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"Sis boom bah! [Carnac rips the envelope open and removes a card] 'Describe the sound made when a sheep explodes.'"
Carnac the Magnificent, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

In Real Life, sheep generally do not spontaneously combust, and if they did it would probably be a serious matter. This does not stop video games and other media from featuring exploding sheep for absurd comedy, because there's just something inherently silly about the idea having those placid woolly ruminants explode with a loud cry of "baa!". It's so prevalent that The Other Wiki used to have an article about it. Of course, different species, barnyard or otherwise, have been shown to explode as well, but for some reason, writers and designers just like their exploding sheep.

Not to be confused with Bob-omb. See also Action Bomb.


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    Comic Books 
  • In his first series issue #16, Deadpool makes nonstop sheep puns while using a rocket launcher disguised as a sheep. Unfortunately, it fails him.
    Deadpool: Missed? I... never miss with the sheep gun.

  • Bad Taste by Peter Jackson features a gratuitous exploding sheep near the end. But given this was back in Jackson's gore and splatter fest days, you could just see it coming. Also things tend to explode when hit by an RPG.
  • The Star Wars prequels have a large-rumped animal called a "shaak" that is described by the production crew as the Naboo equivalent of a sheep. There are easter eggs of exploding shaaks in several action sequences.
  • British movie The Baker has a young boy who enjoys making explosives in his free time. He causes several sheep to explode with his homemade bombs; indeed, the first one to do that has its head propelled straight into the protagonist's, knocking him cold and starting the chain of events that makes up the plot.
  • In Godmonster Of Indian Flats the titular monster is a mutated sheep which grows larger throughout the movie, until it explodes in the climactic scene.
  • The New Zealand film Black Sheep (2007) ends with the protagonists blowing up the infected sheep as they realize that sheep flatulence has created a potentially explosive situation.
  • Four Lions features a memorable scene with an exploding sheep. It's not as funny as it sounds.
    • The film features the Credits Gag: "One sheep was harmed in the making of this film".
  • Variation: The Men Who Stare at Goats.

  • The 1999 science fiction Before and After by Matthew Thomas has exploding sheep as one of the signs of the imminent apocalypse. As the blurb on the back puts it, "This is how the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a BAA-OOM!"
  • The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway has a digression on the unfortunate interaction between sheep and minefields. The word "ovicide" is repeatedly used.
  • Tom Sharpe's farce of The Apartheid Era, Indecent Exposure, uses exploding ostriches as a plot point. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • James Herriot references an incident in the life of another vet where a cow exploded. Apparently due to a build-up of trapped internal gas and a careless cigarette. This may be an Urban Legend in the veterinary profession.
  • A Practical Guide to Evil has its main character Catherine raising cows and deers from the dead, then filling them with goblin munitions and sending them to explode near the enemy's defences.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, his character, the psychic Carnac the Magnificent, predicts "Sis boom bah!" as the answer to a card sealed in an envelope (one of his signature tricks). As seen above, the card refers to "the sound made when a sheep explodes". The resulting riotous laughter from Carson, his co-host Ed McMahon, and the audience stopped the show cold for a good minute.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus featured exploding animals, including sheep, in a few sketches. One sketch (and subsequent running gag) featured exploding kamikaze Scotsmen.
  • Owen on The Vicar of Dibley once said he was late for the episode's parish council meeting because, and I quote, "Sheep exploded."
  • Threatened but averted in The Andy Griffith Show when a goat who has eaten a load of dynamite shows up at the jail.
  • In The League of Gentlemen, various animals inadvertently explode at the hands of the hapless vet. These range from a cow to a hamster.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS: Bio-Tech notes this as a potential side effect of using Pharm Animals to produce explosives.
    • Another GURPS sourcebook, Magic Items 2, mentions spontaneously exploding chickens that resulted from an alchemist's attempt to raise self-cooking meat animals.

    Video Games 
  • Blizzard Entertainment features this trope quite a bit:
    • If you click one time too many on sheep (or other non-hostile critters) in Warcraft games, they explode. The third game even had a mini-game where you had to dodge exploding sheep running at you.
      • Clicking makes critters explode in StarCraft as well, in fact its a nuclear explosion, however it is just a visual effect without damage. All that said, there are no space sheep.
      • The icy planet tileset has something that looks like a tauntaun. Close enough.
    • In World of Warcraft, people with engineering profession can make explosive mechanical sheep. Also, in the Undercity's Apothecarium, there is an underground section where with an area where people are held in cages, meant to be used as experiments of undeath. There is an Undead NPC who tests a "viscous fluid" upon one particular human male, which turns him into a rabbit, then a squirrel, and finally a sheep. Then, the NPC pokes the sheep repeatedly, and the sheep explodes.
      • Hearthstone added "Explosive Sheep" as a minion card, dealing quite a lot of damage to all minions for its cost when it dies.
      • And now we have the Explosive Decoy, a goddamned squirrel.
      • Sleepblooms deliver their spores by "popping" on contact. This deals no damage but makes its victims fall asleep instead. The player deals with this by throwing rocks at them.
  • In Wildfrost, the Sheepopper is a once-per-battle Shade summon that explodes and deals 8 damage to all enemies on the field when destroyed.
  • Worms has these, as well as exploding cows... and exploding grannies... and pigeons... bananas... donkeys... and that's only some of the ludicrous weaponry that explode by default, before you start using the editors.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando had the Sheepinator weapon which turned enemies into sheep. Use it enough and it will upgrade to the Black Sheepinator, which makes the sheep walk up to other enemies and explode.
  • During one mission of Armed and Dangerous, a drunken explosives expert trying to defuse a bomb attached to a kidnapped prize sheep accidentally sets it off.
  • In a video game titled, appropriately, Sheep, many of the hazards will cause the sheep to explode.
  • In Sim Golf, turn the balls into exploding sheep by pressing CTRL and S and letting go, then typing BOMBSHEEP.
  • Gem Fighter Online has a cash-bought exocore transformation (dubbed "Sheep's Cry" in the US release) features an explosion technique. The explosion is a translucent red version of the sheep's outer image expanded out around the character. While it causes damage and knockback to enemies, the sheep itself is unaffected by it.
  • In Revenge of the Mutant Camels, one stage (called "Through Pastures Blue...") features sheep that spontaneously and gratuitously explode into lethal chunks of wool.
  • No One Lives Forever: the GDR research lab level holds (exploding) sheep and goat pens.
  • In Cannon Fodder, on later missions, sheep are booby-trapped with explosives.
  • The first Destroy All Humans! game gives us the Radioactive Exploding Zombie Cows.
  • Atlantica Online has many enemies that can explode at low health, dealing considerable damage. Sheep are among them.
  • Overlord: Raising Hell has exploding sheep in the Abyss realms.
  • Sheep Man in Mega Man 10, being a robot, explodes when Mega Man defeats him, just like all other Robot Masters.
  • In Board Game Online you can buy exploding sheep. Remote-controlled exploding sheep. You can even put them into Poké Balls to directly throw at your opponents.
  • In Dungeons III, one of the expansions has the Absolute Evil dealing with the sickeningly sweet Fairy Godmother, getting his hands first on her potion factories and later on a magical mist which transforms people and monsters in sheep... which leads to the Haggis-loving Evil using scores of suicide sheep loaded with explosive potions to demolish the Godmother's magical towers in the final level.
  • Dungeon Crawl: One of shrines to the Mad God Xom features a flock of sheep that spontaneously combust and run away in panic only to explode shortly thereafter.
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield has the rare but possible situation where a Wooloo can use Copycat and copy the last used move. Any move can be copied, and this can include moves like Self-Destruct or Explosion, especially in doubles battles, allowing you to blow up your adorable cartoon sheep in a bid to take down an enemy.
  • Noita: "Summon Deercoy" spell makes your wand create a deer that walks to and fro and which explodes upon taking enough damage or colliding with other deer.

  • Web artist Fredrik K. T. Andersson (Not Safe for Work) had a great comic of his character Baalah (an apparent nudist and bisexual 'demon princess' complete with horns, tail, and red skin) launching sheep as fireworks by inserting chemicals into their bodily orifices.
  • In Girl Genius, battering rams are giant rams, of the sheep variety. It is mentioned that the fire-breathing ones are prone to exploding.

    Web Original 
  • In an episode of Red vs. Blue, the Blue Team tries calming down a bomb named Andy with imagination therapy. One of the images presented was a flock of sheep, "The kind that don't blow up!"
  • Seed Animation Studios has a CGI in-house short, Freerange, about farm animals merrily killing each other. Prominently featured: a sheep suicide bomber.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-1874 is a Black Welsh Mountain sheep that explodes if it touches a non-sheep mammal. It's not immune to its own explosions, but after a few minutes, it reforms from the bits of gore left behind.
    • SCP-4629 is a phenomenon that causes sheep to explode if they get prodded by a human more than a hundred times in less than three minutes.
    • SCP-5033 is a Valais Blacknose sheep that explodes over and over when it gets stressed. It’s completely unharmed by the explosions, and goes back to normal once it feels relaxed.

    Real Life 
  • Livestock, including sheep, have been used as an expedient and ad-hoc way to clear minefields.
    • Inadvertently so in the Falklands Islands. British military engineers charged with making safe after the war were less than enchanted that their Argentinian counterparts, in defiance of accepted Health and Safety practice, had set up minefields in a haphazard random way and had not kept any sort of record as to where and how many mines they'd used. To this day, sheep still go "bang" in parts of East Falkland.
  • Comedian Spike Milligan served on the expected invasion coast of Southern England in 1940. He relates how some people would still insist on taking their dogs for a walk on the beach as if it were still peacetime and felt seriously inconvenienced that they were no longer allowed to, for the very good reason that the beaches were now heavily mined. He relates an incident of a distraught woman who let her dog off the lead in the wrong place. Because she had clout with the military authorities, Milligan's unit was tasked with the chore of retrieving the dog. Milligan did feel they could have handled it more tactfully; the owner was eventually shown a severed canine leg and a collar and asked "Is this your dog, ma'am?"
    • Dismantling Britain's beach defenses after WW2 took decades. It wasn't until the late 1950s that many southern and eastern English beaches were deemed free of landmines and safe for holidaymakers. Even today things still surface; a north Norfolk beach had to be evacuated in 1998 after a dog triggered an hitherto overlooked mine.
    • There's a tabletop game based on this practice called "Unexploded Cow". The goal of the game is basically to make its title a lie.
  • Not sheep, but toads have been known to explode after emitting an unearthly screech. The cause? Crows that have figured out how to rip out the toad's delicious liver in one quick movement. The toad, alive but hurt and understandably terrified, responds to the threat in the normal way, by inflating itself. Only it's got a hole in it now, so the viscera go flying.
  • Truth in Television and the reason behind a large number of cattle mutilations. When any large animal dies, the gases released during decomposition build up in the animal's abdominal cavity, causing the animal to bloat up and eventually rupture.
    • The fact that this can include humans results in a truly horrible Based on a True Story incident in The Regeneration Trilogy.
    • Equally as bad for dead whales, which are massive. There was one case of a small town being covered in whale guts and blubber because the gases inside the body built up pressure, causing it to explode while people were moving the body through town.



Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Exploding Sheep, La Baamba


Sis Boom Bah

Johnny Carson's "Carnac the Magnificent" segment had him predict the answer to a prompt in an envelope. In this one, he predicts "Sis Boom Bah!" as the answer. He then opens the envelope to read the prompt: "Describe the sound made when a sheep explodes." The entire studio is then paralyzed with laughter for over a minute before he can continue the segment.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / BaaBomb

Media sources: