Created By: Chariset on October 14, 2011 Last Edited By: ShanghaiSlave on August 19, 2014

Carcass Sleeping Bag

Using the body of an animal for shelter in a survival situation

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Trope
Explorer Bob is lost in the Alaskan wilderness. He knows he's not far from shelter, but there's a snowstorm blowing up and it will soon be too dark to see. His packmule is shivering and clearly on its last legs. He has no immediate shelter, no way to make a fire... and he realizes that there is only one possible course of action.

He shoots poor Alice the mule, cuts open her abdomen, and crawls into her body cavity, hoping the heat and shelter she offers will be enough to get him through the night... or at least, until he can be rescued.

Examples

  • The one everyone remembers, from Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back, when Han keeps Luke from freezing to death on Hoth by hiding him in the body of his tauntaun.
  • In Jane Yolan's Pit Dragon Chronicles, Jakkin and Akki survive the brutal Austorian night by sheltering in the recently-slain body of his beloved dragon.
Community Feedback Replies: 47
  • October 15, 2011
    SharleeD
    • In an episode of (I think) Dinosaur Revolution, a troodon lives through the immediate destruction of the K-T impact, but the suddenly-frigid climate kills its mate and eggs. Wandering in a frozen wood, it finds the carcass of a large predator, and curls up in its open mouth to shelter from the snowfall.
  • October 19, 2011
    Tambov333
    • Done by Azrabak in Wurr for camouflage.
  • October 19, 2011
    Ryuuma
    In The Prism Pentad at one point our heroes shelter in the carcass of a huge bear and use their powers to make it seems alive in order to sneak into a Giants' fortress.
  • October 19, 2011
    Bisected8
    • In Eight Bit Theatre, Black Mage suggests doing this to Fighter (and then Red Mage and Thief) in order to make sure the remaining Light Warriors (i.e. himself) don't freeze. Later, Garland and the Dark Warriors actually do this to a Yeti.
    • You can now buy literal Tauntaun (...shaped...) sleeping bags.
  • October 19, 2011
    TooBah
    • Lampshaded in the Phineas And Ferb episode "Hide and Seek." The kids shrink themselves, and Baljeet is stranded in the chandelier. He cuts open a fly and gets inside to stay warm.
      Candace: Who smells like fly guts?
      Baljeet: I had to survive, Okay?!
  • October 19, 2011
    Chariset
    I'm not sure the camouflage examples fit this trope. That would be more like Nemean Skinning.

    I'm thinking of cases where the animal carcass is the only warmth/shelter to be found and it's a matter of survival
  • October 19, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Nemean Skinning seems more about characters who get their clothes from killing wild animals, but not necessarly (gah this spelling!!) camouflage.
  • October 19, 2011
    Spark9
    I like the trope, but I don't like the name. You have to be really familiar with Star Wars to know what a tauntaun is; the name is mentioned about once in several hours of one out of six films.
  • October 19, 2011
    X2X
    Couldn't we just change the title to something like Carcass Sleeping Bag or Body Sleeping Bag then?
  • October 19, 2011
    LeeM
    Used in James Follett's novel and radio play Ice. When the heroine is unconscious and in danger of freezing to death, one of the guys accompanying her, who happens to be a whale expert, locates a blue whale (NB I don't have the book to hand so I don't recall if it's still alive - if it is, I don't recall why it doesn't submerge) and gets another guy to help him cut a 5-foot hole in its skin (the equivalent of a gnat-bite to us). The hole fills with warm blood and they immerse her in it. When she wakes up they have a lot of explaining to do.
  • October 19, 2011
    Chariset
    I was considering Sheeping Bag but that seemed too corny.
  • October 20, 2011
    TonyG
    Referenced on an episode of Happy Endings, where Jane and Max have a contest to see who would fare best in a Zombie Apocalypse. At one point Max brags to Jane that "I am using your body as a sleeping bag, tauntaun style."
  • October 20, 2011
    TairaMai
    Real Life:

    • During the Mexican Revolution, Pancho Villa hid from the Federales inside a horse's carcass.
  • October 20, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Referenced by Agent Brand during Joss Whedon's run on X-men, in reference to Beast, when they got caught in a blizzard fortunately, she turned out to have a heat-generating power and just built them an igloo
  • October 20, 2011
    Ghilz
    In Rob Roy, the titular character uses the hollowed-out carcass of a dead animal to hide from soldiers.
  • October 20, 2011
    gallium
    In "To Build A Fire", a short by Jack London, a man attempts to kill his sled dog with the intention of warming his hands in the entrails. It doesn't work because by then his hands are too frozen to keep hold on the animal.
  • October 20, 2011
    UglyShirts
    @Bisected8: "You can now buy literal Tauntaun (...shaped...) sleeping bags."

    Very true. Great story, and one of the few instances where the usually litigation-happy Lucasfilm people actually rolled with it. More info right here.
  • October 20, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    There's only one quote that seems fitting for this one.

    "And I thought they smelled bad...on the outside!"
    -- Han Solo, The Empire Strikes Back
  • December 11, 2013
    CourtFoal
    Daffy Duck attempts this (off-screen) to Foghorn Leghorn on a episode of 'The Looney Tunes Show'
  • December 11, 2013
    MetaFour
    • In an episode of Man Vs Wild, Bear Grylls hides inside a gutted camel carcass to escape a sandstorm.
  • December 12, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    The current title is a case of Trope Namer Syndrome: if the reader doesn't know what a "tauntaun" is, he/she won't get the title.
  • December 12, 2013
    DAN004
    Okay, Carcass Sleeping Bag gets my vote.

    Compare Eaten Alive.
  • December 12, 2013
    Antigone3
    Another vote for Carcass Sleeping Bag.
  • December 12, 2013
    DAN004
  • December 15, 2013
    Snicka
    Carcass Sleeping Bag is a good name.

    If I recall correctly, Bear Grylls actually called a sheep carcass he slept in a "sheeping bag".
  • December 16, 2013
    gallium
    took the liberty of fixing namespaces for "To Build a Fire" example listed above
  • December 17, 2013
    eroock
    There is a scene in As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me (2001), where in cold Russian winter a German soldier hunts down and kills a seal, slits it open and puts his freezing foot in.
  • June 19, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • June 19, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Changed the name, although I personally prefer Sheeping Bag due to how lame it is.
  • June 20, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ lol.
  • June 20, 2014
    TheTitan99
    • The episode of The Venture Bros "Escape to the House of Mummies Part II" parodies the The Empire Strikes Back scene, with Brock cutting open Edgar Allen Poe in order for Hank to rest inside of him.
  • June 20, 2014
    DAN004
    Do we need the Alice And Bob part?
  • June 20, 2014
    Snicka
    I recall the Sheeping Bag pun from Bear Grylls too. Maybe it should be a redirect?
  • June 20, 2014
    Generality
    ^^^ In another Venture Bros. episode, Rusty is stranded naked in the arctic. Brock shows up just as he is about to be attacked by a polar bear, and skins the bear with incredible speed to keep the Doc warm. In this case it's partly residual body heat from the bear (its skin is shown to be steaming) and partly just the benefit of a fur coat.

    This has been tested by the Mythbusters, who mimicked the Star Wars example specifically and were surprised by how effective it was.
  • August 15, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • August 15, 2014
    bitemytail
    I'm also in favor of Sheeping Bag. It's such an awful pun. We can't waste it.
  • August 15, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ It can be a redirect. This trope doesn't have anything to do with sheeps.
  • August 18, 2014
    bitemytail
    ^ The plural of sheep is sheep, FYI.

    Nothing wrong with a witty title if it's still descriptive.
  • August 18, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ what the hell is sheeping anyway? Does it have anything to do with carcasses?
  • August 18, 2014
    bitemytail
    Sheeping sounds like sleeping.

    Sleeping bag + animal -> sheeping bag.
  • August 18, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ nonsense. It's hardly clear.
  • August 18, 2014
    bitemytail
    ^ I disagree. People tend to do that.
  • August 18, 2014
    JonnyB
    Mythbusters actually tested this on one of their Star Wars episodes, and found out that it really will work.
  • August 18, 2014
    DAN004
    Sheeping Bag can be a redirect in any case.
  • August 18, 2014
    arbiter099
    References to Han Solo's "And I thought they smelled bad on the outside." line crop up often enough to almost be a Stock Shoutout to Empire.
  • August 19, 2014
    hbi2k
    Western Animation
  • August 19, 2014
    bitemytail
    Didn't this happen on an episode of Family Guy? I can't stand the show, so I don't remember the details. I think Stewie and Brian did it.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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