Created By: rt2012 on July 23, 2014 Last Edited By: rt2012 on July 29, 2014
Troped

Naļve Animal Lover

A Horrible Judge Of Character when it comes to animals

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There's an old Native American story in which a boy encounters a rattlesnake. The snake asks the boy to pick him up and be his friend. After the boy does so, the snake bites him. When the boy, now dying, asks, "Why did you bite me?" the snake merely responds, "You knew what I was when you picked me up."

Some characters in fiction suffer from the same delusions. No matter how dangerous an animal is, no matter how sharp its teeth or claws are, no matter how many people it has eaten, they insist that it's perfectly safe to be around and get cozy with. Sometimes this stems from a mindset that Humans Are the Real Monsters or "we can learn so much about them", but more often than not, it leads to someone else getting killed or seriously injured.

Related tropes: A subversion of Friend to All Living Things. Characters like this usually are a Horrible Judge of Character except applied to animals instead of people, and will often be Too Dumb to Live. A character may become this if he loves animals but Animals Hate Him. May be a member of an Animal Wrongs Group.


Examples:

Film - Live Action
  • Nick and Sarah, a pair of animal rights activists in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, cause nearly every single death in the movie and almost get themselves killed several times because of their stubborn beliefs that Humans Are the Real Monsters. First, Sarah is nearly impaled by a stegosaurus when she tries to pet its baby. They then release all the captive dinosaurs, causing a stampede in the camp, and bring a wounded baby T-rex back to their lab to nurse it back to health. This turns out just as you'd expect, and they get an innocent character killed and lose their radio equipment (along with their entire lab) in the process when Mama and Papa Rex come for them. This forces the rest of the characters to hike through raptor territory in order to reach the nearest communication source. And to top it all off, Nick unloads the hunter's gun and removes their only practical means of self-defense by doing so.
  • The events of 28 Days Later were kicked off by a bunch of animal-rights activists liberating a bunch of infected monkeys from a lab.
  • In Elf, Buddy runs into a raccoon and goes over to pet it. The raccoon hisses at him, but Buddy thinks he just needs a hug. That's when the raccoon attacks him.
  • The Werner Herzog documentary "Grizzly Man" shows the life of Timothy Treadwell, who was one of these in Real Life, and the horrible death that befell him and his girlfriend because Nature Is Not Nice.

Literature
  • Hagrid in Harry Potter, who is known to befriend all sorts of dangerous beasties, from dragons, to flesh-eating books.

Western Animation
  • In the South Park episode "Rainforest Schmainforest", a Costa Rican tour guide reassures a frightened Stan that coral snakes are more scared of humans than we are of them - just before the snake attacks him, swallows him whole, and poops him out in a matter of seconds.
- Mrs. Stevens: "Jesus Christ, is he dead?!"
  • Leela in Futurama is this way. In "The Sting", she gets Fry killed although it's just a dream by bringing a killer space bee aboard the Planet Express because "it's so cuuuutteee!" In "Bender's Game", she refuses to save her friends from a giant worm called the Tunneling Horror because she has just vowed to never kill another living thing.

Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • July 23, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Film example: The Werner Herzog documentary "Grizzly Man" shows the life of Timothy Treadwell, who was one of these in Real Life, and the horrible death that befell him and his girlfriend because Nature Is Not Nice.
  • July 23, 2014
    KTera
    I think this is Fluffy Tamer and/or Admiring The Abomination.
  • July 23, 2014
    bejjinks
    ^ No, this is where Fluffy refuses to be tamed or where the admirer doesn't know what he's talking about.

    Can Tribbles be an example of this trope? They weren't scary but they turned out to be much more trouble than Uhura thought they would be. They devoured an entire grain shipment and inadvertently revealed the plan's of the Klingons to Captain Kirk.
  • July 23, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Guess so. Even Spock got a Cuteness Proximity moment with them.
  • July 23, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Possible comedic TV example from The Odd Couple. Observe an entry from that page (Animals Hate Him):

    "During "I'm Dying of Unger", Felix gets bitten by three animals that we know of — a chipmunk, a rabbit, and a frog — and his bandaged fingers testify to other cases. However, this is only due to his status as the show's Butt Monkey and not for any lack of innocence on his part. In fact, he's shown to love the animals who attack him, so this could also be considered a subversion of Friend To All Living Things."
  • July 23, 2014
    Snicka
    Related tropes (that are worth to mention in the description):
  • July 23, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Film Live Action
    • The events of Twenty Eight Days Later were kicked off by a bunch of animal-rights activists liberating a bunch of infected monkeys from a lab.
  • July 23, 2014
    TonyG
    In Elf, Buddy runs into a raccoon and goes over to pet it. The raccoon hisses at him, but Buddy thinks he just needs a hug. That's when the raccoon attacks him.
  • July 23, 2014
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    Film Animated
    • The Disney version of Mowgli from The Jungle Book insists he has all the necessary skills to survive in the jungle when he clearly doesn't, and as such, he thinks he can handle animals that want to kill and/or eat him on his own. The most notable example of this is before the final battle with Shere Khan. Despite the Vultures' insistence to run away, Mowgli refuses to move. Khan probably would have succeeding in killing him, too, if not for Baloo holding him back by his tail at the last second.
    Western Animation
    • Elmyra Duff from Tiny Toon Adventures is both an idiot and and animal lover. It doesn't matter if the animal is ferocious and has sharp teeth and claws, her undying love for them keeps her quite oblivious to how dangerous they are. When she does manage to get her hands on them, the animals find out from the way she treats them that she's even more dangerous than they are.
  • July 23, 2014
    Paycheckgurl
    • In Welcome To Night Vale Cecil isn't so much an idiot as he is someone that's just a tad over enthusiastic at times and criminally incapable of knowing when to keep mouth shut up. That said, the fact his beloved Khoshekh, the radio station cat, has poison back ridges, is a floating fixed point in time and space, makes a demonic screech, kills people that try to photograph it or it's kittens, and makes his boyfriend sneeze barely fazes him and he often gushes about how adorable he is. The Kind Hearted Cat Lover thing is actually weaponized once when he begins gushing over a fur ball that appeared at the station (and may or may not have been what normal people would call a cat), only for it to begin attacking him and Khoshekh. Turns out the new station mangers sent it knowing Cecil would gush at it and intending for it to hurt him.
  • July 23, 2014
    PaulA
    Sometimes also related to Animal Wrongs Group.
  • July 23, 2014
    Snicka
    ...okay, I was a little bit lazy to just list the related tropes instead of writing a proper entry for them. Please replace the current last paragraph with this:

    "A subversion of Friend To All Living Things. Characters like this usually have a Horrible Judge Of Character, and will often be Too Dumb To Live. A character may become this if he loves animals but Animals Hate Him. May be a member of an Animal Wrongs Group."
  • July 23, 2014
    Dalillama
    Not sure Hagrid counts, because he's not usually attacked by the critters in question.
  • July 23, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    No, but he exposes teens to said critters, and they are not as lucky (whatever could be said about Malfoy being Too Dumb To Live, the reality still stands that they're too dangerous).
  • July 24, 2014
    Arivne
    • Examples section formatting
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Namespaced work name(s).
      • Added a space between *'s and the first word following them.
  • July 24, 2014
    bejjinks
    @ Snicka: A little bit lazy? But alright, I fixed it.
  • July 24, 2014
    CaveCat
  • July 24, 2014
    nielas
    ^ The story used as an example is another version of The Farmer And The Viper which is more of an aesop about human nature rather than a warning against being an idiot around animals. This is still a valid trope but could use a more direct example to illustrate itself.

    From the Animal Wrongs Group page:

    • The Mercedes Lackey short story "Last Rights" features Animal Liberation activists wanting to free the re-created dinosaurs from an experimental park. One discovered that an apatosaurus that doesn't notice you can squash you good, another that velociraptors are not your new friend, and the sole survivor that triceratops are bad-tempered, territorial, and surprisingly fastā€”but fortunately, can't climb trees.
  • July 24, 2014
    rt2012
    Changed the name to "Naive Animal Lover". I also considered calling it "The Hagrid" or "The Leela", any thoughts?
  • July 24, 2014
    AP
    • In Prometheus, a character finds a snake-like creature who is obviously acting in an aggressive manner but still decides to get in close to touch it while calling it "baby". It doesn't end well.
  • July 24, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    ^^ Either of the second would get it in trouble under Trope Namer Syndrome. "People might not know who that is" and the other reasons they have for it.
  • July 24, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    An Animaniacs sketch ("The Hip Hippos") involved a Jane Goodall Expy maintaining vigilance over a pair of City Slicker, Nigh Invulnerable (because of their obesity) Idle Rich hippos. The Running Gag was her seeing them in (what she believed to be) danger and try to save them, only for the hippos to come out of the stunt all right and her hurt in some comedic fashion (with them not even noticing she was there).
  • July 24, 2014
    DAN004
    Yes, Naive Animal Lover gets my vote.
  • July 24, 2014
    Chabal2
    The story cited is The Farmer And The Viper.

    • The Gary Larson story "Theres A Hair In My Dirt" where this attitude is the death of one woman who "loved nature, but didn't understand it". Among others, she thinks an invading species of squirrel is cute (while they're ganging up on the native species in the background), confuses a land-dwelling tortoise with a turtle and throws it into a pond, and rescues a rodent from a snake who transmits the disease that kills her.
  • July 24, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Title as it is sounds good. Showcases what the trope is about, is ambiguous about whether its dramatic or funny (which fits, trope can apply either way) and avoids an unnecessary Trope Namer Syndrome case (I wish it was possible to use Stock Quotes and Trope-Namer, but on this particular occasion I guess it's just too redundant).
  • July 26, 2014
    Snicka
    "The <Insert Character Name>" trope names are usually examples of Trope Namer Syndrome and thus should be avoided whenever possible (a character usually has more than one personality traits). Naive Animal Lover, on the other hand, is clear and concise.

    Also to add to the description:

    Often these characters will try to be a Fluffy Tamer, but they'll usually fail at properly taming "Fluffy".
  • July 26, 2014
    Bisected8
    I think the Jurassic Park 2 example needs trimming a bit. Plus it's been a while since I saw the movie (and let's be honest, why'd I want to see it again?) but I'm pretty sure some of the details are wrong;

    • The protagonists are scientists sent in by Hammond, not ARAs,
    • The baby Stegosaurus was scared by a camera's film being rewound, not being petted,
    • They just set the baby T. Rex's broken leg and planned to release it when they were done - which was broken by hunters to lure the adult T. Rexes anyway.
    • I can't recall any Humans Are The Real Monsters moral; just the hunters being criticised for hunting, instead of studying, the dinosaurs.
  • July 26, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    The characters still go under Designated Hero in a fashion (Nick and Sarah, and maybe even Hammond):

    1) Hammond sends the people there but pretty much has to shanghai Goldblum's character-notice slightly smug attitude when he decides to go rescue his girlfriend, who went solo to the island even when it's a really bad idea.

    2) Sarah gets point-blank to the Stegosaurus to take the picture-the baby could have been scared by Sarah's presence alone, let alone the camera rewinding (and why in the heck didn't she checked the camera, any case?). And she's supposed to be an experienced wildlife photographer.

    3) The bone was accidentally broken on a deleted scene (this, and a prior scene with Donald Trumbo kicking an abuser's ass in a bar, were deliberately cut by Spielberg so as to maintain the hunters on the "villain" side-was also done by the guy who gets eaten by the Compys while drunk, btw). Still, they take the baby without apparently thinking if the parents would go psycho while trying to find him.

    4) The Humans Are The Real Monsters thing is pretty much inferred to be what they're thinking while they're reacting to the hunters' daytime activities (notice dramatic music and the serious expressions, and the switch to said close-ups after a close-up of a dinosaur screaming in distress while being captured). Nick certainly doesn't spares any breath to continue to criticise the hunters whenever he can (note Donald says something like "The T-Rexes won't hunt us down while they're full. They don't hunt for sport." "No, only humans do that." "Oh, you're breaking my heart. Ok, let's get this walking dinner on the move!").

    And he did remove the bullets from Donald's gun. And destroyed the camp via releasing the dinos.

    He's also implied to be a member of a radical environmentalist group, or so one of the "villain" characters says.
  • July 26, 2014
    Bisected8
    I'm not contesting their Designated Hero status, I'm saying the example needs rewriting to be shorter (and possibly less rant-y).
  • July 26, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Yeah.
  • July 26, 2014
    randomsurfer
    The Simpsons: In "The Squirt and the Whale" after failing to save a beached whale, Lisa tries to save its pod of offspring from a group of sharks. But then she learns An Aesop that sharks need to live too, and in order to live they eat other animals - such as baby whales.
  • July 27, 2014
    Chernoskill
    Real-Life

    • In 2003, Uwe Ludwig-Horn from the famous Las Vegas show act Siegfried and Roy was bitten in the neck by 7-year old white lion Montecore after Horn had shown seizure-like convulsions that most likely prompted the lion to attempt to grab Horn and drag him to safety, as he would do with a cub. Horn was rushed to the hospital with severe blood loos and only regained the ability to walk and talk after extensive rehabilitation. Of note is that this was not an actual attack by the animal.
  • July 27, 2014
    bejjinks
    ^ That's not this trope. That's Fluffy Tamer. Siegfried and Roy knew they were handling dangerous animals. This trope is for examples where the person assumes there is no danger.

    ^^ The Simpsons example is also not this trope. Again, Lisa was not naive about the animals. To be this trope, the character has to be naive or ignorant of the danger.
  • July 27, 2014
    randomsurfer
    ^Lisa is naive in that she wanted to save the baby whales under any circumstance, not thinking about the danger to the sharks if she saves the whales.
  • July 28, 2014
    bejjinks
    ^ I'm not sure that qualifies as naive. You don't have to be naive to miss an important detail. To be this trope, Lisa would have to be so naive that she tried to hug a shark or that she thought love for the shark would convince it to not eat baby whales. If Lisa faced the sharks knowing they might try to eat her, than she wasn't naive.
  • July 29, 2014
    rt2012
    What would be a good image for this trope? Any opinions?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=fsl79q06xcrkbdbqzmteh5ab&trope=Na%C3%AFveAnimalLover