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Growing up, I’ve always owned a pet; I cared for rabbits, dogs, turtles, and cats. I love caring for pets, partly because I see how fun and exciting SpongeBob and Gary’s relationship is.
This iconic duo has made the show relatable to every pet lover. While Gary’s character started as a minor joke character, he eventually developed his own unique and quirky personality. And what’s not to love about him? He is the cutest pet in Bikini Bottom; his cat-like nature of being skittish, impulsive, and agreeable are among the traits you can’t help but love.
Do you want to know more about Gary? While he doesn’t have a lot of exciting dialogues (just a few meows and purrs), Gary’s presence and reaction are simply hilarious to watch. It’s always an entertaining episode when he stars in the show! If given a chance, I would really have him as my pet, too; how about you?
Before you think hard on that question, let’s get to know SpongeBob’s pet, who is not only cute and cuddly but also intelligent. Check out everything about Gary, the snail: his personality, little quirks, relationships, and more.
Bottom Line Up Front
Gary, aka Garold Wilson Jr., is SpongeBob’s pet snail. He is among the main characters of the show SpongeBob Squarepants. Interestingly, his characteristics are unlike a snail, but a cat. He often expresses his agreement or opinion through meows or purrs.
When he’s entirely shocked, his eyes dilate! It’s kinda weird yet highly amusing, and it still cracks me up every time.
Information at a Glance
- Full Name: Garold Wilson Jr.
- Birthday: November 27, 1989
- Home Location: 124 Conch Street, Bikini Bottom, Pacific Ocean
- Nickname: Gary, Gary Bear
- Occupation: He seems to have worked several jobs, as a Fry cook in “A Pal for Gary,” De-icker in “Fungus Among Us,” Bouncer in “Shellback Shenanigans,” DJ in “Sharks vs. Pods,” and King of Bikini Bottom in “Rule of Dumb.” His most common job is being a waiter at Krusty Krabs.
- Favorite Episodes: Dumped, A Pal for Gary, Gary Takes a Bath
- Age When Series Starts: 9
- Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
- Siblings: none
- Children: none
- Partner/Spouse: none
- Most Memorable Moment: His dream self in the episode “Sleepy Time”
- Actors Who Played: Tom Kenny
Who Is Gary?
Gary is SpongeBob SquarePants’ pet sea snail. He lives together with SpongeBob’s pineapple house. The dynamic duo met in Kamp Koral when SpongeBob was just ten years old, way before Gary lived with SpongeBob.
But how did they meet again? Their reunion was incredibly heart-warming; SpongeBob bought Gary at the animal shelter, as seen in Plankton’s Pet’s episode. Often, I’m confused about his personality—he has a cat-like personality but dog-like mannerisms. Like an ordinary cat, he meows and purrs whenever he’s happy or sad. However, he also loves doing tricks and fetching things like a dog.
While he started as a background pet, he was eventually added to the roster of main characters just a year after the show premiered.
We don’t know for sure where Gary was born, but it was probably in or around Bikini Bottom. Early in his life, Gary meets SpongeBob at Camp Coral.
In the Kamp Koral spin-off, SpongeBob is 10 years old when he goes to camp. Since SpongeBob was born in July 1986, this means he went to camp in 1996 or 1997, making Gary 6 or 7 when they met. Later, SpongeBob adopts Gary as his official pet snail.
Gary’s Parents and Family
Gary’s dad is Sluggo Star, and he’s the King of Bikini Bottom. We don’t know much about his mom, though her last name is Wilson, which is where Gary gets his last name.
Because Sluggo is Patrick Star’s uncle, Patrick and Gary are genetically cousins.
Of course, SpongeBob is Gary’s “dad” in the same way that I’m my dog’s “human mom.” They aren’t blood relatives, but we develop close bonds with our pets, and the same happens with SpongeBob and Gary.
Gary’s Early Life
Aside from the visit to Camp Coral, we don’t get to see much of Gary’s early life. Apparently, after the camp visit, someone took Gary to the local shelter where he lived with some other snails.
I find that very odd, considering his father is the local king. It seems like Gary would be able to live a high life in some sort of castle.
At the very least, he probably wouldn’t be in an animal shelter. However, he ends up where he’s supposed to be, which matters.
Gary’s Home Life
Since SpongeBob adopted him, Gary has lived at 124 Conch Street in the famous pineapple. Because he’s a pet, Gary spends most of his time in the house, either with SpongeBob or alone.
However, Gary goes on a couple of adventures where he briefly leaves the pineapple. In one episode, he follows Patrick back to his place because Patrick has a cookie.
After he gets the treat, Gary quickly goes back to SpongeBob. That is, until SpongeBob neglects Gary, prompting the snail to leave Bikini Bottom and head to Bass Vegas.
In the new city, an old lady mistakes Gary for another snail and takes him in as a pet. Gary escapes after he learns SpongeBob is searching for the snail and that the old lady isn’t as nice as she seemed.
For the most part, Gary has a good life, just like many household pets.
Gary doesn’t normally have a traditional job. He spends most of his time keeping SpongeBob from freaking out, such as when Gary reveals a rooftop door in “Jellyfish Jam.”
However, the snail does occasionally work various positions at the Krusty Krab. He works as both a fry cook and a waiter at the restaurant.
Other times, he removes the ick contamination from everyone at the Krusty Krab. There’s even an episode featuring Gary as a bouncer.
He also has a short gig for The Sharks, where he’s a DJ. Finally, Gary does work as a cashier for SpongeBob after opening SpongeBob’s Place.
Gary’s Hobbies and Activities
Gary spends more of his time on hobbies and other things outside of work. We learn that Gary has feet and knows how to tie his shoes, and he even teaches SpongeBob.
The snail occasionally writes poetry and can also read, which may help his writing skills. Like some pets, he hates taking baths and so levitates and teleports himself to get out of it.
Gary shows that he can play the clarinet, trumpet, and violin in a couple of different episodes. As a musician myself, I love being able to play a few instruments.
When he has the house to himself, Gary likes to throw parties. He is also a pretty good driver, much better than his owner.
Of course, Gary lives in the beloved pineapple with his owner SpongeBob. He’s free to go just about anywhere in the home, and that’s good since he spends a lot of time there.
At night, Gary sleeps on a pile of newspapers on the floor of SpongeBob’s bedroom. Occasionally, Gary manages to sleep in the bed with SpongeBob, but that doesn’t happen a ton.
The sponge keeps Gary’s food downstairs. Gary probably spends most of his time downstairs since he has room to roam and is close to his food and water.
Gary: Appearance, Personality, Quotes, and More
Appearance: A Cat in a Snail’s Body
I find Gary’s look quite different than an actual snail! While most characters in the show have a similar color scheme as their real-life counterparts, Gary has a unique bright pink shell, which is unusual since most snails have cryptic colors such as dark to light brown.
Surprisingly, there’s actually a pink snail called the “pink ramshorn snail” that lives in a freshwater environment. As for Gary, he lives in the pineapple house in Bikini Bottom, Pacific Ocean—so who knows if Stephen Hillenburg made the pink ramshorn snail as the inspiration for Gary’s look.
Gary’s pink shell is accented with indigo spots and a red spiral; his shell also turns purple in the dark. Long, slender eye stalks hold his scarlet-green eyes. Whenever his eyes dilate, you can see his vermillion pupils.
Like an ordinary snail, he also leaves slime trails whenever he crawls into a dry surface. One of the most interesting physical attributes Gary possesses is his LEGS! Who would have thought that a sea snail has legs and even wears shoes?
I can clearly recall the shock on my sister’s face as we watched the episode “Your Shoe’s Untied.” It was the first episode that revealed his legs, but the most memorable episode highlighting this unique feature is “Gary’s Got Legs.”
While his shell is his defining feature, he’s seen without it too. Behind his pink shell is a thick booty-like structure–as seen on “To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants,” “Shell Shocked,” and many more episodes where he stars.
Personality: Smarter Than Your Average Pet
When it comes to personality, Gary is quite intelligent and expressive. He usually communicates by meowing and bulging his eyes out. However, he can also say actual words such as “No,” and at some point, he could even roar and screech like a cat.
His cat-like personality developed from Season 4, where he meows, hisses, and growls when startled or simply annoyed. Interestingly, the episode “Opposite Day” gives a nod to him being Bikini Bottom’s cat—where he plays a reverse role of a dog barking instead of his usual meows.
Unsurprisingly, he is a smart pet; he even portrays himself as an intellectual, owning a library in his dreams. While using a pet translation collar in “Chatterbox Gary,” he speaks with such sophisticated vocabulary—possibly because he is also a voracious reader.
Like every pet, Gary hates taking baths. He’s known to mischievously escape from his bath to the point of leaving SpongeBob stranded from a tree as he snatches the ladder so SpongeBob wouldn’t have the chance to bathe him. Well, my cat is just like Gary in the bathing front; he doesn’t only hate it but abhors it and despises me for doing it! Undoubtedly, Gary is a cat.
Every Episode About Gary
Since Gary is also among the ten main characters of the show, several episodes are focused on him, exploring his personality, character, and quirks. Gary stars in some of my favorite SpongeBob SquarePants episodes. Here’s the list of my favorite Gary-focused episodes:
Dumped: Season 2, Episode 29B
This episode highlights Gary’s rebellious stage, where he runs away from home to be with Patrick. While the episode starts with SpongeBob and Gary playing tag, Patrick begins to join them; this leads to Gary liking Patrick’s presence. Because Gary wants to spend more time with Patrick, SpongeBob agrees to let Gary spend the night at Patrick’s house.
The following day, Patrick tells SpongeBob that Gary is reluctant to leave; this makes him assume that Gary wants to be with him permanently. Heartbroken by the news, SpongeBob wants to make Gary jealous. He does this by finding new pets—Rex the Worm, Larry the Snail, and Jerry. It’s funny seeing SpongeBob desperately trying to find a pet like Gary.
Eventually, Patrick and Gary stopped by SpongeBob’s home while he was doing the laundry. When Patrick tossed the shorts in the washing machine, Gary crawled straight to it. Apparently, Gary just liked his shorts. SpongeBob and Gary are reunited, while Patrick is devastated about the situation.
A Pal for Gary: Season 7, Episode 131B
Have you seen a terrified Gary? His face screams fear when SpongeBob leaves him with his new playmate, “Puffy Fluffy,” in the episode “A Pal for Gary.” I love this episode because it clearly shows how SpongeBob loves Gary and that he doesn’t want him to be alone—his love and worry, however, are to a fault.
While leaving for work, SpongeBob feels guilty, thinking that Gary is all alone with no one to hang out with. He is also reminded of this since Mr. Krabs refuses a customer to enter the restaurant for bringing a pet. This made him feel remorseful, so he phoned Gary and told him he’d be home soon.
As he gets off work, he notices a truck selling nudibranchs. He excitedly brings the pet home to show Gary his new playmate. Unfortunately, SpongeBob doesn’t know that cute-looking nudibranchs are hostile and vicious creatures, especially snails.
Puffy fights with Gary whenever SpongeBob is not around, leaving the room messy. SpongeBob quickly assumes that it’s Gary who abuses Puffy. Not until SpongeBob saw Puffy’s menacing look first-hand.
Luckily, the episode ends with Mr. Krabs updating the restaurant policy about domesticated pets. Gary can now be with SpongeBob at work—at the end of the episode, he was even hired as a second fry cook.
Gary Takes a Bath: Season 2, Episode 33B
“Gary Takes a Bath,” is among the first episodes I’ve seen Gary’s personality. He hates bathing because he’s just a cat hidden in a sea snail’s body. As SpongeBob prepares for Gary’s bath, he is simply not into it.
Despite all SpongeBob’s tips and tricks, he still left with a hard-headed and unbathed Gary. Witty as he is, Gary managed to escape SpongeBob’s sneaky plans. He even fooled SpongeBob and stole his ladder, which made SpongeBob fall straight into the mud. It’s pretty funny how this often plays out in real life. I care for cats and dogs that seem to hate the water like Gary. So, watching this episode was not only hilarious but highly relatable.
Dumped, Gary Takes a Bath, and A Pal for Gary are just the top three of my favorite episodes in which he stars. Over the years, Gary has become a popular character in his own right. He’s been the central character in several episodes, such as:
- I was a Teenage Gary
- The Great Snail Race
- Fungus Among Us
- Grooming Gary
- Shell Shocked
- Have You Seen This Snail?
- Once Bitten
- Gary in Love
- Gary & Spot
- Gary’s New Toy
- Gary’s Got Legs
SpongeBob is Gary’s best friend and owner. He often goes to Gary for comfort and company, and despite being unable to talk, he also asks his pet for advice. Most of the time, Gary finds SpongeBob’s naivety and ignorance irritating. But at the end of the day, Gary still loves and cares for SpongeBob no matter what happens.
It might surprise everyone, but Patrick and Gary are cousins, as shown on a family tree in “Rule of Dumb.” I was even shocked when I discovered that Gary and Patrick are complete opposites. Gary is meticulous and clean, while Patrick is a slob.
In spite of the jarring difference, Gary seemed to have liked Patrick in the episode “Dumped,” but only to realize that Gary is after Patrick’s cookie in his pockets. While Gary is definitely food-motivated, he still likes Patrick, and they share a good friendship.
Gary’s greatest rival is Squidward. They always butt heads because of their hatred and animosity toward each other. Because of Squidward’s nihilistic personality, Gary often assumes he’s a jerk who doesn’t know how to be happy. He even attacked Squidward several times, as seen in “Chatterbox Gary,” “Little Yellow Book,” and “Once Bitten.”
Squidward could care less about Gary’s opinion about him or his overall health and well-being—to the point that Gary almost died due to lack of food and water.
Sheldon J. Plankton
Interestingly, Gary and Plankton didn’t have any interaction in the first seasons. But just like Squidward, Gary hates Plankton! He even attacks him without any reason. But why does Plankton hate Gary? Gary is wise and loyal—he won’t budge when Plankton tries to get the secret formula in “Shellback Shenanigans.”
Of course, Gary has his own best friend, too, other than SpongeBob; his name is Spot! While Spot is Plankton’s pet amoeba, Gary doesn’t despise him. They both love spending time with each other as they sneak in late at night to play.
Interesting Trivia Facts About Gary
Patrick and Gary Are Related
You might have missed this detail if you’re not a hardcore fan of SpongeBob SquarePants. So, how are Patrick and Gary related? Both Patrick and Gary are descendants of King Amoeba and Queen Mildrew.
Gary’s father, Sluggo, and Patrick’s father, Herb, are brothers. They are both sons of Maw Tucket and Billy Bob. This makes Gary the Snail and Patrick Star first cousins.
He Had His Heart Broken by Mary, the Snail
It’s rare to see Gary swoon over a lady. While at the Snail Park, Gary notices an attractive and posh snail. She is a cyan and light green snail with voluminous pink lips, dark blue irises, and eyelashes. Her lavender shell complements her dark purple swirl. Her name is Mary!
Mary is undoubtedly the most beautiful snail in the park. That’s why Gary quickly falls in love with her. Mary liked Gary for a short time but ended up with another snail named Billy. Not to mention, Mary has a crazy ex-boyfriend who threatens the life out of Gary.
Gary’s Shell Works as Storage Too!
A living sea snail’s shell is not hollow; it contains its internal organs, including the digestive gland, heart, lungs, and reproductive system. But Gary’s a rare find; he uses his shell as a storage space to hide different things—no matter the size.
He has hidden many items under his shells, such as SpongeBob’s favorite Krabby Patty T-shirt, a record player, and even valuable pieces like a diamond.
Gary Has Weird Anatomy
When I say weird, I mean it! Not only does he have legs, but he also has arms. In “Your Shoe’s Untied,” it was revealed that Gary wears shoes and has legs. SpongeBob’s Last Stand and Gary’s Got Legs are among the few episodes that show his legs that look like SpongeBob’s. “Have You Seen This Snail?,” “The Gift of Gum,” and “Grooming Gary” are the episodes that display his arms.
He Can “Somehow” Speak
Sometimes, I could only wish that my pets would speak to me, at least tell me if they like what I’m doing or not. Good thing for Gary since he can say several words, such as “Yeah,” “No,” and “Plankton,” other than his famous “meow.” In “Chatterbox Gary” and “Sleepy Time,” he managed to speak in full sentences.
SpongeBob frequently calls Gary “Gare” or “Gare Bear” as nicknames. I’ve had pets all of my life, and almost all of my pets have nicknames like that.
Specifically, I’ve shortened my dogs’ names to the first syllable. I like that SpongeBob’s nicknames for Gary are simple and not too out there, so pet owners can relate to them.
Because of his ability to levitate and teleport, Gary can travel to a lot of places. Of course, he’s been to Bikini Bottom, Bass Vegas, and Camp Coral.
What I find the most interesting is that he’s the sole main character that has yet to visit Sandy’s house. It’s possible he needs to stay in the water and can’t wear a water helmet due to his shape.
Another fascinating fact about Gary is that Tom Kenny voices the snail. That’s the same actor who voices SpongeBob, Gary’s owner.
I think that’s cool since I and many other pet owners I know “talk” for our pets. It may not have been intentional, but it’s funny how you could think of SpongeBob “talking” for Gary, especially when Gary says more than just “meow.”
If you haven’t heard of the seven deadly sins theory, it states that the main characters of SpongeBob SquarePants represent the seven deadly sins. Of course, Plankton is envy, and Mr. Krabs is greed.
Gary represents gluttony since he eats but doesn’t do many other things. You could chalk that up to him being a pet, but he has his moments, such as when he escapes.
Although, both escapes happened because he wanted food. Once he got what he wanted, Gary was totally cool going back to the pineapple and hanging out.
Gary’s birthday makes him a Sagittarius. Some common traits of the sign include honesty, adventure, and independence, and Gary exhibits those traits well.
I don’t think the show creators meant to do this, but Gary’s a stereotypical Sagittarius. Even if you don’t believe in zodiac signs, it’s interesting to see more accurate traits show up in a character.
That’s especially true, considering characters like Squidward don’t represent their signs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gary
Answer: Nope! Even when SpongeBob is angry at Gary, he always sees Gary as his best friend rather than just a replaceable pet. You can always see enthusiasm and happiness when SpongeBob sees and plays with Gary. Despite having conflicts from time to time, they always reconcile and admit that they love each other.
Answer: Gary eats and loves snail food. But his favorite dish is SpongeBob’s homemade snail food out of fresh produce. He made Gary this special treat in an attempt to make snail food since they’re running low. Good thing that Gary loves it and even thinks of it as the most delicious food he has ever eaten.
Answer: Unfortunately, YES! He ran away from home after feeling severe neglect from SpongeBob. You can see SpongeBob’s rollercoaster of emotions as he looks for Gary in Season 4, episode 3, entitled “Have You Seen This Snail?”
Answer: SpongeBob adopted Gary in the animal shelter, as seen in the episode “Plankton’s Pet.” But an interesting backstory from The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” shows that Gary and SpongeBob met at the Coral Camp when he was younger.
Answer: Because Gary is like a domesticated house cat, his mannerisms are mirrored by how a cat acts and reacts. In the show, snails are the equivalent of cats in Bikini Bottom. That’s why he meows and does cat-like things.
Answer: Gary’s full name is Gary Wilson, Jr., though my guess is SpongeBob changed it to Gary SquarePants. We don’t know her first name, but some sources claim Gary’s mom’s last name is Wilson.
Of course, adoption usually involves a name change. It makes more sense for Gary to share his owner’s last name.
Gary: More Than Just SpongeBob’s Pet
SpongeBob only has two pets; one of them is Gary! SpongeBob adores his presence, and he is truly irreplaceable. That’s probably why Gary has become one of the show’s main characters from being just a minor joke character!
He is brilliant and loyal, yet he follows anyone who has food. Despite his intellect, he might also act immature and skittish around people he hates. I love how his character evolves, and it’s exciting to see more episodes focusing on him. The SpongeBob-Gary bonding melts your heart and teaches you the beauty of friendship.
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