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- Pikachu often rides on Ash's shoulder. However, he's heavy enough to tip him over, which may have been lampshaded once when it takes James a bit to get used to the sudden weight of the amnesiac electric mouse.
- Similarly, Iris's Axew pops out from her hair to form this appearance on her shoulder. And despite being her smaller than Ash, Axew weighs three times as much as Pikachu.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
- In 07-Ghost, a dragon-like creature rides on Teito Klein's shoulder.
- As part of her part as an evil witch in the Non-Indicative First Episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Nagato gets a shoulder-mounted cat. It tends to slide off, so she has to keep pushing it back up throughout the episode. Kyon's sister has the cat on her head in the opening sequence.
- Luna and Artemis from Sailor Moon. Luna once passed herself off as a fur stole.
- Xxx Holic: After much experimentation (including up Watanuki's shirt, and probably once or twice in his pants), Mugetsu appears to have found his(?) niche as a shoulder pet.
- Moyashimon has a weird example: Tadayasu Sawaki is often seen with an anthropomorphic spore of Aspergillus oryzae sitting either on his shoulder or on his head. It's often seen chatting up other microorganisms, or making comments on the craziness in Sawaki's life (even though Sawaki and the audience are the only people who can see or hear it).
- In the Tokko manga, Kureha's pet phantom can be seen sitting on her shoulder in one panel.
- In Digimon Savers, Kudamon adopts a Feather Boa Constrictor position around Sampson/Satsuma's shoulders. Then you learn who Kudamon really is about 2/3 of the way through the series and it almost becomes a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment — sitting around this guy's shoulder is someone who was in a position to doom the world, if he'd sided with those who'd really sent him.
- Often, it's the human partners who take this position on the Mons when they're in their giant combat forms. Of course, they (generally) have the good sense to stay out of the direct line of fire.
- Dragon Ball: Dr. Briefs often has a black cat clinging to his shoulder.
- In K, Neko (in kitty form) sits on Shiro's shoulder like this. To take the cuteness Up to Eleven, they tend to do things in unison (e.g. hand/tail waving, blinking).
- In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Dumbledore frequently carries Fawkes The Phoenix on his shoulder. Once, he has both Fawkes and his Phoenix Patronus on his shoulders. Then, at one time Fawkes gets especially upset at Dumbledore, the phoenix spends an entire evening riding on Harry Potter's shoulder. It is later discussed whether having a phoenix on your shoulder is a sign you're a "good" person or not.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Jack the monkey in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl tends to settle himself on Barbossa's shoulder.
- In The Abyss, Hippy's rat is often in this position.
- Prehysteria featured a miniature Pteranodon that liked to perch on a girl's shoulder. In one scene, said girl even calls her to perch on her finger like a trained parakeet.
- Many of the smaller daemons in The Golden Compass are seen riding around on their companions' shoulders.
- In A Girl Named Sooner, Sooner's pet bird rides contentedly on her shoulder.
- In The Crow, the crow can sometimes be seen perched on Eric's shoulder.
- Captain Flint, Long John Silver's parrot in Treasure Island, may be the ur-example.
- The Sword in the Stone: Merlin's pet owl, who is very stuck up, can be shut up by lowering your hand he's perched on, forcing him to run up your arm to your shoulder, thus demonstrating to him that he is only a bird and thus subject to a bird's instincts.
- In Guards! Guards!, Lady Sybil Ramkin is seen training swamp dragons to sit on one's shoulder, as shoulder-sitters are in fashion. However, the would-be fashionistas often don't consider the consequences of having a volatile creature on your shoulder, as Sybil details: "... next thing you know, you've got crap all down your back and a singed hairstyle."
- It is a centuries old tradition in Honor Harrington that treecats ride on the right shoulder of their human, necessitating that a treecat's person include padding in their wardrobe to accommodate their claws, and wear hats with the brim rolled up on the right side so they don't get in the way. On occasions where Honor doesn't have access to her regular wardrobe, she simply carries Nimitz. This also goes for those adoptees who aren't quite strong enough to go walking about comfortably with a 30+ pound cat riding on their shoulders.*
- Dragonriders of Pern: Beauty, Menolly's queen fire lizard, reserves this position exclusively for herself.
- ''Literature/Corinna Chapmann mysteries : Lucifer, a smallish but very active and bold kitten, litter-mate to "Fluffy" Tori and dignified Nox, often rides on the shoulder of Trudy the gardener. Trudy greatly admires his rather slapstick enterprise. He is often described as looking as if he has eaten a parrot and taken it's place.
- Faithful, the black cat in Song of the Lioness, likes to be on Alanna's shoulder. While he's happy being picked up by her friends, he won't go on their shoulders.
- In The Chronicles of Narnia, Reepicheep occasionally rides on someone's shoulder. However, he does not appreciate being mistaken for a pet.
- In an episode of The Bill, the police speak to a local resident who happens to have a cat on his shoulder. None of the characters act as though this is unusual, and the man never appears again.
- Polly, Long John Silver's lobster (parodying the parrot of the original) in Muppet Treasure Island.
- The Traveller Adventure, section "Pysadian Escapade". It's mentioned that the alien anolas can ride on the PCs' shoulders.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- The Complete Ranger's Handbook specifically averts this trope in its Falconry section, pointing out that hunting birds are never carried on the shoulder. As their natural instinct is to take out an ear or eye blinding-fast, even the most well-trained falcon cannot be trusted so close to the face. Thus, seeing any bird of prey riding on someone's shoulder is a sure sign that it isn't a natural animal, but more likely some sort of magical beast or familiar.
- Pseudo-dragons are described in several editions of the game as being fond of this trope, when bonded with a humanoid companion.
- The eponymous Daxter from the Jak and Daxter games has this as his default position. Jak's shoulder, while probably made of iron itself (Daxter weighs 48 lbs/22 kg and Jak literally does everything with him there), most likely gets saved from being shredded by his claws thanks to his single shoulder pad.
- In Puzzle Pirates, the player can get a "familiar" pet that perches on the player character's shoulder. Originally they were all parrots or monkeys, but later updates to the game have added octopuses and seahorses (which nonetheless like a shoulder perch) and serpents (which go the Feather Boa Constrictor route).
- Team Fortress 2:
- The Medic can equip his pet dove Archimedes like this, for the low, low price of $12.99! It even mirrors his facial expressions. Also, if he's on RED team, it's covered in blood. Cute, huh?
- The other classes eventually all got their own shoulder pets, with Chucklenuts the squirrel, an eagle for the Soldier, a Halloween-restricted dead bird for the ever-creepy Pyro, an actual parrot for the Demoman, a tiny robin for the Heavy, Ein the canary, Sniper gets three with the Cobber Chameleon and Steel Songbird and Sir Hootsalot, and Spy gets his own Spycrab and possibly a snake as well. The snake is debatable, as it wraps around his arm, though its head rests on his shoulder. And that's not even counting the pocket pets. What with them being in pockets and not on shoulders.
- Blackwing, Vaarsuvius' raven familiar from The Order of the Stick, has started riding of V's shoulder once the wizard started acknowledging the bird's existence consistently. This can sometimes look weird, since stick figures in this comic have heads bigger than their shoulders are wide.
- Bun-Bun and Kiki of Sluggy Freelance regularly rides some shoulders. Kiki is just a cute Weasel Mascot, but for Bun-Bun... it isn't like anybody would dare saying "no" to the little bunny psychopath.
- Discussed, but never actually done, in Freefall. When contemplating piracy, Helix says that they need to include Florence, because she's the only one with shoulders for the parrot to ride on. Later, Helix gets an emu, which he believes will command more respect. Sam agrees, "I know I'd be respectful of a pirate with an emu on his shoulder." Note that they plan to be space pirates, and there's no artificial gravity, so this might be less intimidating than intended.
- In Godslave, this is Anpu's favourite method of travelling, in contrast to being picked up.
- Both Iago the parrot and Abu the monkey in Aladdin: The Series.
- The Simpsons:
- The illustration on the cover of Treasure Island that Bart was supposed to read for a book report, but didn't.
Bart: Fellow students, prepare to be dazzled! (walks to the front of the room) Well, as Mrs. Krabappel already mentioned, the name of the book that I read was Treasure Island. It's about these... (describing the book jacket) pirates. Pirates... with patches over their eyes... and... shiny gold teeth... and green birds on their shoulders... (pause) Did I mention this book was written by a guy named Robert Louis Stevenson? And published by the good people at McGraw Hill. So, in conclusion, on the Simpson scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, one being the lowest, and five being average, I give this book... a nine. Any questions? (hands go up) Nope? Then I'll just sit down.
- Played With in the episode "Simpson Safari", where they take a trip to Africa and meet their guide, Kitenge who first appears with a bush baby on his shoulder. Lisa comments on it being cute. Cue Kitenge being surprised it's there and shooing it away.
- The illustration on the cover of Treasure Island that Bart was supposed to read for a book report, but didn't.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Momo the lemur-thing rides on Aang's shoulder a lot.
- Then there's also the pirates from "The Waterbending Scroll", one of whom has a "reptile bird" instead of a parrot.
- In The Legend of Korra, Pabu tends to wrap himself around the shoulders of whoever he's most attached to at the moment. Usually it's Bolin, but occasionally the other members of the new Team Avatar.
- In Perfect Hair Forever, Young Man's parrot must be lazy, as it doesn't so much ride than sit on his shoulder.
- Jana of the Jungle: Jana sometimes has Tiko sitting on her shoulder.
- In The Transformers, Lazerbeak often assumes this position with either Megatron or Soundwave when he's not being stored in Soundwave's chest. In the comics he tended to perch on the shoulder of whoever was Decepticon leader, so he spent time on Shockwave and Scorponok as well. (He probably would have done the same with Ratbat, but it would be quite difficult since they're about the same size.)
- Traditionally, the African basenji dog is carried over rough terrain by laying it across its owner's shoulders, with its legs extending forward like a canine Feather Boa Constrictor.
- Many kittens and small cats, especially the overly friendly Bengal Cat, will climb onto somebody's shoulder, assuming they aren't declawed. Or even if they are, especially if you're sitting down and thus they can jump from your lap to your shoulder. Some full-grown cats try to, even though they are too big. (It can work with adults if you're wearing something with a hood.)
- Shoulder-riding is a favorite activity of many pet rats, as they like the feel of being high up, yet still sheltered by their owner's neck and hair. Chinchillas and hamsters are a few other rodents known to do this.
- Ferrets when held will instinctively try to climb up onto your shoulder.
- Many pet birds like to do this, if they're not on their human's head. That said, falconers are trained to keep their birds away from the face unless they really really want an eyepatch.