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Eek, a Mouse!!

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"Mice to me mean the little white furry things with the cheese fixation and women standing screaming on tables in early Sixties sitcoms..."

A staple of early domestic comedies in both film and television. The mere sight of a mouse (or sometimes another animal who is the subject of a common phobia) will drive a housewife up onto a chair or a table, where she stands shrieking, stomping her feet, and clutching the hem of her skirt until the rodent is captured or driven away. This is largely a Dead Horse Trope today, rooted in a very specific and sexist image of women dating back to the early part of the 20th Century, but it is still visible in old Looney Tunes cartoons and in the odd ironic reference.

Cartoons will sometimes play with this trope by crossing it with the old myth (deemed plausible by the MythBusters) about mice frightening elephants, resulting in elephants that shriek and leap up onto some (possibly insufficiently-strong) object upon sighting a mouse. Other ways to subvert this trope involve showing the wife standing unmoved while her husband shrieks and leaps to safety.


This trope is arguably justified by evolution. For the vast majority of human existence, the animals commonly associated with this trope—rodents, snakes, spiders, etc.—were potentially venomous or carrying disease, and a human's fear of it could be an evolved self-preserving instinct.

See also Cower Power and Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?. May overlap with Screams Like a Little Girl. See also You Dirty Rat!. Contrast Nice Mice. In Japanese media, frogs are often used instead.

Not to be confused with Eek! The Cat. Also not to be confused with the Jamaican reggae artist "Eek-A-Mouse".

Truth in Television, of course, as many people do indeed fear mice, for various reasons both rational and irrational.



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  • There was a commercial that had a woman do "EEK a Mouse!" bit and her husband hunts the mouse down but before he can dispatch it the wife see the mouse cornered and now it's a cute little mousey and she stops him. End of commercial has couple cuddling on the couch and mouse in a cage running on a wheel.
  • This Samsung Infuse commercial, only with the image of a large spider.
  • A cheese advert in New Zealand in the mid-1990s featured local celebrity Lana Coc-Kroft in this situation. She finds a wedge of Gouda cheese to ward off the mouse, only to frown and pause for a moment before eating it herself. Oops.
  • One of the bumpers for the Cartoon Network in the early 2000s had a housewife doing this bit as part of the promotion: leaping onto a chair, lifting up her skirt, and then lifting up various underskirts until she got to the one displaying the channel's checkerboard logo.
  • The beginning of this Bananas in Pyjamas toy commercial has a mother freaking out over her kids playing with a rat...which turns out to be a Rat In A Hat toy.
  • An early 60s commercial for Soaky bubble bath paired up Mighty Mouse with Bozo the Clown, who says "Eek! A mouse!" when Mighty Mouse flies in during a scene with the product.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Freya from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is, among other things, a Lady of War Action Girl and has apparently eschewed femininity. However, she still freaks out when she sees Shigure's pet mouse.
  • Used for a second in the last episode of Alice Academy, where Hotaru uses a gang of robot mice to keep two Girly Girl classmates at bay.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, Maria is scared of cockroaches (they even have a nickname within the story so they can be talked about around her). Shiranui brings one into the house and she shrieks standing on Hayate until he apparently shoos the kitten away. Still trying to figure out how he did anything with her standing on him like that. But don't worry, he trains.
  • In Saber Marionette J, in order to make the marionette robots as much like (stereotypical) women as possible, every one of them is programmed to be afraid of mice — except the tomboyish Lime, who merely finds them cute. This actually saves the heroes in one episode, when Cherry (reluctantly) punches the cave's ceiling and makes a whole colony of mice fall on them, sending Tiger and Panther running away in fear.
  • Kekkaishi had Tokine perform this trope, right after fighting a much bigger rodent that could breathe fire. She and her grandmother also have a similarly disproportionate fear of cockroaches.
  • In Ranma ½'s second movie, all the girls run away from a horde of mice. Ranma stands there unaffected and comments on how silly they are to be afraid of mice, until he discovers that cats are following said mice. At that point, he starts screaming in terror.
  • In the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Visual Novel Tomo to Kimi to Senjou de, Athrun decides to make a robot pet for his crush Cagalli. He ends up giving it a hamster design, but when she first sees it she has this reaction and smashes it. Kira steps in and explains, and Cagalli is both very touched by the gesture and very apologetic for destroying it.
  • InuYasha: Kagome can handle youkai, blood, guts, wounds, two-timing boyfriends, time-travel, saving the world while trying to pass exams, lifting the spirits of the depressed, downtrodden and bullied and can even befriend the reclusive, the painfully shy, and aggressively hostile, but ask her to help a giant beast-faced hanyou in his herb garden when there's an earthworm in plain sight and she'll fall to pieces.
  • In Dragon Ball, Goku is fighting General Blue of the Red Ribbon Army. Blue has Goku paralyzed with telekinesis, and is about to finish him off...when a small mouse appears. Blue flips his lid, freaks out, and loses focus. Goku is grateful enough for the unwitting save that he rescues the mouse when the cave they're fighting in collapses.
  • Ai Yori Aoshi: Miyabi is capable of bodily throwing someone across the room if she even suspects someone is trying to harm Aoi, but completely flips her lid at the sight of bugs. Unfortunately for her, the Sakuraba house's pet ferret, Uzume, develops a habit of bringing her dead bugs.
  • The titular Doraemon; rightfully so, as a mouse chewed off his ears.
  • Uchi no Musume ni Te o Dasu na!: Athena is the world's greatest superheroine and a seemingly unstoppable force of justice... except she's still scared of mice. So it's good that it isn't something she often has to deal with.
  • Silent Möbius: Nami Yamigumo is a Miko who fights alien monsters and evil spirits on a regular basis. However, when exploring a cave she spots a mouse and jumps behind the wall until it leaves, begging it not to come back.
  • In Arabian Nights: Adventures of Sinbad, Tabasa the witch is terrified of mice, which Sinbad uses against her more than once.

    Comic Books 
  • Tintin. Thomson and Thompson are startled by mice used for experiments in Tintin: Destination Moon.
  • This once happened in Archie when Ms. Grundy jumped on her desk and Jughead took a picture of it for the school newspaper. She actually was worried that the picture would be about how scared she was of a little mouse but instead it turned out to be proof the school needed an exterminator.
  • The protagonist of Jennifer Blood takes advantage of this stereotype in issue 3, when a neighbor who's convinced she's attracted to him has cornered her in a bathroom and exposed himself to her. She doesn't want to ruin her "perfectly ordinary suburban housewife" facade by maiming or killing him, but as someone who moonlights as a brutal Vigilante, that's all she's trained to do. So she starts shrieking about a pretend mouse.
  • In Violine, this happens several times to several characters, though not with Violine's pet mouse, only with other groups of mice.
  • When Spider-Man teamed up with Dazzler, she took him back to her apartment to recover after a fight. Come morning, she suddenly freaks out when she sees a spider with his things. It turns out to be one of his tracking devices. She is not amused when he laughs at her.

    Comic Strips 

  • The main plot of the Calvin at Camp episode "Bringing Down the Mouse."
  • The Rock Farmer's Daughters: Taken to an unusual extreme in the chapter titled "Unusual Incentive": Marble opens a cupboard, and a waterfall of mice ends up falling onto her head, while everypony else finds mice seeping out of every nook and cranny. Cut to Igneous and Maud outside, hearing Marble shriek. She spends most of the chapter curled up on the table while the others drive the mice out of the house.
  • In The More Things Change Series, Maria Novak, the first person La Fay possesses has a deep fear of all rodents. Unfortunately, Le Fay can't override such weaknesses and as such, becomes crippled with fear at the sight of Rufus, something Kim and Ron take advantage of while fighting her.
  • In The Great Alicorn Hunt, Rarity has this reaction to Mudpuppy's managerie in chapter 26.

    Films — Animated 
  • Timothy Q. Mouse uses this to his advantage against the cruel female elephants in Dumbo. Sure, those "over-stuffed hay-bags" can be mean to a little elephant with super-huge ears, but facing Timothy? They're scared to near-stampeding!
  • Quite overblown in An American Tail, in the scene with the wax cylinder gramophone.
  • During the Wizard's Duel in The Sword in the Stone, Madame Mim turns into an elephant, and Merlin counters by turning into a mouse, scaring her.
  • Titanic: The Legend Goes On had a scene where Angelica's stepsisters were scared by mouse.
  • Ratatoing plays this trope straight too.
  • In Cinderella III: A Twist in Time, Jaq and Gus help Cinderella get into the palace by scaring the kitchen servants while Cinderella poses as the "royal mousecatcher".
  • Journey Back to Oz has the returned Dorothy scaring off Witch Mombi's elephant army with a herd of magical white mice.
  • The Rescuers - Madam Medusa freaks out when she sees Bernard and Bianca in her boat and jumps onto a chair. She quickly realises she's Surrounded by Idiots (Snoops's attempts to squash the mice with a broom results in a broken chair and two concussed alligators) and pulls a shotgun on them!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • There is a scene in Conan the Destroyer where Grace Jones' character, who up until now has been afraid of nothing, taking on whole villages and men much larger than her in combat fearlessly, jumps and screams at the sight of a mouse. When all of her party look back she looks sheepish.
  • The 1959 movie The Mouse That Roared opens with the Columbia Studios girl-with-torch logo suddenly hiking up her gown and fleeing from a mouse at her feet. (The title is a metaphor for a tiny, innocuous nation that ends up holding the fate of the world in its hands.)
  • The 1934 film Hollywood Party has a whole roomful of women doing this when one of them sees a mouse. It turns out to be Mickey Mouse.
  • In She's the Man, Duke and Viola scream and leap on the bed, hugging each other, when a big spider enters their dorm room.
  • The two female leads in 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag take this kind of behavior Up to Eleven when they find a disembodied head in their luggage during a family vacation. ("Eek, A Head!"?) One shuts herself up in a closet and refuses to come out (until the protagonist jokingly suggests that the dead guy's body might be in there), while the other attacks the protagonist with a fork. The latter is especially hilarious because what causes her to snap is the protagonist innocently asking, "Would you like an enchilada?"
  • Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks has the "mouse frightening an elephant" version. During the animal soccer game on the Island of Naboombu, an alligator uses a mouse to scare the elephant goalkeeper of the opposing team.
  • Played for Drama in Friday the 13th Part 2. While hiding under a bed from Jason, a rat crawls up to Ginny's face. This causes Ginny to wet herself, informing Jason of her presence under the bed by a trickle of urine coming down from the bed. However, according to the director, it was the rat that did it.
  • Moscow — Cassiopeia has a rare male example. Lob tears through the entire ship and ends up accidentally causing it to travel faster than light all because of a mouse. May be justified, as the window was blown up and made tiny Pacnuty seem like a giant monster.
  • In one scene in Willow, a woman shrieks at the sight of mouse-sized humanoid creatures called brownies.
  • Happens a few times in some The Three Stooges shorts. Justified for the time period.
  • Invoked by Becky in the Alfonso Cuaron version of A Little Princess. As the students are stealing Sarah's locket from Miss Minchin's office, Becky screams to distract Minchin and eventually stammers that she thought she saw a mouse.
  • Lt. Alexis in The Wildcat is The Casanova to an absurd extreme. When it's time for him to leave for his next duty station on the frontier, literally hundreds of women throng the streets, obstructing his car. The other soldiers finally get the crowd of ladies to disperse by dumping a barrel of mice.
  • The Name of the Rose. The monks hear a shriek, then laugh at a Camp Gay monk on top of a stool with a mouse below. They quickly shut up when an elder friar starts shouting at them. This turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun re the motive of the killer, who hates laughter.
  • Subverted in Phase IV. A woman screams when she sees a mouse wandering around in the desert via a closed-circuit video screen. Then she and the other characters gape in horror as they watch the ants quickly devour the entire mouse in a matter of seconds.
  • Movie Crazy has a long comic sequence in which Harold Lloyd accidentally puts on a magician's coat while at a fancy nightclub. The sequence ends when Harold accidentally opens a box of mice concealed within the coat, causing mass panic among the women on the dance floor.
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation After Uncle Lewis accidentally burns down Clark Griswold's Christmas tree from chain-smoking cigars, Clark desperately wants to continue to have a perfect family Christmas by chopping down a pine tree in his own front yard, smashing his neighbor's window in the process. Unfortunately... things turn out worse with a squirrel (not a mouse) popping out of the new tree, scaring everyone throughout the house. Clark Griswold tries to catch it in his Santa coat and smack it with a hammer. But in the end, Cousin Eddie's Rottweiler Snots eats the squirrel, right on the angry neighbor Margo's collar, as soon as she enters the front door. "Gone", calmly says Clark right afterwards.
  • Pups Is Pups: Happens when the pets of the Our Gang kids get loose in a hotel ballroom. One lady rather overreacts to the sight of a mouse riding a turtle as both pass through her legs. The lady freaking out because a duck's on her head has a better reason to be upset.

  • In The Marvelous Land of Oz, Scarecrow and his friends enter his palace (taken by rebels), and are captured immediately, to be brought before their leader. However: 1) the rebels are all women and 2) Scarecrow has recently met the Queen of the Field Mice and asked for permission to take a few of her subjects along.
  • In The Witches Bruno's mother flips into hysterics when the witches start turning into mice thanks to drinking their own potion. She literally climbs over her husband screaming about them climbing up her skirt. Although in this case it's completely understandable since there are over a hundred of them running around.
  • Clue: In book 17 (chapter 2: "Say Cheese!"), Mr. Boddy reveals that several white mice have escaped from their cage (they were his sister's pets and she accidentally left them behind when she was visiting). The first one to actually do this trope is the duel-crazy Colonel Mustard, but the other guests don't laugh because they're doing the same thing.
  • The non-fiction book that inspired Homicide: Life on the Street mentions that one of the detectives had been called home by his wife to deal with a rampaging mouse. "I disposed of the body, but considered leaving it as an example to others."
  • Happens in a Doctor Dolittle story: A smaller African kingdom is warred upon by a bigger, expansionist one, whose crack troops are Amazons. The White Mouse who lives in Dolittle's pocket points out that while they are fearsome warriors, the Amazons are still women, and gather a force of local mice who scares them away.
  • Played with and justified in the last Hawk And Fisher story, where a crime lord keeps a bunch of naked Amazons as bodyguards. Rather than fight them, Hawk and Fisher turn a sackful of ravenous sewer rats loose in the crime lord's lair, and the bodyguards start climbing the furniture in a panic when the starving rodents swarm them to bite their bare toes.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, Badass Adorable Talking Mouse Reepicheep wants to be a herald, but he's too small to be seen until he's up close (and therefore not very impressive). Of course, since he's very touchy when it comes to his honor, nobody wants to tell him this, so they tell him that it wouldn't be quite fair to their enemies since some humans are afraid of mice.
  • In Mousenet, this is part of the "EEEK Test," a test used by mice to gauge a humans' feelings towards mice. Jumping on a chair results in a "Loud EEEK" and a grade of C, with fainting being the worst possible response and earning an F. Talking to or touching the mouse is "No EEEK" and an A+.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent associates mice with cheese and women standing screaming on tables in early Sixties sitcoms.
    • In the TV series Arthur stands on his chair after realising there are mice on the dinner table.
  • Defied in the Lord Peter Wimsey book "Strong Poison":
    Mr Pond: You're not afraid of mice apparently?
    Miss Murchison: No. In your days I suppose all women were afraid of mice.
    Mr Pond: Yes, they were, but then, of course, their garments were longer.
    Miss Murchison: Rotten for them.
  • The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. Alexander is rather bemused when his young wife Tatiana has this reaction, as he's seen her brave 500-kg bombs, cannibals and starvation in the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Doc Savage: There is an odd Out-of-Character Moment in Land of Long Juju (not one of the better books in the series) where Action Girl Pat Savage has to restrain herself from flinching when several field rats scamper out of the jungle.
  • Animorphs:
    • Naturally averted with Cassie, who works with animals everyday. One story has Marco wonder how you can tell a female Hork-Bajir from a male, such as being weird around bugs and snakes. Cassie raises an eyebrow and throws a (harmless) snake at him. Marco Screams Like a Little Girl.
    • Genderflipped when Cassie morphs a rat to figure out why it won't complete a maze, when two dumbasses enter the lab and try to kill the rat. She runs up their pants legs to get them to leave.
    • Played straight when Marco gets Ax to morph a mouse with him so he can eavesdrop on a girl who didn't invite him to a party. On finding out why she didn't invite him (it involved a prank with a chocolate bar and a pool) he runs across her toes, prompting mass panic in the girls, macho bravado from the boys, and annoyance from Jake and Cassie, who very quickly catch on when the mice seem to understand English.
  • In the Realms of the Unreal by Henry Darger has a hysterical escapade where the little princesses of Abbiennia sneak into a meeting of evil Glandelinian higher-ups and release a bunch of mice. The men shriek and cower and get up on chairs and tables.
  • In the schlock novel The Feminists by Parley J. Cooper, both the Straw Feminazi authorities and La Résistance have such an irrational fear of rats they won't even mention the word. This causes problems when La Résistance have to hide in the sewers.
  • Second Chance Cat Mysteries (a Cozy Mystery series by Sophie Ryan): The climax of the first book features this - Elvis, the titular "second chance cat" (a former stray adopted by the owner of a second-hand/repurposing shop) drops a nearly-dead mouse on the killer's foot, distracting her before she can shoot Elvis's owner (who's able to duck behind a counter with the time given). This also gives the cops time to burst in and arrest the panicking killer before she regains her senses. Elvis's owner also takes a few nervous steps back when someone points out, after the arrest, that the mouse is real - and still twitching - and not a toy like she thought.
  • Sugar Plum Ballerinas: In one book of the series, Jessica brings her pet rat, Shakespeare, to ballet class, and hides him in her duffel bag in secret. However, he escapes, and the sight of him causes the other ballet students to panic.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Three's Company episode "The Best Laid Plans" revolved a mouse being loose in the trio's apartment. Larry kills the mouse, but Jack doesn't want the girls to find out because Janet won't sleep in her bed as long as the mouse is around and Jack is using it as an excuse to sleep in the same room as Chrissy. Meanwhile, Mr. Roper doesn't want Helen to know the mouse is dead because he was using it as an excuse for Helen's mother to not visit.
    • Spinoff the The Ropers featured a gender-flipped version of this trope: it was Mr. Brooks, not his wife, who leaped up onto the couch screaming at the sight of a white mouse—safely in a cage, no less.
  • Monk: Adrian Monk frequently reacts this way to a variety of analogous situations. Justified in the episode when it was a venomous snake that was loose in the room.
  • Played with on Hope & Faith: when the two title characters get office jobs together, the ever-immature Faith dangles her computer mouse into Hope's cubicle and yells this trope name.
  • The Golden Girls had one, revealing why Dorothy's nickname is Pussycat. Instead of catching it as the other girls expect her to, Dorothy talks the mouse into escaping.
  • Used in an episode of the Adam West version of Batman (1966); villainess Nora Clavicle manipulates Gotham City into hiring only women police officers, then unleashes an army of tiny mechanical mice. At least Batgirl remains "immune".
  • Referenced in The Goodies episode "Kitten Kong", where a housekeeper (suspiciously similar to the one in Tom and Jerry, we even hear her shouting for "Thomas") jumps on the table and shrieks at the sight of the team dressed as mice.
    • Also referenced (and inverted) in "Punky Business" when a mouse trying to assure Tim that he is ugly tells him that when he walks into a room all the mice jump onto a chair.
  • On Imagination Movers, Knit Knots wasn't scared by Warehouse Mouse to the point of panic, but did urge the Movers to keep the "woodland creature" away from him. An episode of the show also focused on the Movers helping a TV repairman to get over his fear of mice, so that he could stick around to fix their TV and not be afraid of Warehouse Mouse.
  • An amusing variant happened on Xena: Warrior Princess. Gabrielle (not quite an Action Girl yet) was hiding from some bad guys when she noticed a rat crawling about. She had to remain perfectly still and silent lest she blew her cover, and Hilarity Ensues as she stares at it with wide eyes and covers her mouth before a whimper comes out.
  • Double-subverted on an episode of Unhappily Ever After. Ryan, who believes the old legend that the Earth would spin out of its orbit if all the Chinese people in the world jumped off their chairs at the same time, panics when he spies a group of Chinese exchange students standing on their chairs in the school cafeteria. One of the students explains that they had just seen a mouse, causing Ryan to calm down. Once Ryan is gone, though, the student gets angry and mutters: "Curses! They're onto us!"
  • The late 80s sitcom Kate And Allie spent an entire episode dealing with a mouse, complete with jumping on chairs and tables in fright (Allie's son Chip was taking care of his classroom's pet mouse and it got out of its cage). Subverted in that 1) they realized that they were behaving like 60s sitcom housewives, 2) Kate and Allie were running a catering business at the time and were justifiably concerned about mice on the premises, and 3) Allie's sportscaster boyfriend also turned out to be deathly afraid of mice.
  • As mentioned in Real Life below, the "Elephants are afraid of mice" variant was tested by the MythBusters, who were stunned when the elephant actually stopped dead in its tracks at the sight of the mouse, and gave it a wide berth when walking around it, rendering the myth plausible.
    • When testing the effects of mood on gas consumption, Grant was forced to drive a course while a pair of mice were allowed to run loose inside the car; his reaction screamed this trope.
      Grant: *upon realizing he lost track of the mice* Where did you go?! WHERE DID YOU GO?!?
  • A late episode of El Chavo del ocho has Doña Florinda's restaurant plagued by mice. She and Chilindrina exhibit the expected reaction throughout, especially in a hilarious scene where Chavo unknowinlgy brushes the latter's leg with the broom he is using to hunt the mouse; she has an absolute panic attack, thinking it's the mouse climbing up her leg.
    • An earlier episode has Quico playing with a mouse while snickering- and later Dona Florinda and La Chilindrina screaming and fainting due to the mouse.
  • This is how Ma Gorg reacted to Fraggles on Fraggle Rock.
  • In Community episode Environmental Science Troy freaks out when a lab rat accidentally escapes.
  • In the Mexican Soap Opera Carrusel, Pablo releases a mouse in the middle of class. All but one of the girls start screaming and crying. The one girl who isn't scared, Valeria, "punishes" Pablo by pretending to pass out and tricking him into believing she had a heart attack.
  • In a Sex and the City episode, Charlotte dates a Camp Straight man and they both react to a mouse in a similar way.
  • Pan Am has Laura reacting this way to the appearance of a lizard in her hotel room in Rangoon, as she jumps on her bed to get away. Maggie calmly appears to pick it up and put it outside then joins Laura on the bed shrieking upon discovering a snake in the bathroom.
  • Averted in the premiere episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The heroine doesn't even twitch when a sewer rat runs over her foot.
    • And subverted in its spin-off Angel when Gunn and Wesley freak out over a rat and Cordelia is the one to get up and deal with it.
    • Buffy does jump at a sewer rat in "I Will Remember You", but that's a sign that she's nervous over working closely with Angel.
  • The My Wife and Kids episode "Of Mice and Men".
  • On a late 1960s episode of The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson freaks and jumps into Ed McMahon's arms after a cheetah cub hisses at him.
  • Jane on The Mentalist once escaped from jail by scaring a rodent-phobic guard with a live mouse he'd caught.
  • In Orange Is the New Black, this gets played straight in season 6 when the girls of D block dump rats into the prison's cheese business as a Halloween prank to get at their rivals in C block. Everyone freaks out like expected, and it kills one of the cushiest jobs C block had while also killing a pipeline D block had to smuggle drugs.
  • Exploited in The Worst Witch when Helibore and Rowan-Webb have a wizard duel (no not like that one). Helibore turns Ethel into a goose girl and Rowan-Webb counters by turning himself into a mouse to scare her.
  • In the 1990's Australian mini-series Phoenix, the only female member of the Major Crimes Division is mocked by her sergeant when she has a fender-bender accident after a spider drops out of the sun visor in front of her. At the end of the episode he hands her a can of bug spray and declares he's not going near that car until "that horrible monster" has been killed.
  • The Brady Bunch:
    • Happens with Alice on when a pet mouse gets loose. Although, it's averted another time-she hands it to the boys and isn't scared.
    • In a different episode, Cindy runs into the kitchen asking Alice if she has seen her pet lizard that escaped its box. Through a clenched-teeth smile, Alice answers, "Yes I have. He's over there." Camera zooms out to reveal that Alice is standing on the table.
    • Invoked and subverted in a third episode. Bobby and Cindy complain to Emma that there is a mouse in the house. Emma tells them to make a pet out of it. Bobby and Cindy are shown petting it and clearly not afraid of it.
  • Dollhouse. At the start of Season 2, a pissed-off Dr Saunders puts lab rats in Topher's cupboard, in a not-too-subtle message of what she thinks of him. His female assistant Ivy has to retrieve them while Topher climbs the nearest railing to get away.
  • Danger: UXB. A sapper screams when he encounters a rat, just when Lieutenant Ash is about to defuse a bomb designed to blow up at the slightest touch. He is not amused.
  • Cousin Serena in Bewitched both invoked and inverted the trope with this line about a woman she found disgusting. "I'll bet when the mice see her, THEY climb up on chairs."
  • Rumpole of the Bailey: In "Rumpole a la Carte", when a mouse finds its way onto the plate of Claude Erskine-Brown's date at a particularly arty French restaurant. Admittedly, a plate in a three-Michelin-star restaurant is the last place you would expect to find a live mouse, but do you really have to stand on your chair and shriek?
  • A M*A*S*H episode has Hawkeye reacting this way to Radar's pet mouse. When they enter her in a race against group of Marine patients, Hawkeye screws up the courage to "pet her for good luck"... and one tiny stroke is enough to set him grimacing and cowering away.
  • In the Mexican children's show Odisea Burbujas, Mimoso Raton (a baby mouse) is shown entering a room during his theme song. A woman jumps up onto a chair because she is afraid of him- and presumably of mice in general.
  • The Noddy Shop turns this into a running gag for Aunt Agatha, with her thinking the goblins are rodents. One episode, "The Fish Story", has her take it Up to Eleven by dressing up as a cat to scare away mice that she believe stole a ring belonging to Kate's mother.
  • In Vel Vet, Clara shrieks when she sees a rat. Her sister Rita does not even flinch. The supervisor, Emilio, thinks it is probably just a mouse- but he orders the crew to hunt down the rodent just in case. Eventually, Rita catches it while Luisa and Ana shriek- and it turns out to be just a cute little mouse!
  • In one of the funniest moments of RuPaul's Drag Race, an argument between two of the queens is cut short when they spot a spider in the work room, and almost all the contestants lose their shit, including Mayhem Miller who jumps right on a nearby table then leaps to another table like a gay black Superman.
  • Rumpole of the Bailey: In the episode "Rumpole à la Carte", the case of the week is kicked off when Rumpole is dining out and sees a woman leaping onto her chair and screaming at the sight of a mouse on the dining table.
  • On n'est pas que des cobayes (a French show with the same premise as Mythbusters) tested the "elephants are afraid of mice" belief by releasing a live mouse next to a tamed circus elephant: the elephant was slightly curious to the mouse, but absolutely not afraid. Before the real test, they also used a mouse-shaped remote controlled toy imbued with the smell of a real mouse, with similar results.


    Mythology and Religion 
  • According to one of the stories about the Chinese calendar, the reason why the rat is the first in the list instead of the ox is this trope. The people were shown the ox and the rat, and only the rat was called "huge". Well, if it's bigger, then it should be first.



    Tabletop RPG 
  • A Challenge of Arms had a mastodon that was afraid of mice.

    Video Games 
  • Donkey Kong Country
    • Ellie in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! is an elephant who rapidly runs away from any Sneeks (basically rats) that she sees. One level requires the player to either dispatch the Sneeks from a distance or in the dark (apparently, she doesn't mind if she can only barely see them), and another features her running madly away from a trio of Sneeks, with the player only able to control her jumping until she settles down.
    • Also quite funnily used in the 101% ending of Donkey Kong 64, where Dogadon (aka the huge dragon who's fought twice in the game) is scared of a tiny mouse squeaking. Well, among various other jokey scenes, as seen here.
  • Princess Zelda in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks reacts to mice in that manner. Not that that makes her any less awesome. Although it is a bit silly seeing her cower when she's animating a steel-clad phantom.
    • And hence why stage 2 of the final battle has Link having to take down the ghost mice used to attack Zelda by Chancellor Cole.
  • Played with in Galaxy Angel, where in an Amazon Brigade full of girly-girls, the one with the paralyzing phobia of mice is the powerful and intimidating, Rare Gun-collecting, ultra-violent Bifauxnen Forte.
  • HanPan from Wild ARMs 1 uses this to his advantage in several places in the game to spook certain NPCs and make them move.
  • Dragon Quest VIII has Prince Charmless who refuses to undergo the hunt for an Argonian Lizard to prove he's worthy of the throne because he's afraid of lizards. All lizards. Even little ones. You have to scare him out of a room he's holed himself up in at one point by nudging a lizard into it, provoking this trope as a reaction to it.
  • Mongoria from Comix Zone, an otherwise extremely formidable enemy, had this as her weakness. Drop Roadkill, Sketch's pet rat, in front of her and she'll actually say the trope name before jumping off the page.
  • Elh from Solatorobo absolutely hates bugs and insists that Red kill them as quickly as possible when you come upon them (which is a good idea, since the bugs attack you like most everything else in video games). There are also two Protection Missions in which the goal is just "don't let the bugs get near Elh" (this includes if you accidentally throw a bug across the line, because apparently even a dead bug is creepy).
  • Played with for a laugh in Final Fantasy IX. Incognito princess Garnet picks up an oglop (a beetle-like insect), having no problem with the little critter whatsoever. However, since she's supposed to be undercover as a normal country girl, when an old woman comments that most girls hate them, she squeals theatrically and flings it into the air. Meanwhile, the Knights of Pluto—doughty bodyguard Steiner included—positively flip out when confronted with the bugs.
  • When Aire meets Torte the mouse sage in Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, she screams in fear and disgust. He, too, screams—because Aire is presently a cat and he doesn't want to be eaten. (They team up after calming down.)
  • Can be invoked for rewards in the PS2 release of The Bard's Tale, by summoning and dismissing the rat in bars. In fact, this is how the eponymous Bard starts the game.
  • In a skit in the Updated Re-release of Tales of Graces, Tales of Graces f, Cheria is freaked when Sophie discovers a mouse in Pascal's invention, Mecha-Asbel.
  • Frog in Chrono Trigger manages to frighten Lucca when they first meet. Later, if Marle is in the party when Crono and Lucca see him off from Guardia Castle, he'll approach Marle to comment on her resemblence to Leene, prompting her to shriek.
  • In Brain Lord, Ferris screams her head off when she encounters a room full of mice in the Tower of Light.
  • Monomi and Monokuma in Super Danganronpa 2 are revealed to be terrified of mice in chapter 4.
  • In Sid & Al's Incredible Toons, when Eunice Elephant sees Sid E. Mouse, she freaks out and turns the other way.
  • An amusing fantasy equivalent happens in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. When exploring a ruin with Keira Metz as part of a sidequest, Geralt ends up separated from her and hears her screaming for help. He finds her encased in a magical shield, between two rat nests with the critters scurrying around her feet. As Geralt points out, she is a master sorceress who could've wiped them out with a mere twirl of her wrist.
  • In the "Barn Boys" chapter of Conker's Bad Fur Day, the larger female block standing on top of Jack is afraid of mice, and in order to get her off him, Conker has to get rid of Marvin the Mouse. To do so, Conker has to feed Marvin three pieces of cheese. After the third piece, Marvin becomes so gassy that he inflates and explodes.note 
  • In Touhou Seirensen ~ Undefined Fantastic Object, upon encountering Nazrin, Sanae has this reaction, nearly word-for-word.
  • Fire Emblem
    • In Fire Emblem Awakening, the mere sight of a -apparently huge- bug flitting around sends Lucina and Cynthia -two experienced warriors who have survived a zombie apocalypse- into a panic.
    Lucina: Breathe, Cynthia. Calm down and tell me what happened. You have nothing to fear now that I'm here.
    Cynthia: B-b-bug! A bug!
    Lucina: ...A bug? ...As insect?
    Cynthia: As in a huge, freakish nightmare, with gross, hairy legs... It's HORRIBLE!
    Lucina: You're telling me all of your screaming and flailing was over an INSECT? *sigh* I thought the Risen had come. You could have sent the camp into a panic.
    Cynthia: AAAAAH! It's back! And it can fly?! S-stay away! Don't come near meee!
    Lucina: Come now, I don't see what all the fuss I— EEEEEEK!
    Cynthia: See? SEE?! It's the stuff of nightmares! Now hurry up and kill it! Kill it with fire magic or something!
    Lucina: Oh, no—I'm not going near that thing! It's HUGE!
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, should Edelgard engage Claude in battle at ‘the Battle of the Eagle and Lion’, Claude will say that there’s a rat by her feet, causing her to freak out. Claude will lampshade how he didn’t think that would work while Edelgard will call him out on it. Although it becomes less funny when its revealed that Edelgard was subjugated to experimentation to give her a second crest, and she was trapped in a cell that was infested with rats.
  • Amazon: Guardians of Eden: Darlene is afraid of rats which is why she hates Jason's work. When a rat is placed next to her by him, she shrieks, lifts her hands, and runs away.

    Web Original 
  • Often Florida wildlife will invade the live webcast of The Funday Pawpet Show, leading Ezra to envoke this trope, while Mutt commands the show's border collie to "Eat it, Bandit! Eat it eat it eat it!"
  • The Facebook game MouseHunt features the king of Gnawnia hiring a team of mouse hunters to rid Gnawnia of their mouse problem.
  • Porkchop 'n Flatscreen! has a mouse showing up and scaring... the girl called Mouse. She panics and tries to smash it with a baseball bat, which then flies out of her hands, conks her on the head, and lets loose her Superpowered Evil Side.

    Western Animation 
  • Referenced in South Park episode "Eek, A Penis!" where a mouse with a genetically engineered human penis growing on its back frightened women. Actually they were frightened by the penis (and who wouldn't be—even if a mouse or a human penis wouldn't freak you out, seriously, a mouse with a human penis growing out of its back?). But the trope still stands.
  • Monterey Jack actually uses this trope in the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers episode "The Carpetsnaggers" to chase humans from one side of a flying house to the other to prevent it from hitting any buildings.
  • Done many a time in Tom and Jerry.
    • Including a short where the "Eeker" was Tom's cowardly identical cousin.
    • The Elephant variation is averted in one episode where Jerry befriends a baby elephant, then disguises it as a giant mouse.
    • Averted in one episode when the lady who owns Tom buys a pet white mouse.
    • Played straight and then subverted in an episode of Tom and Jerry where during the usual chase, Jerry stumbles on a circus elephant weeping from a tack stuck under its foot. Jerry removes the tack and the elephant panics, afraid of Jerry (as he is a mouse), desperately trying to hit him with Tom (who happened to be there at that moment) like a drum on a stool. Jerry shows the female elephant the tack and, in Androcles' Lion fashion, she hugs Jerry in appreciation. From then on, she treats Jerry like her own child, protecting him from a persistent Tom in addition to giving the cat a good beating.
    • The Gene Deitch short "Sorry Safari" has the elephant that's carrying Tom and his master getting frightened of Jerry when Tom sticks him in his trunk.
  • Several old Looney Tunes shorts utilize this trope, usually starring Sylvester the cat. Lighthouse Mouse is one example.
    • In one short, a mouse mocks the way the housewife panics.
    • In Acrobatty Bunny, Nero the lion tries using an elephant to break down the iron bars keeping him from eating Bugs Bunny. Bugs retaliates by unleashing a wind-up toy mouse, which gets the elephant so scared that it starts using Nero as a club on the fake rodent.
    • With each of these shorts involving a black and white cat, this is used twice: Once in Pied Piper Porky and the other in We, The Animals Squeak. Difference is the unnamed cat from the first short is male, the other from the latter short, named Kansas City Kitty, who is female, featured this moment as a recycled animation. The first has Porky ordering the male cat to get rid of the mouse, but the feline is easily frightened by it. The second has Porky giving a present to Kansas City Kitty, which is revealed to be a mouse and Kansas City Kitty is frightened by it after what she had been through with some other mice.
  • Also played with in the Ren & Stimpy short "The Boy Who Cried Rat", in which Ren impersonates a rodent so Stimpy can earn his keep by catching him.
  • In The Chicken from Outer Space, the pilot to Courage the Cowardly Dog, Courage was afraid of a mouse in the beginning. Muriel plucks the little rodent and sets it loose outdoors. But after the battle with the titular chicken from outer space, we see Courage looking at it again as it fed on the ashes of the fallen fowl. The mouse's eyes turn bright red as a result. It was a Justified Trope as Courage screams in terror.
    Courage: This shouldn't happen to a dog!
  • Bella from Fireman Sam often freaks on seeing mice, regardless as to whether they're real or clockwork ones.
  • In the special Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas, the boarding of Toot's train home is delayed by an elephant who doesn't want to be left alone in jumbo class. He's afraid that a mouse might sneak in. When Toot expresses disbelief that a big guy like him would be terrified by a small mouse, the elephant responds "What can I say? It's genetic." Toot agrees to ride with him to watch for mice.
  • Subverted in The Simpsons at Apu's wedding. When a mouse runs out in the the elephant's path, the elephant recoils for a moment... and then proceeds to deliberately step on it.
  • Taken to ridiculous lengths in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls where a rivaling villain reanimates a mammoth (which appears as comically large as any city destroying monster) to cause destruction in Townsville. To stop it, Mojo-jojo instructs the girls to leave a large hunk of cheese to attract the town's mice and scare the mammoth off. And you know what? It works!
  • The main villain of the second half of Disney's Goliath II is a mouse in which only the titular elephant can get rid of.
  • Tex Avery, naturally, built an entire cartoon out of this trope. "Slap Happy Lion" has a mouse scaring a much-feared lion simply by saying "Boo!" at him. The cartoon ends with the mouse being scared by a much smaller mouse.
    • The narrator of that cartoon- a mouse- even wonders why anyone would fear a mouse.
  • Stu from Rugrats has a moment like this when he discovers the thing wrecking his garage wasn't a rowdy Spike, but a mouse. He even apologizes to his dog when he "saves" the day by chasing it away with a bark.
  • The film Of Unknown Origin is about a New Yorker obsessed with eliminating the large rat that keeps invading his apartment.
  • When Captain Fanzone winds up on Cybertron in Transformers Animated, this is basically the Transformers' response.
  • In the silent Krazy Kat cartoon "Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse at the Circus", Ignatz knowingly employs this trope this to scare a woman in the circus dressing room. When Krazy tries it himself, he gets hit with a broom.
  • Who Killed Who? has a ghost who scares the protagonist, laughs, then promptly gets scared of a tiny mouse, in the classic housewife way.
  • Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa: When a circus arrived in town, Mayor Bulloney tried to use a mouse to scare an elephant so the resulting distraction would allow Saddlesore and Boothill to steal a diamond.
  • Happens in the Danger Mouse story arc "The Great Bone Idol." Count Duckula steals the idol and awakens a herd of elephants in the underground cavern in which DM and Penfold had traversed to locate the idol. The elephants naturally freak out.
  • TvTropes must have ruined the life of someone involved in making Spongebob Squarepants - there's an episode that's actually called "Eek, an Urchin!" which involves the titular creature terrorizing the Krusty Krab.
  • Employed and then subverted in Producing Parker when Parker shrieks at the sight of a mouse in Dee's office. Dee, who has been turned into a human/reptile hybrid by experimental snake venom-based drugs, promptly claps her jaws shut on the little critter and gulps it down.
  • In Thunderbirds, The Hood sneaked a camera disguised as a mouse aboard Thunderbird 2. The plot failed, because it was attracted to, and only photographed, the screaming Lady Penelope.
  • A Famous Studios Little Lulu short had Lulu releasing a mouse at the circus. Naturally, the elephants fled.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: Burt, the elephant has fear of mice too and Savio knows it. He uses it like way to remove the enemy when he sends him a mouse so he'll freak out.
  • The opening teaser of "Pets and Pests" from Arthur has the entire Read family, sans Baby Kate, demonstrate a highly over-exaggerated version of this when Dad unveils his banana bread and there's a mouse on it. It ends with them all running out of the kitchen screaming, only for Mrs. Read to run back in and grab Baby Kate.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Mom & Jerry", Dexter accidentally swaps his brain with that of a lab mouse. Hilarity Ensues when Dexter (in the mouse's body) ends up in the kitchen, causing his mother to freak out and start trying to chase him out of the house.
  • In "Leo's Hamster" on Caillou, this is done with a hamster when Leo's hamster, Buddy, whom Caillou is petsitting, gets loose.
    Caillou: Mommy, why are you standing on the chair?
    Mommy: Me? (giggles nervously) Oh, no reason.
  • In "I Want a Sleepover" on Little Princess, when the "dragon" that Algie and Little Princess discover actually turns out to be a family of mice, Maid screams as if there actually is a dragon.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures episode "Tough Luck", Finn has a Terrible Interviewees Montage while trying to find minions. One of the applicants displays impressive swordsmanship, but when Finn is about to hire him, the man shrieks at the sight of a mouse and runs away.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine "Thomas, Percy and the Squeak": Opera singer Alicia Botti shrieks upon seeing a mouse in one of Thomas' coaches. She shrieks so loudly, in fact, that she shatters windows all over the town.
    Gordon: Definitely a coloratura!
  • The Sidney the Elephant short "The Littlest Bully" has Sidney terrorized by a mouse. The short even lampshades the trope.
    Sidney: I can't help it, Stanley. All elephants are afraid of mice.
    Stanley: Humbug! Just an old superstition!
  • In The Crumpets "Ghosts In The Attic", up in the attic of the house, Caprice freaks out thinking there's mice when it's in fact her young twin siblings sneaking through her. Later at the preparation of the voodoo ceremony however, Granny holds a mouse in front of Caprice and the latter finds it cute.
  • The Real Ghostbusters episode "Stay Tooned" had Janine freak out after seeing a cartoon cat and a cartoon mouse come to life and leap out of the television set. When the Ghostbusters ask her what happened, she stammers "I...I saw a mouse", causing them to initially think that Janine was scared by an ordinary mouse.
  • Gasp!: In "Mouse Fishin'", a mouse scares Ginger out of the kitchen. This sets in motion the episode's Zany Scheme as Gasp ropes the pets into helping him capture and then evicting the mouse.
  • Chip and Potato
    • Potato is a mouse, but only Chip knows this and all of the other characters thinks that she's her snuggly toy that she totes around with her everywhere. It's implied that Chip keeps Potato a secret because the other characters would react this way if they believed her to be a real live mouse.
    • Sure enough, this happens in "Chip's School Trip" after Chip is forced to leave behind Potato in a dollhouse in a museum. To the point that there's a scream and a man comes on a loudspeaker telling everyone to make their way to the exit. Then, when Howie opens up Chip's lunch bag, he spots Potato in her mouse form, screams, and tosses the bag and sends everyone else into a panic.
    • When Chip first reveals the truth to Nico in "Hospital Trip Chip," he tells her to call the nurse, but after realizing what's going on calms down.
  • Merrie Melodies: "Unnatural History" has it first played straight (a mouse scares an elephant) and then kinda inverted (a micro elephant scares selfsame mouse).

    Real Life 
  • While elephants don't typically leap onto small objects at the sight of a mouse, research has provided a possible reason for the elephant's fear of mice: an elephant's eyes are located on its head in approximately the same position as a human's ears — add this to the elephant's large body, (relatively) poor eyesight, and sensitive hearing, and what the elephant sees turns from a small, furry rodent into a small, barely-visible, blurry and mostly-unidentifiable squeaking blob somewhere near its feet. It was tested by the Mythbusters. Myth Plausible.
    • If a mouse is brought close and shown to an elephant, however, it's generally not alarmed in the slightest, and may even lift the rodent in its trunk for a better view. The reality may be that elephants are wary of any small moving critter on the ground, just in case it turns out to be something a lot nastier than a mouse (e.g. a scorpion or coiled-up cobra—neither of which can directly kill an elephant but probably hurt like the dickens and could put an elephant's life at risk indirectly from the injury/pain).
    • There's at least one incident of an elephant and her calf getting spooked by a squirrel.
  • Semi real-life, with another type of vermin rather than a mouse: The late X Japan guitarist Hide and the drummer/bandleader Yoshiki were/are both terrified of cockroaches. One story has it that when the band members were in Los Angeles for the first time, a roach had gotten into the room hide and Yoshiki shared. This trope ensued with both, according to the story, jumping up onto the bed and shrieking until it was finally agreed that someone had to kill the roach, and depending on who's telling the story, either Hide or Yoshiki finally did.
  • Psychologists who studied the Eek, a Mouse!! phenomenon concluded that it's not the mouse itself which the typical distressed housewife is afraid of, but her awareness that she'll probably have to kill the animal to remove it from her residence. The mouse is harmless, killing is Squicky.
    • Besides, as humans have co-evolved with mice ever since the dawn of agriculture, screaming, shouting and stamping if a mouse enters your kitchen is a moderately sound response - perfectly sensible for a woman to aggressively protect her food-store by trying to frighten away small invaders.
  • In Real Life, there's very good reason to be afraid of mice. House mice in particular can carry deadly diseases and there have been reports of ones growing so large they attack albatross chicks nearly one meter tall. In addition, in 1993, Australia was beset by one of the most devastating mouse plagues in the world; mice began eating the livestock alive.
  • Inverted with mice and rats as pets, which are far more popular with women than men. This was even so in Victorian times, where some upper-class young ladies would keep them almost like toy dogs.
    • Values Dissonance: Perhaps in North America and Northern Europe. In many other parts of the world, mice and rats are still seen as the domain of boys.
  • Actress Jaimie Alexander has admitted that, while she has no problem with things like snakes or spiders, she is terrified of mice. You read that right - The warrior goddess Sif is afraid of mice.
  • In the pregame of the Florida Panthers's home opener in 1995, a mouse entered the Panthers locker room and startled the players. One of them hit the animal with his stick. Given in that same game he scored two of the goals in the 4-3 victory, Panthers fans embraced the rat theme with pleasure, including throwing plastic mice into the ice every time a goal was scored (nowadays doing that after every goal becomes a two-minute delay-of-game penalty on the Panthers, something which is of major concern for the Panthers if unscrupulous fans of the opposing team toss a rat onto the ice to try to snag a cheap power play. There is one exception, however: if one of their team's players scores three goals in the same game, then Panthers fans are permitted to throw their toy rats onto the ice in celebration).
  • Akira Toriyama, creator of Doctor Slump and Dragon Ball, has an intense fear of mice, such that his work suffered when his workplace had an infestation, since he was too scared to step inside.
  • Rat on New York City subway scares passengers
  • In the nonfiction book Retail Hell: How I Sold My Soul to the Store, this happened in the "Big Fancy" store when someone returned a product to the handbag department that had a huge Cockroach in it. Naturally; this trope ensues and Freeman is told to kill it as the sole male working the department.
  • "Soldiers vs Camel Spider", a hilarious Youtube video where a pair of muscular, manly American soldiers are standing on their beds (in their underwear) and hunting down a camel spider in their room... WITH RIFLES.
    • While "camel spiders" (which aren't spiders) are not actually very dangerous, there's a lot of misinformation out there about them, most of which makes them sound scarier than they are. Freaking out is predictable if you think something can literally gouge out chunks of your flesh.
  • It's been suggested that the viral sensation of cats hilariously overreacting to seeing cucumbers on the floor behind them is an instinctual reaction to snakes.


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