Suspiciously Stealthy Predator
The flip side to Super-Persistent Predator
, this is what happens when a dangerous creature with the intellect and mindset of a wild animal, which has no business knowing what closed-circuit cameras, firearms, vehicles or other man-made devices are, nevertheless avoids these objects like the plague. This guarantees that the heroes who report it to the authorities will never be believed, as no photographic evidence exists to document its presence.
The creature will know not to leave tracks, claw tree bark, or dump a load where it might be found, save by a master tracker who's escorting the heroes. Likewise, this trope ensures that the creature will consistently find unarmed victims (usually confirmed jerkasses
or lone sexy females
) to prey upon, even as the armed hunters, police, and/or soldiers scouring the woods for the mysterious threat walk right by without noticing. In extreme cases, the creature might slip right by dozens of potential witnesses by sheer luck.
Sometimes clumsily justified as the creature disliking the smell of weapons or machinery, although it'll always lose that aversion in time for a climactic battle with the heroes. If this goes on long enough, viewers and/or characters may eventually deduce that It Can Think
- The Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise are very smart if perhaps not fully sapient (they cut the power, sneak past defenses using ducts, lay traps using bait. It seems they are at least as intelligent as humans, but driven entirely by instinct (mainly to kill, but if a queen is around to lay eggs they will capture targets alive instead).
- The first American remake of Godzilla (1998) has the titular monster somehow being able to hide in the middle of New York City. Quickly revealed to be because it uses the City's subway systems to burrow around Manhattan Island.
- In Alligator, the gator always retreats to the sewers unseen after its nightly hunts, rather than staying outside to bask in the sun as any real alligator would.
- Many, many Attack of the Killer Whatever movies from the Syfy Channel play this trope 100% straight.
- Bigfoot in Night Claws, the Reb Brown movie. It seems to hide Behind the Black sometimes and just straight up murders people in clearings of forests. The latter is Justified because there's a pack of them.
- The Graboids in the Tremors series. Justified since they live and hunt underground and are therefore invisible to most tracking techniques.
- Tremors 2 subverts this. Earl and Grady have a major Oh, Crap moment at how smart the Graboid hatchlings seem to be after they destroy a running car engine to block any escape and take out the radio tower so they can't call for help. Then someone observes that their rudimentary vision is based on heat signatures, and they only went after the car and the tower because both were putting off heat.
- One would think that somebody in Snakes on a Plane would've immediately noticed the arrival of hundreds of venomous serpents in the passenger cabin, but it takes so long that they infiltrate every inch of the aircraft and even the purse a woman is holding before anyone catches wise. This is especially jarring, given how many of the snakes are brightly-colored and would want bigger animals such as humans to spot this warning-coloration and keep away, so have no particular reason to hide.
- Seems to apply to most of the creatures on Primeval, even the ones that otherwise act incredibly stupid due to low brain/body ratios.
- For brainless corpses that shouldn't have a clue how to be sneaky, walkers on The Walking Dead are remarkably good at lurching past sentries right when the humans' attention is distracted.
- There's a very creepy Real Life example: the Lions of Tsavo. There were no cameras, but they did do things like avoiding an ambush to go attack helpless people in a hospital, avoided bait, and alarmingly good tactics. Modern experts in lion behavior who investigated the incident concluded that at least part of it was because many of the actions that were taken to try to protect the workers and stop the lions were based on assumptions of lion behavior that were widely believed at the time but were actually false. The Lions of Tsavo were given the movie treatment in The Ghost and the Darkness.
- Cats, wolf and trapdoor spiders, snakes, and owls are just a few of the stealthy predators out there that are in fact very good at what they do, maybe not against cameras, but definitely against their prey.