Created By: HiddenFacedMatt on February 18, 2012 Last Edited By: HiddenFacedMatt on April 27, 2013
Troped

Adoring The Pests

Animals that would otherwise be considered pests are welcomed and/or sought out.

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Marge: There's a family of possums in here!
Homer: I call the big one Bitey.

Not content with petting domestic animals at home, or even some wild animals in the woods, some go so far as to welcome rather harmful wild animals into their homes and workplaces.

Sometimes this is simply out of sheer ignorance as to how dangerous and/or unhealthy this is, others may be fully aware of it and just see it as Worth It.

This does not include cases where specific creatures that happen to be from species associated with pest status actually have practical roles.

Compare/contrast with Friend to Bugs; not to be conflated with it, though, as one can adore "cute" pests such as mice and squirrels, while still hating bugs, or conversely, adore the least pestilential of bugs while not letting the cute pests' cuteness cause them to be Karma Houdinis.

Truth in Television, of course, but it might be an idea to avoid singling out specific real-life people for this.

Examples:

  • The Simpsons has Homer not seeing anything wrong with possums infesting a train and crawling around on a fire extinguisher.
  • Ratatouille has Linguini befriending a rat named Remy and letting him into the kitchen, and later letting Remy's rat friends in as well. (This results in the closure of the restaurant once the health inspector finds out that Linguini had been letting rats touch the food.)
  • The Green Mile features Mr. Jingles / Steamboat Willy, a mouse found running around the death row cells. They decide not to kill him, aside from the Jerk Ass Percy, because of his unusual behavior: fearless in the face of humans, accepts food only from the regular guards, and his searching of the cells as if he's awaiting for somebody. Mr. Jingles adopts Eduard Delacroix when he arrives and entertains all with his spool fetching trick, even performing a show for the guards on another block.
  • On NewsRadio, the gang befriends a rat that is roaming the station. Dave doesn't know about this and sets traps for it, which the others set off to keep the rat safe.
  • In Elf, Buddy tries to befriend a vicious raccoon, which attacks him for his troubles.
  • Lazlo from Camp Lazlo gets a leech/sea lamprey attached to his head. Despite draining him dry, Lazlo insists that it's friendly.
  • In Oblivion, one of the first Fighter's Guild quests send you to help out a woman who has a 'rat problem' in her basement. Turns out she actually likes having the rats down there, and needs you to kill the mountain lions that keep killing them.
  • In Buffy when Amy turns herself into a rat to escape burning at the stake, four seasons or something ridiculous like that are spent by (mainly) Willow looking after her and trying to find a cure.
    • Oz was also a werewolf.
  • Gaston Lagaffe keeps an entire family of mice in the workplace's "important documents and contracts" filing cabinet (or rather, he didn't have the heart to remove them once he saw the newly-born litter nesting in the shredded papers). Of course, he's blind to their faults, given that he also keeps a goldfish, a seagull, a cat, turtles and other animals around, to his coworkers' chagrin.
  • Dr House once kept a rat he'd found in a patient's house (it gave him the Eureka Moment necessary to the case), calling it Steve McQueen.
  • In the Transfomers Prime episode "Scrapheap", Raf finds a small, adorable robotic creature the size of a kitten, called a scraplet, and assumes it is the Autobots' pet. It turns out scraplets eat metal, especially living metal, like, say, the Autobots.
  • Soap: When Chester is being held captive in his own basement by a fellow prison escapee, he befriends a rat and calls it Harold. He "teaches" it to scurry away when the lights go on.
  • A borderline example comes from Harry Potter; The Weasley family adopts a rat named Scabbers, who they thought was a wild rat at the time. (Turns out it was really a shapeshifted form of Peter Pettigrew.)
  • Dwarves in Dwarf Fortress might have rats, cockroaches, or flies as their favourite animal.
  • Chinese culture considers crickets to be good luck, while most other societies are at best indifferent to them.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode, Fluttershy finds a cute Parasprite, feeds it, and brings it home. On the way, it multiplies. The Parasprites keep multiplying until they eat most of Ponyville.
  • Goosebumps:
    • In "Monster Blood IV", Andy thinks the blue Monster Blood creature is cute and pets it. The creature ends up multiplying when it drinks water and soon the town is overrun with blue Monster Blood creature.
    • Subverted in "The Werewolf of Fever Swamp." Grady adopts are stray dog and names it Wolf. After some strange howls and disasters in the swamp, he wonders if Wolf is a werewolf. He isn't.
  • In The Haunting Hour: The Series episode "Best Friends Forever", Jack adopts a zombie as a pet.
  • Enchanted is all over this trope--Giselle calls the "forest creatures" of New York (cockroaches, pigeons and rats) to help her clean up Robert's apartment. Hilarity Ensues when he walks in with the creatures still in the place.
Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • February 18, 2012
    SharleeD
    • One of the Real Life casualties on Animal Planet's Fatal Attractions was a little old lady who made it a practice to leave food out for bears in her Rocky Mountain back yard. Neighbors warned her repeatedly that it was illegal and dangerous, but she didn't stop and eventually fell victim to one.
  • October 2, 2012
    Rotpar
    • The Green Mile features Mr. Jingles / Steamboat Willy, a mouse found running around the death row cells. They decide not to kill him, aside from the Jerk Ass Percy, because of his unusual behavior: fearless in the face of humans, accepts food only from the regular guards, and his searching of the cells as if he's awaiting for somebody. Mr. Jingles adopts Eduard Delacroix when he arrives and entertains all with his spool fetching trick, even performing a show for the guards on another block.
  • October 2, 2012
    TonyG
    • On News Radio, the gang befriends a rat that is roaming the station. Dave doesn't know about this and sets traps for it, which the others set off to keep the rat safe.
    • In Elf, Buddy tries to befriend a vicious raccoon, which attacks him for his troubles.
    • Lazlo from Camp Lazlo gets a leech/sea lamprey attached to his head. Despite draining him dry, Lazlo insists that it's friendly.
  • October 2, 2012
    Astaroth
    • In Oblivion, one of the first Fighter's Guild quests send you to help out a woman who has a 'rat problem' in her basement. Turns out she actually likes having the rats down there, and needs you to kill the mountain lions that keep killing them.
  • October 2, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    • In Buffy when Amy turns herself into a rat to escape burning at the stake, four seasons or something ridiculous like that are spent by (mainly) Willow looking after her and trying to find a cure.
      • Oz was also a werewolf.
    • In Harry Potter, Ron loves his thick fat rat Scabbers, as did his brother Percy and pretty much all of them [[spoilers:even though it was really Peter Pettigrew]].

    Geez, magic gingers and just-as-magic rats seem to go together swimmingly.
  • October 3, 2012
    Chabal2
    • Gaston Lagaffe keeps an entire family of mice in the workplace's "important documents and contracts" filing cabinet (or rather, he didn't have the heart to remove them once he saw the newly-born litter nesting in the shredded papers). Of course, he's blind to their faults, given that he also keeps a goldfish, a seagull, a cat, turtles and other animals around, to his coworkers' chagrin.
    • Dr House once kept a rat he'd found in a patient's house (it gave him the Eureka Moment necessary to the case), calling it Steve Mc Queen.
  • October 3, 2012
    owlwarrorforaslan5
    • In the Transfomers Prime episode "Scrapheap", Raf finds a small, adorable robotic creature the size of a kitten, called a scraplet, and assumes it is the Autobots' pet. It turns out scraplets eat metal, especially living metal, like, say, the Autobots.
  • January 28, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Soap: When Chester is being held captive in his own basement by a fellow prison escapee, he befriends a rat and calls it Harold. He "teaches" it to scurry away when the lights go on.

    See also Mistaken For Dog.
  • January 28, 2013
    Megaptera
    Does Scabbers really fit this trope? It's about wild pest animals adopted by humans. Just because it's a rat doesn't mean it fits, and from what I remember about Scabbers' "provenance" -- hadn't he been the familiar of several different Weasleys? -- he doesn't really count as a wild rat.
  • March 29, 2013
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ Yeah, come to think of it I'll scrap that.
  • April 8, 2013
    CosmeF
    ^^ They thought Scabbers was a wild rat when they adopted it. Wouldn't it count as an adorable pest if they think it is?
  • April 13, 2013
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ That's an interesting point... I'd guess that might be a borderline example.
  • April 13, 2013
    StarSword
    Real Life:
    • Chinese culture considers crickets to be good luck, while most other societies are at best indifferent to them.
  • April 13, 2013
    KTera
    • Dwarves in Dwarf Fortress might have rats, cockroaches, or flies as their favourite animal.
  • April 13, 2013
    JonnyB
    Willard keeps rats as pets, domesticating and training them.
  • April 14, 2013
    SharleeD
    Note that keeping fancy rats or mice as pets would not be this trope, as such animals are actually domesticated and are intentionally bred to be pets. Only cases when a wild-type rodent is kept as a pet would count.

    • In WALL-E, the robot protagonist finds a living cockroach on a near-lifeless Earth and treats it as a pet.
  • April 15, 2013
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^^ Wild or domestic?

    ^ Aren't the main reason cockroaches are considered pests because they ruin food and spread disease? I'm not sure what reasons a robot would have to be harmed by them.
  • April 17, 2013
    polarbear2217
    In the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode, Fluttershy finds a cute Parasprite, feeds it, and brings it home. On the way, it multiplies. The Parasprites keep multiplying until they eat most of Ponyville.

    A few Goosebumps examples

    In "Monster Blood IV", Andy thinks the blue Monster Blood creature is cute and pets it. The creature ends up multiplying when it drinks water and soon the town is overrun with blue Monster Blood creature.

    Subverted in "The Werewolf of Fever Swamp." Grady adopts are stray dog and names it Wolf. After some strange howls and disasters in the swamp, he wonders if Wolf is a werewolf. He isn't.

    In The Haunting Hour The Series episode "Best Friends Forever", Jack adopts a zombie as a pet.

  • April 17, 2013
    TooBah
    • Enchanted is all over this trope--Giselle calls the "forest creatures" of New York (cockroaches, pigeons and rats) to help her clean up Robert's apartment. Hilarity Ensues when he walks in with the creatures still in the place.
  • April 17, 2013
    IsaacSapphire
    In Harry Potter, rats are on the list of standard animal companions to bring to Hogwarts (along with owls and cats). If Scabbers was a wild rat, I think that would be more a reference to how poor the Weasleys are rather than rats being unusual pets.
  • April 19, 2013
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ Again, it's a borderline example, blurring the line between what is this trope and what isn't. There are still potential disease issues with regards to adoption of wild rats, and though I don't remember the movies very well, I'm pretty sure they didn't address these issues.
  • April 21, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In the early years of MASH the camp has a racing cockaroach which they race against the racing cockaroaches of other camps.
  • April 21, 2013
    xanderiskander
    the examples need namespacing badly

    as an example of what it should look like:

    Film

    Western Animation

  • April 21, 2013
    Koveras
    I don't think namespacing means what you think it means. In fact, I am pretty sure you actually mean categorizing the examples, although some wicks do need namespace fixes, as well (The Simpsons example does, for instance; the Elf example is already cool, though).
  • April 23, 2013
    SharleeD
    • Grissom from CSI participated in organized cockroach races with other entomologists, and was protective of his racing roach.

    The Willard example supposedly involved wild rats, although Socrates was played by an albino and might conceivably have been an escaped lab rat.

    • Real Life example: The HEROrats, Gambian giant pouched rats trained to sniff out land mines, are widely admired in Africa for how they've helped thousands of families in war-torn regions reclaim their farms. (They weigh less than dogs, so can safely explore minefields without setting off the devices.)
  • April 23, 2013
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ Those aren't being treated as pets, though.
  • April 23, 2013
    SharleeD
    ^ No, but they're definitely welcomed and appreciated.
  • April 23, 2013
    intersection
    Cockroaches were frequent guests in Bloom County, especially Milquetoast.
  • April 23, 2013
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^^ Perhaps the description needs to further clarify that this does not include practical uses of such animals.
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