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Woodland Creatures
They are Snape's biggest fear.

Remember when you were taught their names from a picture book?

Woodland Creatures are a group of animals commonly associated with the forest. They are commonly used to symbolize the presence of Mother Nature. Expect to find them on a clearing in The Lost Woods.

Although they are distinctly separate species, they will show great affection for each other and will rarely act or appear separately. Predators will be notably absent from the group, but a human being accepted in is not unheard of. They tend to be very shy and easily startled, but if a character is pure at heart, she will be allowed among them, and they will even come to her aid. If they decide to take matters in their own hands then it will inevitably lead to a Gaia's Vengeance.

They usually appear to have to some degree a shared consciousness, or may be a part of the forest's soul itself.

The Egomaniac Hunter and the Corrupt Corporate Executive will constantly be on their tail and try to chase them away from their home. It will be required that a sympathetic human (usually a plucky kid, a female green activist and an initially cynical but ultimately friendly adult male) helps them.

How the Carnivore Confusion is treated depends on the story: sometimes the two groups will make a truce against the common enemy, sometimes the carnivores are shown to be mindlessly aggressive brutes, in which case playing them against the humans will be the best option.

If they are the focus of the story, they might be Talking Animals (with the suggestion that they are using an "animal language" that each of them can understand).

Even if they have no acting role, they will make an appearance in stories with a Green Aesop.

If this trope is subverted, they will become the Disney Creatures of the Farce.

The group will almost always contain the following animals:

  • A Deer
  • One Or Two Rabbits
  • A Flock Of Small Birds
  • A Bunch Of Mice And Squirrels

with the additional talent of:

  • The Mischievous Raccoon
  • The Wise Owl
  • The Noble Badger
  • The Flirty Skunk
  • The Grumpy Hedgehog
  • The Cool, But Slow, Turtle
  • The Clever, Occasionally Villainous Fox.

See also: Animal Stereotypes

Examples:

Film
  • Homaged in Disney's Enchanted, parodied in Disney's Hercules, played straight in every other Disney movie ever. (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Bambi being the top three biggest contenders.)
  • The 1939 short Peace on Earth, where woodland creatures inherit the Earth once humans kill themselves off.
  • Any number of Silly Symphonies shorts, as well as their imitators.
  • Tex Avery, who was definitely not a fan of this trope, plays with it in the short Little Tinker, about a skunk looking for a mate and being constantly rejected.
    • The first Screwy Squirrel cartoon, Screwball Squirrel, seems like it's going to follow this trope at first with chirping birds, and a cute squirrel collecting nuts in a basket, until Screwy appears on the scene and beats up the cute squirrel.
  • Over the Hedge, minus Verne and maybe a few others.
  • In The Last Unicorn, these inhabit the unicorn's forest at the beginning of the film.
  • Once Upon a Forest features a trio of woodland creatures (a woodmouse, a hedgehog and a mole) trying to find the cure for their young badger friend (a rare cute badger) after a truck carrying toxic gas crashes and poisons the forest.

Literature
  • The protagonists of the Redwall series of books by Brian Jacques.
  • Made reference to in Wyrd Sisters, where they pay Granny Weatherwax a visit - in this case with the predators in tow.
    "I don't know what this spell is," she said. "But I'll tell you this for nothing - when it wears off, some of you little buggers had better get moving."
  • The Bar-ba-loots, Swomee-swans and Hummingfish in Dr.Seuss' The Lorax.

Music
  • "All God's Critters got a place in the choir, some sing low and some sing higher..."

Newspaper Comics
  • Done in The Far Side for one comic. But of course, this being the Far Side, all the happy little woodland critters seem a bit too happy.
  • In Rose Is Rose,
    • they accompany Pasquale and his grandmother on a nature walk.
    • After Pasquale thinks his echo must be lonely when he's gone, we see the echo surrounded by creatures, and rainbows and other "good emotions" bits

Video Games
  • Also featured in Final Fantasy V as a semi-joke ability.
  • Seen in the end credits of Shadow of the Colossus. Gee, would've been nice if they came out earlier, but nooo...
  • The early installments of Sonic the Hedgehog revolved around Sonic stopping Dr. Robotnik from using woodland creatures to power his 'badniks'.

Western Animation
  • South Park:
    • Subverted in the episode "Woodland Critter Christmas", where the woodland critters are trying to raise the Anti Christ.
    • There are also those from Imagination Land, that rape and kill things.
  • Semi-parodied in The Powerpuff Girls when one of the woodland critters accidentally becomes Bullet the Powerpuff Squirrel.
  • Drawn Together joyfully slaughtered Clara's Woodland Creature crew.
  • A bunch of woodland critters show up during a musical number in an episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy. Notable, among their number includes a skunk.
  • In the Christmas Special Christopher the Christmas Tree, a group of woodland creatures take up residence in Christopher, making him feel not so bad about not being picked to be a Christmas tree. They include a deer, a raccoon, a rabbit, a squirrel, a chipmunk, a couple of mice, a couple of birds, a beaver, and yes, a flirty skunk. (And an owl, but he was there first.)
  • The heroes of the '80s cartoon The Bluffers are a squirrel, a mouse, an owl, a fox, a bear, a snake, a porcupine, an eagle (though he looks more like a buzzard), and for some reason a goose. There are also two rabbits who get billing in the credits, but almost never show up in the actual show.
  • The Animals of Farthing Wood. The title says it all.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The timid character Fluttershy cares for all of the woodland creatures and has a house full of them.
    • The ponies in general, with their whole "custodians of nature" schtick, deal with woodland creatures on a regular basis, especially when it's time to change the seasons (for example, they tell the animals when to hibernate and when to wake up). This is actually related to one of the things that scares the ponies about the Everfree Forest; forget the fact that it's home to dangerous mythological beasts, perfectly ordinary woodland creatures go about their woodland business without the ponies telling them to! It ain't right!
  • Many episodes of The World of David the Gnome revolved around David helping local woodland creatures.


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