One of the most prevalent Animal Stereotypes
. Animal characters, whether Talking Animals
or Funny Animals
, have a love for a certain kind of food that goes to the point of obsession (they go crazy for it) or exclusivity (they eat nothing else).
Which food the animal character loves is determined mostly by the character's species, and is usually universal across series, companies, and even media. Sometime these diets are true. For example, cats really do go nuts for fish. Others are so ridiculously false that it's amazing how they ever got started, but have been presented to us as true so often, that it's weird to think that it can't be true
. Could you imagine a mouse not liking cheese?
Compare Trademark Favorite Food
The most commonly encountered are:
— Anything in a picnic basket
— Honey. This one is actually true
. Bears go mad over honey and will raid hives when they find them. The crunchy bee larvae are a protein-packed bonus. (In fact, some languages' word for "bear" actually translates to "honey-eater.") Bears go absolutely gaga over any
sweet food; it's genetic. Condensed milk is a perennial favorite of polar bears, who hardly ever have anything sweet in their normal diet.
- That includes ice cream, as Ed Sullivan found out when he was holding an ice cream cone for a dancing bear doing his act on The Ed Sullivan Show. When it started melting, Sullivan took a lick and the bear saw that, roared in outrage and charged him for mooching on his ice cream.
- Aside from honey, fish and berries and the only things bears will eat in fiction.
- Winnie-the-Pooh is notorious within his own stories for his love of honey.
- Most characters in the "Winnie-the-Pooh" stories had one of these foods, as revealed when Tigger first arrived. Pooh loves honey, Piglet loves "haycorns", and Eeyore loves thistles. Tigger, who claimed to eat anything, decided he didn't like any of these foods. Tigger eventually ended up living with Kanga and Roo because his favorite food turned out to be Roo's strengthening medicine - extract of malt.
- Malt extract is what it sounds like - it is made from malt (what you make beer from) and was considered healthy for little kids who are growing. BTW, Kanga couldn't help her maternal instincts, so she started having Tigger eat some of Roo's breakfast as HIS strengthening medicine... as if he needs it.
- In The Three Stooges short "Idiot's Deluxe" a bear steals the stooges food as they're camping in the woods, and we get a long shot of the bear licking the honey out of a jar with it's extremely long tongue.
- Beowulf. No bears appear, but the hero's name means "bear." Or rather it's a kenning for it, because what it literally means is "bee-wolf" — the animal that acts like a wolf toward bees.
- Today the "bears eating honey" is slowly being replaced with "Bears eating salmon", which is also Truth in Television as fish are a main component of a bear's diet. This came into play in Brother Bear.
- The sequel also has berries, which is another thing that bears eat.
- In Pixar's Brave, Merida and her mother-turned-bear Elinor enjoy a daughter-mother moment by catching fish at a nearby river. Unfortunately, this becomes one of the first instances of her mother succumbing to the bear's instincts.
- Also in Ace Ventura The Animated Series where the titular pet detective had to find the missing salmon after bears start attacking the fishermen.
- A within-universe commercial in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang had Michelle Monaghan's character interacting with a poorly CG animated talking grizzly for a fictional drink called "Genaros". Bear: "I'm for Genaros, but what do I know! I'm a bear! I suck the heads off fish!".
- Also, anything in a picnic basket—excuse us, a pic-a-nic basket. Also true: bears are omnivores, after all, and campers in bear territory have to store their food where hungry and curious ursines can't get at them (usually, this means a tree branch high and strong enough to carry the pack, but inaccessible to even the most determined bear).
- Subverted in The Great Muppet Caper. When the airplane crew member walks into the 9th class section where Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo arenote , Fozzie says, "Oh, maybe they're bringing hamburgers."
- This is sort of true, as beavers will eat the leaves, small twigs, and inner bark but not the entire log itself other than wearing it down.
- In The Angry Beavers, the beavers not only ate wood (for example, they use wood shavings in their cereal), but chewed on it to keep their teeth from growing too long, which is true for beavers in Real Life.note In one episode, Norbert's refusal to chew on wood because his long teeth made him popular with the other animals caused his teeth to grow out of control and trap him (along with his brother Daggett, who also stopped chewing out of jealousy) in a cage made of their elongated front teeth.
- Franklin's friend, Beaver, was occasionally chewing on wood (especially in one episode where she fell a small tree with her teeth to demonstrate her skills to her friends).
- Chip from the Animal Crossing games averts this. He prefers to eat fish.
— Worms or seeds
- "The early bird catches the worm," is an old proverb. A common rejoinder is: "What an incentive..."
- The worm variant shows up in the Tex Avery short The Early Bird Dood It
- Wile E. Coyote often tried to lure the Roadrunner into a trap by tempting it with bird seed, even though real roadrunners are actually predatory.
- In Ox Tales, Audrey is an ostrich who likes to bury her head in the ground to look for worms to eat.
- In The Fox and the Hound, the two bird characters are constantly trying to catch the 'fuzzy worm', who turns out to be a caterpillar.
- A running gag on the U.S. Acres segments of Garfield and Friends was Booker trying to catch a worm.
- Big Bird knows how to make a birdseed cake and birdseed cookies, eats birdseed toast for breakfast, orders birdseed milkshakes at the local soda shop...
- In Stuart Little (the book), Mrs. Little rewards Margalo for saving Stuart's life by making her a tiny cake with seeds sprinkled on top.
- One type of Neopet available for adoption is called a Pteri, which is more or less a bird in all but name. Feeding it any "worm" food (even the Hot Worm Hot Dog, which is normally classified as a Gross Food) will make it full ("bloated"), cure it of any disease it is carrying, and restore all of its hit points.
- In Adventures of the Gummi Bears, the Carpies eat worms, despite resembling vultures.
- Fish, Meat, Mice/Rats, and/or Birds. Though they were originally bred to hunt mice. Of course, with fictional cats, actually catching
mice or birds is very rare. They can have better luck with fish though, at least sometimes. Milk is also a popular treat for fictional cats, despite the fact that many cats can end up being lactose intolerant in real life. note
Occasionally they will eat the corpse of a reclusive human owner.
— Grass or Hay
— Road Runners
- The source of this one is pretty obvious, but because of the Wile E. Coyote cartoons people believe it.
— Corn, or sometimes other farm crops. Also carrion.
- The Barney Bear short "Cobs and Robbers" where Barney is a corn farmer and two crows dress in a scarecrow suit and try to steal his corn.
- An episode of Little Bear had a group of mischievous yet goodhearted crows eating from Little Bear's corn field.
- In The Wizard of Oz, crows come from miles around to eat the corn in the Scarecrow's field and mock him.
- Lord Commander Mormont's raven in A Song of Ice and Fire regularly begs for corn by name.
— Bones. Which is partly true. Most commonly Stock Femur Bones
- Older Than Feudalism: Aesop's Fables tell a fable about a dog who was carrying a bone and saw his reflection in a river. The dog, desiring the bone in his reflection's mouth, barked at it, dropping and losing his own bone. But it's inconsistent, in that some versions of the story replace the bone with a piece of meat instead.
- In A Night of Fright is no Delight, it is shown that Scooby-Doo is not afraid of haunted bones.
- Some cartoons even show dogs hankering after ''fossilized'' bones, despite the fact they're made of stone and wouldn't smell
- Which was used in Pixar's Up, where one of Muntz's cleaning dogs was shown cautiously nibbling on his fossil displays when he wasn't looking.
- This is only partly true because dogs love chewing on bones, since the act of chewing relieves stress and boredom. Actually eating bones isn't the point, and can lead to throwing them back up if their stomach gets irritated from the bone shards. Many dog-owning tropers can attest to the fact that dogs will chew almost anything they're given. Or just happen to find.note
- They may be after the marrow inside the bones as well, or the connective-tissue coating (periosteum) that fresh bones have on their surfaces.
- One episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog had a magical giant bone so irresistible to dogs they licked it until they died of starvation. Courage managed to escape this fate through sheer Heroic Willpower.
- A Disney episode had Pluto try to steal a large bone from a sleeping lion in the zoo because his bone was too small.
- In Catdog, bones are Dog's main motif (in fact, half of his house is made of a giant bone fused to a giant fish, which is Cat's motif). He even once stole the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex from a nearby museum and when arrested, was eating the bones of dead prisoners, whose cannibalistic behavior horrified cat (although in the end it was All Just a Dream by Cat).
- Spike the bulldog from Tom and Jerry loves bones so much that he's almost always shown sleeping with a bone resting under his paw.
- Son of the Mask had the Uncanny Valley cartoon baby trick the mask-wearing dog with an exploding bone, Looney Tunes style.
- In Sooty, Sweep loves bones to the point where he can't understand why everyone else doesn't like them as much as he does. For example in one of the spin-off books he genuinely thinks an ideal birthday present for someone else would be an oil painting of a bone.
- The dinosaur bone joke was also used in an episode of Jackie Chan Adventures where Jade's pet dog, Scruffy, is accidently possessed by a demonic Japanese oni mask that mutates it into a gigantic beast. Before becoming completely taken over, Scruffy engages in typical dog antics, including stealing a dinosaur bone from the local museum and trying to bury it.
- Used yet again in the Candadian Gross Out Show Mega Babies, where a robotic dog is constructed to keep the trio of super babies company. Of course, the robot malfunctions, culminating in it causing trouble around the city, including stealing a generic dino bone.
- Bones are often a favorite food of choice for Krypto The Super Dog and his super canine allies.
- In Minecraft, dogs are tamed by feeding them bones, although after that, they only eat porkchops and zombie flesh.
— Breadcrumbs, fed to them by a Homeless Pigeon Person
- Ducks, geese and swans will heartily eat bread (even better if it falls into the water before, as it's easier to swallow).
- There's a scene in The Summer of the Swans where Sara takes her mute brother Charlie out to the pond to feed bits of rolls to the swans.
— Peanuts, Buns (UK)
- Which is one of the more idiotic examples, actually. Elephants can only digest about 40% of what they eat, so in one day they need approximately 400 to 600 pounds of food. Needless to say, if they go for peanuts exclusively, they're dead. The real "nut" that elephants are crazy about is coconuts, which they love so much they'll eat it with its shell. They also eat coconut palm tree leaves on a regular basis.
- The elephant/peanut connection comes from performing elephants, as gullible circus audiences were (and still are) persuaded to buy overpriced peanuts to feed to the animals as well as themselves. After the show, the elephants go back to their pens and eat hay.
- Elephants also have a love for chocolate more than peanuts and also a hankering for sugarcane, even robbing sugar cane trucks in Thailand.
- Elephants apparently also love watermelon. An Animal Planet show shows them eating it enthusiastically.
- The Classic Disney Short "Working for Peanuts" had Chip 'n Dale trying to steal peanuts from an elephant at the zoo while trying to avoid the wrath of zookeeper Donald Duck.
- Shows up in Dumbo.
- Lampshaded in the Simpsons cartoon, "Bart Gets an Elephant" where Bart gets a pet elephant and names it Stampy. To solve the food problem, Homer follows this trope by giving Stampy a whole bag of peanuts (from Moe) to eat which later causes it to become sick and weak afterwards. Lisa: "He can't just eat peanuts, Dad, he needs plants to live." Learning from his mistake, Homer has Stampy strip all the leaves from a nearby park.
- The elephant from The Penguins of Madagascar went crazy from hunger after the zoo lost power and tried to eat lemur Julian because he looked like a peanut.
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a film producer who has been working on a film starring the cartoon elephant Dumbo remarks that the best part about it is that the star is literally paid peanuts.
- A couple of Pay Day candy bar ads involved an elephant going after a hapless man's Pay Day bar, because it had peanuts in it.
- An episode of Krypto the Superdog had Streaky assisting the Dog Star Patrol in their mission to catch the thief responsible for stealing the world's supply of peanuts. The perpetrators turned out to be a group of space elephants that were stealing all of the peanuts, because as we all know, elephants love peanuts.
- The Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "An Elephant Never Suspects" had the rangers accused of peanut thievery by most of the animals at the zoo, including a group of elephants. The peanuts were actually being used by a pair of panda siblings in a machine made entirely out of bamboo, with the peanuts made into peanut butter as fuel for the machine.
- Peanuts also seem to be the Trademark Favorite Food of Tantor the elephant in Tarzan.
- In his segments on CB Bears, Undercover Elephant's love of peanuts caused him to blow his cover.
- Woolie the Elephant in Cats Don't Dance makes peanut tea for Danny when they first meet, and rambles on random factoids about peanuts.
- Peanut dispensers are among the enrichment items available for elephants in Zoo Tycoon 2. If given an easel as another form of enrichment, elephants will occasionally paint a picture of a peanut.
- In one of The Mary Tyler Moore Show's most famous episodes, "Chuckles Bites the Dust", kids'-show host Chuckles the Clown dresses as one of his characters, Peter Peanut, as Grand Marshal of a local parade. Unfortunately he's marching in front of a group of circus elephants, which according to the observers, "shells" him to death.
- In British media the idea that elephants liked peanuts was comparatively rare, but there was an idea that elephants love buns, and certainly an idea that people liked to feed elephants buns when they visited them in the zoo or at the circus.
- The story Too Many Buns For Rosie by Eva Haddon lampshaded this. It was about an elephant who loved buns, but ate too many of them which made her unhealthy until she switched to eating fruit and vegetables.
- In The Beano video The Bash Street Kids are told that elephants have a good diet. Fatty is pleased with learning this as he thinks an elephant's favourite food is buns, so takes it to mean he can eat lots of buns.
- Averted in the second Beano video, The Beano Video Stars, where an elephant who has come along with the Bash Street Kids is sat in a cinema and is eating neither peanuts nor buns, but that stock cinema snack, popcorn.
- In The Beano comic itself, in one issue Minnie the Minx said elephants were her favourite animal and decided she wanted one as a pet. She couldn't get a real one, so she got Fatty Fudge (a different character to Fatty in the Bash Street Kids) as a substitute by dressing him up as an elephant and feeding him buns in a Motivation on a Stick way.
- Averted in the second The Heroes of Olympus book The Son of Neptune. A passing mention is made of Frank accidentally giving Hannibal the elephant indigestion by feeding him peanuts.
- This shows up in the second act of the Mr Bogus episode "Hipster Tripster", when Bogus finds himself facing against an elephant at the zoo when trying to acquire some of the elephant's peanut cache.
- In a Fox Kids Club crossover story featuring The Magic Adventures Of Mumfie, Mumfie gives the other Fox Cubhouse characters peanuts to give to Rimba. This example is odd, seeing as this trope is averted by the actual show itself, where Mumfie's favorite foods are cake and mashed potatoes.
- Chicken or rabbits. Foxes are carnivorous scavengers, as such they'll take any food they can get but they especially love chicken. There's a reason "Fox in the henhouse" is an old saying. Real foxes seem to like rabbits; Time
magazine, citing the Virgina Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, claimed that 44% of the fox's diet is rabbits.
- Chickens are among the prey Mr. Fox steals for his family in the book Fantastic Mr. Fox.
- The standard Fox-Chicken-Grain Puzzle (i.e. if the fox is left alone with the chicken, or whatever prey animal is present in the puzzle, it will eat it).
- The folk tale Rabbit's PhD thesis inverts this. The thesis claims that rabbits eat foxes! The rabbit lures a fox into her rabbit-hole to see the thesis, and then the fox disappeared. The rabbit's thesis advisor was a lion who ate foxes.
- A fox threatened the rabbits in at least one version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
- The Game of the Gods referenced this when one character threatened to use a Baleful Polymorph. "I will turn you into a rabbit and put you among foxes."
- The Happy Harmonies short "The Hound and The Rabbit" features a villainous fox that tries to devour the rabbits a hound has recently befriended.
- There was a fox in the animated adaptation of U.S. Acres who always wanted to steal the chickens.
- Flies, which they catch with their long, sticky tongues.
- Rocko's Modern Life: Mr. and Mrs. Bighead (and any other toad) tend to catch any fly that flies around their vicinity with their tongues. Mr. Bighead also enjoyed it. Like real toads, Mr. Bighead also enjoyed eating other insects, including the ones that tried to eat his precious garden, and even kept a bug jail for future consumption (before Rocko saved them).
- Courage the Cowardly Dog: Among the strange phenomenon plaguing Courage and his owners were a group of bullfrogs led by their king who invaded their house and tried to build a pond in their living room. They force the Bagge's to act like frogs, including catching flies with their tongue, and use Courage as a fly catcher by covering him in honey. Courage rids the house of the frogs by catching flies with fly paper, stapling the fly-covered paper on the walls above where the frogs were preparing to feast on Eustace and Muriel, catching their attention where they all get their tongues stuck together on the sticky fly-paper trying to get the flies, and then grabbing all their tongues and flinging off into a far away distance.
- The Princess and the Frog: After being turned by frogs by a magic spell, Tiana and Prince Naveen fall under their animal instincts and try to eat the Plucky Comic Relief firefly, Ray. Tiana was even embarrassed that her instincts are showing.
- An episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers had a frog force a tribe of beetles to find him a fly because he's tired of eating beetles, and naturally they capture the fly member of the Rescue Rangers, Zipper.
- In Battletoads, the 'Toads restore their health by eating flies.
- In one game available on the The Emperor's New School section of the Disney Channel website, "Red-Eyed Tree Frog Man", frog!Kuzco can eat flies with the player's aid to gain extra time.
- Tin cans or other junk and metal. Paper, too.
- In case you were wondering, this started from people misinterpreting goats trying to eat the labels (and glue) off cans. Now you know, And Knowing Is Half the Battle.
- Goats' genuine taste for paper sometimes turns up in variants of the homework-eating-dog scenario.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians Grover, the half-goat satyr would like to eat tin cans apples and such.
- One Popeye cartoon randomly featured a Funny Animal goat who eats steel, and eventually eats an entire navy ship.
- A Daffy Duck Wartime Cartoon, "Scrap Happy Daffy", has Nazis sending a goat to eat piles of scrap metal that Daffy was guarding for the war effort.
- Lampshaded in The Simpsons episode "Lisa The Vegetarian". The family visit an amusement park that has a petting zoo, and Homer tries to get a goat to eat a tin can, but the goat isn't interested. Marge tells Homer that they're supposed to feed them from the animal feed stored in a machine.
- In one episode of The Garfield Show, Garfield gets turned into a goat and says that he got a craving for tin cans.
- Subverted and lampshaded in a later episode, where a goat becomes offended when Garfield gives it a tin can instead of food. However, Garfield only meant for it to lick the glue off the can.
- Steamboat Willie again—a goat being transported on the boat eats Minnie's ukulele and sheet music. (So what do they do? Bend its tail at right angles and use it as a hand-cranked phonograph!)
- In the U.S. Acres episode "Temp Trouble", Aloysius Pig's pet goat licks the glue off a tin can, and Aloysius gives him 10 demerits.
— seem to enjoy sunflower seeds a little too much
— sugar (usually sugar cubes), carrots, apples or hay. Real horses will eat all of these things, but hay and/or grass makes up the bulk of their diet, supplemented with grain; the rest, especially the sugar lumps, are treats that should be given sparingly.
- Prince Phillip in Disney's Sleeping Beauty bribes his horse with the promise of "an extra bucket of oats. And a few... carrots?", only to irritably retract the carrots after the horse inadvertently clotheslines him on a tree branch.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the amount of times Link can make his horse Epona boost her speed is measured in carrots.
- The old cliche, "Hey? Hay is for horses!"
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has this, in some interesting ways. Twilight Sparkle mentions eating hay, and everyone enjoys Applejack's... well, apples. The entire population seems to have a huge Sweet Tooth for things like cake and candies, which is probably an extension of the "horses like sugar cubes" concept. (Real Life horses will quite happily eat all manner of sweet foods, from fruit - including but not by any means limited to apples - to baked goods to hard candies and the classic sugar lumps).
- Given that the local sweet shop/bakery is called Sugarcube Corner, chances are this was deliberate.
- In Gulliver's Travels, the intelligent Houyhnhnms try to feed Gulliver hay to see whether or not he's one of them or a barbaric Yahoo. When he turns it down they bring him raw meat (which Yahoos eat), but he turns this down as well.
- Maximus from Tangled loves apples.
- One episode of Doug had the eponymous protagonist, after buying his own tall tales about his horse-riding prowess, forced to ride a vicious and unrideable horse named Sugar. He was only able to temporarily appease it by offering it sugar cubes.
- A Knight in NetHack starts the game with apples and carrots, to feed its pet pony. Horses in this game can also eat other vegetarian food, such as lichen corpses.
- Subverted in a episode of The Garfield Show, where Garfield tries to feed a horse a bale of hay only for the equine to react in disgust and complain that hay is dry and tasteless.
and sometimes Mexican
food. And they typically drink beer, although older, more cultivated men may drink whiskey or scotch. If serving in the police force, it's donuts and coffee
— Chocolate is Better Than Sex
or low-fat yogurt if they're on a diet. When they do drink alcohol, it's usually white wine or the fruit-flavored kind that men would get made fun of for drinking. (Truth in Television
, as they will mostly go for sweet
liqueurs of cocktails.) When they're depressed, it's a carton of ice cream
— Candy, cake and ice cream. Kidnappers and wicked witches know this, hence children are warned to beware of "strangers with candy." When obliged to eat something that isn't a dessert, they prefer junk food, considering anything more sophisticated than a hamburger and fries "yucky" or "gross."
College Student Humans
- Lampshaded and parodied in The Simpsons when an elderly neighbour offers Bart a stuck-together clump of stale candy because she knows "boys love candy."
— Ramen Noodles and Pizza. Or fries and pizza. If they lack the money for pizza, they will just make some more fries.
Drinking anything with alcohol or caffeine in it. Or alcohol and caffeine
— While cartoon babies may be portrayed as quite intelligent
and self-reliant, they generally depend on applesauce and small bottles of milk for sustenance.
Mice (and sometimes rats)
. (Even though in real life most don't like it
. Ironically, the mouse's mortal enemy, the cat, adores it.) Peanut butter would be a better choice, which mice DO love.
- Monterey Jack from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers has a psychotic reaction to just the smell of cheese, or even hearing anyone say the word. There's even an episode where his cheese addiction is treated like a G-Rated Drug and his friends have to confront him about it.
- A Looney Tunes cartoon featured Hubie and Bertie, two mice who, after gorging all night on cheese, realized that even looking at it made them feel sick, so feeling they now had nothing to live for, they tried to get a cat to eat them.
- In the novel House of Tribes, cheese is revered by mice as the Food Of The Gods.
- Anatole, a French mouse in a series of picture books by Eve Titus, gets a job as a taster in a (human) cheese factory, leaving notes with suggestions for improvement.
- If this sounds vaguely familiar, there's a reason or two.
- Notably averted in Ratatouille where Remy and his family are shown eating a wide variety of food. However, in one scene his human partner, Linguini, gives him a piece of cheese from the food storage closet, which he eats with joy. Of course, he could have been starving, so anything seemed good to him; and he's a connoisseur of French cuisine, so perhaps it was just good cheese.
- Rats, which are more prone to eating animal protein than mice are, enjoy cheese more than their little cousins do.
- For Jerry of Tom and Jerry fame, cheese is still his favorite food, but he'll eat almost any food that's available to him no matter what it is.
- In MouseHunt, the mouse loved cheese so much it devoured an entire cheese wheel that the two Butt Monkey Plucky Comic Reliefs were using to catch it. In the end it became a string cheese food taster.
- Mickey Mouse averts this. In every cartoon, he's rarely seen eating any cheese at all. This is due to Disney's rule that Mickey is to never, ever be shown with cheese. "Cheese makes Mickey seem like a mouse. He's really not a mouse, you know, he's really more a human."
- In one House of Mouse episode however, Mickey spent the rent money on cheese. Specifically, a huge wheel of it that he swallowed in one bite. Even on House of Mouse, cheese is only one of the things Mickey eats, though. He also likes candy and sandwiches.
- Also, at the "Mickey's House" attraction in Disney World, Mickey's refrigerator (at least at one time) sported a copy of his shopping list—which consisted entirely of different types of cheese.
- In An American Tail, immigrant mice come to America believing the streets are paved with cheese.
- The browser game MouseHunt involves using cheese to bait a trap, though the varieties of cheese are as weird and wonderful as the mice they attract.
- Rattrap of Beast Wars loves cheese, he even has a picture of one in his Heads-Up Display. Then again, he's not really a rat...
- In the Nitrome game Cheese Dreams, an anthropomorphic ball of cheese is captured by space mice so obsessed with cheese, they use it to power their ships.
- This particular Stock Animal Diet concept probably arose because, while hungry mice will nibble on any food that's left out in a pre-refrigerator-era pantry, cheese was the only thing that actually showed clear tooth impressions to prove they'd been doing so.
- Ignatz, of Krazy Kat fame, is quite partial to cheese. In fact, cheese is to mice what catnip is to cats, and even Krazy Kat succumbs to its effects after getting invited to a "Fromage Festival" held by the mice.
- In real life, a lot of vermin mouse and rat poisons are made to have the smell and taste of chocolate, as the little rodents are actually quite fond of anything sweet.
- In Magnus Powermouse by Dick King-Smith, the pest control officer baits his trap with a chunk of Mars bar, and the narration notes that the stereotype is wrong.
- Tutter on Bear in the Big Blue House is a connoisseur of everything cheese and enjoys trying any type of cheese he can, including gouda and feta.
- Warehouse Mouse on Imagination Movers loves cheese.
- In the Tortall Universe novel Wolf-Speaker, Daine (who can speak to animals) has a conversation with a mouse, who tells her that mice aren't nearly as fond of cheese as humans seem to think, and suggests several things it would rather be fed instead.
- In Touhou: Unidentified Fantastic Object, Nazrin the mouse-youkai has a possible cheese emote when talking. Of course, being a youkai, she's also not one to pass up on human prey.
- In the Czech/German film Velká sýrová loupež (The Great Cheese Robbery), a group of three mice try to rob a cheese store.
- Ratty from Mr Bogus will periodically eat cheese, when he isn't trying to steal anything or trying to one-up Bogus.
- Mice eat cheese in Who Moved My Cheese. Downplayed as the cheese is metaphorical. It's more literal in the direct parodies, which use rats instead of mice.
Monkeys (and sometimes Apes or Gorillas)
— Bananas. Rather funny, as the Real Life wild bananas
are smaller, green and far less tasty compared to the cultivated golden banana the humans are familiar with.
- In Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong keeps a hoard of yellow bananas. The Kremlings steal the hoard, and Donkey and Diddy must recover the bananas. The Kongs presumably like to eat bananas, but we know not why the Kremlings want them.
- This was parodied in Brawl in the Family. The other Kongs eat the hoard, but Donkey and Diddy blame a nearby pair of Kremlings. Then Donkey and Diddy attack the Kremlings, and K. Rool must buy bananas at the grocery store to placate the Kongs.
- Parodied in a Looney Tunes cartoon where a Chimpanzee is shown in a room with several blocks and a banana hanging from the ceiling. The expectation of the narrator is that in this logic test, the chimp will stack the boxes on top of each other to reach the banana. Sure enough, he chimpanzee stacks the boxes, climbs up to the banana... then whips out a saw and uses it to cut the entire section of the ceiling away to bring down the refrigerator that happens to be sitting right above it. Cut to the next scene of it happily enjoying turkey legs and cake, much to the surprise and confusion of the narrator.
- In Discworld, this is the best way to get into the Librarian's good graces. Sometime between Light Fantastic and Sourcery he hires inept wizard Rincewind to fetch him bananas.
- In a rare live-action version, this was amusingly subverted in Escape From The Planet of the Apes - Zira is in a test room with a set of puzzle blocks that form a staircase. Hanging above is a banana. She completes the puzzle in about fifteen seconds, climbs the stairs, looks up at the banana and sighs. When one of the scientists wonders aloud why she won't take it, she replies testily "Because I loathe bananas!"
- Inverted in Manifold: Origin by Stephen Baxter; when the advanced hominid "Daemons" (who resemble gorillas) want to reward the human scientist Nemoto, they try offering her a banana. She is understandably insulted.
- Subverted in an episode of Justice League. The Flash offers a banana to a gorilla in a laboratory, before being scolded by a scientist. When the gorilla reveals himself to be the Mad Scientist Gorilla Grodd, he clocks Flash a good one and remarks, "That was for the banana. I hate bananas."
- Also parodied in Brandy & Mr. Whiskers where Brandy tried to use a banana to bribe villain gecko Gaspar's giant monkey mooks, who took offense to the stereotype (though they later expressed enthusiasm in finding bananas for themselves after they left).
- Curious George ate not only bananas, but anything else he could get his hands on (like a puzzle piece).
- Gunther, a monkey from one episode of Futurama, likes bananas but prefers not to eat them since they remind him that he's only fully sentient because of Professor Farnsworth's experimental hat.
- Magilla Gorilla always ate bananas; he'd squeeze them at the bottom and they'd pop out the top & into his mouth.
- The original King Kong may not have mentioned bananas, but the Universal Studios theme park ride blasted the audience with banana-flavored gas from animatronic Kong's mouth.
- In "Shall We Dance?" on Imagination Movers, the Movers get some bananas from one of their rooms and are seen running out of the room, accompanied by the sounds of chattering angry monkeys.
- This is actually true as shellfish are a predominant part of a sea otter's diet.
- A Geico commercial saw the Gecko trying to explain insurance to an otter. He asks if the otter is eating clams, and then professes his own love for clams... Yeah.
— Mice and other small rodents
- Though rodents are part of their main diet, they're only a part. Owls will eat just about any small animal it can catch.
- Mrs. Brisby in The Secret Of NIMH is afraid to go see the Great Owl because "Owls eat mice!"
- A scary one-eyed owl chases the furlings down in Once Upon a Forest, who are a hedgehog, a mole and a woodmouse respectively.
- Spike from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses this assumption to try to frame Twilight Sparkle's new pet owl Owlowiscious (who he was jealous of), by finding a toy mouse and covering it in ketchup so it looked like blood.
- It's mentioned a few times that Hedwig goes out every night to catch mice and frogs.
- One episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy had Billy's mother go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against a particular species of owl when she thought one of them ate her beloved snot-covered rat after she let it out to roam in the yard. In the end it was revealed by an animal expert that the owls could not have eaten her pet since they were vegetarians. It was actually Big Eater Billy's dad who devoured her rat.
- In a Calvin and Hobbes arc in which Calvin turns into an owl, Hobbes wonders in one strip if the pet shop will sell him mice to eat.
- Pandas in fiction will only ever eat bamboo. Admittedly in Real Life it does for a major part of their diet, but not to exclusion as they will also eat other vegetation plus eggs, fish, and carrion.
- The bamboo association comes from the fact that pandas have the same dietary needs as your average grizzly, but (possibly when they noticed bamboo was edible) they got too lazy somewhere along the line to actually catch anything that's not rooted down, and bamboo is plentiful where they live; so if you see a panda in the wild, and it's eating, there's a good chance it'll be eating bamboo.
- This is actually a misconception that was only recently debunked. While the majority of a panda's diet is bamboo, they are not eating it for the sake of eating bamboo: they're trying to eat the bugs and small rodents that live in the bamboo. It's like how humans will end up eating a lot of apple skins in their lives, not because they like the skin itself, but because it contains the delicious apple within.
- Iago from Aladdin averts this; but to his annoyance he's often force-fed crackers by the sultan even though he hates them.
- Truth in Television as fish is in fact their main food (although different penguin species eat different types of fish) along with krill and squid.
- The penguins in The Penguins of Madagascar had several episodes involving their love of fish (for example making a growth ray so they can have more fish to eat, stealing a truck filled with fish when their diet of fresh fish was replaced with disgusting fish-cake shaped imitations, and defeating a giant monstrous fish in a nearby park lake then turning it into sushi).
- The entire plot of Happy Feet resolved around Mumble trying to find a way to get the fish back for the starving penguins by communicating with the "aliens" who were stealing it (actually humans).
- The cartoon baby penguin, Chilly Willy, once tried to eat a stuffed sword fish when invited into the home belonging to a friendly dog and his owner.
- Sort of averted in Surf's Up. Cody the rockhopper penguin (and presumably the other penguins) ate fish, but enjoyed the squid on a stick served on the island where the surfing competitions took place because it Tastes Like Chicken.
- The Penguin from Batman Returns at one point greedily eats a raw fish, although he was a mutant who was raised by penguins when he was abandoned as a baby.
— Corn cobs, pigswill (obviously), and in the UK, turnips. Also humans
- In one The Muppet Show "Pigs in Space" skit, the crew of the Swinetrek are distracted from finding the Ultimate Answer because the galley is serving "Swill Stroganoff".
- Dennis the Menace (UK)'s pet pig Rasher can be lured places with turnips, and otherwise has his head in a trough of swill.
- In the Discworld novels, kids leaving out a sherry and a pork pie for the Hogfather also leave a turnip for the wild boars who pull his sleigh, as a counterpart to Roundworld kids leaving a carrot for the reindeer.
- Charlotte's Web has the pigswill.
— Carrots. Full stop. Non-Funny Animal
rabbits are sometimes shown eating lettuce. Rabbits do like both vegetables, but mostly they eat hay or grass.
- Bugs Bunny has been shown eating lettuce (with carrots, of course), exactly once in his career. Any other time has been strictly carrots.
- This flash video parodies it, along with other traits of your typical talking rabbit.
- Reisen and Tewi, a pair of youkai rabbits from the Touhou series are sometimes depicted eating carrots in fan works. Both of them also wear a carrot pendant.
- In Dark Cloud 2, you recruit one character, an anthropomorphic rabbit, to your trainload of support characters by giving him a carrot.
- Fun Fact: Carrots have too much sugar for rabbits to eat everyday. They'll get Bunny Diabetes.
- They do love them though.
- The rabbit/carrot stereotype was parodied by Anya in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode.
Bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes
They've got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses
And what's with all the carrots?
What do they need such good eyesight for anyways?
Bunnies, bunnies, it must be bunnies!
- Subverted in Watership Down, where the rabbits correctly eat grass as their staple diet, and don't even have a word for "carrot." At best, they'd lump them together with other tasty vegetables as "flayrah," meaning "princely food."
- Subverted in Happy Tree Friends, where the rabbit, Cuddles, is highly allergic to carrots.
- While Bunnicula sinks his fangs into most veggies, he notably drains several carrots dry, including on the cover.
- Used in variation in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The rabbits loved to eat carrots (in fact, in the movie Gromit fed the ones they caught only chopped carrots), but also enjoyed eating any other vegetables and fruit they could find (which was unfortunate for those who were growing them for the vegetable competition) necessitating the need for Wallace and Gromits' temporary rabbit catching services.
- One episode of Hero 108 had rabbit leader, Jumpy Ghostface, and his clan briefly join villain High Roller's side because he gave them candy, angrily rejecting Ape Trully's offering of carrots as persuasion for living in peace with humans because they already have carrots growing in their kingdom.
- In the Drawn adventure games, pictures of carrots can be used to attract or decoy bunnies.
- Woo from Sandra and Woo averts this. He even got mad when being told raccoons eat garbage.
— Human corpses/carrion, filth, garbage, cheese (examples for cheese go in the mice section, since it usually indicates that rats and mice are being used interchangeably.)
Seals and Sea Lions
- All Quiet on the Western Front featured rats that would come out after battles to eat the dead soldiers.
- In early episodes of South Park, rats would always come to eat Kenny's dead body.
- In Willard, the title character trains the rats in his basement to exact revenge on his overbearing boss. At the climax, he commands his Swarm of Rats to eat his boss alive. In the 2003 remake, the rats consume a live cat as well. And in the original movie, the rats turn on Willard himself at the end, and eat him.
- In Charlotte's Web, Templeton goes along to the fair with Wilbur so he can gobble up garbage after the place closes. In the film, this gives him an enormous Balloon Belly.
- Averted on CSI: New York, when Mac needs to bait some rats and uses scrambled eggs, which really is a ratty favorite.
— generally shown eating fish, but leopard seals will invariably be seen going after penguins.
— humans, or otherwise anything they so much as notice.
- This one is especially unfair, given the relative rarity of someone being attacked by a shark, let alone actually being eaten. Sharks can and do bite with deadly results, but it's because biting is their way of figuring out what something is. It isn't their fault humans are so fragile.
- Jaws can almost fully be blamed for this stereotype.
— Rats and mice if they're small, humans if they're huge constrictors.
— Flies, or in a series starring insects, any kind of bug. Spiders are generally treated like the cats of the bug world.
Squirrels and Chipmunks
- The other bugs inside the Peach are wary about Miss Spider, in part because she's creepy, and in part because she's French. Oh, also, she might eat them.
— Any sort of nut, usually acorns.
- Chip 'n Dale are a prominent example of chipmunks favoring acorns, though they've been known to expand their diet of acorns to include peanuts and apples in some shorts. And their diet seems much more varied in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.
- In Spongebob Squarepants, Sandy Cheeks has a big thing for nuts. Most of her inventions are nut-based, such as the machine that could read the thoughts of nuts.
- The squirrels in Jimmy Neutron once stole Sheen's Ultralord action figure and worshiped it because it cracked open their nuts.
- In one Looney Tunes cartoon, "Much Ado About Nutting," a squirrel looking for nuts finds a coconut and tries unsuccessfully to break it open.
- Real life squirrels regularly gnaw holes on coconuts to eat the coconut flesh.
- In one Disney cartoon, a flying squirrel (which, unlike Real Life flying squirrels, actually flies) harasses Donald Duck and his Peanut stand because Donald wouldn't give him a specific peanut. They proceed to engage into an Escalating War, all because of that specific peanut.
- Slappy the Squirrel from Animaniacs loved to eat walnuts, and often risked her safety (not that she had anything to worry about) picking walnuts from nearby yards defended by dogs.
- Subverted with Hammy from Over the Hedge, who found himself enjoying human food like donuts, chips, and coffee more than the food he and his mixed animal family used to eat before their home became invaded by suburban home development.
- Every Scrat scene in the Ice Age always had the prehistoric squirrel trying to catch or find a safe spot for his acorn at the risk of his safety.
- Screwy Squirrel was sometimes shown cracking walnuts by placing them on his head and smashing them with a hammer.
- In Western Animation, their eating of wood will be accompanied by Buzzsaw Jaw.
- In reality, if you have termites in your house, they'll get into and eat practically anything an ant would.
- Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant is "A novel of love and lettuce".
- The tortoises in Esio Trot by Roald Dahl much prefer lettuce to "thick old cabbage leaves".
- In reality, tortoises need to eat thick, fibrous vegetation. Some tortoise species can have lettuce in moderation. They do seem to love the stuff, it's just not good for them.
- Averted by Om in Small Gods, who generally eats "dead leaves a goat'd spit out," but prefers melons if a human can cut through the rind for him.
— Triceratops, Sauropods, Stegosaurs
, and when cloned in modern times (or happens to encounter time travelers), humans. They're extremely persistent about it too.
- The Jurassic Park series, naturally.
- Perhaps even moreso in the book where the Tyrannosaur seems to be stalking Dr. Grant and the kids in particular, even leaving behind a Hadrosaur kill to pursue them down a river. In the movie, it generally only eats humans when they happen to be easily in reach.
- In the sequel The Lost World (both the book and movie) its justified because the tyrannosaurs only stalk the humans because they took their baby.
- Though technically an Allosaur, Gwangi of The Valley of Gwangi really loved humans. He also developed a taste for elephant too, though throughout the film it's shown that Gwangi will happily leave behind large kills just to chase after and devour tiny humans.
- The Tyrannosaurs in King Kong were willing to fight an 80 foot gorilla just to get at the pretty little human he was carrying.
- Sharptooth from The Land Before Time likes sauropods, particularly Littlefoot and his mother. But he goes after Littlefoot's friends too.
- In documentaries, tyrannosaurids tend to eat hadrosaurs, which is Truth in Television.
— Anything that drops dead in a desert.
- The vultures in Snow White eye the chase scene between the dwarfs and the witch with hunger in their eyes. They know that no matter the outcome, they'll feast tonight.
— Sheep, pigs, small children
- This one is deeply rooted in Fairy Tales like Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and many more. Like with sharks, this has had the negative impact of people hunting wolves to extinction in some areas, despite that wolf attacks on humans are rare.
- Wolf in The 10th Kingdom often craves all of the above.
- Ralph, the wolf from Looney Tunes who constantly tries to steal sheep from Sam the sheepdog's flock, and fails every time.
- The Chinese cartoon Pleasant Goat And Big Big Wolf has an anthropomorphic wolf and his wife who try to hunt the (equally anthropomorphic) neighboring goats with the same results as Ralph.
- Clever Polly And The Stupid Wolf; apparently the whole of wolf society, including their nursery rhymes, are based on eating people.
- In Minecraft, the only livestock wolves will go after is sheep. On the other hand, they'll only try to eat humans if you attack them first, and if you stand near them holding a bone or porkchop, they will stare at it hopefully.
- in White Fang, the starving wolf pack tries to make a meal out of two human explorers as a last resort.
— Several of the above.
Random Real Life
- The video game Baku Baku Animal is based on this trope: dogs eat bones, rabbits eat carrots, pandas eat bamboo, monkeys eat bananas, and mice eat cheese.
- Truth in Television: Koalas can only ingest gum (eucalyptus) leaves. Even water makes them sick, although they will drink it if they're really really desperate. And that's only particular kinds of gum leaves.
- Was a big plot device in an episode of the Animated Adaptation of Ace Ventura, where eucalyptus cough drops were used to pacify a group of angry Koalas.
- Oddly, this makes more sense then you might think: the compounds in eucalyptus that are soothing to human throats in small quantities and toxic in larger ones are actually a mild drug to koalas. That's right—koalas are always stoned. This is why when you disturb them, they tend to be pissed—they're coming off of a high.
- Lammergeiers eat almost exclusively bones.
- If you see a lizard in a cartoon, chances are, he/she is gonna be shown eating insects and catching them with a long sticky tongue. This raises quite a few problems, since the only known lizards to have a long sticky tongue are Chameleons and Green Iguanas are often used....who just happen to be herbivores.
- Green iguanas can and usually do subsist on plants only. But they will actually eat meat if it's easily available and doesn't require too much biting. Moreover, pet iguanas go gaga for chafer grubs. Also, the iguana can make the tip of its tongue slightly sticky - simply by flexing the tongue the right way.
- A variation on this is that frogs - amphibians, not lizards, but regardless - will always be seen eating houseflies exclusively, when in reality they're much less picky about the insects they do eat.
- Not just insects; most species of frogs and toads will basically eat anything that is smaller than themselves, and in some cases they will even take on larger prey.
- A few lesser known examples: Alligators love chicken, Crocodiles enjoy rats, and Caimans primarily subsist on fish.
- A fairly obscure extension for alligators is that they absolutely adore marshmallows.
- It's obviously not something they can live on, but they'll also eat fruit as part of enrichment. Like watermelon.
- Porcupines are salt addicts, due to the lack of sodium in their normal diet (tree bark & leaves). This is why you should never leave wood- or leather-handled tools or unwashed socks outdoors overnight in porcupine country, as they'll gnaw on sweaty grips or eat fabric for the sweat that permeates it.
- Avi did his research - having Poppy's Grumpy Bear Deadpan Snarker porcupine friend, Ereth, have an addiction to salt (especially salt lick, which Poppy and her mouse family got him for his birthday in the novel, "Ereth's Birthday").
- Dogs will go apeshit for pancakes. And bacon.
- Hence the Beggin' Strips commercials. "IT'S BACON!!"
- Dogs will go crazy for certain veggies like squash, sweet potatoes, and green beans.
- Songbirds and worms. Occasionally they will eat insects. Or breadcrumbs, if the focus is on the friendly Bird Woman.
- Truth in Television: Polar Bears really love to eat toothpaste.
- Although they don't encounter it in nature, elephants LOVE chocolate. One episode of "Inside Nature's Giants" had a team of biologists determining the inner contents of an enclosure elephant's digestive system by feeding it a recording device with a chocolate outer coating.
- If you have a pet rabbit, they will eat all sorts of things, including human food. However, none of it is good for their delicate digestive systems, except romaine lettuce.
- Averted in Real Life with this YouTube video of a squirrel eating a BIRD! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC03dc5Pgms
- Asian palm civets, known as luwak, eats (among other things) coffee fruit.note After passing through the animal's digestive system, the beans are then turned into the most expensive brand of coffee in the world... TMI?
- It's unclear whether the coffee's flavor is changed by the digestive juices or if the civet is simply able to detect the best beans. It's probably a combination of both.
- Cats love ham and pork. Bacon is often too salty, but cooked pork and ham are safe to feed as a treat. They also adore cheese, even if they aren't interested in regular milk. Some like to lick (or even eat) watermelon and/or cucumbers.
- Rats eat virtually anything people do, which is why they thrive in our cities, but they're especially fond of scrambled eggs.
- People usually think of monkeys and apes as vegetarians, but chimps and baboons will readily kill and eat small animals, including small monkeys. Chimps also love termites, using spit-moistened twigs or blades of grass to get them.
- In older dinosaur books, Baryonyx will always be mentioned as a fish-eating dinosaur (with maybe one exception), although this is probably true for spinosaurids as a whole.
- Also in older dinosaur books, Coelophysis will typically be eating its own young, although bones once attributed to juvenile coelophysoids more likely came from nondinosaurian reptiles.
- Also in older dinosaur books, Oviraptor tends to eat the eggs of other dinosaurs. In fact, it was named "Egg Thief" because its fossil was found next to a clutch of eggs. However, this may be a subversion and a Never Live It Down due to studies showing that those eggs were its own, and was trying to take care of them instead!
- Many dinosaur-based media tend to portray Dromaeosaurs (especially Velociraptor and/or Deinonychus) as exclusively hunting down prey larger than themselves. And, they tend to have a taste for humans in science-fiction media (such as Jurassic Park) In reality, such behavior is now considered rare for them to do so. They would be more likely to hunt down small to medium-sized prey such as Protoceratops (in fact a fossil was discovered of a Velociraptor and Protoceratops fighting to the death). In fact, if they were alive today, we humans would be too large for Velociraptors to consider us prey. The much larger Utahraptors on the other hand...maybe.
- Therizinosaurs were once considered piscivores or insectivores, but these days, they'll invariably be mentioned as unusual herbivorous theropods.
- Harlequin shrimp eat starfish and nothing but.