Naive Animal Lover

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.

Related tropes: 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
  • 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.

Film - Live Action
  • 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 aggressive as ruined by his violent father. The horse actually killed his father, but Ward decides to keep it and give it a cutesy name.
  • In Masques, Aralorn does something incredibly stupid ... she rescues a wounded wolf from a pit trap. Subverted, as she can magically calm the animal down ... and it wasn't an actual animal, anyway. "Wolf", actually a magician in disguise, becomes her friend.
  • 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.
  • Referenced in The Colour of Magic:
    (Rincewind) always held that panic was the best means of survival; back in the olden days, his theory went, people faced with hungry sabre-toothed tigers could be divided very simply into those who panicked and those who stood there saying "What a magnificent brute!" and "Here, pussy."

Video Games
  • 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.

Western Animation
  • In the South Park episode "Rainforest Schmainforest", a Costa Rican tour guide reassures a frightened Stan that coral snakes are more scared of humans than we are of them - just before the snake attacks him, swallows him whole, and poops him out in a matter of seconds.
    - Mrs. Stevens: "Jesus Christ, is he dead?!"
  • Leela in Futurama is this way. In "The Sting", she gets Fry killed although it's just a dream by bringing a killer space bee aboard the Planet Express because "it's so cuuuutteee!" In "Bender's Game", she refuses to save her friends from a giant worm called the Tunneling Horror because she has just vowed to never kill another living thing.
  • Elmyra Duff from Tiny Toon Adventures is both an idiot and and animal lover. It doesn't matter if the animal is ferocious and has sharp teeth and claws, her undying love for them keeps her quite oblivious to how dangerous they are. When she does manage to get her hands on them, the animals find out from the way she treats them that she's even more dangerous than they are.
  • An Animaniacs sketch ("The Hip Hippos") involved a Jane Goodall Expy maintaining vigilance over a pair of City Slicker, Nigh Invulnerable (because of their obesity) Idle Rich hippos. The Running Gag was her seeing them in (what she believed to be) danger and try to save them, only for the hippos to come out of the stunt all right and her hurt in some comedic fashion (with them not even noticing she was there).
  • The Simpsons: In "The Squirt and the Whale" after failing to save a beached whale, Lisa tries to save its pod of offspring from a group of sharks. But then she learns An Aesop that sharks need to live too, and in order to live they eat other animals - such as baby whales.
  • Bubbles of The Powerpuff Girls. A friend to just about every creature great and small. Magnified in "Helter Shelter" when she brings a beached baby whale home.
  • While Fluttershy of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is usually good at dealing with animals, she becomes this in "Swarm of the Century" when she decides to adopt a cute parasprite, which then multiplies and very nearly destroys Ponyville by eating everything (even buildings) in sight.