[[caption-width-right:229:[[AgonyOfTheFeet Watch your step]].]]

->''"Caltrops? What are you, a ninja? Coming up with such an unpleasant countermeasure..."''
-->-- '''Todoroki''' to '''Aizawa''', ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia''

Caltrops are tetrahedral items used for making ground hard to cover. They always land with a pointy bit sticking up. Handy for preventing pursuers from catching you, whether they are on foot, [[AntiCavalry on horseback]] or, in more modern cases, [[PopTheTires in a]] [[AntiVehicle vehicle]].

See also SpikesOfDoom and SpikedWheels.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The Iga ninja dogs use poisoned seeds shaped like caltrops as a trap in ''Manga/GingaNagareboshiGin''. These are actually TruthInTelevision; the seeds of the water chestnut (also known as [[MeaningfulName water caltrop]]) really are shaped vaguely like caltrops, though in real life they are used as food rather than [[ImprovisedWeapon Improvised Weapons]].
* In one of the ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' [[OriginalVideoAnimation OVAs]], the one where the Gundams are samurai, and then they are suddenly doing a ''WesternAnimation/WackyRaces'' parody, the {{Ninja}} robots use these.
* In ''Manga/StrawberryMarshmallow'', while demonstrating "real" ninja techniques, Miu dumps a snack food on the floor, calling them caltrops. She is told to clean them up.
* Usopp from ''Manga/OnePiece'' sometimes uses these, and in one of the VideoGames, he throws them on the ground as an attack.
* Early in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', Kakashi uses some of these to prevent Zabuza from running over to attack him while he was open.
* In ''Manga/{{Gintama}}'', Gintoki and Kagura end up becoming ninjas in order to help rescue Elizabeth in a particular story arc, and are provided with these to shake off some pursuers. However, they have no clue as to how to use them properly and start throwing them directly at their pursuers, which does slow them down still, but not much.
* In ''Anime/KemonoFriends'', Panther Chameleon has these as part of her general {{Ninja}} motif. However, rather than using them to injure her opponents she throws them to try and [[NonLethalWarfare pop balloons on their heads]]. She succeeds...[[HoistByHisOwnPetard and then a stray caltrop pops her own balloon]].
* In ''Manga/DragonBall'', Ninja Murasaki spreads these on the ground to prevent Goku from chasing him. Goku tries to follow him anyway and hurts his feet. He looks around and finds some wooden sandals that he can use to walk over them safely.
* ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'': Aizawa uses these in during his fight against Todoroki and Yaoyorozu; to incapacitate Todoroki, Aizawa leaves him hanging in the air and drops caltrops on the ground below him to ensure he won't escape.

[[folder:Card Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has two cards. [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=1640 Wall of Caltrops]] simply gains banding if it blocks with other walls. [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=15252 Caltrops]] deals damage to attacking creatures, [[GameplayAndStorySegregation including ones that can fly]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''[[ComicBook/RobinSeries Robin]] 80'' Steph uses caltrops to blow the tires on the van carrying the gun runners as they try to leave with guns blazing out every window after shooting Star.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In [[https://yiyo666.deviantart.com/gallery/64284011/The-Caltrops this series]] of ''WesternAnimation/JanaOfTheJungle'' fan comics, Jana has yet another AgonyOfTheFeet moment when she steps on a caltrop.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Film/JamesBond's CoolCar from ''Film/TomorrowNeverDies'' has the ability to drop a whole bunch of these to pop enemy tires and mess up pursuit. See JustForFun/TropesExaminedByTheMythBusters for a report on how well that would really work. Bond gets double points for driving over his own caltrops, and fixing and reinflating the tires with just the press of a button!
* The Batmobile in the ''Film/TheDarkKnightTrilogy'' can deploy these.
* It's fairly common for scattered jacks to play this role in kid's films for AmusingInjuries among the parents.
* Parodied in Music/TheBeatles' ''Film/{{Help}}!''. The Kaili cult's disguised Harrods van has a front headlight which issues forth a stream of thumbtacks.

* Anti-horse caltrops are mentioned in one of the ''Brother Cadfael'' novels, which are set in the mid-12th century.
* Literature/{{Sharpe}} uses these in the book version of "Sharpe's Rifles", as a defence against Colonel de l'Eclin's cavalry.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** Conina in ''Discworld/{{Sourcery}}'' uses these, though they're not explicitly referred to as such.
** Caltrops are among the ninja-esque equipment included in trainee Assassin Teppic's comically-extended LockAndLoadMontage at the beginning of ''Discworld/{{Pyramids}}''. In his final examination, he also has to avoid caltrops he suspects are poisoned.
* Chinese farmers in ''Lords of the Bow'' scatter caltrops over their fields to slow the advancing Mongols.
* In ''Literature/TheSagaOfYngvarTheTraveller'', the Vikings use them when fighting King Jolf.
* Early in ''Literature/TheHighCrusade'', after the dust settles from foraying ''into a hostile alien spaceship,'' the invaders, who ''were'' quite caught by surprise, are mildly remarked to have not prepared any caltrops.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/MythBusters'': The crew tested and busted that road spikes could stop or slow down a pursuing car. A followup with hollow caltrops, however, confirmed the myth.
* ''Franchise/SuperSentai'':
** ''Series/NinjaSentaiKakuranger'': Caltrops are one of the many tricks the rangers use.
** ''Series/ShurikenSentaiNinninger'' has ''mecha-sized '''explosive''''' ones, with [=KiNinger=]'s Otomonin Dumpmaru being the one responsible.
* ''Series/KamenRiderFourze'' has secondary Rider Ryusei Sakuta using caltrops for laughs on a very clingy and amourous girl that has fallen for our primary hero Gentaro Kisaragi. [[HilarityEnsues And that's just was the beginning]].
* In an episode of ''Series/TheFlash1990'', the second Nightshade uses them to stop the Flash from pursuing him.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'': in "Darkness Falls", an environmental terrorist called Doug Spinney scatters caltrops on the logging trails. He gets HoistByHisOwnPetard when everyone (including Spinney) is [[DarknessEqualsDeath desperately trying to drive out before dark]] to escape the MonsterOfTheWeek, only for them to burst their last remaining tires on the caltrops.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'': Caltrops were in the rules as far back as 1st Edition. Some are even ClockworkCreature.
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'': High-Tech mentions that a cheap way to make them more dangerous was to [[PoisonedWeapons cover them in dung.]]
* The standard pyramid-shaped four-sided die is sometimes jokingly referred to as such, especially if you've just trodden on one barefoot. Another popular name for them is the "Sonofabitch". Most modern d4s at least have flattened corners. Not so with the early boxed sets of ''Basic Dungeons & Dragons'' (the one that came out ''before'' what we now call "1st Edition"). The d4 that came with that set was easily sharp enough to put an eye out.
** When the players get angry in ''ComicStrip/KnightsOfTheDinnerTable'' and start throwing dice at one another, a common battlecry is "No 4-siders! No 4-siders!"
** Vriska from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' has [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=004097 trouble]] with them as well.
* ''TabletopGame/CarWars'' has various types (including incendiary and explosive for extra damage) as one of the available weapon options.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The best line of defense in ''Deathtrack''.
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}''
** The moves Spikes and Toxic Spikes affect Pokemon when opposing trainer tries to switch {{Mons}}, unless they're of the Flying type, have the Levitate or Magic Guard abilities, or (in the case of Toxic Spikes), immune to [[UniversalPoison poisoning]]. A double layer or Toxic Spikes will badly poison the target. Spikes was even ''called'' Caltrops in the Japanese version.
** It's possible to think of Stealth Rock as floating caltrops, seeing as they can also hurt Flying-types (ForMassiveDamage, too, thanks to ElementalRockPaperScissors).
* Caltrops are a hold item in Kongregate's online game ''Kongai'' where they do 14 damage if you or your oppponent switched out if a character holding that item is in play (it used to be 10 damage).
* Part of the Scout's arsenal in ''VideoGame/TeamFortressClassic''. Apart from doing a little damage, they also greatly slow down the victim.
* ''VideoGame/{{Allegiance}}'' has caltrop mines. These look nothing like traditional caltrops, but are three-dimensional mine fields IN SPACE that are deployed at choke points, and cause more damage the faster an enemy ship travels through them, forcing it to slow down and become an easy target.
* In ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'', caltrops are available to certain powersets and do minor damage and massively debuff speed. Among enemies, certain Tsoo and all Knives of Artemis use them. The [=KoA=] in particular are annoying because they can quickly stack caltrops, at which point your character may as well not be able to move at all.
* Their use is inverted in ''Thievery'', a GameMod for ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament''. The tough and armored guard team can set caltrops in order to damage and slow down members of the evasive thief team. Guards are immune to their own caltrops.
* ''ShadowWarrior'' features these as an useable item: Lo Wang can get a box with three charges that can be deployed at will. Certain traps also scatter oodles of these around when triggered. They don't tell friend from foe, though, and if necessary they can be destroyed with explosives.
--> "Who put these here? Ow!"
* One of the weapons available in ''VideoGame/MiniNinjas''.
* Used by Burglars in ''VideoGame/TheLordOfTheRingsOnline''.
* ''VideoGame/IzunaLegendOfTheUnemployedNinja'': Izuna can scatter caltrops to damage whatever steps on the square next (possibly herself, if the player's not careful).
* In ''[[VideoGame/{{Drakensang}} Drakensang 2: The River of Time]]'', you can build these with a very low Forge lore. Of course, they can be placed as traps on the ground.
* A mainstay of the ''VideoGame/{{Tenchu}}'' series, caltrops do a small amount of damage and stun anyone (including the player) who steps on them for a short time.
* ''VideoGame/{{Shinobido}}'' features makibishi as part of your Ninja equipment along with shuriken, grappling hooks, five-colored rice and various explosive stuff. Those caltrops though [[DeathOfAThousandCuts can actually kill enemies]], but it takes some time...
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedRevelations'': caltrop ''[[TrickBomb bombs]]''
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'': one of tools Catwoman can use.
* Caltrops are one of the trap types you can craft and deploy in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. If standard caltrops aren't good enough, you can also create and use poisoned caltrops for extra damage.
* If your ninja in ''VideoGame/ShogunTotalWar'' and ''VideoGame/TotalWarShogun2'' are detected, they will scatter a handful of caltrops behind them in an attempt to slow down the pursuers. It is often highly effective. Fun to watch, too.
* The Chill Spike from ''VideoGame/MegaMan10'' works like a spike strip (see RealLife below), damaging enemies that move onto it. Not surprisingly, it is effective against the robot/motorbike transformer Nitro Man, in the sense that it hurts his tires.
** While he did not have access to them in ''VideoGame/MegaMan3'', noted ninja Shadow Man gains the ability to throw caltrops in ''VideoGame/MegaMan2ThePowerFighters''.
* In ''VideoGame/GuildWars2'', the thief profession has two caltrop abilities: a utility skill to drop caltrops around the thief which cause bleeding damage and reduced movement for enemies, and a unlockable trait that causes this to happen automatically when the thief dodges. In neither case is the thief or allies affected.
* An absolutely essential tool in the arsenal of "Grey morality" Avatars in ''VideoGame/UltimaVII''. Placed properly, you could use them to knock out mages for ease of stealing the potions they somehow managed to produce from nothing. Also a good way to knock out dragons for one-hit KO experience grinding. In the ''[[VideoGame/UltimaVIIPartII sequel]]'', it was a way to get easy victories(and thus quicker/better training) in the arena of Monitor.
* The ''VideoGame/LaMulana'' remake adds caltrops as a subweapon.
* Some of the black-clad ninja in ''VideoGame/BadDudes'' toss ''makibishi''. If you don't have a weapon, you can low-kick them out of the way. (If you've got the nunchucks, you can possibly fire upwards at them from a lower level. If you've got the knife, you suck.)
* One of the standard wall defenses in ''Kingdoms of Camelot'' on Facebook. Best against mounted troops.
* Caltrops are one of the many traps that are scattered around the grounds in ''VideoGame/DungeonsOfDredmor''. The ones that do higher damage tend to be made of magical elements, such as Aetheral energy or Dragonsbreath.
* In ''VideoGame/MortalKombatX'', one of [[TheGunslinger Erron]] [[CombatPragmatist Black's]] special moves sees him drop caltrops on the floor. They stop running opponents cold and do small but steady damage when they're on top of them.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'' has caltrops appear as a type of terrain hazard, slowing down units trying to walk through them and dealing damage to everyone who stands on them at the beginning of turn.
* In ''VideoGame/ShovelKnight'', this is Donovan's standard subweapon when you play as him. [[spoiler:At least, before he became Specter Knight. He regains access to them if he collects every red skull in the game.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'', Demon Hunters can drop caltrops that damage and slow down enemies who step close to them.
* Available as a catalog item in ''Roblox''. They do quite a bit of damage and cause their victim to play the death sound.
* In ''VideoGame/Gamer2'', the police enemies have laid out caltrops in their sector. If Hailey steps on them, she'll lose her deflector plate.
* ''VideoGame/DarkestDungeon'': a little while after release, the Bounty Hunter's "Hook and Slice" attack got replaced by tossing caltrops directly at the target. The victim takes minor base damage, [[DamageOverTime bleeding damage]], and gets a big speed debuff.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', Catwoman has them... in the shape of cats, naturally. She uses them in "The Cat and the Claw" to stop Red Claw's men from pursuing her through a ventilation duct.
* Batman uses bat-shaped ones in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanUnderTheRedHood''.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'': Doofenshmirtz tries to use this trick during a race. It backfires because the caltrops come from the ''front'' of his car.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse2013'' short "Three Legged Race", Huey, Dewey and Louie use jacks as caltrops to sabotage the other racers. They puncture Horace and Clarabelle's feet, causing them to deflate.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Giant versions of these called "Czech hedgehogs" were used as anti-tank defences in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. These giant versions were usually made of steel girders welded together to resemble giant jacks. They're still used today, as their size and weight make them an effective vehicular deterrent. Variants of this with different shapes has been also used on beachheads to deter landing boats.
* UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire
** In UsefulNotes/JuliusCaesar's circumvallation of Alesia, he planted a "garden" of these on both sides of his encircling walls: to keep the Gaulish chieftains in, and the relieving army out. Basically included hidden caltrops, made of iron, followed by spiked pits, and then upward-pointing branching stakes, designed to take a horse in the chest. Followed by two trenches, one filled with water and one not, and a stockade built from the top of the far back of the second trench, which was pointed at the bottom, making it much more difficult to cross. While under fire. Oh, and ballistae and scorpions were aimed into the trench as well. Have fun and stay safe, boys.
** The Romans also [[GenreKiller used them to definitely murder chariot warfare]], ''twice'':
*** The first time happened when the Romans faced the Celtic chariot used by the Gauls, a small vehicle from which a warrior could lob javelins at the enemy while staying mobile or close in to jump on them. While the Romans could deal with the javelins by simply placing their trademark tower shields overhead, a charge of chariots was still a problem until they started to throw caltrops big enough to wound horses hooves but small enough that the standard-issue ''caligae'' (the heavy-soled boot-sandals of the Roman legionaries) could protect them, wait for the Gaulish charge to break down, and then calmly walk to the toppled vehicles and downed enemies to slaughter them and their horses. It was so effective that by Caesar's time the only Celts who still used them were the Bretons, who had never met the Romans (and when Caesar brought with him the caltrops in his second expedition only Vercingetorix' sudden rebellion in the Gauls saved them from conquest);
*** The second time happened when they met the more traditional [[SpikedWheels scythed chariots]] in their wars against the Hellenistic kingdoms. While already declining on its own due the creation of effective cavalry and effective infantry formations to resist their charges, the scythed chariots could occasionally pose a danger to an unprepared force (in fact a Roman army was nearly ''routed'' by a sudden charge that caught them with their pants down. That very army had inflicted the worse humiliation to scythed chariots in the history of warfare just a few weeks before, and they would ''still'' win after regrouping and inventing another solution) until the Romans brought back their caltrops. Once they did, the chariot charge would always stop abruptly and the Romans would calmly walk to the enemy to slaughter both horses and charioteers.
* {{Ninja}}, who swore by just about everything sneaky, were fond of dropping these. They were called ''tetsubishi'' and ''makibishi'' in Japan, and were most of the time, and I am not kidding here, sun-dried water chestnuts.
* Cops use a variant of these known as "spike strips" to disable the tires of those they're pursuing. Preferred since it is also desirable to remove the spikes as quickly as possible, otherwise [[HoistByHisOwnPetard the cop cars in pursuit would get their tires popped as well]].
* During UsefulNotes/TheKoreanWar, American Air Force bombers would drop these over North Korean and Chinese supply routes at night, returning at daybreak to attack supply convoys that had become immobilized in the night by the obstacles.
** In the modern day, [[ObviousRulePatch caltrops are banned from the Infantry barracks at Fort Benning, Georgia]].
* Any TabletopGames player who has stepped on a d4 understands acutely how these things are supposed to work. As has any kid, or parent whose kids didn't put away their toys, who's stepped on a Lego piece.
* [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribulus_terrestris Goatheads]] [[TropeNamer are the plants which give Caltrops their name]], and are a pain in the ass for bikers everywhere, since they love to stick in tires and cause them to completely go flat. The fact that they grow fast, grow almost everywhere in the world and prefer dry climates where bikers not only flock to but people are also likely to go barefoot does not help matters.
* In the U.S. labor movement, they're typically called "jackrocks". During some particularly bitter strikes, picketers or their sympathizers would spread them along roads, intending to destroy the tires of management or replacement workers (but obviously causing danger to innocent travelers as well). Several states have banned possession of such devices.
* One thing to note about modern AntiVehicle caltrops is that they're most efficient when hollow to let air out. The variety with solid spikes will also work, but won't empty tubeless tires as quickly.