There's an old Native American story in which a boy encounters a rattlesnake. The snake asks the boy to pick him up and be his friend. After the boy does so, the snake bites him. When the boy, now dying, asks, "Why did you bite me?" the snake merely responds, "You knew what I was when you picked me up."
Some characters in fiction suffer from the same delusions. No matter how dangerous an animal is, no matter how sharp its teeth or claws are, no matter how many people it has eaten, they insist that it's perfectly safe to be around and get cozy with. Sometimes this stems from a mindset that Humans Are the Real Monsters
or "we can learn so much about them", but more often than not, it leads to someone else getting killed or seriously injured.
A subversion of Friend to All Living Things
as well as The Farmer and the Viper
. Characters like this usually are a Horrible Judge of Character
except applied to animals instead of people, and will often be Too Dumb to Live
. A character may become this if he loves animals but Animals Hate Him
. May be a member of an Animal Wrongs Group
Film - Animated
Film - Live Action
- The Disney version of Mowgli from The Jungle Book insists he has all the necessary skills to survive in the jungle when he clearly doesn't, and as such, he thinks he can handle animals that want to kill and/or eat him on his own. The most notable example of this is before the final battle with Shere Khan. Despite the Vultures' insistence to run away, Mowgli refuses to move. Khan probably would have succeeding in killing him, too, if not for Baloo holding him back by his tail at the last second.
- Nick and Sarah, a pair of animal rights activists in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, cause nearly every single death in the movie and almost get themselves killed several times because of their stubborn beliefs that Humans Are the Real Monsters. First, Sarah is nearly impaled by a stegosaurus when she tries to pet its baby. They then release all the captive dinosaurs, causing a stampede in the camp, and bring a wounded baby T-rex back to their lab to nurse it back to health. This turns out just as you'd expect, and they get an innocent character killed and lose their radio equipment (along with their entire lab) in the process when Mama and Papa Rex come for them. This forces the rest of the characters to hike through raptor territory in order to reach the nearest communication source. And to top it all off, Nick unloads the hunter's gun and removes their only practical means of self-defense by doing so.
- The events of 28 Days Later were kicked off by a bunch of animal-rights activists liberating a bunch of infected monkeys from a lab.
- In Elf, Buddy runs into a raccoon and goes over to pet it. The raccoon hisses at him, but Buddy thinks he just needs a hug. That's when the raccoon attacks him.
- The Werner Herzog documentary "Grizzly Man" shows the life of Timothy Treadwell, who was one of these in Real Life, and the horrible death that befell him and his girlfriend because Nature Is Not Nice.
- In Prometheus, a character finds a snake-like creature who is obviously acting in an aggressive manner but still decides to get in close to touch it while calling it "baby". It doesn't end well.
- Ward in Dragon Bones is thought (partly due to his Obfuscating Stupidity) by other characters to be this with regard to a very vicious horse, but in fact is really a Friend to All Living Things, as he knows his way around horses and the horse in question is actually not so much agressive as ruined by his violent father. The horse actually killed his father, but Ward decides to keep it and give it a cutesy name.
- Hagrid in Harry Potter, who is known to befriend all sorts of dangerous beasties, from dragons, to flesh-eating books. Although they really don't harm him (much), his monsters are often a danger to the heroes.
- Canary in Phantom Brave creates a monster rights group called "Human Activists for Rare Monsters". Its acronym is also what the average monster wants to do to Canary.