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Bear Trap

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A trap that's huge, about two or three feet across, with big zigzag teeth, and constantly trembles with tension, and snaps if you breathe on it funny—unless you're the intended target, who can jump up and down on it safely. The standard mode of exit is always to chew your own leg off, no matter who or what you are. Palate Propping tactics may offer an effective defense if applied in time.

Depending on the genre, this can be either funny (especially as Amusing Injuries) or horrifying when someone gets snared by it.

For horror movies, you can expect these in wooded areas, no doubt set and placed by some deranged killer.

These sorts of traps do exist in real life (their official name is Leg-hold Traps), and date back to the 1600s. However, they are restricted or banned in many areas of the world today and the modern-day versions tend to not use the steel saw-tooth design seen in most fictional depictions, due to concerns about both animal cruelty and potential injuries to any humans who inadvertently wander into the trap. Instead, rubber or offset ridges are used so that an animal is simply trapped rather than injured.


Compare Mouse Trap. Not to be confused with Clam Trap, which is about literal clams biting people.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Psycho-Pass, Ouryou Rikako gets her leg badly mangled by one of these when she flees to Senguji Toyohisa's hideout. It's rather satisfying to see it happen as she was a remorseless Serial Killer who had already seduced and murdered at least half a dozen girls from her academy.
  • In Yuri Kuma Arashi, Ginko is caught in a massive one that suspends her in the air when she goes after Kaoru.
  • Ham Egg/Viper Snakely uses these to aid him in his killing of Panja/Caesar in Kimba the White Lion.
  • In Studio Ghibli film Pom Poko, some Tanuki transform themselves into bear traps in order to ensnare any hapless humans who cross into their territory. The idea is played a little for comedy, but also goes to show the more violent lengths the racoons are taking.

    Comic Books 
  • In issue #10 of Batgirl, Batgirl breaks up a group of car thieves working the parking garage of a high-class charity event, only to stop in horror when one of the fleeing thugs triggers a bear trap that nearly slices off his leg at the knee. People claiming to be security for the event explain that it has become a new part of gang warfare for one gang to follow another as they commit crimes and leave traps to capture them afterwards.
  • In Judge Dredd, Judge Fear slings around chains with bear traps on the ends.
  • The EC Comics Horror SuspenStory "Stumped!" has a trapper setting a bear-trap for a rival trapper and then leaving him there to die. The rival trapper takes his revenge after chewing his leg off.
  • In the Tintin comic The Black Island, Dr Muller has a lot of these set up in the garden around his house.
  • In Violine, Violine has a dream where both her legs become trapped in two bear traps, with bloody results. It reflects her legs being trapped in plaster casts when awake.
  • Batman: In their first appearance, Tweedledee and Tweedledum trap Batman and Robin in wolf traps while they are robbing a furriers. Batman comments that if they had been using bear traps instead, he and Robin probably would have been crippled.

  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: when one of the weasels reaches into Jessica's bosom to search for Marvin Acme's will, a Bear Trap hidden in it snaps shut on his hand.
    Eddie Valiant: Nice booby trap.
  • Tom and Karen nearly step into a pair of them in Hard Rain.
  • Swan gets is right leg caught in one in Cannibal! The Musical. He's told to look on the bright side, as at least he didn't get his head caught in it.
  • The "hero" from Ravenous (1999) used one of these in the movie's climax. It could also be considered a Chekhov's Gun as it can be seen being played around with various times earlier in the film.
  • The "reverse bear trap" in Saw and Saw VI is thematically similar, except that when it goes off it snaps violently open, and as it is hooked into the victim's upper and lower jaws... In Saw 3D the audience finally sees the intended result, and it's brutal.
  • Bear traps are frequent props in The Three Stooges shorts, notably in "The Brideless Groom," where Moe and Larry try to use one to break up an all-female brawl. Naturally they're caught in their own trap.
  • In the Friday the 13th reboot, Jason uses a bear trap to keep Richie from saving Amanda from being roasted to death. During the final battle, Whitney uses one against Jason himself.
  • Severance: Andy gets caught in one of these and loses his foot when his co-workers try to free him.
  • In the climax of Disney's The Fox and the Hound, when Amos Slade tries to flee a bear he's pissed off, he gets his foot caught in one of his own bear traps.
  • A character gets thrown head first into a bear trap in Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud.
  • Used in Ladyhawke by the wolf trapper. He ends up Hoist by His Own Petard in the end.
  • In Aussie horror Dying Breed a character winds up caught in more than one of these devices (including one around his head).
  • Straw Dogs has one of the home invaders trying to break into Dustin Hoffman's house fall victim to a Chekhov's Gun trap which, whilst not intended for bears, operates very similarly in mechanics and effect.
  • In The Cabin in the Woods, Pa Buckner uses a Bear Trap on a chain as a thrown capture-weapon.
  • In the 1930 Our Gang episode "Bear Shooters", the kids try to trap a man in a gorilla suit note  with one. It doesn't go well for him.
  • Ilya Muromets: "I had set a trap for a marten, and I've caught a boyar's pants".
  • Early in the Spanish horror film The Blood Spattered Bride, a hunter uses a bear trap to capture and kill a fox. later, during the climactic chase, Lesbian Vampire Carmilla steps barefoot into a similar trap set by the same hunter as an Ironic Echo.
  • Brenda of the 1984 vigilante film Savage Streets uses a set of these as one of her weapons against the street gang who brutalized her sister and murdered her friend.
  • In The Naked Gun, Nordberg steps in one of these, which for some reason has been set up on the deck of a yacht.
  • The protagonist of A Pure Formality gets his foot trapped in a bear trap. He manages to escape by stripping off his gumboot.
  • Riddick in his third (and namesake) movie finds some very large traps in a Bounty Hunter station, which he puts to good use when the owners show up. One snaps shut on a mercenary's legs, then as he crawls along the ground in agony another crushes his head.
  • In Hot Fuzz, Nicholas Angel shoots a bear trap hanging from a wall to make it fall on a bad guy's head.
  • In The General, Buster Keaton's character Johnnie and his girlfriend walk into one of these immediately after escaping from an actual bear. It takes several minutes to get themselves free.
  • Amusing Injuries version in The Mouse That Roared - Peter Sellers' character Tully Bascomb, keeper of the tiny country's forest, is first seen trying to shoo off a puzzled-looking fox while his foot is caught in a fox-size trap.
  • In The Abominable Snowman, a trapper on an expedition to capture a Yeti sets a trap under the snow without telling the two member of the expedition who are behind him. Naturally he captures one of them. He claims the man shouldn't be hurt since it's his own design but it was designed for Yetis, not people.
  • The suspicious neighbor in Housebound booby-trapped his yard with a bear-trap.
  • Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance: Lady Snowblood steps in one. She first bonds with Shusuke when he, a random passerby, frees her.
  • Goosebumps: R.L. Stine has bear traps by the ton littered all over his basement floor.
  • All Cheerleaders Die: Terry digs a pit trap in the cemetery and lines it with bear traps as part of his plan to destroy the cheerleaders. It winds up killing Tracy when a bear trap closes on her head.
  • The Final: Dane lines the boundary of his property with bear traps. Tommy is released and told that if he can make his through the woods to highway, he is free to go and fetch help. He steps in one of the traps ans breaks his leg.
  • In The Mansion, the lawn of the mansion is seeded with these shortly into the film. The only victim they claim is Enzo, and they mysteriously disappear later in the film.

  • Discworld: Samuel Vimes has several bear traps hidden in the shrubberies around his house to keep assassins from sneaking through them. This is one of the many painful and/or humiliating reasons why nowadays the only assassins to sneak into his home are students sent there by their teachers to learn humility.
  • In Seeker Bears: River Of Lost Bears, Yakone gets caught in one, and to make matters worse, coyotes arrive to pick him off. He escapes from it and the coyotes thanks to Kallik, Lusa, and Toklo, but since he was caught by the foot, he loses a few toes.
  • In Secret Histories, the first book of the young Repairman Jack series, Jack and Weezy come upon a set of bear traps illegally set in the Pine Barrens, and they spring them with sticks before tossing the traps into a nearby pond. This has later plot implications.
  • In Flawed Dogs, Sam loses his leg after stepping on one of these.
  • In The Witchlands, Aeduen gets caught in a bear trap and it tears his legs to shreds. Good Thing You Can Heal, indeed.
  • James Herriot had to try and repair the damage after someone's pet dog got caught in one of these at least once.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Found Footage-style episode of Psych, Lassie accidentally steps in one while berating Shawn for his carelessness. After getting lost, he is found and cared for by the trap's setter, who felt horrible for what happened.
  • The 1960s series The Avengers. In the episode “Silent Dust”, Steed steps in a bear trap while being chased by one of the bad guys. He manages to free his foot but passes out shortly afterward.
  • Often used as a Zonk on the current version of Let's Make a Deal.
  • Parodied in a The Kids in the Hall sketch where the trappers targets are office workers. (One of the workers actually manages to escape, and is seen hopping away on his one good leg, so the trappers don't give chase.)
    Francois: Shall we go after him, Jacques?
    Jacques: No, Francois, let that one go. He has spirit! Someday, he may be vice president.
  • The Drew Carey Show: a "Groundhog Day" Loop Cold Open had Mimi setting a pizza-bear-trap for Drew.
  • Much of the Farscape episode "Revenging Angel" was a tribute to the classic Warner Brothers cartoons. Naturally, character picking on John Crichton winds up with his leg in one of these.
  • The John Goodman episode of Muppets Tonight had John accidentally dropped out a window by Andy and Randy Pig into a truck containing a large number of mousetraps... and one bear trap.
  • In the miniseries The 10th Kingdom the Huntsman falls into one of these, and is crippled for the rest if the series
  • MacGyver (1985) had an episode where Mac stepped in a bear trap while hiking and was freed by two elderly sisters named Faith and Hope.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: in a Hunting the Most Dangerous Game episode, Buffy (thanks to her slayer reflexes) narrowly avoids getting her foot caught in a bear trap laid by one of the hunters. He moves to shoot them instead, but Buffy throws the trap at him, causing him to lose his balance and step into another trap.
  • In the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Loch Ness Murdoch", a crotchety ex-naval man who lives by Lake Ontario has these all round his property. They're used to fake attacks by a Stock Ness Monster.
  • In one episode of Psi Factor, Matt Prager walks into a bear trap and is seriously injured
  • MythBusters: Grant obtains a real bear trap in his research for the Flying Guillotine myth. He concludes that the trap is strong enough for the job, but too heavy to effectively wield as a ranged weapon.
  • Doc Martin goes out into the woods with the local ranger, trying to find PC Milo, brought low by a snake bite. The two stumble into a clearing loaded with animal traps set by poachers. Simultaneously played realistically and for comedy, as the two struggle to get one another out of what are in fact incredibly painful, but not lethal to humans, traps.
  • In the Masters of Horror adaptation of F. Paul Wilson's "Pelts", Larry uses one to commit suicide, plunging himself into the trap face-first.
  • In the season 1 finale of Fargo, Lester Nygaard deploys a bear trap against Lorne Malvo.
  • The woods surrounding the camp on Dead of Summer are filled with these, as the counselors learn in episode 5 when they lead the kids out for a hike. One of them kills Cricket when she gets knocked over by one of the cultists and her head lands in one, causing instant death.
  • In one episode of Dark Matter, Three finds a bear trap when he goes to rescue Five from some kidnappers. He turns it against one of them to gruesome effect.
  • Blake's 7: In "Hostage", Blake gets caught in one set by his enemy Travis. Fortunately he's wearing a spacesuit boot that protects his foot from any serious damage, but it pins Blake in place out of reach of his teleport bracelet, leading to his capture.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Country Matters", a woman pretends to be caught in a bear trap as part of an elaborate sexual roleplay.


  • BIONICLE: the promo animation for Hahli Inika had her running through a field of bear traps.
    • The reboot introduced the Shadow Traps in the second year, which are essentially bear traps with legs.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas have these as trap hazards, just to make creeping through dark, Ghoul-infested subway tunnels all the more memorable. They're great at crippling your legs, reducing your speed to a painful hobble, which is especially brutal on New Vegas' Hardcore Mode since limbs are much harder to heal. And in the New Vegas expansion Dead Money you get to see what happens when the mooks decide to wear a bear trap on their knuckles: the Bear Trap Fist.
  • Fallout 4 allows you to build these with the Far Harbor DLC. They're not terribly powerful, but when scattered around a settlement they can prove occasionally hilarious if Raiders or other enemies attack.
  • Resident Evil 4:
    • Leon encounters a wolf snared by a bear trap. The player can choose whether to free or ignore it. Doing the former will result in the wolf helping you against El Gigante.
    • There are also a number of bear-traps set in various areas waiting for you to step in them. Doing so causes you damage and also freezes you in place as Leon has to stop and pry it open. Naturally, they don't hurt enemies running towards you, and they can be avoided by either shooting them or getting close enough to hit them with your knife, which causes them to spring early.
  • The Evil Within also utilizes lots of bear traps among other hazards, and is especially fond of deviously hiding them in tall grass and shallow water.
  • A lot of these in Dragon Age: Origins. However, all the characters are apparently tough enough to be merely pinned to the spot for a few seconds by them.
    • Justified for warriors and mages; metal or magical armour probably helps a lot. though how they manage with leather...
    • You can also build your own if you have the appropriate skill and parts. Sadly, they're usually Awesome, but Impractical as you can't set them (or any other traps) if there's an enemy who can see you, but against some opponents who'll only turn hostile after you've triggered something specific, a few well-placed bear-traps will turn what would have been a tough encounter into a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Most Infinity Engine games (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, etc.) had the mouse cursor turn into a bear trap icon when the player moused over a trap with the "Remove Traps" ability was on.
  • Alan Wake has lots of bear-traps scattered across the woods, apparently due to poachers. Walking into one will cost you a bit of health, and pin you to the ground for a while. Worse, EVERY TIME you walk into one, it will cause a Taken to spawn nearby and run up to attack you while you're helpless. Oh, and in one part with bear traps, you don't have any guns to fight the Taken that spawns if you step on a trap.
  • In Naughty Bear, bear-traps are - appropriately enough - one of your main weapons against the other bears. You plant 'em on paths, and then walk up to kill or scare whatever bears get caught in them. And unlike the similarly-useful Mines, they can be reused!
  • Quest for Glory I has you find a talking Fox in one of these.
  • Hunter traps in World of Warcraft look like bear traps. Strangely, none of them actually does what you'd expect from a bear trap (root the target in place) unless the hunter spends talent points for it.
    • They did intend a bear trap skill for cataclysm that would snare targets, but because snaring was all it does, they ultimately decided it wasn't worth it and swapped it out for other skills.
  • Hearthstone, being based on World of Warcraft, has several hunter Secret cards depicting bear traps. Special mention goes to the card "Bear Trap" which summons a Bear when triggered.
  • NetHack has bear traps which merely pins down you (or a monster) until it gets pried open. You can also jump out, but this is not recommended. If you manage to disarm it you can set it up again at a different location.
  • Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth: Mikiko Hayami carries one on her parka. It snaps shut during her breakdown.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has these as a minor trap hazard in dungeons. You can move them about to set up your own traps as well.
  • Questron II places these traps in the dungeon. They destroy armor, and you can't attempt to detect them if they are behind a door (causing them to hit without warning).
  • In No One Lives Forever 2, you can place beartraps. They have the effect of holding enemies still whilst they struggle to free themselves, and whilst you line up the sights of your crossbow.
  • Lead And Gold has this with the sniper class. She can lay them down to incapacitate enemies whilst she takes aim.
  • The Walking Dead: present in Episode 2.
  • A Valley Without Wind has bear traps as a deployable item, which both damage and immobilizes enemies and is one of the most effective means of defeating certain foes. It also has explosive beartraps, which somehow manage to still immobilize for the same length of time despite instantly exploding on activation. Both types will only snap shut on enemies, ignoring yourself or any allies.
  • In MOTHER 3, Kumatora gets her leg caught in one of these (which kind of Makes Sense In Context considering that kuma means bear in Japanese.)
  • In The Simpsons Wrestling, Groundskeeper Willie can drop these as a special move. If you drop one on an opponent who's already knocked down, it will go off whenever they try to stand up — this doesn't really help you win, as it doesn't reduce their health, but it will really annoy your opponent.
  • In Skullgirls, Peacock's suspiciously metallic, razor-toothed smile is due to her having a bear trap for a set of dentures. She puts them to good use in some of her attacks, where she spits them at her opponent.
  • A few minor Mega Man (Classic) enemies are robotic bear traps. Burner Man has a special attack that throws down three hidden bear traps to limit your mobility. They do no damage, but you have to wiggle the D-pad to escape if one catches you, and in the meantime Burner Man is probably pummeling you with powerful, hard-to-dodge attacks.
  • Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven has bear traps as a usable item, though the game refers to them as "tiger traps" instead. The trap's item description says that it "clenches the feet of fools." And yes, you can get caught in your own trap, with everything that implies.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure, this is a rare level hazard.
  • The traps in Two Worlds II are all stylized bear traps, albeit ones that release anything from poison gas to magic to physical damage.
  • Brütal Legend has a critter called a Tollusk that can be found wandering in some areas. It's a giant, bulldog-like beast with spikes sticking out from its body and a bear trap for a mouth. Usually seen chasing smaller animals like Raptor Elk, it has no qualms about attacking Iron Heade, Lyonwhite, or Tainted Coil troops and will happily try to make a meal of Eddie, too. It's the only creature in the game that will bring the Deuce to a dead stop if you ram it. If Eddie successfully stuns it, he can ride on its back and use it to attack enemies.
  • Overwatch gives these to Junkrat, who tosses one out to catch enemies for some quick target practice.
  • Used by the Trapper in Dead by Daylight, which the player can place around generators, windows or hooked survivors to immobilize them. Or you can get hooked by one yourself.
  • Hello Neighbor has the Neighbor setting them all over his house to ensure that you don't trespass into his property, he also throws them at you if he spots you.
  • In Friday the 13th: The Game, the counselors can use these against Jason. Considering who we're talking about, it just slows him down briefly.
  • Giant bear traps are scattered around the world of Limbo, and, unsurprisingly, will kill you in one brutal chomp if you blunder into them. Sometimes they swing towards you on ropes. You can also push or pull them across the ground without triggering them if you're careful, which is necessary to bypass some obstacles.
  • Caitlyn, the Sheriff of Piltover in League of Legends throws down "Yordle Snap Traps" to inconvenience enemies. She baits them with cupcakes (which provides her with her partner Vi's Affectionate Nickname for her, "Cupcake"). After a few changes they no longer do damage themselves, but they do both hold down anyone who steps in them for a short while, and mark them for Caitlyn to headshot with her sniper rifle, doing a scary amount of bonus damage.
  • This is one of the most basic traps for the player in the Deception series, it's surprisingly damaging and holds the enemy for a bit of time - setting them up for a differnt trap to hit them.
  • Decision lets you place bear traps on the ground that prevent the trapped zombie from moving. If they have another method of moving (such as the wolfmen's leap attacks), they can still change location... but then remain stuck where they landed.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Wile E. Coyote has tried these to catch the Roadrunner. Naturally, they end up biting him in the ass - literally.
    • The short Injun Trouble (and its remake Wagon Heels) has a trap catch Injun Joe by the leg, but the Implacable Man feels nothing. In response, Joe bites the trap with his just-as-sharp teeth, sending it whimpering away like a dog.
      • The same gag was used, this time with an actual bear, in The Chewin' Bruin.
  • Done in many occasions in Tom and Jerry. Tom, of course, predictably falls victim to these.
  • Johnny is caught by one in the head in Ed, Edd n Eddy Big Picture Show.
  • In The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode where Bart and Lisa are Trapped in TV Land in the middle of an Itchy And Scratchy cartoon. Bart and Lisa are launched into the air and Bart takes it cool, until Lisa points out to him the ground, where Itchy and Scratchy are laying out hundreds of bear traps for them to land in.
  • Chill Out, Scooby-Doo! combines both elements of bear traps when a deranged cryptozoologist uses them in his attempt to capture the Yeti. When he is caught in his own traps, it is vaguely scary to small children and vaguely humorous to everyone else.
  • Tom Goes to the Mayor has an example where the city council sets up bear traps around children parks to keep pedophiles out. Naturally, they only manage to trap children.
  • Robot Chicken has a sketch where a gummy bear steps on one, and after screaming in pain, escapes by eating off her own leg. Finding it delicious, she gets through in no time. Then hops away, onto another beartrap
  • In VeggieTales, "Silly Songs with Larry" once featured an opening where Larry is caught in a bear trap wearing a coonskin cap. His segment is then promptly canceled and replaced with "Love Songs with Mr. Lunt." We never find out what his intended song was about.
    • Also seen in the Silly Song "The Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps," when a bear with a trap on his hand is brought to the doc.
  • At the beginning of the short, "Concord the Kindly Condor" from the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "Toons From the Crypt", a bear gets caught in one of these. Concord arrives and takes out a thermometer to pry open the trap so the bear can escape, but the close-up shown beforehand of the bear's satisfied face, surrounded by hearts, implies something else.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In "Sonic's Song", Scratch and Grounder attempt to catch Sonic in one of these. Sonic dances to the song dedicated to him in it the entire time, and escapes from it just before Scratch and Grounder pounce at him. The trap doesn't go off when they land in it, and they try to figure out what's wrong. Grounder then sees it was switched off, and turns the switch on, causing it to go off on them.
    • In "Grounder the Genius", Scratch and Grounder use one of these as part of a plan to catch Sonic, placed underneath a giant Mouse Trap. Sonic is quick enough to avoid it, but they aren't when it falls on them.
  • In the How to Train Your Dragon spinoff Dragons: Race To The Edge, Hiccup steps in a bear trap but is unhurt because it snapped shut on his metal leg.
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode "It's a Wonderful Leaf", Tank Muddlefoot lays a bear trap at the bottom of his chimney for Santa Claus to land on. However, "Santa" Darkwing comes in through the window and accidentally hits Tank with his sack, knocking him right into his own trap.