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"left hand washes the right don't let your left hand know what your right hands doing
one potato two potato three potato four we got a refrigerator with a store-more door hahaha.
Who cares, this hand or that. good food good meat good God let's eat.
lady fingers they taste just like lady fingers"
Richard Pine, Skeleton Crew, "Survivor Type"

How do you take the already-disturbing concept of cannibalism and make it even more screwed up? Why, by making the diner what's also being served, of course!

The reason why someone makes a meal of themselves tends to fall under one of the following three categories:

  • an extreme last resort due to imminent starvation
  • a form of Cold-Blooded Torture inflicted upon someone by a particularly sadistic captor
  • simple insanity

A character eating a clone or duplicate of themselves also counts. Also see I Taste Delicious, which tends to be about characters finding themselves irresistibly delectable after becoming or being covered in food (try to keep examples of that on its page). Some of the more disturbing examples of Let's Meet the Meat (like the image on that page) can involve this. If someone else tricks or forces the character into self-consumption to dispatch of them, it serves as a means of Eating the Enemy where the eater is the enemy themselves.

Your body will also actually do this automatically in the later stages of starvation; breaking down redundant organs and muscle to keep the more vital parts running. Autophagy is a similar process of self-digestion and is naturally carried out by cells to recycle defective or worn-out organelles to get their materials back for later re-use.

Not related to the band Pop Will Eat Itself, or You Are Who You Eat.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy: Mr. Biscuit, an anthropomorphic cookie on the commercial for World Biscuit/Cookie Day, eats himself and comments on the delicious taste. Since he is a cartoon caricature, he reappears no worse for wear moments later to conclude the commercial.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU villain Vandal Savage, having lost his immortality in one story, restores it by eating a disfigured clone of himself.
  • In Adam Warren's version of the Dirty Pair universe (specifically "Run from the Future"), Kei and Yuri are at one point called upon to capture a cabal of autocannibalistic cyborgs who believed that eating their flesh allowed them to concentrate their life essence.
  • The Earth X comic Universe X has Multiple Man eat a duplicate of himself while lost in the frozen wilderness. This results in him becoming the new Wendigo.
  • A bodybuilder in the first issue of Hellblazer falls victim to a demon's curse that makes people ravenous for what they desire most- he starts devouring his muscular arms.
  • In Knights of the Dinner Table, while playing Weird Pete's new game "Fairy Meat", Brian Van Hoose has his character eat its own arm to demonstrate that the rule for recovering hit points via cannibalism is broken.
  • Stem Cell of Livewires (an android) is forced to chew off most of her own artificial skin to digest and recycle into giant, flaming, self-replicating robots as a gambit to complete her team's botched mission. In the aftermath, she considers "Autocannibal" for a new name.
  • Skull Island: Birth of Kong, set in the MonsterVerse continuity, features the Death Jackals: cannibalistic dinosaur-like predators that are known to eat their own limbs when hungry enough.''
  • The Smurfs: In the comic book story "The Hungry Smurfs", one of the Smurfs wishes that he was still a sausage so that he could eat parts of himself during a village famine in winter.
  • Terror, Inc. - Apocalypse Soon features an immortal villain who has two demonic snakes bound to him which need to feast on human brains regularly. The main character entombs him in a deep cavern for centuries, where the snakes eventually grow hungry enough to feed on their host, who being immortal grows his brain back, and this keeps repeating over and over and over... The villain's name and story both come from The Shahnameh.
  • Spider's exposure to a weaponized "Autocannibalism Meme" is a Noodle Incident in Transmetropolitan:
  • The story "Two of a Kind!" from EC Comics' The Vault of Horror has a dating couple who are secretly monsters (he's a flesh-eating ghoul, she's a vampire) who each initially plan to prey upon the other, but find they really do love each other. Unfortunately, during their date (a skiing trip) they end up snowbound in a cabin without any other means of nourishment. Not wanting to hurt the other as they starve, he ends up eating himself and she drinks her own blood. They end Together in Death. Awww... but also ew.
  • Miserly Norbert Colon in Viz was tempted by a special offer on tongue at his local butcher but was too stingy even to pay the reduced price. Instead, he had the idea of saving money by cutting off his own tongue and then cooking and eating that. The plan proved less than successful when he found that he couldn't taste it.
  • Wolverine:
    • Wolverine was forced to do this during a storyline where he was stuck in a snowstorm. Unlike most of the people here, his Healing Factor made this less of an issue.
    • Another story established that the Wendigo that he went up against with the Hulk was a man pinned for days under a tree in the wilderness. Eventually, he desperately ate his own fingers that hot severed in the accident to survive, which activated the Wendigo curse of the region.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The mutant sharks from the #-Headed Shark Attack movies have a Healing Factor and a tendency to gobble up their own blown-off or mangled heads whenever the human characters manage to destroy one. In 3-Headed Shark Attack, the creature ultimately dies when its heads, riled up by the humans, turn on and eat each other.
  • In Adaptation., Donald is writing a horror film where the killer does this to his victims. But given the villain, the protagonist, and the leading lady are the same person, once the killer forces the girl to eat herself, he dies.
  • In Airplane!, one of the parodied Spinning Newspaper segments includes the headline "Boy Trapped in Refrigerator Eats Own Foot".
  • Nikos' last dying act in The Anthropophagus Beast is to start gnawing on his own spilled intestines.
  • The talking fox in Antichrist is found eating its bowels.
  • When he isn't collecting it in a box, Goldmember from Austin Powers in Goldmember enjoys eating pieces of his own skin.
    • Slightly less horrifying than the other examples on this page, since his skin simply peels off in thin layers, similar to a sunburn.
  • A character in Cannibal coerces another into cutting off his penis. They cook and eat it, though judging by the looks on their faces as they do so, it isn't quite as tasty as they thought it would be.
    • This was based loosely on the Armin Mewes case; in that event, Mewes burned the penis while cooking it, which helps to explain why they don't like the taste in the film.
  • The second victim in The Christmas Season Massacre had his ripped-off testicles shoved down his throat.
  • In Daybreakers, the vampire civilization is swiftly running low on its supply of blood, resulting in widespread shortages. Vampires who are starved for too long (or who feed on other vampires to satisfy their hunger) end up transforming into bestial creatures called 'subsiders.' The main character, Edward, encounters one such subsider that used to be his gardener, who sped up his transformation by feeding upon himself.
  • In Eat (2014), out-of-work actress Novella McClure develops this as a response to increasingly stressful events in her life. It starts with her chewing at the flesh at the side of her thumbnail as eviction looms, and culminates tearing huge mouthfuls of meat off her arms and foot and devouring them in a sort of manic state or trance.
  • In A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, the vampire bites the drug dealer's finger off and shoves it into his own mouth.
  • In Hannibal, Hannibal manipulates a drugged Mason Verger into cutting off and eating his own nose, and also feeds Paul Krendler his own brain.
  • The protagonist of In My Skin winds up so fixated on this she has room for little else in her life.
  • At one point in Land of the Dead, the group going out to reclaim Dead Reckoning from Cholo comes across one of the city's military commanders, who has recently been zombified. The zombie of the commander appears to be finishing the job that the other zombies started, and is eating bits of itself.
  • The uncut version of A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child reveals that the stuff Freddy is force-feeding Greta is her own innards.
  • One of the Mud Demons in Riddick is eviscerated by Riddick with a shiv...which then proceeds to devour its own trailing innards.
  • The "Sloth" victim in Se7en bit off and ate his own tongue.
  • One of the creepiest examples ever - in an already incredibly creepy category - is The Shunned House. A young woman obsessively plays her violin to ward off evil spirits. Her violin strings break, whereupon she gnaws her own arm open until the sinews are exposed - and then plays the sinews with her violin bow.
  • Pizza the Hutt from Spaceballs got locked in his limo and ate himself to death.
  • A particularly gruesome example occurs in Splatter Naked Blood, in which one of the women exposed to Eiji's experimental drug 'MySon' cooks and eats various parts of her body, starting by frying her hand and taking a bite out of it, and culminating with her driving a fork into her eye socket, taking the eye out and eating it whole.
  • Chop Top from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is constantly picking at the exposed metal plate in his head with a heated coat hanger. He eats any skin that gets caught on it.
  • Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings reveals One Eye and Three Finger acquired their trademark deformities this way.

  • There once was a vampire named Mabel
    Whose period was notoriously stable
    So on every full moon
    She'd get out a spoon
    And drink herself under the table

  • The Animorphs novels use this as an aspect of the Taxxon race's Horror Hunger. Though sapient, the extreme harshness of their initial environment caused them to evolve a super-powerful hunger response that neither their own will, nor even infestation by a yeerk, can control it. Whenever Visser Three or Ax turns a Taxxon into Half the Man He Used to Be (which is often, considering that Visser Three is a Bad Boss who doesn't take negative news well), the half with a mouth will instinctively try to eat the other.
  • In Jeff Long's Deeper, a monster gets his comeuppance when he's paralyzed from the neck down and left to starve to death in a desolate cavern. He regains partial mobility in his hands, but it happens so very slowly that he realizes he'll die before he can crawl his way to food; he therefore finger-climbs his hand up to his face, and begins eating his own fingers. Then gets attacked and killed before he can move anything else, meaning he chewed himself up for nothing.
  • Ender's Game has Ender munching on his own hand while sleeping — a slightly uncommon example in that it's not out of starvation but a manifestation of stress and guilt after overworking Petra until she cracks up.
    "I don't care how much you eat, Ender, self-cannibalism won't get you out of this school."
  • Forest Kingdom:
    • In the Hawk & Fisher spinoff series' book 5 (Guard Against Dishonor), a teenager doped out of her mind on super-chacal has her belly ripped open by her equally-berserk boyfriend. When Hawk and Fisher find her, she's nibbling on her own exposed guts.
    • In book 4 (Beyond the Blue Moon), during the first chapter, Hawk and Fisher have to defeat a sorcerer commanding a zombie army and augmented by having a small parasitic demon connected to him. To stop it, Hawk cuts the umbilicus that connects the demon to its host. Denied its source of nourishment, the demon attacks Hawk, jabbing at his throat with the severed cord's end in an attempt to make him its new host. Hawk grabs the cord and jams its end into the demon's own belly, and it sucks itself bodily into its own umbilicus and disappears.
  • In Hannibal, Lecter manipulates a drugged Mason Verger into cutting off and eating his own nose, and also feeds Paul Krendler his own brain.
  • He Lover of Death: In the backstory, it's said that the Prince, a brutal gang leader, once force-fed a rival his own ears.
  • The Shel Silverstein poem "Hungry Mungry" ends with Hungry Mungry eating himself after eating everything else in existence. Another poem "Me-Stew" is all about a chef having no idea what to put in his stew, so he puts himself in.
  • In the short story "It's a Good Life", Reality Warper-tyke Anthony knows his Aunt Amy dislikes rats, so he mind-controls one and forces it to eat itself.
  • During their hunt for the killer shark in Jaws, Quint puts on a show for Brody and Hooper by gutting several smaller sharks, and then throwing them into the sea with their guts. The two then watch in horror as the creatures thrash around in a feeding frenzy, constantly eating their insides that they are unable to keep in their stomachs.
  • John Dies at the End has a brief example. The narrator and main protagonist, David, is being haunted by unknown supernatural forces he's managed to upset with his occasional heroism (or maybe he's just crazy), and at one point, he hallucinates a display at a McDonald's warped into a picture of Ronald McDonald eating his own intestines.
    But it was those eyes that got me. His expressive cartoon eyes pulsed with a terror about to boil over into madness. Tears streaked his face, sweat beaded his forehead. Those eyes pleaded with me, looked right into me and screamed to be put out of his misery. Those eyes told a story, not just of a man eating himself, but of a man being forced to eat himself. And only I saw it.
  • In the novel The Journeyer by Gary Jennings, set in 12th-century China, a section of the book is devoted to the art of torture. The fate for people accused of treason is called The Death of a Thousand. According to the book, there are 332 places on the body that will cause pain and four that cause sudden death. The torturer writes these body parts on pieces of paper in a basket and goes to work as he draws the names. The Death of More than a Thousand is the same, except the person's body parts are fed to him/her.
  • Journey to Chaos:
    • Monsters are so stupid that it's not unusual to find them eating themselves in the fields. These breeds don't survive long.
    • Fresh off his recovery from mana mutation, Eric tries to eat his own hand because he misunderstood Kallen's use of the "foot in the mouth" metaphor. He doesn't actually do it because he decides that his hand doesn't taste good.
  • In Misery, Annie cuts off Paul's thumb, uses it as a candle on a birthday cake, and threatens to make him eat it.
  • It's mentioned in Monstrous Regiment that while cannibalism in dire circumstances is acceptable (it's supposedly a military rule that it doesn't count as cannibalism if you don't eat the whole person), eating your own leg is frowned upon. So you swap legs with a partner.
    "It's not done to eat your own leg, is it? You'd go blind."
  • Monty Python's Big Red Book contains a poem about a little boy named Horace who eats himself until all that's left is his stomach.
  • In Peace Talks, Thomas gets beaten so badly with nothing to feed on that his own vampiric nature starts feeding on him, which would have killed him in short order had he not been put in stasis. His Hunger doesn't even turn away from him when people are present he could feed on, and the only person he seems to be able to acknowledge at all is his brother whom he'd much rather die than turn it on.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms has a rare example of this trope played for badassery. When Xiahou Dun has an arrow shot into his eye, he proceeds to rip it out and eat it.
  • Exaggerated in the short story "The Savage Mouth" by Sakyo Komatsu: the unnamed protagonist not only commits this trope out of sheer spiteful perversity, but he takes advantage of cybernetic medical technology to replace each body part as it's removed so he can keep going, cooks each piece with the care and sophistication of a gourmet chef, and records the entire process. When the police find what's left of him — just a skull with a still-working cybernetic jaw and a dead, partially scooped-out brain — they immediately destroy the recordings and declare him the victim of a psychopathic Mad Scientist rather than horrify the public with the truth.
  • In The Silmarillion, Giant Spider and Eldritch Abomination Ungoliant, according to one in-universe theory, devours herself while wandering in the wastelands of the Middle-Earth after finally running out of other ways to sate her Horror Hunger.
  • In The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin, John loses his mind and starts eating his own fingers when the villain possesses him on the highway, thoroughly alarming everyone around him.
  • The Skeleton Crew short story "Survivor Type" centers around a surgeon and drug runner who is shipwrecked on an island with almost nothing to eat, and is ultimately forced to eat himself by amputating first one foot (after an injury), then the other (no injury this time), then working his way gradually higher up, using the smuggled drugs as anesthetic.note 
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The leader of the Brave Companions, Vargo Hoat, gets hacked to pieces one part at a time by Gregor Clegane while he is imprisoned. The flesh is then fed to Hoat and the rest of the prisoners. It should be noted that Hoat absolutely deserves this.
    • Earlier, Lady Donella Hornwood gets carried off and forced to marry Ramsay Bolton so he can claim her lands. After the wedding, Ramsay locks her in a tower and leaves her to starve. When House Stark soldiers find her, she's dead with her fingers chewed off (the implication being that Ramsay flayed her hands and she bit her fingers off both to survive and to alleviate the pain).
    • A mercenary captain known as the Tattered Prince recounts an incident where one of his men tried to desert because of the bad quality of food. The Tattered Prince chopped off the deserter's leg, roasted it, and fed it to him, and then made him company cook. Oddly, the man didn't hold a grudge and willingly signed up for another tour of duty.
    • After one of his Elite Mooks turns up dead, Ramsay promises he'll be Avenging the Villain by having the killer flayed alive, cooking their skin like pork crackling, and making them eat it.
  • In The Stand, Lloyd Henreid recalls, while trapped in prison and contemplating eating the leg of his cellmate to survive, an incident from his childhood where his neglected pet rabbit chewed on its own paws. While he wanted to think that its bloody paws were from trying to claw its way out of its cage, he soon realized that it had tried to eat itself out of hunger.
  • In Jack Heath's first Timothy Blake book, the star cannibal FBI consultant bites off his own thumb to escape the Big Bad. And swallows it because he is a cannibal. In a later book, another character asks him why he didn't just dislocated it and the idea honestly did not occur to him.
  • In the first chapter of Trinity Blood, Abel Nightroad eats his own severed arm (with a mouth in his other hand), then grows the severed arm back.
  • In Wander, Temple tells Wander about a girl who had her limbs amputated and fed to her by the smilers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Angel episode "To Shanshu in L.A.", Holland Manners warns Lindsey that the Senior Partners are watching the situation closely. Lilah suddenly comments that the last person who let them down was forced to eat his own liver.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Referenced as one of Anya's past vengeance curses in "The Prom":
    Anya: ... then, this one time, a girl wished that her ex would cannibalize himself. Even I had a hard time watching that one, let me tell you—
  • Creepshow: In "Survivor Type" (adapted from the Stephen King story in the "Literature" folder), the narrator is trapped on a deserted island, slowly succumbing to Sanity Slippage from the isolation and hunger. Desperate to try and save himself, he uses his surgical skills to start amputating his body from the feet up and eating the removed bits.
  • One of the people kept in The Attic in Dollhouse is a man forced to eat his own legs as sushi.
    "I must stay here and enjoy myself."
  • Hannibal:
    • Hannibal Lecter serves Dr. Abel Gideon his own leg (roasted in a clay mold). As Abel had previously been rendered paraplegic, Hannibal rationalized it as a more effective use of the limb.
    • Mason Verger meets much of the same fate as listed under Literature.
      I'm full of myself.
    • The last image of the series shows Bedeliah du Maurier seated at a dining table with her own leg waiting to be served.
  • The I-Land: Taylor tries to leave the island in the raft, only to wash up on another deserted island and passing out from the fatigue. When she wakes up, one of her hands is wrapped in bandages and there's a pot of chicken soup left for her by the island's only native. As Bonnie and Clyde later inform her, there are no chickens on the island.
  • Gary, a Fae butcher, in the Lost Girl episode "Death Didn't Become Her"
    Gary: You know what they say— sometimes a flesh-eater is just too tired to get out of bed, go to the fridge, know what I mean? [bites off his own index finger].
    • In his defense, they do grow back.
  • Monday Mornings: It's revealed that some women are allowed to take home their placentas after giving birth, and it's known that they probably get eaten. It's supposed to be helping them to deal with stress. One patient uses it as an argument when she wants to take home her own kidney which was supposed to get transplanted into her sister. She wants to eat it. Um, that's how she deals with her grief, and it's also a ritual from one eastern culture. She's deemed completely sane, but it caused some major in-universe squick.
  • One Piece (2023): As in the manga, pirate captain Zeff and Sanji, the ships' boy from a ship he was raiding, are stranded and Zeff salvages two bags of food. He gives the smaller one to Sanji before ordering him to the other side of the island. When Sanji runs out of supplies he returns for Zeff's and discovers the other bag really contained treasure - Zeff gave him all the food and survived by eating his own leg.
  • In the HBO prison drama OZ, Stuart McCullum, a prisoner in solitary confinement, killed himself over the course of several weeks by biting chunks of his flesh off and eating them, leading to this wonderful piece of humor:
    Murphy: Like a cannibal...
    Tim McManus: A cannibal eats someone else's flesh.
    Murphy: So what do you call a guy who eats his own flesh?
    Tim McManus: Inventive?
  • A Saturday Night Live skit with Chevy Chase as Jeffery Dahmer had him trying to convince his lawyers to let him act like he's insane during the trial so they can try for the insanity plea. They try to convince him that no shenanigans are necessary. He seems confused that someone might think he's insane without acting insane... as he begins to calmly eat his own fingers.
  • Supernatural:
    • In "All Hell Breaks Loose Part Two", the Yellow-Eyed Demon uses this as a threat against Jake.
      Yellow-Eyed Demon: If you're a bad little soldier, well, that dear old mom of yours, that adorable little sister...I'll make certain that they both live long enough to know the chewy taste of their own intestines. [beat] No, Jake. I'm not bluffing.
    • Leviathans who fail are forced to eat themselves, a punishment called "bibbing" since all that's left in the end is a bloody bib. If they eat themselves too slowly, their Healing Factor kicks in... and they have to eat that part of themselves again.
    • If you really piss off their leader, however, he'll just eat you himself.
  • A fake political ad from This Hour Has 22 Minutes claimed Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper cuts himself so he can collect and drink his own blood.
  • In the final episode of Westworld, Armistice bites the tip off of the finger on the technician who is working on her and force-feeds it back to him.

  • The music video for "OBSCURE" by Dir en grey features, among other bizarre things, guitarist Die ripping his heart out of his chest and eating it.
  • Happens in a children's song by Swedish poet Lennart Hellsing. A Reality Warper sorcerer from India is goaded by the Emperor of China to turn himself into a glass of lemonade (presumably because his magic is dangerous or at least annoying, it isn't clear). However, it was a very very warm day and the sorcerer got thirsty...
  • Evillious Chronicles: "Evil Food Eater Conchita" is about a deranged aristocrat who got tired of gourmet cuisine and grew an appetite for only the most disgusting, borderline lethal dishes; she eventually ran out of new things to try, so she ate her servants, and when the mansion was empty, she ate herself. Even the tie-in novel doesn't elaborate on how she pulled this off.
  • Rammstein's Song "Mein Teil" is about the case of Bernd Jürgen Brandes (see Real Life section).
  • The music video for "The Devil in I" by Slipknot involves a scene where Sid Wilson, the band's turntablist, commits suicide by eating his arm and fingers.
  • The music video for Jack Stauber's "Dinner Is Not Over" briefly features Jack eating a copy of his own head and nodding approvingly to the audience.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Ouroboros is a snake that eats its tail; it represents eternity and perfection and shows up as symbolism in a lot of works.
  • Classical Mythology also has a story of Erysichthon, king of Thessaly, who was punished by the gods for killing a dryad with an insatiable hunger that drove him to poverty, and forced him to wander the lands with just his daughter to help him scam money out of people for food until she finally left him. He then raised his shaking fist to the sky to curse the gods, prompting him to notice how plump, meaty, and juicy his hand looked. The curse placed on him by the gods then evidently made it possible for him to consume his entire body, including his own mouth, which of course had to be eaten last.
  • The Nachzehrer, a German folkloric vampire that chews its shroud, fingers, and toes before preying on humans.
  • In Native American Folklore, the Wendigo is described as having missing lips and skin on parts of their body, implying that on top of eating other humans, they also eat parts of their own bodies in an effort to cope with their own hunger.

  • In The Magnus Archives episode "Taking Stock", smuggler Mikaele Salesa sells his ship's cook a mysterious antique meat grinder that Cook has become obsessed with. Shortly afterward, Salesa notices there seems to be far too much fresh meat on the menu for a ship that's been at sea for weeks. Salesa finally breaks down the door to the galley and discovers that Cook has been cutting off his left arm with a cleaver and replacing it with a new one that comes out of the meat grinder.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the many, many white cards in Cards Against Humanity reads "Autocannibalism."
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Trolls are sometimes depicted as doing this if there isn't enough food for them, using their regenerative abilities to heal the damage. Don't think too hard about how this would actually work.
    • Weaponized by the vaaths, unbelievably sadistic roach-lizards debuting in the Planescape setting. Vaaths like to paralyze prey with their poisonous bites, then stick a feeder tendril into their helpless victim to eat them alive. What's worse is that vaaths are natural telepaths able to "broadcast" both the taste and texture of the meal they're eating, as well as their feelings of satisfaction from it. Other creatures subjected to this will take some Wisdom damage from the horrific experience, unless they commonly feed on the same prey the vaath is, but the vaath's victim takes even more Wisdom damage from this psychic assault, because "no creature, not even another vaath, is immune to the horror of experiencing what its own entrails taste like."
  • In Pathfinder, one of the resident Eldritch Abominations known as the Spawn of Rovagug is Great Doom Chemnosit, whose gaze induces overwhelming violent cannibalistic urges in the victims. If they can't perceive any other victims, they immediately turn on themselves. Chemnosit's modus operandi is to erupt in the hearts of cities and infect the entire population with this madness. Then, when the orgy of mutilation has died down, it devours the survivors.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: The Self-Consuming Hunger Caligo lets creatures of the Darkness take resistant damage to generate Willpower to cast other Calignes. This trope is one of the possible explanations for how that works.
  • In Transhuman Space, "Clonibalism" (clone-cannibalism) is a whole thing, described in Toxic Memes as having started out as a way of bringing back traditions of ritual cannibalism. The sourcebook's frontispiece shows a grinning man pulling a fork out of an identical, and equally grinning, disembodied head.


    Video Games 
  • From Amnesia: Justine, we get Malo, one of Justine's suitors who was forced to eat his own flesh to survive. He then takes a liking to it, and when he sees another human...
  • Bugsnax: Floofty Fizzlebean cuts off their own leg as part of an experiment to see if eating Bugsnax will regenerate missing limbs. They eat said leg the following night because it had already been turned into strawberries before it was severed, so it's slightly more palatable than a normal Grumpus leg.
  • Parodied in Cuphead, as the titular character's brother Mugman drinks the liquid from his own head through his own straw at the start of every boss battle in co-op. Presumably, it just ends up being put back into his head. Which is kind of odd because according to the game's developers, what's inside Cuphead's and Mugman's cups-for-heads are their spiritual essences, or, in other words, their immortal souls.
  • Darkest Dungeon: The weakest mooks in The Darkest Dungeon eat the flesh from their arms. This heals them since they're eldritch-infested cultists. Cutscenes from The Crimson Courtyard also show a Countess-born vampire's first instinct is to eat themselves, and not the other vampires around them.
  • Dead Island features the Butcher enemy, rabidly aggressive zombies that have their forearms ending in chewed bone. It's implied that they chewed off their own hands as the virus set in.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, those infected with Corprus disease take advantage of Corprus's regenerative qualities by eating bits of themselves, as anything they bite off will quickly grow back afterward.
  • Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou has minor character Pang Xie, a crab-like creature who constantly eats his own quickly-regenerating limbs, which are apparently his favorite dish.
  • You can do this in Eat Me, but you'll just pop right back.
  • In Fallen London, if you choose to Seek Mr. Eaten's Name one of the potential cards you can draw involves you burning down a candle shop. Your character will then attempt to eat their own burning flesh because it smells so delicious.
  • One of The Many Deaths of You in the first Space Quest involved being locked in a chamber. The death message says that you tried to resort to autocannibalism, only to find out that you weren't tasty at all.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Javik mentions that the punishment for traitors in his time was to rip their limbs off and give them a choice between eating their own flesh or starvation. And then killing them anyway if they do eat.
  • Monster Hunter 3 (Tri): The monster Deviljho will eat any meat lying around on the ground to recover stamina, including its own severed tail.
  • Moshi Monsters: Shambles and his species eat their own ears, but it's painless and they grow back so it doesn't matter. Fabio once tried to eat his own teeth, but they tasted bad.
  • In Plague Inc., the Necroa virus can evolve the Autophagia symptom which "compels Infectees to bite and devour their own bodies".
  • In Sonic Shuffle, one of the Forcejewels in the game is the Carbuncle, which is really a disguised fairy that eats the other Forcejewels in the inventory of the player who possesses it. Once there are no other Forcejewels left, the Carbuncle will resort to eating itself.
  • The final boss of 'Splosion Man is a giant monster, made from meat. You trick it into eating its own arms off, leaving it vulnerable to the final killing blow.
  • In Sunset Overdrive, Troop Master Bryllcream was trapped in a garbage truck for 16 days without food or water. By the time the player rescues him, he's a quadruple amputee with none of his limbs. While it's never outright stated, the game puts special emphasis on the "trapped with no food" part.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Geralt feeds a werewolf its own flesh in order to break the curse of lycanthropy.
  • In Zork, the command "eat self" returns the message "Autocannibalism is not the answer."

  • Awful Hospital: The door to the Burgrr Zone tries to convince Fern to eat a sloppy joe made of her own body parts. Since the Zone is entirely focused on meat consumption and has a rather hazy understanding of life and death as they apply to humans, it might actually have been intended as a treat for her.
    BBQ Girll: I do hope the sweet little thing enjoys her complimentary autoconceptual foodmatters!
  • Freefall: In strip 607:
    Florence: [thinking] Winston said when my blood supply rebuilt, I'd wake up feeling hungry.
    What he didn't explain is that feeling hungry is going to mean "Hope you can make it to the kitchen before you start eating your own appendages."
  • Paranatural: The "racist whale-frog" invades Max's home, creates a clone out of its own reflection, and then eats the clone. Max, PJ, and Lefty are all appropriately horrified.
    Max: Okay that's a little out of my comfort zone. Gonna call for some backup.
    Alt Text: A pragmatic ghost hunter would be happy with this turn of events, as the number of foes has decreased.
  • In Unsounded, Duane has struggled with insatiable Horror Hunger ever since becoming The Undead but hit a low point in his early non-breathing days when his body was literally rotting around him. One part of that Madness Montage shows him chewing on one of his own maggot-infested hands in desperation.

    Web Original 
  • This happens at the end of the DEATH BATTLE! between Omni-Man and Homelander in the "one forces it upon another" fashion. At the start of the fight, Nolan vows to feed Homelander his own heart for murdering Debbie, and he very literally makes good on that promise: The deathblow involves Omni-Man ripping Homelander's lower jaw out of its socket. Then, he rips out Homelander's heart, shoves it into the Supe's forced-open mouth, and makes him 'swallow' by crushing Homelander's head.
    Nolan: "Remember what I promised you...? Now swallow."
  • Homestar Runner:
    • Played for Laughs in the Strong Bad Email "island". Strong Bad imagines that in a typical cartoon scenario, if he and Homestar were stuck on a deserted island, Strong Bad might try to eat his own foot at one point.
    • In the email "interview", Strong Bad claims that being around Homsar for too long makes him start to think "gnawing my own leg off would be a more better way to spend my time."
  • Implied case on Neopets. If a Skeith (an omnivorous dragon species of Neopet) were to be painted Biscuit (and given an appearance like it's a sentient cookie), it will appear to have a large bite taken out of its own arm, with a telltale gathering of crumbs around its face, chest and upper belly.
  • Orion's Arm has autovory, eating a brain-dead clone of oneself alive while hooked up to the clone's sensory outputs. In some polities, one can buy clones of celebrities for this purpose as well. Or, for a slightly less disturbing example, the setting mentions the practice of cloning pieces of one's own body to eat being a "fad" for a while.
  • The Christmas Episode of Retarded Animal Babies had Puppy receive a Gag Penis for Christmas as a present from Satan Claus, and as a result, he sucks on it until he explodes.
  • Happens in an episode of Salad Fingers. Or not. It's not very clear just what is going on only that Salad Fingers likes his doppelganger's brains.
  • In SBI Rust, Fort Kickass are not above eating their own dead bodies.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-524 is an Extreme Omnivore rabbit who is so extreme that his diet includes himself. When the only remaining parts of his body are parts that he can't reach with his mouth, his mouth flips inside out, swallowing himself whole in one final gulp. Half an hour later he'll re-appear, whole and unharmed.
    • SCP-891 does this in a roundabout way. Eating fruit grown from it has the effect of taking bites out of your internal organs. Even worse, those who start eating it are unable to stop, eventually dying from massive internal injuries.
    • There's also SCP-3240, which gives affected creatures a Healing Factor-and compels them to eat themselves. Humans affected by it form cults based around autocannibalism.
    • And SCP-4820 is a man who acquired a Healing Factor while marooned on an island and got into the habit of eating himself.
  • In Smirvlak's Stone, Lorko Maeliss is repeatedly (and rightfully) called out by Karlnok for his various actions getting most of the Yellow Fang tribe killed. After one too many condescending remarks, Lorko snaps and uses dark magic to brainwash Karlnok into eating his own eyeballs and testicles, along with the rest of his body.
  • Played for Laughs in the Smosh short 'Stranded'. When faced with starvation, Anthony and Ian decide that they're going to have to eat their third friend, Jamal. In response, Jamal accuses them of racism and eats himself just to spite them.
  • StacheBros: In "Yoshi Eats His Friends", when Yoshi wakes up from his nap for an afternoon snack only to find no food in the house, he accidentally eats Mario and Luigi to satiate his appetite. However, to prevent himself from eating Wario as well, he resorts to eating himself.
  • Used in Zero Punctuation to describe a level of absurd, maddening frustration caused by unfair game design paired with having victory snatched away at the last moment. This puts it more into the third category, representing insanity as brought on by anger. Notable for having Yahtzee's avatar visibly gnawing on his own foot with a fair bit of blood but not having removed it first and the 'crazy' expression as shown in his stick-figure sort of style.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Mentioned in the episode "The Promise": when Gumball and Darwin went on a camping trip and forgot to bring Banana Joe home with them, he apparently had to eat a piece of himself to survive.
    • At the beginning of "The Girlfriend", when Jamie is prowling the cafeteria for food from the other kids, Anton (a piece of sentient toast who regularly dies and just comes back each time through his toaster) hastily makes himself into a sandwich. Jamie isn't in the mood for one, and offhandedly says he can eat "it". Too terrified to take her anything but literally, Anton starts eating himself.
    • Joe's father, Banana Bob, appears in the episode "The Line", where he's gone insane waiting in line for the new Stellar Odyssey movie before production began and demonstrates to the Wattersons just how insane he's become by eating himself.
  • A, well, weird variant in an opening skit for Aqua Teen Hunger Force:
    Steve: (on phone) Uh, yeah, uh, six inch on wheat, no mayo... uh, hang on. (aside) Uh, Dr. Weird?
    Dr. Weird: (with his hand behind his back) My ass has finally decided to eat MY HAND! (sharp convulsion) IT HUNGERS... FOR MORE!
    (Dr. Weird's entire body gets sucked into itself until there's nothing left but a small ball of flesh with a piece of Dr. Weird's muumuu sticking out)
    Steve: (back on the phone) ...Uh, yeah, just the one hoagie.
  • An early episode of Beast Wars had Dinobot dispose of a fully biological clone of himself by eating it.
    Dinobot: I'm afraid he's gone for good. A shame, really. He was such a handsome creature...and quite tasty. (Flicks a small leftover piece from his teeth to Optimus Primal's face.)
    Optimus Primal: (clearly unamused) You're disgusting.
  • One episode of Bounty Hamster has Marion discover his Bag of Holding cheeks are actually a portal between dimensions so, in order to escape the dimension they're trapped in, he eats Cassie and then himself. (It Makes Sense in Context... kinda).
  • In one episode of Brandy & Mr. Whiskers, Brandy's horrible singing makes a snake eat his own tail and disappear from existence. Lola later tries to do the same before Mr. Whiskers stops her.
  • Nibbler does the exact same thing in one of the Futurama films.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Billy gets a job selling Chocolate Sailors but ends up eating them all himself. He turns into chocolate himself and eats himself until only his head is left. He's not the only Chocolate Sailor who has this problem — their leader even complains that he has trouble maintaining a crew due to how often they eat themselves.
  • In the last episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), Zodak mystically hypnotizes four of King Hiss' heads into eating the fifth, and main, one (had the show gone on for another season he would have regenerated it).
  • Played for laughs in Histeria!. In a skit spoofing Ken Burns' Civil War documentary, a soldier, desperate to escape the sorrowful violin music constantly playing out of nowhere, writes that he has eaten his own head.
  • Done apparently offscreen in Invader Zim. In one episode we see Skoodge being shot into a planet via cannon. He later shows up alive and well, much to the confusion of The Tallest. According to the writers, he survived by eating his own skin.
  • In the Mickey Mouse cartoon "Mickey's Garden", a giant caterpillar tries to eat Mickey, who jumps on its tail. In trying to eat him, it bites off its own tail until it's just a head.
  • The Owl House: In the first episode, one of the inmates at the Conformatorium is a demon who's been imprisoned there for eating his own eyeballs. It's all right, they grow back.
  • A Gummi Bear from Robot Chicken ends up eating her own leg to get out of a bear trap. She likes how she tastes.
  • Sidekick:
    Eric: It's Master XOX!
    XOX: The one and only! Except for those clones I made, and ate.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the intro of "Treehouse of Horror XV", Homer eats his limbs while being cooked in a giant oven.
    • In the second segment of "Treehouse of Horror XX", a zombified Ralph is shown eating himself.
    • In a fantasy sequence in "A Midsummer's Nice Dream", when Homer smokes a joint with Cheech Marin, the smoke appears as candy hearts that Homer eats before eating his limbs and torso.
    • In the Couch Gag of "Holidays of Future Passed", the family are gingerbread people and Homer eats his left arm.
    • The third segment of "Treehouse of Horror XXVIII" is centered around Homer becoming addicted to eating himself until he drives his family away. In the end, he ends up selling his body to a celebrity chef and becomes a popular flavor throughout town.
      Homer: Marge, I admit it, this is a rough patch. But I know when to stop.
      Marge: And when would that be? When you're just a mouth?!
      Homer: You see how she is, doc? Always negative. She makes me feel like nothing.
      Marge: You are almost nothing!
    • In an Itchy & Scratchy Show short, Itchy (disguised as a restaurant employee) serves Scratchy his own belly. The unknowing Scratchy's attempt at eating it only results in the bits of it he swallows popping back out of a hole cut in it.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
  • In the T.U.F.F. Puppy episode "Toast of T.U.F.F.", the Chameleon is turned into a giant mealworm by one of his inventions backfiring on him and is unable to resist attempting to eat himself.

    Real Life 
  • One user on Reddit had his foot and part of his lower leg amputated following a motorcycle accident, and somehow managed to get the hospital to agree to him taking the resultant cut of meat home with him; he then prepared meat strips out of his own foot to serve in tacos and even invited some friends to share in the tasting!
  • King Richard II of England was deposed by Henry Bolingbroke (afterwards King Henry IV) in the fall of 1399. Not long after that, he was taken to Pontefract Castle as a prisoner and put in chains. He died in February 1400, apparently deliberately starved to death. There are tales that hunger drove Richard to rip flesh from his hands and forearms with his teeth and eat it.
  • Bernd Jürgen Brandes, who infamously consented to being killed and eaten by a man he met online, tried to eat some of his own penis before dying.
  • Lizards whose tails drop off when grabbed as an anti-predator defense mechanism will sometimes eat the dropped-off bit of tail if the predator doesn't do so, reclaiming its protein for their bodies.
    • Many lizards also do the same with their own shed skins, for the same reason.
  • Some mammals will eat their offspring's placenta after a birth. See Placentophagy.
    • Also technically a case of Eats Babies, as the placenta is a structure comprised of both fetal (mostly vessels) and maternal (mostly blood) tissues.
  • Ant queens consume their own wings once their mating flight is done and they are ready to start a hive.
  • Snakes can eat themselves. Less related to the ouroboros than one might think.
  • One of the symptoms of Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome is this.
  • Technically called 'Autophagia', this is not classified as a specific disorder. However, some individuals with mental disorders, especially psychosis, Impulse-control disorders, and Obsessive-compulsive disorder feel compelled to eat their own flesh. In extreme cases, this can lead to infections, nerve damage, amputations, and death. It's also known to happen in severe cases of pica.
  • One horrific case of child abuse in Gloucester, Virginia, revealed a 6-year-old girl starving in a filthy cage made from a crib and a piece of plywood stuck on top. She was so hungry (she'd only ever be fed Pop Tarts or sandwiches twice a day at the very most) she was eating flakes of her own dead skin. Fortunately, she's far better off now and eating real food. Her parents, Brian and Shannon Gore, have been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
  • A female octopus ceases to hunt while guarding and tending her eggs, typically dying of starvation around the time they hatch. If she's already underweight when the eggs are laid, she may consume one or more of her own arms to sustain herself long enough that the eggs aren't left undefended.
  • One Danish artist cooked food with his own liposuctioned fat.
    • Similarly a Norwegian artist ate meat off his deformed hip bone after having it replaced. It should be noted that doing so wasn't his original plan, when he'd talked his doctors into letting him keep it his intention was to clean it up and display it, but he later realised that he had a rare opportunity and seized it.
  • As an emergency procedure for if you starve yourself for a few days, your body will convert its own protein content into glucose in an attempt to stay alive. In essence, your body eats up your muscle tissue for energy.
    • The process of apoptosis involves the dead cells of the body that aren't discarded or repurposed in some way being sent to the liver, where kupffer cells render them down for their nutritional value, as well as sending the byproducts of this process to the gall bladder.
    • Technically we all do this, as we swallow and digest millions of shed cells that flake away from the lining of the oral cavity every day.
    • A drug called Glucagon is used to induce this in unresponsive hypoglycemic diabetics and converts the glycogen stored in the liver and other parts of the body to glucose that the body can use. People who have had it used report feeling exhausted for days after.
  • There was a story about a Chinese general named Xiahou Dun. During battle, he took an arrow to the eye. When he went to remove the arrow, his entire eye came off on the tip. According to the tale, he declared, "Essence of my father, blood of my mother, I cannot throw this away!" and promptly swallowed his eye whole. (Other stories state that he had vowed to his family that no part of his body would rot in the ground due to his military service.)
  • During The Great Depression, one lynching victim named Claude Neal was forced to eat his own genitals (along with all manner of other tortures) before dying.
  • While in prison, the suspected cannibal Nathaniel Bar-Jonah was said to enjoy eating his own scabs and blood with the same pleasure as if he had sex.


Video Example(s):


Pizza the Hutt's death

The heroes are freed from their debt as their pizza-covered creditor is revealed to have ate himself.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / Autocannibalism

Media sources: