[[quoteright:250:[[Film/DragonBallTheMagicBegins http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dragon_ball.jpg]]]]

The monster with MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily is about to chomp on TheHero, who has only a stick/bone/pole for a weapon. What to do? Why, shove it into the roof of the oncoming mouth to prop those slavering jaws open! If the hero's really lucky, this might jab its palate hard enough to fatally penetrate the skull; at worst, it'll leave it gagging for a moment, then piss it off even more.

Especially unlucky protagonists (particularly in WesternAnimation) may have no poles on hand, and will have to resort to using their own bodies to keep the beast's jaws open, often by pulling off wince-inducing splits. Considering the jaw power of most monsters and real life alligators, this is definitely a case of SuperStrength.

A common subversion is for the monster or animal to have jaw muscles that are powerful enough to snap bones or wooden planks in half, allowing it to break the item lodged between its jaws with ease.

This trope can also be applied to a BearTrap, ClamTrap, or similar snap-closing booby traps, despite their lack of a palate.



* In a holiday-season commercial for Planters Peanuts, Mr. Peanut uses his cane to prop open the jaws of a nutcracker that tries to chomp on him.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Early on in ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'', Yuusuke uses a piece of wood to hold open the villain Gouki's mouth so he can AttackItsWeakPoint.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' anime:
** Episode 10. While Ichigo is fighting the frog!Hollow, Don Kanonji saves him from being bitten by using his staff to prop open the Hollow's mouth.
** Episode 312. While Lieutenant Omaeda is fighting a hollow, he stuffs the ball of his flail (his zanpakuto Gegetsuburi in its shikai form) into the mouth of an attacking hollow to prevent it from eating him.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''Franchise/{{Tintin}} [[Recap/TintinTintinInTheCongo in the Congo]]'', Tintin uses his rifle to prop open a crocodile's mouth when out of bullets.
* ''ComicBook/{{Rahan}}''. The title character once manages this while bound hands and feet, when offered in sacrifice to a big prehistoric crocodile. He catches a branch between his feet and wedges it between the croc's jaws, who then swims away rather miffed.
* "[[https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/46/62/b1/4662b148d386b74aadc9abd91a03679b.jpg Jawbreaker]]", a piece of promotional art for Frank Cho's ''ComicBook/JungleGirl'', depicts the title character using her body to prop open the jaws of a hungry dinosaur.

[[folder:Eastern Animation]]
* In the Korean animated movie ''Super Kid'', Gokdari jams his magic staff between the jaws of an alien to keep it from eating him, and then ''expands'' the staff until the alien's jaws are stretched so far apart that its teeth shatter when it tries to close its mouth again.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* On the ''Franchise/WallaceAndGromit'' short "WesternAnimation/AMatterOfLoafAndDeath", Wallace props open a crocodile's mouth with a French baguette.
* ''WesternAnimation/YellowSubmarine''. When the giant Glove is about to bite down on John Lennon, he sticks the word "Nothing" into its mouth, forcing its mouth open.
* In ''Disney/TheSwordInTheStone'', Wart (in fish form) does this to the pike in the moat with a broken-off piece of spear. Merlin compliments him for using his head.
* In ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons'', Lewis uses a shovel to prop open the tyrannosaur's jaws.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime'', (or one of its sequels, at least) the protagonist Littlefoot uses a stick to prop up a [[spoiler:seemingly-dead]] ''Allosaurus's'' mouth, but abandons the effort when [[spoiler:it starts breathing]].
* Occurs in ''[[WesternAnimation/IceAge2TheMeltdown Ice Age 2]]'' when a prehistoric crocodilian creature leaps at Manny and gets its jaws caught around his tusks, before being thrown back into the water.
* In ''Disney/{{Moana}}'', Maui performs the "full body" version of this, standing on a gigantic monster's lower teeth with his hands on the upper jaw in a desperate attempt to avoid being eaten.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'', Luke braces the Rancor's jaws open with a large bone from the floor of its pit. This buys him a few seconds, but not much, as the Rancor's bite is powerful enough to snap it in two.
* Subverted in the ''Film/{{Doom}}'' movie: when one of the monsters gets its Palate Propped by a metal rod, it just clamps its jaws so hard that the rod pierces its muzzle and is forced out the roof of its maw, freeing it to go on attacking.
* In ''Film/{{Dragonheart}}'', this trope leads to a Mexican stand-off, with the hero literally crouched inside Draco's mouth, his sword's point braced against the dragon's palate.
* In ''Film/MenInBlack3'', a fish-creature tries to bite J's legs off, but J sticks a metal tray between his thighs and it can't close its jaws far enough.
* In ''Film/NightAtTheMuseum: Secret of the Tomb'', Larry props open the mouth of an animated snake-demon statue with his trusty flashlight when it tries to eat his hand. Less effective than most examples, as the snake-demon in question has plenty of ''other'' hungry heads.
* In the animated FramingDevice for ''Film/Creepshow2'', the leader of the bullies manages to hold open the maw of the giant Venus flytrap that's attempting to devour him. [[EatenAlive But only for a short while.]]

* Happened in ''The Cormyr Saga'' of ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' during the duel of Iliphar Nelnueve and Thauglorimorgorus (''the'' "Purple Dragon" who ended up as Cormyr's symbol), with a [[DoubleSubversion twist]]. [[spoiler:Dragon breath easily removed the obstacle, but the destruction of a magic staff almost got his head blown off]].
* A variant in ''How the Whale Got His Throat'', one of Rudyard Kipling's ''Literature/JustSoStories'': the protagonist stops the whale from devouring pretty much ''everything'' by turning his raft into a grate and sticking it in the whale's throat.
* ''The Surprising Adventures, Great and Imminent Dangers, Miraculous Escapes, and Wonderful Travels of Baron Munchausen'' tells of the Baron getting swallowed by a giant whale along with his ship. During the council of all the people the whale ever swallowed on how to get out, Munchausen relates: "I was chosen chairman, and the first thing I did was to propose splicing two main-masts together, and the next time he opened his mouth to be ready to wedge them in, so as to prevent his shutting it." After they get out, they leave the masts there to prevent the whale from swallowing more ships.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** The first time Rincewind takes something out of [[ChestMonster the Luggage]], in ''Discworld/TheColourOfMagic'', he uses a piece of wood to prop its lid open. Once he's removed some food and water bottles, the Luggage very slowly closes its lid anyway, grinding the wood to splinters, just to show it's able to subvert this trope any time it likes.
** In ''Discworld/TheAmazingMauriceAndHisEducatedRodents'', Sardines does a hat-and-stick dance and then dashes into a rat hole, only to run into a trap. There's a loud snap, and then he's heard calling for help, because the stick he's braced the trap open with is starting to give way.
* During ''Literature/{{Dinoverse}}'', Mr. London manages to balk a Microvenator this way. The Microvenator gets the stick out on its own and has bits of wood in its mouth after, but this did buy time.
* In ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'', Hunter recalls having used this tactic when she fought a giant weasel beneath Bangkok, shoving her leather shield in its open mouth to deflect its attack while she struck it with a war club.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In the 2001 TV miniseries adaptation of ''Series/{{The Lost World|2001}}'', this is done to a rampaging ''Allosaurus''. It only incommodes it for a few moments, though, before it snaps the piece of wood between its jaws.
* Used against at least one snappy prehistoric beast on ''Series/{{Primeval}}''.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''The Hole Delver's Catalog''. One of the many items in the catalog is the Wonder Widget, which looks a lot like a crowbar. When one of the characters was fighting an alligator he put the Wonder Widget inside its mouth to prop it open, thus saving his life.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* A variant form in ''VideoGame/HiddenExpedition: The Uncharted Islands'' (casual computer game/[=IHOG=]) -- the gator has an item you need in its mouth, you need to find a jack to hold its mouth open long enough for you to grab the item.
* In the first ''VideoGame/SimonTheSorcerer'', Simon uses a stick to jam the jaws of a slavering ChestMonster.
* Used ''twice'' in the casual game ''League of Light: Wicked Harvest'': once with a large statue of a head with a snapping mouth, and again with the snaggle-toothed skull of a dragon-like creature. In the latter case, it's also inverted, as the skull's jaws are used to crack the ice encasing a needed item when the prop is removed.
* ''Videogame/SunlessSea'' has one of the most massive examples in fiction in the underwater city of Nook, founded inside [[KrakenAndLeviathan the mouth of a beast big enough to swallow an actual city]]. To keep the monster's maw open, the founders installed gigantic [[{{Unobtainium}} Heartmetal]] girders inside, and they've held out for quite a long time despite its attempts at slamming its mouth shut with every inhabitant inside it.
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', a reaction command lets Sora jam open Cerberus' mouth with his Keyblade. Of course, Cerberus has ''two other heads'', so he has to move quickly.
* ''VideoGame/TheWolfAmongUs'': During the final fight with [[spoiler:[[PsychoForHire Bloody Mary]] and [[MesACrowd her duplicates]] Bigby ([[TheBigBadWolf who is in his true form]]) goes after one of the copies who then places a metal pipe in his jaws, which only troubles him for two seconds before he closes his jaws and crushes it then he smashes the Mary clone with his teeth.]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'': Aldin Hoffmann demonstrates the "use your whole body" variant against a giant snake clank (whose teeth look like venom injector) as part of [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20160701 "Heroic Freestyle" combat with his brother.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* This was used in the ''WesternAnimation/MrBogus'' episode "[[Recap/MrBogusS2E7BogusPrivateEye Bogus Private Eye]]". Bogus, with help from Kevin the family bulldog, tries to stop a thief that somehow invades the house. Kevin tries to bite the thief, but the thief whips out a bone and sticks it between Kevin's jaws.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/GIJoeARealAmericanHero'' has Gung-Ho pull this move in order to avoid getting chomped on by an alligator.
* ''Young Samson & Goliath'' episode "The Lost City of the Dragon Men". Samson rips a tree trunk out of the ground and sticks it into the mouth of an attacking crocodile to prevent it from attacking him.
* ''WesternAnimation/MiraculousLadybug'':
** In episode "Animan", the shapeshifting VillainOfTheWeek turns into a ''TyrannosaurusRex''. After entangling its legs with her yo-yo, Ladybug uses the car jack provided by her Lucky Charm to pry open the ''T. rex''[='s=] jaws and keep its huge maw locked open, making it harmless (as they have little to fear from its small arms).
** Attempted in episode "Guitar Villain" on a dragon by Cat Noir with his TelescopingStaff, but the beast manage to dislodge it pretty quickly.
* Used in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/GeorgeOfTheJungle'', when the king of the jungle needs to get some teeth from a crocodile. Unfortunately, it's revealed that every crocodile now [[CrazyPrepared carries a stick-removal tool for such situations]].
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': In "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS7E4RockSolidFriendship Rock Solid Friendship]]", Pinkie Pie jams a jack between the jaws of a giant quarray eel and forces its mouth open to get her sister Maud out of the beast's maw.
* ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest'' episode "Treasure of the Temple". While engaged in underwater combat with a crocodile, Race Bannon sticks part of a broken paddle into its mouth to prevent it from biting him.
* The ''WesternAnimation/SillySymphonies'' short "Peculiar Penguins" zig-zags this trope. The penguin props open a killer shark's mouth with a stick--so the shark just swims after him with his mouth wide open, swallowing the penguin whole, and an entire school of fish with him. Then the shark stops swimming as he tries close his jaws again, but before he can break the stick, the penguin and all the fish just swim out his mouth to freedom.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* This trope is actually averted for the crocodile, which has extremely powerful muscles for biting down, which can exert as much as 5000 pounds of force. Inversely, a crocodile has extremely weak muscles for ''opening'' its mouth, which means that once a crocodile has bit down, its mouth can be held shut with a simple rubber band.
* There's a version of this that's used for giving anesthetic to an animal. A round tube with a hole is used to prop open the jaws and allow passage of the breathing tube down into the airway. The prop is sometimes removed once the tube is in place -- just pass it backward off of the tube. Alternately, it may be left in and the jaw secured from the outside, just in case the animal happens to start to come around at any time, so it can't sever the tube.
* There are form-fitted oral braces used for dental surgery, which prevent a patient's jaws from moving by reflex in mid-operation.
* There exist photographs of dead predators with their mouths propped open, usually to show the detail of the animal's jaws. A particularly interesting example would be [[http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-YeFrkLNxJBQ/Ts4Dx_OAcmI/AAAAAAAAAGE/w5qEegVluxE/s1600/monster9.jpg this photo]] of the so-called [[SeaMonster "Moscow Monster"]] (which [[ScienceMarchesOn later turned out to be]] the severely decomposed corpse of a beluga whale and inspired [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-682 SCP-682]]).