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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 

    Asian Animation 
  • Lamput: In "Age Remote", Lamput and the docs are fighting over a remote the latter duo invented that can increase or decrease the age of any living thing. They keep firing it off in different directions, and one of the shots hits an egg in a bird's nest. The egg turns into a full-grown bird that flies away, and the bird's parent can be seen shedding a tear as it witnesses its child leaving.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, the characters have been shown crying several times despite being anthropomorphic goats and wolves.

    Fan Works 

    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 (1989).
  • 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.
  • Downplayed in The Lion King. Lions can cry, as seen in the original film (most notably Simba in the film's most notorious scene), but the series usually avoids tears. The Lion King II: Simba's Pride features several upset lion characters but no one cries; the closest is when Simba's eyes shine like he's holding back tears. Timon and Pumbaa are always an exception, though – in the first film they break into Inelegant Blubbering at the end of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," and their bawling at emotional moments becomes a Running Gag in the sequels. The 2019 remake averts this altogether, however, with no tears at all so as not to ruin the film's photorealism.

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

  • 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 Felicity Floo Visits The Zoo, the hyenas cry instead of laughing.
  • 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".
  • In How To Be Comfortable In Your Own Feathers, the mother bird cries a Single Tear upon seeing her kid trying to change who he/she/they/it is.
  • 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 Witch's Daughter where Janie asks if crocodiles cry after hearing the expression "crocodile tears".
  • In Charlotte's Web, Wilbur the pig cries frequently throughout the book. In the animated adaptation the humans even notice his tears over Charlotte's death.
  • Warrior Cats averts this. Despite its Artistic License – Biology in other instances, cats only show sadness with body language instead. The series only uses tears in cases of eye irritation and sickness.

    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)
  • Walking with Dinosaurs: The "Giant of the Skies" episode is about a Giant Flyer Ornithocheirus who flies to his mating grounds so he can attract a mate. But because he is older and has been met with a few snags along the way, he has been ousted from the desirable mating grounds. Just before he dies alone of exhaustion as a result, get a close-up on the old Ornithocheirus. With what appears to be tear-stains on his face, he looks like he's crying.

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

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppets are all capable of crying, no matter what their species. Miss Piggy probably does it the most often, whether Played for Drama or Played for Laughs.
  • 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, in the hospital-themed special where he gets sick, and when he learns of Mr. Hooper's death.

    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 Comics 

    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.
  • Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain: All the animal characters on both shows are capable of crying, whether they're anthropomorphized or not. Standout examples include Skippy Squirrel's Inelegant Blubbering over Bumbie's mom and both Pinky and the Brain crying in the climactic scene of their Christmas special.
  • Arthur: Downplayed. All the anthropomorphic animals can cry, but the pets can't.
  • 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 in "Takers Keepers", all except Daffy cry.
  • 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)
  • In Kaeloo, the Funny Animals are known to cry sometimes.
  • Madeline: Genevieve the dog occasionally sheds tears, most notably in ''Madeline and the Singing Dog''. Also, in Madeline and the Talking Parrot, the parrot spends most of the episode crying out of homesickness, and in Madeline and the Mean, Nasty Horrible Hats, a bull calf sheds a tear of fear as he anticipates the mean boys of the title coming to fight him.
  • 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".
  • In Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, Kai-Lan's animal friends are known to cry sometimes. For example, in the episode "The Moon Festival", Hoho the monkey cries when the moon festival is ruined by a cloud blocking the moon, and in the episode "Pandy's Puddle", Tolee the koala cries when his panda plush Pandy has to be washed in the washing machine.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


"Chi Cries"

To be fair, ANYBODY would shed tears at their close friend moving away...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / CryingCritters

Media sources:

Main / CryingCritters