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Man Bites Man
Two scoops of Eye Scream, please!

Fists incapacitated? Feet otherwise occupied? Never fear, thirty-two weapons are still available to you: the teeth!

This trope is about biting someone in combat. Biting is typically a desperate last resort employed when limbs are pinned. However, it is a move that can turn the tables in an instant. The true Combat Pragmatist will bite any time he fancies: an unexpected bite to the throat can take a foe down quickly. That kind of savagery can also be a sign of being Raised By Animals, or being outright Ax-Crazy. Strangely, despite the brutal nature of the attack, there are far more heroic examples than villainous.

A bite can result in some of the worst flesh damage a character can do to another, without a weapon. Most other unarmed attacks depend on blunt force. Expect the bitee to react with pain, shock and horror. As this is a trope about pragmatism, only humans and other organisms not expected to bite should be listed. No dogs, no vampires, etc. On the other hand, it can go quite wrong for the biter if it's countered or botched.

For a detailed analysis of the plausibility of this trope see the analysis page.

See Now That's Using Your Teeth when the teeth are used for less meaty purposes. See also You Taste Delicious.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • In one chapter of Blade of the Immortal, a crazed Itto-Ryu attempts to finish off Hyakurin this way by biting her throat.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Big Bad Shishio Makoto takes a chomp out of Kenshin to show that he's serious about his Social Darwinist philosophy ("The flesh of the weak is the food of the strong.").
  • Invoked in the first Hellsing anime, after Alucard shoots off Anderson's arms but Anderson still charges at him, prompting Alucard to taunt him: "Are you gonna bite me next?" Anderson decides to retreat with dignity after hearing this (from a vampire, no less).
    • Seras Victoria later bites off half of Zorin Blitz's hand while being punched in the face by her.
  • In Dragon Ball, Goku was prone to use this, most notoriously when fighting against Frieza and Kid Buu.
  • In a flashback within a Yu-Gi-Oh! episode, Anzu bites the arm of a rapist (thief in the dub) after he knocks Yugi down.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Index bites anyone who irritates her. Usually Toma.
  • In One Piece Filler Arc Little East Blue, Yoko uses biting as her way to attack.
    • Also Luffy, the main character (who's quite child-like), has no qualms about biting his opponents. Two examples include Arlong (was blocked) and Jinbei (who sat on him). When he tried it against Rob Lucci, Lucci dodging it oddly resulted in Paper Cutting.
    • In the anime, he also tries it on Crocodile in their first fight. Of course, Crocodile being what he is, this only ticks him off.
  • In Baccano!, Creepy Child Czeslaw Meyer tells world-renowned assassin and complete lunatic Claire Stanfield that he's not afraid of him, having been hurt and tortured in horrible ways for years. Claire's response is to grab Czeslaw's hand and bite his fingers off.
  • In Nabari No Ou, Shijima occasionally bites people in combat.
  • This is Turtle's signature attack in Rainbow. He doesn't get much opportunity to use it, but the bite wounds we see are brutal.
  • How can one forget Ubogin from Hunter Hunter? Bit through the skull of one enemy, and spit the fragment out with enough velocity to punch a hole in a second opponent.
  • Tiger Mask has a few examples. The most famous, being a Real Life wrestler, is Freddie Blassie, whose main shtick was to bite his opponent's forehead (or fingers, depending on what he could reach with his mouth). Interestingly, the series uses his appearances to show the problems with this technique: the first time, Blassie was neutralized as soon as Tiger Mask decided to go for the teeth (something he wouldn't have done if Blassie did not insist in biting him), both because his style revolved around biting his opponent and because having someone dance on your teeth hurts a lot; the second time, Blassie showed us that trying to bite the forehead of a taller opponent is a stupid move when said opponent has no concept of fighting fair, and ended with Blassie getting bitten on the forehead; the third time Blassie discovered both that his tactic was getting old and that you should only bite exposed skin when he bit the forehead of the masked wrestler Fantomas and broke his teeth on the steel plate he had placed there just for this occurrence
  • Attack on Titan: Most titans already do this, what with all the human-chomping that goes around. The rogue titan takes it much, much further, however, when it spots a certain titan who ate Thomas, and charges it despite his arms having been ripped off earlier, bites down on the back of its neck, then proceeds to swing the corpse around to hit the other titans.
  • Shut Hell has a tendency to rip her enemies throats out with her teeth. Initially it's because her hands are bound or something like that, but later on she seems to develop a taste for it.

     Comic Books 
  • Welcome To Hoxford: Ax-Crazy killer Ray Delgado of the horror comic has a strange fixation with biting, though notably he isn't a cannibal. In addition to being superhumanly strong, he uses this trope to great effect throughout the story, chomping down on both his fellow inmates and the werewolves that run the Hoxford prison. When one of the transformed guards enters his cell, he smiles � and then tears out its tongue with his teeth.
  • Secret Six: Being a team of Combat Pragmatists, the Six like this one. Bane kills a guard by biting his jugular, Ragdoll deactivates an opponents' power armor and gleefully chomps into his face, King Shark has it as his fighting style (naturally), Scandal bites off and swallows Fatality's ear and Catman takes down Bronze Tiger with an artery bite and later, as pictured above, bites out a kidnapper's eyes.
  • In Preacher, Jesse breaks free of a headlock by biting out a chunk of the holder's arm. Later, Jesse gets one of his eyes bitten out by God.
  • In The Walking Dead, Michonne bites off the governor's ear, and later bites him the neck. Later, Rick rips out a bandit's throat with his teeth. Much later, Eugene tops them both by biting a Neganist in the dick.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: Matter-Eater Lad mostly just eats weapons, but push him far enough...
  • Empowered does it when her suit doesn't work anymore (and she's depowered). Well, at the beginning. Later she stopped it, because bitten mooks tend to have grudges.
  • In the Sin City story "The Big Fat Kill," Gail does this to Becky, nearly ripping her throat out, after learning that she sold her and the girls of Old Town out to the mob to save her own neck.
    Gail: Your neck, your neck, your precious little neck...
  • In The Punisher MAX, Castle is fighting a guy whose face was blown off with a bomb and since losing the prosthetic that holds it on, he's now attached it to his skull with tape. Frank is cornered, and tears his face off with his teeth.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Diaries of a Madman, Luna tasks Navarone with doing this to Shining Armor, in retaliation for capturing her during a war games exercise. While it doesn't truly kill him, it does embarrass him in front of his men, and shocks those who see it.

    Film 
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982): Shortly after he is crucified upon the Tree of Woe, Conan is pecked at by a vulture and bites into the animal's neck, killing it. This scene was also borrowed from the original story "A Witch Shall Be Born." (They swapped in a dead vulture for the live one when filming this scene, and Arnold Schwarzenegger actually bit into its neck. He had his mouth washed out immediately after to protect him from disease.)
  • Batman Returns: The Penguin reacts to the jibes of one of Shreck's image consultants by sinking his teeth into his nose.
    "Still, could be worse — my nose could be gushing blood!"
  • In The Bone Collector, Denzel Washington finishes off the killer this way. A Crowning Moment Of Awesome since Denzel's character was paralyzed from the neck down.
  • In Dirty Work, Chris Farley plays a man whose nose was bitten off by a Vietnamese whore.
  • In The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, this is Jaws' specialty, as he has razor-sharp metal teath.
  • In From Beyond, the heroine chews off one of her monster boyfriend's tentacles.
  • In Conspiracy Theory, Mel Gibson's character bites off a baddie's nose while otherwise restrained, using the resulting confusion to escape.
  • In Kill Bill, the Bride's first kill upon getting out of her four-year coma was a trucker who tried to rape her, whose tongue she ripped out with her teeth.
  • Beauty and the Beast: "In a wrestling match nobody bites like Gaston!"
  • Much like The Bone Collector example above, the killer monkey in Monkey Shines is chomped to death by a quadraplegic.
  • In Die Hard 2, John McClane bites the hand of a terrorist....and spits out a bloody piece.
  • In Saving Private Ryan, Mellish is forced to bite the German he's fighting (it briefly stops him, but then the Nazi gets the upper hand and a knife).
  • In The Last House on the Left, one of the victims dupes the kidnapper/rapist into a sex game, then performs fellatio on him... you can guess what happens.
  • In Midnight Express, Billy (the protagonist) rips out a rapist's tongue.
  • In Black Swan, Nina gets the main role for biting Thomas while he forcibly kissed her.
  • In a rare villainous example, Hannibal Lecter bites a guard on the face in The Silence of the Lambs.
    • It's mentioned in the novel that he'd previously done this to a nurse who was administering a medical test, which cost her an eye and most of her face. Why do you think they put that mask on him?
    • In Red Dragon the police tries to identify the titular killer based on his toothmarks on the victims' corpses, implying that it was a major part of his modus operandi. It didn't work since he was wearing specially made dentures during the killings, which gave him a hideous, shark-like bite.
  • In Bunraku, the anonymous drifter chomps down on a killer while caught in a grapple. It forces him to let go.
  • Roper from Enter the Dragon bites down while in a leg lock, forcing his opponent Bolo to let go. See the Bruce Lee quote in the Real Life section.
  • Sarah rips out a crawler's throat with her teeth near the end of The Descent.
  • Not shown, but a security guard in Ocean's Thirteen is decoyed away from his post by a fake phone call from his son's school, claiming that his kid just bit the lunch lady. Again.
  • In The Fallen Ones (2006), a wimpy geek defeats a mook by biting his leg and crippling him with pain. Later, this tactic becomes an Epic Fail when he tries it on a mummy. As he's spitting out the decayed flesh in disgust, The Hero takes out the mummy and tells him he really needs to learn how to fight.
  • Black Widow bites Hawkeye during their fight in The Avengers.
  • In War INC, some guys ambush Hauser and beat him up. He turns the tables after he bites the leader's finger off.
  • In A Life Less Ordinary, Frank Naville bites Robert's leg after Robert shoots him.
  • Whoopie Goldberg does this in Jumping Jack Flash. Let's just say see also Groin Attack and leave it at that.
  • In Jumanji, Peter bites Hunter Van Pelt in the hardware store so that he'll release Sarah.
  • In Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, Maggie bites Freddy's nose during their fight at the end.
  • Used in Shanghai Noon during a brawl sequence between Chon Wang, a.k.a Jackie Chan, and several Native American warriors. Wang pins one of the guys on the ground but the warrior is still able to get his arm up with an axe in it. So what does Jackie do to prevent getting hacked to pieces, he bites the guy of course.
  • Indiana Jones bites the Giant Mook German soldier he fights in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • In Godzilla (2014), Godzilla uses his mouth and fangs quite frequently when fighting the Mutos.
  • Lock Up: During Frank's fight in the yard with Chink Weber (the thuggish convict played by Sonny Landham), he bites the man's arm when he nearly drives his shiv through Frank's neck.

    Literature 
  • In the Diablo tie-in novel Legacy of Blood, the villain is bitten on the neck by a woman he's about to torture. He starts to panic, thinking she might be a vampire, then realises she's just acting out of desperation.
  • Solomon Kane is not above ripping an opponent's throat out with his teeth when necessary.
  • One of Norm's favorite attacks, and apparently also erotic for him, in Rose Madder.
  • Jeremiah toward squad leader The Stoic Asher in Someone Else's War. Jeremiah is seven, so perhaps it's a little more justified.
  • In the Star Trek novel Section 31: Rogue, the Tellarite Doctor Gomp takes on a Chiarosian warrior by biting into his arm.
  • Happens during Galaxy of Fear: Clones, when someone comes up behind Tash and circles her neck with his arm, cutting off her air.
    Briefly, Tash considered trying to use the Force to lift up a nearby rock and hurl it at his head. But she couldn't concentrate, so she settled for something simpler.
    She bit him.
  • An arguable case in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum at least used to be a hobbit, and he bites Frodo's finger off.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire. When Vargo Hoat tries to rape his captive Brienne of Tarth she bites off his ear. The wound becomes infected and he goes mad with fever, leaving him helpless to fight or flee when the Mountain attacks his castle. Later in the novels Brienne gets blindsided by Biter (one of Vargo's men whose teeth have been filed down to points) who's able to pin her down and gnaw large chunks out of her face. She's only saved by the intervention of a third party.
    • Even after being filled with enough booze to knock out any mortal man, the Greatjon still has to be subdued by eight men — of whom he manages to kill one, wound two others and bite half the ear off another.
  • Lincoln Rhyme in The Bone Collector performs this against the villain. Given he's only barely above quadriplegic, it was one of his few options.

     Live Action TV 
  • In Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined), a rape is averted when the intended victim bites off her attacker's ear.
  • Jack Bauer kills a terrorist guard this way in the Season 6 premiere of 24, biting the guy's throat out.
  • Kamen Rider Amazon regularly bit the shit out of his foes. Along with the gore, this was likely one reason Moral Guardians complained; a bite to the neck is a heck of a lot easier for kids to imitate than a Rider Kick.
  • Cordelia in Buffy the Vampire Slayer once held off a vampire by sinking her teeth into his arm.
    Cordelia: See how you like it!
  • In the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "Bite Me", the investigation of bite marks leads to Dr. Jeri "Buffy" Cohen, a bite fetishist with a prominent set of choppers. Cohen's a dead end, but she does willingly give up a video showing her pleasuring a 'client' by biting him. Eeek.
  • CSI NY Greg Sanders got bit by a perp who had delusions that a large number of authority figures were The Reptilians.
  • Rome had a very squicky example where Pullo bit off a man's tongue.
  • The X-Files:
    • Episode "Eve" had the Eye Scream variety.
      Eve 6: I paid too much attention to a guard. Bit into his eyeball. *chatters her teeth* I meant it as a sign of affection. *laughs*
    • In "Grotesque", a Serial Killer who claims he is possessed by evil spirit bit Agent Nemhauser's hand when the FBI was arresting him. It's important plotwise as a Red Herring.
    • "Bad Blood" had a murderer who was a real vampire trying to revive vampire folklore and their old habits. He drugged his victims and bit their neck to exsanguinate them. It didn't work out with the coroner who wasn't drugged; in addition, the killer missed his fake fangs.
      Skinner: The coroner's throat's been bitten.
      Mulder: The coroner's dead?
      Skinner: No, his throat was bitten. Sort of...gnawed on.
  • In a non-zombie example from the The Walking Dead, Rick dispatches the leader of a group of bandits by sinking his teeth into his neck and letting him bleed out.
  • Luther follows a suspect into a derelict building, only to get tasered. As the killer crouches over a helplessly twitching Luther ready to finish the job with very large knife, Luther bites his wrist. It doesn't stop him (he pepper-sprays Luther, then flees as backup arrives) but does provide useful DNA evidence.
  • In Sons of Anarchy, expect this every time Tig gets in a fight.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • A move traditionally used by Heels (especially those with a "savage" gimmick), but may be employed by smaller, weaker Faces as well. As with any comparisons of Heels and Faces, expect some Moral Dissonance.
  • Sting recently told Hulk Hogan (or was it Ric Flair?) not to point his finger at him; otherwise, Sting would bite it off! This would have been an out-of-character moment for Steve Borden at any time in the past, but it perfectly fits his new "Insane Icon" gimmick.
  • Dementia of Glow always did this, more than any of the other rude ones. It only worked on jobbers or wrestlers unfamiliar with her, more technical wrestlers would use it to their advantage.
  • Classy Freddy Blassie began his performance career biting the heads off small animals, it only made sense he'd start biting other people when he wrestled.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the Rage Powers available to a Barbarian in Pathfinder is "Animal Rage," which gives your barbarian a bite attack and allows them to execute this trope on their enemies.

     Video Games 
  • In Siren: Blood Curse, little Bella Monroe bites a Shibito's hand to make it release her mother.
  • This trope crops up in Dwarf Fortress combat all the time. In fact, in adventure mode, players regularly defeat Boogymen by biting them, then shaking them around until their lower body is ripped off.
  • Street Fighter veterans should be familiar with seeing this as a grapple from Wild Child mutant Blanka. And Husky Russkie Zangief can get in on the delicious facechomping action. Yummy!
  • Side-scrolling Beat 'em Up Warriors Of Fate featured this as an option for one of the heroes, in-game known for his love of eating. Enemies seem to count for his appetite, it seems.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Wario has his Chomp special, which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin to anyone who touches his open mouth. His head inexplicably doubles in size while using this move and as a result, his victims are in his mouth up to the torso while he does the biting. It's the only time he's seen using this tactic in his history, but it's not terribly out of place, considering how bizarre his fighting style is.
  • Shadowrun Returns: In Dragonfall, Eiger is charged while reloading, and rips the attacker's throat out with her tusks.

    Web Comics 
  • A Newshounds story arc had Lorna thinking she was a dog, and watching a bad man (her father) chewing out Kevin. One of the other dogs compliments her technique (while watching in shock).
  • Newheimburg has Jack biting into a mugger's leg hard enough to draw blood.

     Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • Often played for laughs in Warner Bros.. cartoons, usually some animal-based Toon chomping on another Toon's leg or biting his bottom.
  • Justice League: Wonder Woman bites a Thanagarian.
  • Happens in the episode of The Legend of Korra, where Bumi fights against Ghazan by fighting him physically and even bites him on the shoulder. Justified because Bumi had started learning Airbending and was using it only for a brief time.

     Real Life 
  • The infamous "Bite Seen 'Round The World" during the 1997 Mike Tyson/Evander Holyfield match, where Tyson got disqualified for biting Holyfield's ears, one bite being severe enough to rip off a piece of his right ear. The incident in question did not help Tyson's image at all, and made him look like even more of a savage.
    • Another famous sports-related biting is that by Uruguay striker Luis Surez, who famously bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during the group stage at the 2014 World Cup. As Surez had bit opposing players on the pitch on two previous occasions and had several other black marks on his record, FIFA instituted a nine-international-match, four-month ban, the longest ever placed on any footballer, effectively excluding him from the rest of the World Cup and potentially the South American championship in 2015 as well.
  • A woman in South Africa bit off her rapist's tongue and handed it to police as evidence.
  • The field of forensic odontology, in addition to Identification by Dental Records, also deals a lot with bite mark analysis in cases where a criminal or a victim bit the other during the commission of a crime. Cases where such evidence played a key role included the case of Serial Killer Ted Bundy as well as the case of Jesse Timmendequas (the Megan's Law case).
  • Bruce Lee once said he wouldn't be above biting someone in a fight if he believed it was necessary.
  • Self-defense instructors wouldn't oppose. Along with eye-gouging, ear-twisting, and the classical Groin Attack, biting is considered by experts to be one of the most basic and effective methods of self-defense. Fun fact: Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, even harder than bone. You can do a lot of damage with those things.
    • Although, given the amount of blood carried diseases running amok nowadays, some self-defense instructors now discourage it and recommend only using it as a last resort.
  • Although advertised as having "no rules," the very first UFC event did have a number of rules, including one against biting, as have all Mixed Martial Arts events since then.


OM NOM NOM NOM
Lamprey MouthTeeth TropesMore Teeth Than The Osmond Family
Magical EyeAnatomy ArsenalMulti-Armed and Dangerous
Look Behind YouTrying to Catch Me Fighting DirtyNot Cheating Unless You Get Caught
Make Me Wanna ShoutNatural WeaponPower Pincers
Make It Look Like a StruggleFight SceneMle Trois
Make Games Not WarCombat TropesThe Man Makes the Weapon

alternative title(s): Take A Bite Out Of Crime
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