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Russell Profile Picture.png
Species Sea otter
Episode Count
First appearance Happy Tree Friends - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Latest appearance Happy Tree Friends - Put Your Back Into It
First Victim
First Death
Latest portrayal Francis Carr [citation needed]

"Row, row your boat down a running river!"
— Russell’s starring intro, Season 3 of Happy Tree Friends

Russell (formerly known as Russell the Pirate) is a pirate otter from Happy Tree Friends series. His most defining traits are his skull hat, hook, and his peglegs. When "speaking", his vocals consist of the word "Yar!".

Concept and creation[edit | edit source]

Russell Concept Art.png

Russell's first concept was conceived to be a sea otter who has a compulsive habit of "cracking stuff on chest."[1] This design depicted him with visible ears, a cap, an eyepatch, a smoking pipe, beard, a peg leg, and a boot. The design was then refined, resulting in one closer to his final design, still having the beard. At first, the sea otter did not have a name until Kenn Navarro suggested "Russell" and the other staff went along with it[1]. As for why he was designed to be a pirate, the creators just found it funny[1].

Russell the Pirate's debut episode, "Whose Line Is It Anyway?", references the "cracking stuff on chest" concept with Russell the Pirate cracking open a clam on his chest to eat. His design in that episode removed the bushy beard and replaced it with a five o'clock shadow. This in turn happened to disappear in the last third of "Off the Hook". Russell was never drawn with a five o'clock shadow since then.

History[edit | edit source]

Happy Tree Friends[edit | edit source]

Russell’s debut episode is "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" in season 1 of the Happy Tree Friends, and he has a total of 33 appearances. At the time, "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" was not available on the web yet, debuting on the Happy Tree Friends: Volume 1: First Blood DVD as a bonus episode. Russell in the first season, had a gray beard that covers the lower part of his face. Starting with the episode, "Get Whale Soon", Russell lacks a beard.

Russell does not appear in any of the Still Alive episodes and Ka-Pow!, but appears in the Love Bites short "Sea of Love" along with Giggles. He is also the main character in YouTube Copyright School, a YouTube original video utilizing the Happy Tree Friends show as educational tool[citation needed]

Starring intros[edit | edit source]

  • Season 1: Russell takes off his hat to reveal a clam, which he eats.
  • Season 2: Russell is standing with his hook hand raised.
  • Season 3 through Season 5: Russell is rowing his boat. The quote says, "Row, row your boat down a running river!"

Happy Tree Friends (television series)[edit | edit source]

Russell appears in the television series adaptation of Happy Tree Friends. His first appearance was in the "One Foot in the Grave" episode, "The Wrong Side of the Tracks" as one of the featuring characters. He is a starring character in "Sea What I Found", "Snow Place to Go", and "A Sight for Sore Eyes".

Starring intros[edit | edit source]

  • Season 1: Russell is fishing from his boat.

Arcade games[edit | edit source]

Going Overboard[edit | edit source]


Russell appears as a background character in the Happy Tree Friends Arcade game, Going Overboard. He is seen trying to balance on a piece of wood.

Fire Escape[edit | edit source]

In the Happy Tree Friends Arcade game Fire Escape, Russell is one of the characters Flaky must catch in order to land in the ambulance.

Happy Tree Friends - Milk Pong[edit | edit source]

In Happy Tree Friends - Milk Pong, Russell makes a brief appearance during the second round's throw scene. His scene is a recreation of the one in "Get Whale Soon" where he and Lumpy were stuck inside a whale.

On Thin Ice[edit | edit source]

Russell in On Thin Ice

Russell is the playable character in the Happy Tree Friends Arcade game, On Thin Ice. The player has the guide Russell from one floating ice to another to clear them from the level, though he is restricted to jumping forward or to the side (not diagonally). In this game, Russell can be killed if the player clicks "RETRY", showing him being torn apart by the giant squid before the level's puzzle is properly reset.

Happy Tree Friends: False Alarm[edit | edit source]

Russell appears as one of the rescuable characters in Happy Tree Friends: False Alarm, alongside Giggles, Toothy, Flaky, Nutty, Mole, and Flippy. The player, as Lumpy, needs to help aid him and the other Happy Tree Friends in every zone.

Happy Tree Friends: Deadeye Derby[edit | edit source]

Russell is the boss in the Rabid Rapids map in Happy Tree Friends: Deadeye Derby. At first, Russell is faced as himself, but dropping his health to around 50% will cause him to gain the ability to get help from a giant squid (though the player can cancel it). Defeating him will result in him being eaten by the giant squid, starting the final phase of the boss fight where the player has to defeat the squid itself. Clearing this boss fight will unlock playable character Flaky as well as the Lost Mines map.

Biography[edit | edit source]

General information[edit | edit source]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Russell, in the first and second season of the web series, was an introvert free soul who just does water-related activities like fishing; in these seasons, the closest to an interaction with another character was with Lumpy.

Since the second season, Russell started to appear with more characters like Toothy or Giggles and get into more daily situations as seen in "A Sight for Sore Eyes". He also showed interest in Giggles in "Sea of Love", "You’re Kraken Me Up", and "Put Your Back Into It", the latter of which showing him serving her a dish.

Physical appearance[edit | edit source]

Russell is a turquoise sea otter who has the same body type like most of the cast. He wears a black hat with a skull drawn on the front, a striped red and white shirt, and black pants. Russell does not have legs, a right hand, and an eye, so he wears peg legs, a hook, and an eyepatch over them respectively. The hook and eyepatch are prone to changing places on his character model, much like Nutty's lazy eye. He is one of the main characters with no visible ears.

Profiles[edit | edit source]

  • Official Happy Tree Friends website (2003-2014): Batten down the hatches when this sea otter pirate comes aboard. He’s got a great right hook![2]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]