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Cub Cues Protective Parent
"How cute! Let's keep it... Aaargh!"

If the characters find a baby wild animal, it is almost certain that a dangerous parent animal is nearby, and will soon attack them. The characters will usually get out unscathed, but not without a good chase or fight.

In many cases, characters that are not too familiar with animals or the wilderness will attempt to pick up, feed, play with or even adopt the cub. It can result in Cuteness Proximity or even I'm Taking Her Home with Me!.

More savvy characters will recognize the possible danger associated with the presence of a baby animal.

This can be Truth in Television for many types of animals, so it is best to keep your distance from baby wild animals.

See also Mama Bear and Papa Wolf. Contrast with Monster Is a Mommy. If the cub itself is dangerous, it could be a case of Cute But Deadly. See also Pet Baby, Wild Animal for plots about characters adopting a wild animal.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • In Strike Witches, Season 2 starts off with Yoshika encountering an injured bear cub. While attempting to heal the cub, the mother shows up, not too happy. Fortunately, Yoshika is able to keep her cool long enough to save the cub, at which point the mother picks up the cub and wanders off. Yoshika promptly freaks out once the danger is gone.

Fan Works
  • The Emergency! fic "Closer Than a Brother" has this. Roy and John go camping with Roy's kids, and the boy, Chris,comes upon a bear cub. John takes the full attack to protect Him.
    • The series this is part of (though you needn't read the rest to enjoy this one) has a human version. Even Roy's young son picks up on that Roy loves ajohn as a surrogate son, and several times, Roy even gets physical protecting John, who struggles with emotional issues and Asperger's in the series.
Film
  • In Alpha and Omega, Humphrey plays with a bear cub and accidentally makes it cry. The cub's mama and two of her friends come along to make Humphrey pay for it.
  • In Finding Nemo, when Marlin slaps away a baby jellyfish with his tail after it stings Dory, the swarm of adult jellyfish immediately start swimming toward them.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park: As soon as the baby T. rex was taken inside the trailer, it was inevitable that Mommy T. rex was going to come after it. And worse, Daddy T. rex was there too.
  • In Old Yeller it's a literal mama bear, when Arliss is playing around trying to catch the bear cub.
  • In Pinocchio, Jiminy is being hassled by a little fish while in the ocean floor. He starts to shoo it away when its mother appears. Fortunately, she is scared away when he mentions Monstro the whale.
  • The Goose that lays the Golden Eggs in Puss in Boots turns out to be the gosling of a very large goose. It's Humpty Dumpty's plan to let Mama thrash the town while he absconds with the baby and the eggs.
  • In Disney's Tarzan Jane encounters a cute little baby baboon which steals her journal. After Jane steals it back, the baby baboon starts crying calling the attention of its mother and the rest of its family.
  • An interesting case occurs in Aliens. When the coloniel marines are in the alien nest, the xenomorphs don't attack until a chestburster is torched.
  • This happens in Brother Bear 2...with a brother instead of a mother. When Koda gets chased up a tree, it only takes a roar from Kenai to realize that he's here to save Koda.
  • Apocalypto: While fleeing from his pursuers, Jaguar Paw climbs up a tree only to find a mewing jaguar cub. Realizing this is bad news, he turns around to see its very ticked off mother. He immediately leaps from the tree, now having to flee the jaguar too. Luckily for him, the jaguar intercepts the other chase and mistakes one of the pursuers for him. It kills one and slows down the others, buying time for Jaguar Paw to escape.
  • An interesting variation is presented in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II. The G-Force find what they initially believe to be a pteranodon egg when the giant mutant pteranodon Rodan attacks them; they're able to escape only when Godzilla shows up to attack Rodan. Then the egg hatches and produces a baby Godzillasaurus, which they speculate was a sort of parasite egg that had been sneaked into the Rodan nest; Rodan was defending it because it was basically his surrogate brother, while Godzilla was seeking to retrieve a fellow Godzillasaurus. Godzilla and Rodan team up to defeat Mechagodzilla and retrieve Godzilla Jr.; by the end of the film, Godzilla has adopted the infant.

Live-Action TV
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The crew watch Catching Trouble, in which outdoorsman Ross Allen captures wild animals for zoos. When Ross begins harassing some bear cubs, Joel and the 'bots begin wishing that mama bear would show up and attack.
  • In Sons Of Guns, Will tells Vince a story about going on a hiking trip, finding wild dog puppies, only to have Daddy come charging out of the bushes ready to attack his daughter.

Literature
  • Happens in War of the Spider Queen series. The characters find a cute creature, which turns out to be a cub of a giant forest sloth. Drow being drow, they assume that it must be a predator using its cute young as bait...
  • In White Fang, the titular wolf tries this when surrounded by humans for the first time. It backfires.
  • Mike has this kind of encounter with a giant crocodile in Dinoverse, when he tries fishing in a pool full of baby crocodiles. She catches him in her jaws and signals that if he stops trying to fight she'll let him go, and she does so.

Newspaper Comics

Tabletop RPG
  • Dungeons & Dragons module G1-3 Against the Giants. In the "Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl" section (but not the original module) there's a picture of two adventurers with a polar bear cub. The male adventurer is looking at the cub, while the female adventurer is looking over her shoulder at the enraged female polar bear behind them.

Video Games
  • In Final Fantasy VII, examining a bird's nest nets a bunch of Phoenix Down but also cues an encounter with a bird enemy - presumably the mother of the nesting eggs.
  • In Dino Crisis 2, Dylan and Regina happen on a nest of dead baby Triceratops at the same time the parents return to find their offspring had been killed, and they think you did it. Cue the miniboss battle.
  • When attacked, the little Bulbords in the Pikmin games may cry loud enough to awaken any nearby big Bulborbs.
  • In Star Fox Adventures, Fox finds a baby Lightfoot, and stops to talk to it. Tricky is uncomfortable with the situation, and with good reason: Fox is immediately pounced by several Lightfoot, though not for being near a Lightfoot baby. They're more concerned with accusing him of stealing the Fire Gem a Lightfoot tossed him to avoid being shot at.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, part of the Seal Clubber's Nemesis side-quest involves beating up baby hell-seals in order to bait the mother hellseals into coming out, so you can collect parts from the mothers to make a disguise.

Western Animation
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Bitter Work", Sokka finds a baby saber-toothed moose-lion cub, and inevitably its mama is near, and has to be fought off by Aang.
  • One episode of The Wuzzles involves a baby brahma bullfinch, an adorable little cow-bird creature whose mother happens to be a house-sized engine of destruction. An entire flock of them descends on Croc's house by the end of the episode, with predictable results.
  • In one of the Adventures in Odyssey videos, Dylan, Jessie, and Carter find a bear cub in the mountains and start fawning over it...only for the growling mother grizzly to charge them.
  • In the second The Land Before Time, the gang of dinosaur kids find an egg and, at first thinking it to be an egg from one of their parent's nests, carry the thing home. It turns out to be a Sharptooth (or T-Rex) egg, and the group starts trying to raise 'Chomper' - needless to say, the parents come looking for him. Slightly subverted in this case, as the Mama and Daddy actually end up helping the main characters, before taking their baby home. This arguably has some Unfortunate Implications about the Aesop in this story, as the moral seems to be 'Try as you might to get along, some people are just too different.'
  • The Mickey Mouse short The Little Whirlwind features Mickey being hassled by a tornado about his size while trying to do yardwork for Minnie. Soon after losing his temper and giving chase, it starts whistling for help, and a gigantic tornado appears and destroys everything.

Real Life
  • This is seen in real life. Stories abound about people taking photographs of themselves with cute little baby animals—only to be attacked by the animal's mother. Worst case scenario: literal Mama Bear.

Commercial Pop-UpImageSource/Western AnimationThe Darkness Gazes Back
Chosen Conception PartnerThe Parent TropeDad the Veteran
Convenient Decoy CatAnimal TropesCute, but Cacophonic

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