sesame Street (early in the series' 17th season), when the adults finally met Snuffy. The adults have been driven to the brink after another incident gone wrong, and give Big Bird an ultimatum: tell this "Mr. Snuffleupagus" good-bye once and for all, or else. Out of options and excuses, Big Bird and Snuffy tearfully say their good-byes in Big Bird's nest area. One of Snuffy's tears falls onto Big Bird while they embrace, leading Big Bird to realize that if he can even feel the water from the tears, Snuffy must be real. While the two are embracing, the adults enter the room and see that Snuffy is definitely real. After Snuffy introduces himself, Big Bird does an "I told you so" routine, prompting the adults to apologize profusely.

The Children's Television Workshop decided on this storyline largely after high-profile (and sometimes, graphic) stories on pedophilia and sexual abuse of children on shows such as 60 Minutes and 20/20. Concerns were raised that a child may be reluctant to tell an adult that he/she had been sexually abused, especially because he/she may not be believed because of their age.

Mr. Snuffleupagus remains a prominent part of Sesame Street.

Other facts

In the 1996 video Elmo Saves Christmas, it is revealed that Snuffy's grandmother lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In the 1990s, it was established that the species was indigenous to Hawaii.


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