Follow TV Tropes


Animal Stampede

Go To
Beware the thundering herd.
Don't be fooled, it isn't thunder. Staying put would be a blunder.

In fiction, compared to predators, herbivores are usually pretty harmless. Herbivores Are Friendly, after all, and a gentle, grazing cow means far less threat than a fierce tiger.

Now imagine hundreds of those cows, running together and trampling everything in their way. Not so harmless anymore, right? Bonus points if they are Xenophobic Herbivores.

An Animal Stampede is when a large group of animals, usually herbivores, get startled and start mindlessly running from the perceived threat, destroying everything in their way. They are portrayed as a destructive force of nature, and often injure or kill the characters that get in their way. Note that most of the time the stampeding animals want to get away from the predators without the intention of hurting anyone; but some of the more aggressive species, such as buffaloes or rhinoceroses, may start a stampede towards the perceived threat. Since these animals often have horns, accidental or deliberate Horn Attacks may be involved.

Rhino Rampage is a subtrope involving stampeding rhinos. Swarm of Rats is a smaller version involving rats and mice. See Escaped Animal Rampage, if the stampeding animals escaped from a zoo or another confinement. May occur during a Cattle Drive. Compare Dash Attack, which usually done deliberately by a single person but may overlap with this if done by a big group, and Onrushing Army, where a group of soldiers charges at another army in a similar manner. Not to be confused with Thundering Herd, which is an angry mob of characters chasing someone, comically drawn as a giant dust cloud. In a video game, a stampede can be an Advancing Wall of Doom.

This can overlap with Animals Hate Him, especially if the carnivores and omnivores also join in mutual hatred of a certain character.

Has nothing to do with Vash the Stampede.


    open/close all folders 


  • In Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys, one character nearly gets trampled by a pod of Sealeo and Walrein after a meteor hits the arctic ground.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: The rare aurochs creature type is themed around this idea. All aurochs cards have trample (an ability letting them deal any excess damage from an attack that kills a creature to the creature's controlling player instead, as if they had trampled right over their target) and receive a boost to their power the more aurochs are attacking at the same time.

     Comic Books 
  • During the pursuit arc in Copperhead, the fugitives use a mortar explosion to set a herd of trectorras running into the following posse.
  • In Judge Colt #2, an Indian tribe stampedes a herd of cattle through Buffalo City.
  • The Smurfs comic book story "The Wild Smurf" begins with one through the Smurf Village, which is a prelude to the fact that the Smurf Forest is on fire.
  • In Tragg and the Sky Gods #2, Zorek, the leader of the Yargonians, attempts to wipe out Tragg's tribe by trapping them in a basin and then stampeding a herd of dinosaurs into the basin.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one The Far Side strip, a cowboy is sitting next to a campfire, strumming his banjo, and singing "Home on the Range". Little does he realize that a herd of stampeding bison is about to run him over.
    "Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam..."

    Fan Works 
  • It's A Dangerous Business, Going Out Your Door: This, as it turns out, is the nature of the yearly komaga incursions through Gildedale. The massive reptiles are running in absolute terror from something — what they're running from remains unknown — and charging through the daleponies' lands in their flight. As they do so, as typical for stampeding animals, they trample and overrun anything that's unfortunate enough to be in their way. This proves to be important knowledge, once Applejack figures out that she can manage and divert the komaga stampede with he same techniques that can manage a cattle stampede.
  • Marque and Reprisal: an elephant stampede was used to enable refugees to flee towards Nairobi.
  • Prehistoric Park Reimagined: A sizable number of stampedes are witnessed by the rescue team over the course of their various adventures in the past to rescue prehistoric animals to bring to the future to be put on display at the titular park. Said stampedes soon end up proving an ideal opportunity for rescues precisely because of how common they turn out to be.
  • The Dominion Jewel in The Rigel Black Chronicles causes all the non-humans around Hogwarts to go berserk and attack the castle, even intelligent species like the centaurs and Professor Lupin, who is forcibly transformed into a wolf and sent on the attack.

     Film — Animated 
  • In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, the Forty Thieves herald their Wedding Smashers attack on Aladdin and Jasmine's wedding by provoking the elephants outside the pavilion to stampede. When the ground starts rumbling, Genie remarks that he thought the earth wasn't supposed to move until the honeymoon.
  • In Asterix Conquers America, The Chief's Daughter runs from a stampede of buffaloes that Obelix single-handedly stops, saving her life and earning her gratitude.
  • In one of the first scenes of Brother Bear, Kenai initiates a stampede of caribou (apparently, he was trying to milk one), which he and his brothers dodge by hiding behind their kayaks.
  • In The Good Dinosaur, a herd of longhorn bison go on a stampede after attacked by a pack of Velociraptor cattle rustlers. Arlo and the T. rex family fight the rustlers among the stampeding bison.
  • The Wicked Witch Mombi from Filmation's Journey Back to Oz meets her doom this way, when her troop of pachyderms are spooked by a mouse, and flee en masse from the Emerald City. Mombi, disguised as a rose and rooted to the spot, gets trampled horribly by her own massive minions.
  • The Lion King:
    • In the first film, Simba gets in the way of a wildebeest stampede in a gorge that was started by the hyenas startling the wildebeests. Mufasa comes to rescue his son, only to be killed when his treacherous brother Scar pushes him back into the gorge.
    • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride has a far less impressive stampede of rhinos. As Kiara, Kovu, Timon and Pumbaa chase a bunch of birds, they fly towards a herd of rhinos, who charge at the heroes. Fortunately, nobody gets hurt this time.
  • In Mavka: The Forest Song, a shot of the blunderbuss of Kylina's two big henchmen causes a herd of buffalos to nervously run. Mavka (the soul of the forest) jumps on one of them and calms them down when they head towards a cliff, causing them to swerve at the last moment before the cliff.
  • In Tarzan, the young Tarzan accidentally starts an elephant stampede when he tries to snatch some tail hair from them, and the elephants mistake him for a piranha. The elephants almost trample a baby gorilla, but thankfully, Kerchak is quick enough to save the infant.
  • Downplayed in Turning Red. When the temple cats hear Mei's aunties coming they run further into the temple right passing very close to Mei's and Ming's legs making them need to move out of the way.
  • In The Wild, Ryan the lion cub inadvertently makes a herd of gazelles stampede, interrupting the other zoo animals' curling match.

     Film — Live-Action 
  • In 10,000 BC, as the slaves try to escape, D'Leh scares a mammoth of burden and starts a mammoth stampede that trample the enemy guards.
  • The 12th Man: Utilized in the final act when Jan is too weak to walk and is being transported in a sled. The villagers helping him with that leg of his journey tie his sled to the back of a caribou and then stampede the caribou herd toward the border in an effort to sneak Jan past the guards.
  • In The Air Up There, Nyaga's goons ride into Winabi on motorcycles and start a cattle stampede, which charges into Beisa's wedding, forcing everyone to flee.
  • Alpha (2018): The cavemen hunt steppe bison by alerting them into a stampede, then directing the herd toward a canyon where they fall off the cliffs. Keda, the young caveman protagonist, unfortunately, gets attacked by a big bull who breaks from the herd, goring him and pushing him down the cliff as well.
  • Australia is about a Cattle Drive through the titular continent. When the cattle are scared by a fire set by Carney's men, they go on a stampede. Flynn gets trampled, but Nullah manages to stop the stampede before they fall into a canyon.
  • In The Bull of the West, Georgia Price and Johnny Wade attempt to stop Judge Garth and his crew from fencing off the winter pasture by stampeding a herd of cattle through the fence and over the top of Garth and his men.
  • Humorously subverted in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Butch attempts—at some length—to upset a pen of horses in order to get them to stampede to cover the gang's escape, only to be completely ignored by the creatures.
  • Call Me Bwana: While hacking their way through a thicket, Matt and his party hear what sounds like a stampede of elephants crashing through the jungle. Matt is sent after it, and finds to his relief that it's just a lone baby elephant.
  • In City Slickers, Mitch accidentally starts a stampede by turning on his electric coffee grinder.
  • In Coroner Creek, Miles starts a fire to stampede the Box H cattle to their death in a box canyon.
  • In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a hunting troop of chimpanzees, led by Caesar, make a herd of elk go on a stampede.
  • Jumanji:
    • A variety of wildlife stampede through town after being freed by a dice roll, including rhinos, elephants, zebras and pelicans.
    • In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the main cast must escape a stampeding horde of man-eating rhinoceroses via a damaged helicopter.
    • The third movie, Jumanji: The Next Level has an ostrich stampede.
  • In The Jungle Book (2016), a water buffalo stampede happens, but in a very different context from the book (see below). When Shere Khan ambushes Mowgli, he escapes from the tiger by jumping on a buffalo during the stampede.
  • Jurassic Galaxy, a low budget Mockbuster of a certain franchise, features a stampede of what are ostensibly meant to be Camptosaurus frightened by a volcanic eruption, but because its No Budget B-Movie, they're played by raptors' CG models, sickle claws and all.
  • Jurassic Park:
  • In King Kong (2005), a herd of Brontosaurus get startled by a pack of raptor-like Venatosaurus. The panicking brontosaurs clumsily run into canyon walls, fall off of cliffs, trip and tumble over each other, and in general harm themselves far more than the predators they're running from ever manage to. Some members of the film crew still get trampled by them.
  • In King Solomon's Mines (1950) the safari is caught in a stampede of every animal in Africa caused by wildfires. Only Alan Quartermain's expertise saves them, except for a few bearers who panic and run, only to be trampled.
  • In The Last Jedi, Finn and Rose free the captive fathiers (giant horse-like beasts used for racing) on Canto Bight, and they wreck the casinos and the streets in their escape.
  • In The Legend of Lobo, the professional hunter sets a trap for Lobo and manages to snare Lobo's mate and use her as a lure. But Lobo leads his pack to create a cattle stampede, a diversion that enables him to liberate his mate and strike out for unsettled territory.
  • At the climax of The Legend of Tarzan, Tarzan stampedes a herd of wildebeest (with a few lions mixed in) through the city of Boma.
  • One Foot in Hell: When Ivers sets fire to the store, it creates an explosion which cause the cattle being driven through the town to stampede.
  • The Cattle Drive that forms the main plot of Red River is interrupted by a stampede. Many cattle are lost, a man is killed, and cattle driver Tom Dunson (John Wayne) starts growing more erratic under the pressure.
  • Played with in Tremors. Val yells "Stampede!" in Earl's ear while he's asleep, causing him to wake up in terror that he's in a stampede. This turns out to be Foreshadowing. At the climax of the movie Val uses an explosion to make the last Graboid (which has sensitive hearing) "stampede" out of the edge of a cliff and suffer a Disney Villain Death.
  • In Wild America, the brothers trespass on government property in order to get shots of a wolf. F-14 planes drop bombs, scaring the wolf away and causing a horse stampede. The brothers flee to their car. When it won't start, Mark films the horses running around the car.

  • Ben Snow: In "Banner of Blood", the murderers used a cattle stampede to mask the true cause of the victim's death and Make It Look Like an Accident.
  • In Bounders, the kids are almost trampled by thousands of panicked wildeboars on Paleo Planet. They slow the animals down by manipulating the atoms in the air to make music, giving them time to fly to the hovers and escape.
  • In For Love Of Mother-Not, Flinx and an environmentally-minded fishing guide engineer the destruction of the villains' wilderness outpost by using musk and blood from a young female devilope to trigger an aggressive mass attack by a devilope herd. Given that these moose-like alien herbivores are a good three stories tall, the outpost's fences and buildings don't last long.
  • Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book has the orphan Mowgli engineer the demise of Shere Khan by receiving news that the tiger is prowling in a canyon, hoping to surprise a herd of water buffalo. Mowgli and his wolf brothers launch a mock attack on the herd from the opposite side, driving them into the same canyon where Shere Khan is staying. The stampede results in a gruesome overkill.
  • In a short story featuring Dana Stabenow's detective character Kate Shugak, a villain is trampled to death (probably) by a stampeding herd of walruses after he shoots at Kate while standing between them and the sea.
  • A cattle stampede features prominently in J.T. Edson's first novel Trail Boss. As one of the staple dangers of trail life, they also occur in several of his later books that feature Cattle Drives.
  • The Way West: The book is about a wagon train on the Oregon Trail in 1843. The leader, Lije Evans, is acutely aware of the danger that a sudden buffalo stampede could pose for the train. Sure enough, a thunderstorm causes a buffalo stampede. Lije is petrified with fear for his son Brownie, who is out herding the cattle that the buffalo rampage through, but Brownie escapes unhurt.

  • Johnny Cash has a song called "Stampede" describing a cattle stampede from the perspective from of a cowboy caught in the middle of one.
  • Chris LeDoux's "Stampede" (not the same one) is about a cowboy who dreams of dying in a cattle stampede, and wakes up just in time to hear the night lookout shouting the stampede warning.


     Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: Some planets are home to animals large enough that when they stampede they can pose a threat even to light battlemechs.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In both 1st and 2nd Edition cattle, can stampede toward opponents. If they do, each target is run over by 2-8 animals, each doing 1-4 Hit Points of damage.
    • In 1st Edition, herds of herbivorous dinosaurs can stampede if frightened by a large carnivorous dinosaur. If they overrun another creature, they kill it if it is smaller, slower and weaker than themselves.
    • In 3rd Edition, bison had a unique ability to stampede if there were a large enough group of them. All creatures smaller than the bison that get caught in the stampede take damage based on how many bison are stampeding.

     Video Games 
  • Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex: The jungle levels of the game have a section where Crash has to escape from a stampeding rhinos as an Advancing Wall of Doom.
  • In The Crystal of Kings, Cocco the dwarf can summon a Smart Bomb that comes in the form of a giant anteater stampede. It crushes orcs and skeletons like no tomorrow, and can surprisingly deal severe damage on bosses.
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: A stampede of various animals is used for the execution of Gundham Tanaka. The victim makes no attempt to run away and is trampled to death.
  • In Deep Duck Trouble Starring Donald Duck, there's a stampede of ostriches in the Jungle. Donald has to hop across the ostriches to get to the tree branch on the other side, avoiding falling and being stomped. The stampede stops when Donald gets to the branch.
  • Parodied with the snail stampede in Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist.
  • One of the levels in The Lion King consists on facing the same stampede of the animated film. A young Simba has to dodge wildebeests and dodge rocks in the floor.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the baby Yoshi can call a stampede of Yoshis to attack all enemies on the stage.
  • The mobile game Rodeo Stampede: Sky Zoo Safari seems to be Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but the gameplay itself is a subversion. Very few of the animals in the titular stampede present a direct threat to the player, and the only ways you can come to harm are either falling off a cliff, running into a wall or obstacle (though some animals can smash certain types of obstacles), or being eaten by either a predatory steed or some other meat-eater.
  • Sunset Riders features two stampeding herds of bulls in the first level. The first time, you can simply jump to a high platform and wait out the stampede, but the second you'll have to jump onto the bulls' backs and run to avoid being trampled or scrolled off the screen to your death.
  • Super Mario Bros. Wonder: In the course "Bulrush Coming Through!", the Wonder Flower triggers a stampede of Bulrushes that you have to ride on top of. They end up knocking down the Goal Pole and take you to a secret exit.
  • Yoshi's Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, aptly named "Stampede!", has him summon an army of Yoshis to plow through his opponents. This Final Smash also serves as a Mythology Gag to Super Smash Bros. Melee's intro video.
  • In Warcraft III, The Beastmaster's ultimate skill, appropriately named "Stampede", summons Thunder Lizards to run in straight lines until they run into something and explode.

     Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In his vignette in "The Tales of Ba Sing Se," Aang tries to help relocate the animals from the decrepit Ba Sing Se Zoo, but at first, they just run amok all over the city. In a moment of inspiration, he takes a HUGE breath and blows his trusty bison whistle, causing them to charge off after him as he leads them outside the city gates.
  • In an episode of Babar, the rhinoceroses celebrate a holiday called "Rhino Rampage Day", during which they collectively go on a stampede. The conflict arises from the fact that elephants' peanut patch is in their way.
  • The protagonist of the DreamWorks Animation short Bilby encounters two of these during his journey, one of emus and one of kangaroos.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • In "Sorry, Wrong Ed", Eddy gets suddenly trampled by a stampede of hippos that came from nowhere.
    • There is also the episode "Don't Rain on My Ed" where the Eds have to rush to the candy store only to be blocked by a big stampede of chickens. Ed (who sure loves chickens) dives right into the stampede.
    • In "Shoo Ed", Jonny ends up causing Rolf's animals to stampede by cracking his double joints, upsetting them.
  • In an episode of George of the Jungle, George makes a bet with the billionaire Seymour Nudnick in who can call a bigger stampede of hippos. Seymour transfers hundreds of hippos with helicopters to the jungle, who then go on a stampede. George attempts to outdo him with his hippo-calling yell, but he uses the wrong yell, so instead he calls a gang of hippies.
  • A gazelle stampede happens in the climax The Lion Guard: The Return of the Roar. Kiara gets trapped in the stampede that was started by Janja's hyena clan, and gets saved by Bunga, who drives away the gazelles with his Fartillery.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • The episode "Applebuck Season" opens with Applejack stopping a herd of stampeding cows coming towards Ponyville after being spooked by a snake, causing a mass panic among the townsponies as the thundering herd bears down on the village. Later in the episode, Applejack's overly aggressive attempts to round up a group of rabbits send them into a stampede as well, resulting in a comical situation where characters are running and hiding in terror as a herd of bunnies stampedes through the town.
    • The central conflict of "Over a Barrel" is that the ponies of the frontier town of Appleloosa planted an apple orchard in the ancient stampeding ground of the buffaloes (who are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Native Americans). Stampeding also seems to be the primary combat strategy of buffaloes, as they use it both to stop a train from delivering a new apple tree and to bring down the town of the settler ponies.
    • In "The Return of Harmony Part 2", Twilight is stampeded by a horde of bunnies. After the bunnies pass, Twilight has Circling Stars over her head.
  • Total Drama:
    • Chef goes to Boney Island in "Suckers Punched" to retrieve Mike from his overnight stay. While walking up to the forest, he is trampled by a large group of animals fleeing Mike, or rather the evil that is Mal. Forming the stampede are a bear, three rats, a monkey, two prehistoric geese, two moose, an alligator, a raccoon, two deer, two seagulls, and a squirrel.
    • Chris puts the two teams' shelters to the test by sending a moose stampede their way in "So, Uh, This Is My Team?". The Pimâpotew Kinosewak have a treehouse, so they're safe, but the wizard's tower of the Wâneyihtam Maskwak doesn't survive. Therefore, the Pimâpotew Kinosewak win the challenge.


Video Example(s):


Rhino stampede

Eventually, Crash will run into a herd of rhinos in a stampede and the only way to escape being trampled, is by jeep.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / AnimalStampede

Media sources: