You've committed a murder, and quite reasonably wish to get off scot-free. You might try hiding the body or use a Frameup
to beat the rap, but if your inclination is to Make It Look Like an Accident
, why not simply make it look like an animal attack? The accused animal is unlikely to put up a legal defense, and the typical bites and claw marks from such an encounter will cover up any pesky stab wounds, and will appear to be so open-and-shut a case that the authorities might not even bother testing for poisons or gunshot residue. Or better yet, why not make the crime seamless by using an actual animal to commit the murder?
The catch is that some animal lover (or unusually perceptive detective) may come along and try to Clear His Name
. Compare Animal Assassin
, where the killer uses an animal as a weapon to kill the victim, and Hunting Accident
, which can overlap.
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- The Dresden Files graphic novel Welcome To The Jungle starts with a zoo security guard being found dead outside the gorilla pen, with blood on one of the gorillas. Finding it odd that a murderous animal would, after breaking out of its pen and killing a man, then proceed to go back into its cage and re-secure the doors, Murphy calls in Dresden to figure out what really happened.
- Victory At Ostagar: Aron Kendalls, leading candidate for the next Arl of Denerim, suffers a convenient Hunting Accident which goes unsuspected thanks to the lack of a Fereldan forensics department.
Films — Animation
- In The Lion King, Scar uses stampeding wildebeests to murder Mufasa — an odd example of an animal using other animals to make the murder of another animal look like an (accidental) animal attack.
Films — Live-Action
- The Advocate is a film based on a lawyer in Medieval France who defends a pig for killing a child. It's based on some real trials of animals that occurred during that time period. Yes, the pig was framed.
- The Val Lewton film The Leopard Man features a serial killer who disguises his crimes as attacks from an escaped leopard. He's aided by the fact that the escaped leopard really did kill someone.
- Inverted in the short story "Never Forget" by Tom Holt. During the Punic Wars, a highly unpopular Roman officer is found with his skull smashed in, and his personal and business enemies are heavily investigated. The investigator, being The Mole, accuses the general's most competent advisor. The actual killer, of course, is a captured elephant that was wounded by the victim in battle.
- In The Saint short story "The Convenient Monster", a murderer kills his victim with a Polynesian club studded with shark teeth and attempts to place the blame on the Loch Ness Monster!
Myths & Religion
- In The Bible story of Joseph and the coat of many colors, Joseph's jealous brothers sell Joseph into slavery to passing traders; to cover up this crime, they smear goat's blood on Joseph's robe and show it to their father, claiming it is the result of an animal attack.
- The famous Australian case of Azaria Chamberlain, an infant who disappeared in the desert during a family outing. Her mother claimed, "a dingo ate my baby"; the authorities invoked this trope and the mother was convicted of murder, but the conviction was later reversed. More modern scientific analysis of the evidence available, while inconclusive, supports the mother's version of events.