alignment or temperament if within a group, usually denoting tough or evil traits or simply to denote badassery. On the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism this can apply to almost all points from Nearly Normal Animal to Funny Animal (though can appear on Petting Zoo People) 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 Cute Little Fangs sense where the character isn't at all gritty and/or bad. Tangentially related to Good Scars, Evil Scars. Has nothing to do with the ear of Notch, the creator of Minecraft.
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Anime and Manga
- Boss in Hamtaro.
- Giro, the villanous wolf leader from Arashino Yoru Ni, 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.
- Jojos Bizarre Adventure: 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 Tokyo Ghoul. Naki, one of the members of Aogiri, has several large chunks missing out of his left ear. He's from the infamously violent 13th Ward and Word Of God states the chunks were bitten out by his Cool Big Bro Yamori. It stands out since their Healing Factor means Ghouls almost never scar, and hints at his childish and violent nature.
- Gen in Usagi Yojimbo has a broken horn.
- In the comic strip Outland by 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 The Smurfs has one. In the live-action movie, it is even shown how he gets it.
The reindeer in Under The Northern Lights 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).
- From The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Zira.
- Within The Lion King trilogy (and non-canon series), Ed the hyena has a few ear notches.
- In Lilo & Stitch, Stitch, as seen in the TV Tropes page image for the series.
- Buck from Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
- From Oliver & Company, Ignacio Alonzo Julio Federico de Tito.
- Ronno, the tough deer Bambi has to fight to defend Faline.
- The Mouse King from The Nutcracker Prince has one on his left ear.
- Charlie Barkin in All Dogs Go to Heaven has two notches on his right ear.
- Those ear notches carry over into his human form in the TV show episode, "Charlie the Human."
- Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: Alex's father Zuba has a huge notch in his left ear. It's explained how he got 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 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.
- Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had one from when he was still a regular rat in the live action films. In the computer generated sequel 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 Avatar.
- The mother tiger from Two Brothers.
- Alvin in the live-action adaptation of Alvin and the Chipmunks has a notch in his ear, perhaps to identify him as a scrappiest member of the group.
- The Dresden Files 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 Warrior Cats 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 Big Bad, Tigerstar; it's one of his more frequently noted physical characteristics.
- In Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, the description of Growltiger ("a bravo cat") states, in pertinent part, "One ear was somewhat missing, no need to tell you why...."
- The Eagle of the Ninth's Esca the (human) ex-gladiator has a cropped ear as his Slave Brand. This is Artistic Licence History and he's heavily characterised with Animal Motifs.
- The protagonist of a memorably weird children's book series called "Tough Ted"note , an anthropomorphic bear who's a former merchant seaman and apparently a bit of a Retired Badass, sports one of these.
- Gummibär sports one.
- 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 Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage.
- It may not be on the ears, but a male Garchomp has a notch on his back fin, while the female has no notch.
- Watch_Dogs: 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 Sole Survivor of that shootout is also how he earned his nickname.
- In The Intrepid Girlbot the Big Bad Raccoon — but not Big Bad — has an ear notch.
- After Raccoon #1 'splodes the family home, there are a lot more notches to be had amongst the rest of the raccoon population.
- Kevin & Kell: 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 Slightly Damned has ear notches. He's got Cute Little Fangs too, for what that's worth.
- Lackadaisy: Rocky has a notch on his ear - which he got playing with a gun because he thought it made him look dashing.
- Renowned spacer Ace from Commander Kitty sports one. CK even contemplates getting his own ear notched.
- All Kougras from Neopets, but not all of them have the prerequisite attitude.
- From the Furry Basketball Association, 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 True Tail.
- Rita from Animaniacs.
- Furrball from Tiny Toon Adventures.
- Modo from Biker Mice from Mars.
- Don Karnage from TaleSpin.
- Ratty from Mr. Bogus actually has two of these, one in the middle of his right ear, and one on the tip of his left ear.
- Stewie from Family Guy gets one when Brian tried to piece his ear (they were both drunk at the time).
- Invoked for livestock as a method of herd identification. Some of the more commonly notched livestock species are pigs, sheep and reindeer.
- For aquatic creatures 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 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.