Follow TV Tropes


Adoring the Pests

Go To

Marge: There's a family of possums in here!
Homer: I call the big one Bitey.
The Simpsons, "Marge vs. the Monorail"

Not content with petting domestic animals at home, or even some wild animals in the woods, some go so far as to welcome potentially harmful wild animals into their homes and workplaces.

Sometimes this is simply out of sheer ignorance as to how dangerous and/or unhealthy this is, others may be fully aware of it and just see it as Worth It.

This does not refer to cases where specific creatures that happen to be from species associated with pest status actually have practical roles, or have been sufficiently domesticated by someone who knows what they're doing.

Not to be conflated with Friend to Bugs, though, as one can adore "cute" pests such as non-domesticated rodents while still hating bugs, or conversely adore the least pestilential of bugs while not letting the cute pests' cuteness cause one to treat them more like pets than one should. Contrast Reduced to Ratburgers, when a person's urge for contact with vermin derives from them being desperate enough to eat the pests. Can in some cases be an example of Pet Baby Wild Animal. See also Admiring the Abomination and Fluffy Tamer.

Truth in Television, of course, but let's not single out specific real-life people for this!


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Gaston Lagaffe keeps an entire family of mice in the workplace's "important documents and contracts" filing cabinet (or rather, he didn't have the heart to remove them once he saw the newly-born litter nesting in the shredded papers). Of course, he's blind to their faults, given that he also keeps a goldfish, a seagull, a cat, turtles and other animals around, to his coworkers' chagrin.

    Films - Animated 
  • How to Train Your Dragon (2010) presents a more optimistic portrayal of this. Despite dragons having a reputation locally for being pests, Hiccup chooses to free the dragon he captures instead of killing it, secretly sneaks away to visit and feed it in the woods, and eventually becomes emotionally attached to it. It is through this that he discovers that dragons aren't as innately violent as they're made out to be, a realization that, combined with his observation of their behaviour, leads to both himself and his local community coming to understand them better and eventually live in harmony with them.
  • Ratatouille has Linguini befriending a rat named Remy and letting him into the kitchen, and later letting Remy's rat friends in as well. (This results in the closure of the restaurant once the health inspector finds out that Linguini had been letting rats touch the food.)

    Films - Live Action 
  • Elf: Buddy tries to befriend a vicious raccoon, who attacks him for his troubles.
  • Enchanted is all over this trope — Giselle calls the "forest creatures" of New York (cockroaches, pigeons, and rats) to help her clean up Robert's apartment. Hilarity ensues when he walks in with the creatures still in the place.
  • Godmothered: Eleanor lets a raccoon named Gary into Mackenzie's house and casts a spell to make him do chores.

  • Fairy Oak:
    • Vanilla doesn't want Pampuria to hunt mice.
    • Acanti regularly gave food to a pregnant mouse that lived in his attic. She gives him a chestnut as a reward.
    • Francis befriends the mama mouse that inhabits the Museum.
    • Tomelilla leaves a pile of dried leaves in the Periwinkle house's backyard so some shrews can have a home.
  • Franny K. Stein: To go with her general fondness for all that is gross and creepy, the title character adores rats, spiders and other creatures most people would rather not have in their homes.
  • Goosebumps:
    • In Monster Blood IV, Andy thinks the blue Monster Blood creature is cute and pets it. The creature ends up multiplying when it drinks water and soon the town is overrun with blue Monster Blood creatures.
    • Subverted in The Werewolf of Fever Swamp. Grady adopts a stray dog and names it Wolf. After some strange howls and disasters in the swamp, he wonders if Wolf is a werewolf. He isn't.
  • The Green Mile features Mr. Jingles/Steamboat Willy, a mouse found running around the death row cells. They decide not to kill him, aside from the Jerkass Percy, because of his unusual behavior: fearless in the face of humans, accepts food only from the regular guards, and his searching of the cells as if he's awaiting for somebody. Mr. Jingles adopts Eduard Delacroix when he arrives and entertains all with his spool fetching trick, even performing a show for the guards on another block.
  • Harry Potter: The Weasley family adopts a rat named Scabbers, who they thought was a wild rat at the time. (Turns out it was really a shape-shifted form of Peter Pettigrew.)
  • Impractical Magic: Yam is obsessed with finding himself a familiar, or many many familiars, and has a running joke of wanting to steal and make friends with every eldritch terror and bloodthirsty beast he sees.
  • Ratman's Notebooks has this trope as its central premise. Its unnamed Villain Protagonist is instructed to kill a family of rats which have colonized his mother's abandoned garden, but spares them when he sees how determined the female is to save her babies. He adopts the colony in secret and trains them to help him rob houses.
  • InCryptid: The whole Price family loves cryptids and tries to protect them against people who would harm them, but Grandma Alice takes it even further by letting tailypo (imagine a smarter raccoon with a really long tail) live in and around her house. The whole family also lives with the Aeslin mice, though they can talk and follow orders from their "gods" (the family).

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: When Amy turns herself into a rat to escape burning at the stake, a few seasons are spent by (mainly) Willow looking after her and trying to find a cure.
  • Friends: Phoebe had an entire family of rats in her house as mascots.
  • The Haunting Hour: In "Best Friends Forever", Jack adopts a zombie as a pet.
  • House once kept a rat he'd found in a patient's house (it gave him the "Eureka!" Moment necessary to the case), calling it Steve McQueen. Though he does on more than one occasion use him to test his theory and suggest that after it developed symptoms he might die from a "cane shaped object".
  • Naturally, Sadie: In one episode, Rain ends up with a family of bats roosting in his locker. Although he initially wants to get rid of them, he decides to let them stay as a way of impressing girls.
  • NewsRadio: The gang befriends a rat that is roaming the station. Dave doesn't know about this and sets traps for it, which the others set off to keep the rat safe.
  • Soap: When Chester is being held captive in his own basement by a fellow prison escapee, he befriends a rat and calls it Harold. He "teaches" it to scurry away when the lights go on.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Nurgle, the Chaos God of decay and pestilence, is also a god of acceptance and friendship. He loves all living things, including every little bacterium, and promotes his servants to house them and have a jolly old time spreading them around.

    Video Games 
  • Dwarf Fortress: Dwarves might have rats, cockroaches, or flies as their favourite animal.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: One of the first Fighter's Guild quests sends you to help out a woman who has a "rat problem" in her basement. Turns out she actually likes having the rats down there; the problem is the mountain lions that keep killing them.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a similar quest. Except this time the admirer is an insane mage hiding in the caves beneath the basement. He desires to use his rat army to get revenge on the people who ridiculed him.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 3: Moira has a similarly disappointed reaction to learning her "repellent" stick is more effective on mole rats as a blunt instrument.
    • Fallout 4: Deacon seems to really like mole rats. When fighting them alongside the player, he'll offer quotes like "Do we have to kill these little guys?" or "Run away and burrow deep, little buddies." There's also a woman who's trying to domesticate some mirelurks, highly aggressive mutant crab monsters, to the point where she views them as her children. It doesn't end well for her.
  • Space Colony: One sidequest has your complex become infested with mouse-like aliens. Tami decides to keep them as pets.

    Web Animation 
  • Teen Girl Squad: What's Her Face is surprisingly upbeat about having "met" (read: been mauled by) a possum. At least until it gloms onto her leg.
  • Unforgotten Realms has one of Schmoopy's first actions after setting off on his journey being to adopt an undead dire rat as a pet and name him Petey.
    Rob/Schmoopy: "Doesn't look friendly," my ass! Can we keep it?
    Mike/Nailo: Wait, wait a second. So you kill the poor innocent old beggar, but the rat who wants to eat your face off you want as a pet?
    Rob/Schmoopy: But look! He's so friendly!
    Mike/Nailo: Don't Touch It, You Idiot! It's poisonous!

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • Linda likes to make up dramatic stories about the raccoons she sees in the back alley behind the restaurant, like Little King Trashmouth from "Two for Tina" and "Slumber Party", and Big Baby Pudding Snatcher from "Eggs for Days".
    • In "Just One of the Boyz 4 Now", Teddy brings in what he thinks is a baby squirrel but is really a baby rat. Bob, understandably, wants it out of the restaurant, but Linda falls in love with it and insists on keeping it. Eventually, even Bob ends up fawning over it.
  • Camp Lazlo: Lazlo gets a leech/sea lamprey attached to his head. Despite draining him dry, Lazlo insists that it's friendly.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Fluttershy is the show's Animal Lover — meaning very literally all animals (except for dragons, on account of a crippling phobia thereof) — and is often seen befriending spiders, snakes and similar creatures, which often appear in her following of Woodland Creatures. She's also a Friend to All Living Things, meaning pests adore her as well.
      • This backfires in "Swarm of the Century", where she finds a cute parasprite, feeds it, and brings it home. On the way, it multiplies. The parasprites keep multiplying until they eat most of Ponyville. At one point, they think they've gotten rid of them... until they open the door to Fluttershy's house and another swarm flies out, at which point she sheepishly admits that she couldn't help herself and had to keep just one.
      • Played with in "Bats!". Fluttershy takes pity on the fruit bats, evidently not considering them as disgusting as her friends do, although she isn't shown going so far as taking them into her home like she did in "Swarm of the Century". Although the vampire fruit bats at first appear to have pest-like role, and Fluttershy appears to only be defending them out of pity, they turn out toward the end to have their own valuable role in spreading seeds around.
      • In My Little Pony: Rainbow Roadtrip, the gang's reaction to their ramshackle hotel room touches on the expected complaints — dust, clutter, busted furniture and the like — but when it moves on to the pests it's in the form of Fluttershy gushing about how at least they a cute little spider to keep them company.
    • In the last issue of the comics' micro series, Princess Luna finds a possum out in the woods and takes it home.
  • The Simpsons has Homer not seeing anything wrong with possums infesting the monorail he's conducting and crawling around where the fire extinguisher should be.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): Splinter was originally a wild rat that Tang Shen found in the kitchen and, rather than killing him, fed him and made him her pet. After her death, Hamato Yoshi took him and gave him his name in reference to a proverb from his mentor about how revenge is like a "splinter".
  • Transformers: Prime: In "Scrapheap", Raf finds a small, adorable robotic creature the size of a kitten, called a scraplet, and assumes it is the Autobots' pet. It turns out scraplets eat metal, especially living metal, like, say, the Autobots. Raf quickly changes his mind about the scraplet at that point.

    Real Life 
  • Pet rats have been domesticated since the 19th century (Queen Victoria owned one) and are best purchased from professional breeders or rescues that specialize in rats. However, breeders with a faltering family line will often catch disease-free "wildies" and breed them into the line to reinvigorate it, keeping the wildie as a pet afterwards. Rats are unusually easy to tame, but it's still only recommended for experts — especially since the guarded friendliness and curiosity of a promising wildie is hard to distinguish from the friendly stupor of a rabid animal.
  • Pet Cockroaches have been somewhat popular for years, for the obvious reason that their being hard to kill makes them easy to take care of. Often though these tend to be imported roaches of exotic species rather than roaches scooped right off the floor.
  • Similarly, ant farms - their status as a pest is why no set is ever sold with a Queen ant that could cause a population problem later on.
  • Many of popular pets fit this trope: hamsters, mice, rats, guinea-pigs, gerbils, and even rabbits were (or still are) all considered pests in their natural environments.
  • An episode of Reality TV show Hoarders featured a man who had given over his house to a horde of pet rats. He started with three. They escaped into the walls and began breeding in inaccessible corners, and he didn't have the heart to recapture the adults if it meant leaving the babies to starve. A year later, the cleanup crew left with 2,500 to rehome.