[[quoteright:350:[[Disney/TheLionKingIISimbasPride http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kimmy_293.jpg]]]]

Bob the Mouse is from the wrong side of the tracks, a true scrapper from the bad side of town; but how do you show this easily? Add some notches to his ears for that tried and tested "been through it all" indicator. The ol' 'circular chunk out of the ear' character design trick has been around for some time and most commonly appears on animated animals. It acts as a simple indicator of a character's [[CharacterAlignment alignment]] or [[FourTemperamentEnsemble temperament]] if within a group, usually denoting tough or evil traits or simply to denote badassery.

On the SlidingScaleOfAnthropomorphism this can apply to almost all points from NearlyNormalAnimal to FunnyAnimal (though can appear on PettingZooPeople) as long as the ears are still large enough and/or discernible as non-human. Even humanoid species with large or long ears like elves can have ear notching too, just don't expect it on a human as it'll be almost entirely invisible.

Sometimes can be used for added character in a CuteLittleFangs sense where the character isn't at all gritty and/or bad. Tangentially related to GoodScarsEvilScars.

Has nothing to do with the ear of Notch, the creator of ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}''.


[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Boss in ''Anime/{{Hamtaro}}''.
* Giro, the villanous wolf leader from ''Literature/ArashinoYoruNi'', due to him having one of his ears bitten off by Mei's mother before telling her son to run away as he and the other wolf maul her to death.
* ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventure'': Part 4 has a Stand-using rat with a chunk missing from one ear. As such, Jotaro nicknames him "Bug-Eaten".
* A non-animal version occurs in ''Manga/TokyoGhoul''. Naki, one of the members of [[TheSyndicate Aogiri]], has several large chunks missing out of his left ear. He's from the infamously violent [[ThirteenIsUnlucky 13th Ward]] and WordOfGod states the chunks were ''bitten'' out by his CoolBigBro Yamori. It stands out since their HealingFactor means Ghouls almost ''never'' scar, and hints at his childish and violent nature.

* Gen in ''ComicBook/UsagiYojimbo'' has a broken horn.
* In the comic strip ''Outland'' by [[ComicStrip/BloomCounty Berke Breathed]], Mortimer Mouse (a parody of Mickey) has a bite taken out of one ear--supposedly the result of a scuffle with Disney exec Michael Eisner.
* Azrael in ''ComicBook/TheSmurfs'' has one. In the [[Film/TheSmurfs live-action movie]], it is even shown how he gets it.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* The reindeer in ''FanWorks/UnderTheNorthernLights'' do ear notching as a mark of clan affiliation as well as for cosmetic reasons (see Real Life for reference). It's mentioned that by the time of the story, it has fallen out of practice, and is only done by the very old-fashioned and the very hard (a good comparison might be a modern Maori who opts for a full facial ''moko'', and insists on having it done the traditional way).
* In ''Fanfic/OldWest'', the left ear of Ramirez Arvenga, a [[ThoseWilyCoyotes coyote]] mercenary and TheDragon of the BigBad, is torn in a shape that resembles a bullet hole.

[[folder:Film -- Animated]]
* Comes up once in a while in the Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon:
** Ed the hyena from ''Disney/TheLionKing''.
** Stitch from ''Disney/LiloAndStitch'' has two notches, one on the upper right ear and one on the lower left, although they sometimes appear either mirrored in the wrong spots or as being symmetrical to one another.
** From ''Disney/OliverAndCompany'', [[http://www.flickr.com/photos/disneyfreaksam/3924487470/ Ignacio Alonzo Julio Federico de Tito.]]
** Ronno, the tough deer Disney/{{Bambi}} has to fight to defend Faline and his rival in the prequel.
** The moose Rutt from ''Disney/BrotherBear'', to distinguish him from his brother Tuke.
* Zira from ''Disney/TheLionKingIISimbasPride'' (pictured above). She's an Outsider and the BigBad. She's very cruel and sadistic towards her enemies.
* Buck from ''WesternAnimation/IceAge3DawnOfTheDinosaurs''.
* The Mouse King from ''WesternAnimation/TheNutcrackerPrince'' has one on his left ear.
* Charlie Barkin in ''WesternAnimation/AllDogsGoToHeaven'' has two notches on his right ear. Those ear notches carry over into his human form in the TV show episode, "Charlie the Human."
* ''WesternAnimation/MadagascarEscape2Africa'': Alex's father Zuba has a huge notch in his left ear. It's explained how he got it in the prologue. When he discovered that his son had been cub-napped by poachers, Zuba chased after the truck, and tried to free his son, only to get part of his left ear shot off by the poachers. By the time Zuba's vision clears from the blow, he doesn't notice that Alex's crate had fallen off the truck and into the river and continues to chase it. Fade to the present where Alex and the gang crash land in Africa, and Alex reunites with his parents, setting the second part of the plot in motion.

[[folder:Film -- Live-Action]]
* Splinter from ''Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' had one from when he was still a regular rat in the live action films. In the computer generated sequel ''WesternAnimation/{{TMNT}}'', he doesn't, prompting one of the directors to joke in the commentary that he's had some work done between films.
* Tsu'tey from ''{{Film/Avatar}}''.
* The mother tiger from ''Film/TwoBrothers''.
* Alvin in the live-action adaptation of ''Film/AlvinAndTheChipmunks'' has a notch in his ear, perhaps to identify him as a scrappiest member of the group.

* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' has Harry's dog Mouse with a notched ear. When Harry first gets the puppy he notes that its probably a sign the pup is either more brave or more stupid than the rest of the litter.
* In the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' series, there's large groups of fighting cats, so someone's bound to get a ripped ear. Particularly notable are the minor character Tornear, who is ''named'' after this, and the BigBad, Tigerstar; it's one of his more frequently noted physical characteristics.
* In ''Literature/OldPossumsBookOfPracticalCats'', the description of Growltiger ("a bravo cat") states, in pertinent part, "One ear was somewhat missing, no need to tell you why...."
* ''Literature/TheEagleOfTheNinth'''s Esca the (human) ex-gladiator has a cropped ear as his SlaveBrand. This is ArtisticLicenceHistory and he's heavily characterised with AnimalMotifs.
* The protagonist of a memorably weird children's book series called "Tough Ted"[[note]]by the creator of ''101 Uses Of A Dead Cat''[[/note]], an [[FunnyAnimal anthropomorphic bear]] who's a former merchant seaman and apparently a bit of a RetiredBadass, sports one of these.
* In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', abstract conceptual artist [[Creator/TraceyEmin Daniellerina Pouter]] has these due to the fact Lord Vetinari expressed his criticism of her art by nailing her to a sturdy wooden post by the ears. She wears her ear notches with pride and continues to produce avant-garde art.
* In ''Literature/TerraIgnota'', people can easily determine Mycroft's identity if they see the telltale, coin-sized notch in his ear, which doesn't seem to mesh well with him being both an ActualPacifist and a convicted criminal. But then it's revealed what his crime was and how the EarNotch came to be: [[spoiler:He's a serial killer and was scarred when he and his lover and co-killer experimented with cannibalism. On each other.]]
* In ''Literature/TalesFromDimwoodForest'', [[CatsAreMean Graybar]] is a rough alley cat with a notch in his ear that he received from a fight against three cats, which he won.

* Gummibär sports one.

* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** The Spiky-eared Pichu, otherwise known as "Notch-eared Pichu" has a left ear with three spikes coming out of it. It has a unique game sprite, knows Pain Split (a move that Pichu or any other member of the line cannot learn normally), unable to be transferred outside of the ''Heart Gold and Soul Silver'' games and it cannot evolve. There's no interesting story behind why its ear is like that, and it's almost universally considered a PromotionalPowerlessPieceOfGarbage.
** It may not be on the ears, but a male Garchomp has a notch on his back fin, while the female has no notch. It's unknown if it is natural or received through fighting.
* ''VideoGame/WatchDogs'': Mob boss Dermot "Lucky" Quinn lost a large chunk of his ear in a gang shootout in his youth. The fact that he was the SoleSurvivor of that shootout is also how he earned his nickname.
* Jibanyan from ''VideoGame/YokaiWatch'' died by getting hit by a car. When he became a yokai, one of his ears ended up with a notch in it.
* One of the options in Episode 5 of ''VideoGame/BatmanTheTelltaleSeries'' resulted in this [[spoiler:if Batman complies with Lady Arkham/Vicki Vale's demand for him to unmask, it results in her blasting part of his right ear off.]]
* Mae from ''VideoGame/NightInTheWoods'' has a couple small nicks in her left ear, which is appropriate given her history of violence (though she claims it was from a [[FurryConfusion dog bite]]). Two of Germ's friends (the ones who ''have'' ears; the third is a bird) have more prominent ones.

* In ''Webcomic/TheIntrepidGirlbot'' the [[http://www.intrepidgirlbot.com/2009/12/30/big-bad/ Big Bad Raccoon]] -- but not ''BigBad'' -- has an ear notch.
** After [[spoiler:Raccoon #1 'splodes the family home]], there are a lot more notches to be had amongst the rest of the raccoon population.
* ''Webcomic/KevinAndKell'': Subverted a little, Rudy tries to convince Kell to let him get a designer ear notch. Of course, she is less than enthusiastic about the notion.
* Buwaro in ''Webcomic/SlightlyDamned'' has ear notches. He's got CuteLittleFangs too, for what that's worth.
* ''Webcomic/{{Lackadaisy}}'': Rocky has a notch on his ear - which he got [[IJustShotMarvinInTheFace playing with a gun]] [[http://lackadaisy.foxprints.com/exhibit.php?exhibitid=19 because he thought it made him look dashing]].
* Renowned spacer Ace from ''WebComic/CommanderKitty sports'' one. [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2009/08/16/listen-up-crew/ CK even contemplates getting his own ear notched]].
* ''Webcomic/{{Scurry}}'': Protagonist Wix has two notches in his right ear, implied to be the consequences of his reckless nature.

* All Kougras from ''Website/{{Neopets}}'', but not all of them have the prerequisite attitude.
* From the WebOriginal/FurryBasketballAssociation, Buck Hopper, Shane Rufus, Cheeto Wolfote, Bruce Bounder (who's missing half an ear). In a universe filled with Badass Furry characters, this is inevitable.
* Caleb the Squire from ''WebAnimation/TrueTail''.

[[folder:{{Western Animation}}]]
* Rita from ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}''.
* Furrball from ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures''.
* Modo from ''WesternAnimation/BikerMiceFromMars''.
* Don Karnage from ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin''.
* Ratty from ''WesternAnimation/MrBogus'' actually has two of these, one in the middle of his right ear, and one on the tip of his left ear.
* Stewie from ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' gets one when Brian tried to piece his ear (they were both drunk at the time).

* {{Invoked}} [[HumansAreCthulhu for livestock]] as a method of herd identification. Some of the more commonly notched livestock species are [[http://www.triplebsires.com/EARNotch.html pigs]], [[http://ag.ansc.purdue.edu/sheep/ansc442/semprojs/2005/identification/sheepidentification.htm sheep]] and reindeer.
* For aquatic creatures [[http://www.dolphinstudy.com/dorsal.asp it's often the dorsal fin that's notched]] to assist with individual member identification.
* Rats and cats can gain injuries through fights which result in ear notching.
** Barn cats can also lose the tips of their ears to frostbite. Which still makes them survivors.
* A notch in the left ear on a cat can also mean a stray has been fixed, which is [[RealityIsUnrealistic somewhat less badass]].
** Typically, to make it obvious that this isn't merely a battle scar, the entire tip of the ear is clipped off.
* Probably one of the most famous examples is Evander Holyfield getting a piece of his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson in [[https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Evander_Holyfield_vs._Mike_Tyson_II an infamous match contested on June 28, 1997.]] When Holyfield appeared in animated form on ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'', they drew the bite in his ear.