Food and Animal Attraction

"That's the last time I hide pet snacks on my person!"
Jon Arbuckle, this 1988 Garfield Sunday strip banner.

A character has some sort of food hidden in their clothing or on their person. It ends up attracting an animal or animals, much to the misfortune of the character. This can lead to an embarrassing situation in some cases, such as getting past a drug-smelling dog at an airport. The character that hides the food in his clothes may lack common sense, sometimes bordering on Too Dumb to Live, or another character is The Prankster who thinks it would be funny to hide food in the first character's clothes without them knowing. Expect this trope to show up in comedies and animated shows.

In most cases this trope is what causes Squirrels in My Pants. Often crosses over with Stock Animal Diet, since the hidden food will generally be the stereotypical one for the animal attracted.

Anyone who's ever been walking home carrying some takeout boxes and passed someone who was walking their dog will tell you this can be Truth in Television.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • This is one of the tactics used in Episode 12 of the Little Lulu anime to get rid of the mean butler that replaced Wilbur's butler. While the mean butler was drying off his clothes after sinking in the lake and trying to dry off while standing in nothing but his Goofy Print Underwear, Tubby snuck around from behind in the bushes and placed a few handfuls of dog food in the butler's coat pockets. Later, when Lulu and the others followed by the butler return to town, the smell of the dog food in his coat pockets have attracted a small band of dogs that immediately begin chasing him to get at the dog food that he had in his coat.

    Comic Strips 
    Films — Animation 
  • Up has Kevin the bird appear because Russell has a chocolate bar in his pocket.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Happens in The Dresden Files when Harry meets Injun Joe for the first time in Summer Knight and his pet raccoon goes immediately for the half of a chocolate bar in Harry's pocket.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Dude, What Would Happen?, one of the guys dresses as a carrot to lure a horse.
  • On WGN's local kids show Ray Rayner and his Friends, host Ray Rayner had a duck named Chelveston which came out for a segment Once an Episode or two. It got in some water and ate some food, and that was pretty much it. To get Chelveston to chase him around, Rayner would put duck food pellets in his pants cuffs so the duck would go after him to try to get at the treats.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series pilot episode "The Cage". During one of the illusions the Talosians create for Captain Pike, a horse starts nuzzling his jacket pocket in search of the sugar therein.
  • In the Top Gear Africa Special, Hammond and Clarkson try to invoke this trope deliberately against May by planting huge chunks inside the bodywork and engine compartments of May's car as they approached a game reserve, hoping to attract lions to him. They failed.
  • Exploited in an episode of CSI; a woman going through a messy divorce wipes bacon grease on her hands to spite her husband after agreeing that his beloved dog would live with whomever it "chose". He then proceeds to attempt to sneak in and replace the dog with another, so she shoots him. The sound of the gunshot causes the replacement dog to go berserk and tear her throat out.
  • In one episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon is chased by a vicious dog because it can smell the hot dogs Sheldon was hiding in his pants.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, Sheppard discovers a planet inhabited by glowing dots that are attracted to his power-bars. Since they also register strongly on Lantean life-signs detectors, he ends up exploiting this to kill a Wraith: he attracts a bunch of the creatures, tosses the power-bar to the wraith, and then radios his orbital backup, telling them to attack the strongest life sign they see.
  • Variation in Dragnet where a detective had pocketed a bag of marijuana at a scene and hadn't yet checked it into evidence. Ginger, the pot-sniffing dog, smelled it and kept nosing at the guy's pocket until Friday pulled out the bag.

    Western Animation 
  • In Phineas and Ferb, there's an entire song where this happens. Candace gets acorns in her pants, and of course, squirrels follow...
  • Spongebob Squarepants has an example of this when Gary the snail gets really affectionate towards Patrick over the cookies in his pocket.
  • In an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, whilst traveling with two feuding tribes across a grand canyon, everyone is told not to bring food because it will attract vicious giant insects. Both tribes sneak food hidden in their clothes, assuming that the other tribe would also do so.
  • On American Dad!, Steve tries to make his junk look bigger by stuffing a bunch of sausages down his pants. Unfortunately, this just leads to further humiliation at school with a drug dog smells them and tears his pants out.
  • In an episode of Family Guy, Brian & Stewie visit a petting zoo. Brian places some animal feed in Stewie's pocket when he has his back turned, and this causes all the animals to chase after Stewie.