[[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 [[{{Badass}} 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 ''{{Minecraft}}''.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Boss in ''Anime/{{Hamtaro}}''.
* Giro, the villanous wolf leader from ''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".
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[[folder:ComicBooks]]
* Gen in ''ComicBook/UsagiYojimbo'' has a broken horn.
* In the comic strip ''Outland'' by [[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 ''TheSmurfs'' has one. In the [[Film/TheSmurfs live-action movie]], it is even shown how he gets it.
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[[folder:{{Film}}-Animated]]
* From ''Disney/TheLionKingIISimbasPride'', [[http://lionking.wikia.com/wiki/Zira Zira]].
** Within ''Disney/TheLionKing'' trilogy (and non-canon series), Ed the hyena has a few ear notches.
* In ''Disney/LiloAndStitch'', Stitch, as seen in the TVTropes page image for the series.
* Buck from ''WesternAnimation/IceAge 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs''.
* 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.
* 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."
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[[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.
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[[folder:{{Literature}}]]
* ''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.
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[[folder:Music]]
* Gummibär sports one.
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[[folder:{{VideoGames}}]]
* The [[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} 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 transfered 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.
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[[folder:{{Webcomics}}]]
* In ''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.
* ''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 ''SlightlyDamned'' has ear notches. He's got CuteLittleFangs too, for what that's worth.
* In the WebOriginal/FurryBasketballAssociation, Buck Hopper and Cheeto Wolfote both have damaged ears. Bruce Bounder is ''missing'' half of one.
* ''{{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]].
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[[folder:{{WebOriginal}}]]
* All Kougras from ''{{Neopets}}'', but not all of them have the prerequisite attitude.
** This troper once read a fanfic where a Kougra character had an ear notch that was a triangle instead of the traditional shape and that marked him as a blood member of a Kougra supremist cult. Given that he [[HappilyAdopted had been raised by a loving Aisha mother figure]], he rejected the cult leader's offer of joining.
* 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.
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[[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.
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[[folder:RealLife]]
* {{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.
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