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?
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.
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 charge at another army in a similar manner. May also overlap with Rhino Rampage, if the stampeding animals are rhinos, and with Escaped Animal Rampage, if the stampeding animals escaped from a zoo or another confinement. It may occur during a Cattle Drive. In a video game, a stampede can be an Advancing Wall of Doom.
Has nothing to do with Vash the Stampede.
- In 1960s commercials for Post Crispy Critters cereal, this happens to spokes-lion Linus the Lionhearted whenever the titular cereal is mentioned.
- In Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys, one character nearly gets trampled by a pod of Sealeo and Walrein after a meteor hits the arctic ground.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 and Kovu chase a bunch of birds, they fly towards a herd of rhinos who charge at the heroes. Fortunately nobody gets hurt this time.
- 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 Kerchak is fortunately quick enough to save the infant.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, which the three brother dodge by hiding behind their canoe.
- In The Wild, Ryan the lion cub makes a herd of gazelles go on a stampede, interrupting the other zoo animals' curling match.
- 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.
- 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.
- Jurassic Park:
- In the original Jurassic Park, Alan, Lex, and Tim get caught in a stampede of Gallimimus; they survive it by hiding behind a log.
- The sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, features a variety of dinosaurs stampeding while being chased by InGen hunters.
- Jurassic Park III has a Corythosaurus and Parasaurolophus stampede as Alan and his search party outrun the male and female Velociraptors.
- Jurassic World has a Gallimimus Stampede in Gallimimus Valley. In Gyrosphere Valley, a variety of dinosaurs do the same.
- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has every remaining dinosaur outrunning the threat of an erupting volcano. Yes, even the meat-eating ones like Tyrannosaurus rex. Although, despite fleeing for their lives, the carnivores still take their time to snap at humans or other dinosaurs.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 City Slickers, Mitch accidentally starts a stampede by turning on his electric coffee grinder.
- 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.
- 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 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a hunting troop of chimpanzees, led by Caesar, make a herd of elk go on a stampede.
- 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.
- 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 pack allies launch a mock attack on the herd from the opposite side, driving them into the same canyon as 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 stampeded 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 buffalo is about to run him over.
"Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam..."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.