An explorer is lost in the wilderness. He knows he's not far from shelter, but there's a snowstorm blowing up and it will soon be too dark to see. His packmule is shivering and clearly on its last legs. He has no immediate shelter, no way to make a fire... and he realizes that there is only one possible course of action.
He shoots his poor mule, cuts open her abdomen, and crawls into her body cavity, hoping the heat and shelter she offers will be enough to get him through the night... or at least, until he can be rescued.
- The one everyone remembers, from The Empire Strikes Back, when Han keeps Luke from freezing to death on Hoth by hiding him in the body of his tauntaun.
- There is a scene in As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me (2001), where in cold Russian winter a German soldier hunts down and kills a seal, slits it open and puts his freezing foot in.
- In The Revenant, Hugh Glass cuts open the carcass of his horse (that got killed when they went over a cliff) to hide and sleep for one night.
- The New Land: When Karl-Oskar and his son Johan are caught out in the open as a blizzard hits Minnesota, the boy eventually collapses. Karl-Oskar saves Johan's life by slicing open the on that was pulling their cart and stuffing Johan inside while he goes to get help.
- In Jane Yolan's Pit Dragon Chronicles, Jakkin and Akki survive the brutal Austorian night by sheltering in the recently-slain body of his beloved dragon.
- In "To Build a Fire", a short by Jack London, a man attempts to kill his sled dog with the intention of warming his hands in the entrails. It doesn't work because by then his hands are too frozen to keep hold on the animal, as well as the dog is becoming wary, instinctively realizing that something is wrong.
- In The Prism Pentad at one point our heroes shelter in the carcass of a huge bear and use their powers to make it seems alive in order to sneak into a Giants' fortress.
- Used in James Follett's novel and radio play Ice. When the heroine is unconscious and in danger of freezing to death, one of the guys accompanying her, who happens to be a whale expert, locates a blue whale and gets another guy to help him cut a 5-foot hole in its skin (the equivalent of a gnat-bite to us). The hole fills with warm blood and they immerse her in it. When she wakes up they have a lot of explaining to do.
- In an episode of Dinosaur Revolution, a troodon lives through the immediate destruction of the K-T impact, but the suddenly-frigid climate kills its mate and eggs. Wandering in a frozen wood, it finds the carcass of a large predator, and curls up in its open mouth to shelter from the snowfall.
- Referenced on an episode of Happy Endings, where Jane and Max have a contest to see who would fare best in a Zombie Apocalypse. At one point Max brags to Jane that "I am using your body as a sleeping bag, tauntaun style."
- In an episode of Man vs. Wild, Bear Grylls hides inside a gutted camel carcass to escape a sandstorm.
- This has been tested by the Mythbusters, who mimicked the Star Wars example specifically and were surprised by how effective it was.
- In 8-Bit Theatre, Black Mage suggests doing this to Fighter (and then Red Mage and Thief) in order to make sure the remaining Light Warriors (i.e. himself) don't freeze. Later, Garland and the Dark Warriors actually do this to a Yeti.
- In Happy Tree Friends, Flippy at one point had to hide inside the corpses of his friends and fellow soldiers to avoid detection by Tiger General's forces. This was, as can be imagined, incredibly traumatic for him.
- Lampshaded in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Hide and Seek." The kids shrink themselves, and Baljeet is stranded in the chandelier. He cuts open a fly and gets inside to stay warm.
Candace: Who smells like fly guts?Baljeet: I had to survive, Okay?!
- The Venture Bros.:
- The episode "Escape to the House of Mummies Part II" parodies the The Empire Strikes Back scene, with Brock cutting open Edgar Allen Poe in order for Hank to rest inside of him.
- In another Venture Bros. episode, Rusty is stranded naked in the arctic. Brock shows up just as he is about to be attacked by a polar bear, and skins the bear with incredible speed to keep the Doc warm. In this case it's partly residual body heat from the bear (its skin is shown to be steaming) and partly just the benefit of a fur coat.
- On the second episode of Clerks: The Animated Series, the characters get locked in a freezer that Randal describes as "Hoth cold". Jay wishes he had a lightsaber so that he could slice up Silent Bob and climb inside to stay warm.
- In an episode of Drawn Together: Wooldoor and Ling-Ling take shelter inside Toot's corpse.
Wooldoor: There's already two of us inside this fat chick, and there's no room for more!
- Family Guy
Stewie: You know, actually, once you feng-shui the organs, it's kind of cozy.
- In "Road to Europe", Stewie and Brian, lost in the desert with their camel dead, decide to take shelter inside the camel ("It looks like Orson Welles's autopsy!"). However, after Stewie gets in, Brian notices a nearby Comfort Inn.
- You can now buy literal Tauntaun (...shaped...) sleeping bags.
- During The Mexican Revolution, Pancho Villa hid from the Federales inside a horse's carcass.
- Tasmanian Devils have been known to eviscerate the carcasses of large animals, and then live inside them for a short time while eating.
- Similarly, hagfish are notorious for burrowing inside larger fish and whales (usually already dead) to eat them from the inside.