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Crying Critters

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Big Bird, why are you crying?
Maria, Sesame Street

In the real world, humans are the only animals that cry from emotions. Lots of other animals have tear ducts, but with the exception of humans, they only cry with tears if there is something irritating their eyes. In fiction, however, anyone can cry, even the animals. Sometimes, even creatures such as fish and snakes, who have no eyelids.

Sometimes, the character crying is quite a lot like or almost exactly like a human, so it'd be even weirder if they didn't cry, sometimes crying and speaking are the only things that separate them from being a regular animal, and sometimes they don't even speak. If both anthropomorphic and normal animals exist, maybe they all cry or maybe only the anthro ones do.

Usually, this is to get people to sympathize— after all, a lot of people think a character, animal or human, seems more sad if they're crying, and if they're crying Tears of Joy, then they seem more happy or happy in a more special way.


Please note that this trope does not apply to Robots or Animate Inanimate Object's, since they aren't really animals (and the trope for that may be Tears from a Stone but only if certain other things apply) nor does it apply to aliens (even if said aliens resemble Earth-like animals) since who knows what creatures on other planets can do, nor mythological creatures (like vampires, werewolves, etc) even if they resemble a real creature (such as unicorns): since they don't exist in real life so they can do whatever the writer wants without worrying about realism.

Sub-trope of Artistic License – Biology. Compare Through a Face Full of Fur and Furry Denial for other things animals can do in fiction but not real life. Please note that Crying Wolf is not a subtrope of this one.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Little Witch Academia: In the episode where the fish learn transformation, they cry.
  • Many Warrior Cats fan-works depict crying cats (partly because not all readers are aware that cats don't cry, partly intentionally for emotional impact), but the books themselves mainly avert this, showing sadness with body language instead and only using tears in cases of eye irritation and sickness. There is an example of it in the actual series, however: in the second volume of the SkyClan manga, one of the kits pricks his nose on a thistle and begins to wail, complete with tears.

    Asian Animation 

    Films — Animation 
  • Finding Nemo: When Dory thinks Marlin doesn't like her, she bursts into tears.
  • Horton Hears a Who!:
    • When searching for the Whos in the clover field, Horton cries.
    • Vlad cries upon seeing the emotional moment at the end.
  • Sebastian cries Tears of Joy at Ariel's wedding in The Little Mermaid.
  • Open Season: In the sequel, when Elliot is on the side of the road and realizes he misses his girlfriend Giselle, he bursts out crying and shouts out her name.
  • Shrek:
    • In the sequel, Donkey is required to cry because the card to talk to the Fairy Godmother is activated by tears. Later, Puss tries not to cry.
    • Implied in "The Three Diablos", which is a bonus short from the Puss in Boots movie, where Puss seems to cry when he has to part from three kittens he made friends with. He says that he has allergies and cats' eyes can water due to allergies, but it sounds a heck of a lot like an excuse.
  • In Titanic: The Legend Goes On: All the animals are seen crying when they escape in rowboats, just like the humans.
  • In The Land Before Time, dinosaurs and other animals are capable of crying.
  • In Zootopia, the characters are Funny Animals who, for the most part, have a lot of animal traits. They can, however, cry.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Wizard of Oz, the lion cries first when he is confronted by Dorothy and second when he accidentally pulls his own tail and thinks someone else did it.

  • The dogs in Doglands cry tears when upset.
  • There's one book called Don't Cry, Big Bird about Big Bird from Sesame Street crying.
  • In the Frances books, the badgers sometimes cry. In "Best Friends For Frances", Frances describes her sister Gloria, who's only about one or two, as being "not much good at all except for crying".
  • Animals, such as the Cowardly Lion, have been shown to cry in the Land of Oz books.
  • In the book Lily the Lamb, Lily cries when she gets lost.
  • In The Magician's Nephew, Aslan the lion cries at the idea of the boy using the magical apples to cure his mother.
  • In the Miffy books, the bunnies sometimes cry. There is even a book called "Miffy is Crying".
  • In The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Peter cries when trapped in a net.
  • Discussed in The Witchs Daughter where Janie asks if crocodiles cry after hearing the expression "crocodile tears".

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Jimmy Kimmel Live! sketch about Toys R Us going out business and closing all 1,795 stores worldwide. Geoffrey the Giraffe (the Toys R Us mascot) is all upset and drunk tearfully over the closure of Toys R Us.
    Geoffrey: Do you like Toys?
    Audience: YES! (They all cheer and applause)
    Geoffrey: (Voice breakdown) Well, I don't any toys! Because we are bankrupted (Sobbing hysterically)
    Jimmy Kimmel: Oh, Cheer up, Geoffrey! It will be okay!
    Geoffrey: NO! IT WON'T BE OKAY! BECAUSE ALL YOU MANIAC MONSTER BOUGHT TOYS ON AMAZON! (Voice breaks down) Now I am out of a job! (Sobbing hysterically)

  • The song "My Tiger, My Heart" has the tiger cry on the narrator's shoulder at one point.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street:
    • One animated skit has a girl trying to figure out why a dog is crying.
    • The Three Little Kittens cry in the song "All I Can Do is Cry".
    • In the episode where Curly Bear is born, Baby Bear complains about her crying.
    • Big Bird cries sometimes, notably in the hurricane episode.

    Video Games 
  • In Animal Crossing, all the animals have a crying animation which they can do whenever they want, but the only human in the game (the player character) only learns to cry after talking to Dr. Shrink.

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 
  • Does The Dog Die uses this to rate movies. If the dog icon is happy, that means no pets die or are hurt, if the dog is frowning but not crying, that means one or more pets are hurt and/or appear dead, but no pets die, and if the dog is crying, that means that at least one pet dies.
  • In the Hector's World episode about cyber bullying, Ming the clam cries.

    Western Animation 
  • Jake (a dog) cries in Adventure Time, such as when he showed his children to his adopted human brother Finn.
  • Arthur: Downplayed. All the anthropomorphic animals can cry, but the pets can't.
  • Lampshaded in the Futurama episode "Mars University", where the Professor's experimental monkey Guenter cries over not being happy despite gaining super-intelligence by a special hat he's wearing.
    Leela: I didn't know monkeys could cry.
    Guenter: They can't. It's all the hat. (continues sobbing)
  • Martha Speaks: While none of the animals cry tears, Helen does imagine Martha crying so much from missing her she floods the house in the episode "Martha's Blue Period".
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the Earth Ponies (that is, the ponies who are neither Pegasi, Unicorns, nor Alicorns) cry just as much as their mythical counterparts. Other animals are also capable of crying, as Fluttershy's rabbit Angel does when he hurts his paw in "Fluttershy Leans In".
  • Peg + Cat: In "The Three Friends Problem", Cat cries a Single Tear when he thinks Peg doesn't like him anymore.
  • Peppa Pig: There are almost no humans in the show, and all the animals cry. Most of them cry normally, but everyone under three years old cries loudly with tears spurting out.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: All the characters cry, even though the majority of them are sea creatures, with one being a squirrel. This is a plot point in "A Day Without Tears" when Spongebob tries to go a day without crying and in "Krab Borg", when Mr. Krabs's crying (as well has his laughter and affection) prove he's not a robot.
Baby Looney Tunes: All of the main characters can cry. But in the episodes Mother’s Day Madness and Move It, all of the main characters cry, but one Takers Keepers, all except Daffy cry


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