Leaf Boat


In a show that has Talking Animals or Funny Animals, with the animal characters mainly being mice, birds, lizards, insects, etc., sometimes you can expect there to be a body of water like rivers, lakes or ponds as the setting. The best way for these animals to have transportation is to use a leaf as a boat in order to travel from place to place.

Put bluntly, this is a trope in which an animal character will use a leaf as a boat. It can also be used in fairy tales as well as being a common motif in any tale or art to do with little people like the fey/fairies.

Often seen in Mouse World settings.

Closely related to Lily-Pad Platform. See also Tree Vessel.


Anime and Manga

Animated Films

Comic Books
  • In Mouse Guard, Sadie uses one to travel to Calogero.

Fairy Tales

  • The elven boats in The Lord of the Rings, while not literally made of leaves, use this as a visual motif.
  • In Tad Williams' Otherland series, the heroes' boat turns into a leaf when they travel into a simulation in which they're smaller than the local insects.

Video Games
  • In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, while Link is tiny, he can go on top of a leaf and use his Gust Jar to propel himself across the body of water.
  • Used in the Lost Woods dungeon of Dark Cloud to go to a hidden bonus dungeon.
  • One puzzle in Simon the Sorcerer requires the protagonist to improvise one of these after being shrunk.
  • Legends And Myths: One shows up towards the end of the City of Eyes level. If you click on it, it grows swan-like wings and sails away, only for another to replace it. It doesn't serve any purpose, but it's pretty.

Western Animation
  • Clumsy uses a leaf boat in The Smurfs cartoon special "Smurfily Ever After" to deliver invitations for Woody and Laconia's wedding, with his first stop being the Pussywillow Pixies.

Real Life
  • Some types of Ants use leaves to cross streams.
  • Water striders are predatory insects that "walk" on the surface-tension of still ponds. When they find a dead or drowning bug, they'll drag it to a floating leaf, so they can eat in peace without the risk of being swallowed by a fish from below. Occasionally the leaf then gets washed into a stream and carried off, which is one way water striders colonize new ponds.