Follow TV Tropes


Escaped Animal Rampage

Go To

"Oh dear, the ram's loose."
Anthea Meeks, Carry On Camping

A popular trope in comedies and a subtrope of Hilarity in Zoos. An animal escapes from a zoo, a circus, a pound, a laboratory or some other kind of area where it formerly lived in restricted conditions. The creature might be dangerous, like a Killer Gorilla, a lion, a bear, a tiger, a wolf, a rhinoceros or an elephant, or just something that might provide zany antics, like monkeys, a kangaroo, a seal, etc. If there's more than one animal that escaped, they may go on an Animal Stampede.

Invariably our protagonists will always encounter this escaped animal. Either they have to fight it off and bring it back to the zoo in order for a huge award, or they help it remain hidden and even might transport it back to its natural environment.

While this trope usually involves regular wildlife running amok, a particular kind of hilarity can ensure when the animal is an escapee of a Fantastic Nature Reserve, an Extinct Animal Park, or some kind of experimental laboratory.

A trope Truth in Television, as several animals have been known to escape and create panic and chaos along the way. In Real Life this is usually not that funny, as people might get injured or even killed. And not only with obviously-dangerous animals. Innocent looking creatures, like a chimpanzee, can get very aggressive if they feel threatened. The animals themselves may even get shot by zookeepers and/or the police.

Also note that this trope is exclusively meant for animals that were held captive by humans, not animals entering the human world from a forest or something.

The animals may have escaped due to the zoo being a Menagerie of Misery. See also Animal Stampede when enough escaped animals rampage at once.


    open/close all folders 


    Anime & Manga 
  • Boruto: Team 15 is tasked with retrieving all of the escaped animals from Fire Park. Needless to say, the mission was not an easy task due to a particularly dangerous animal (a giant wolf) mistakenly not being on the list they were given and thus surprising them when it shows up.
  • The second Cowboy Bebop episode, "Stray Dog Strut", has the protagonists hired to hunt down a dog escaped from a lab, or more specifically, the criminal who tried to steal it. Meanwhile, the lab workers try to recapture the dog with a giant dog whistle, which results in a riot of stray dogs running through the streets. The protagonists end up with the dog, and while they find out that "Ein" is worth a fortune by the end of the episode they decide to keep him as a pet instead of trying to cash in on him.
  • In Pluto, Kimba the White Lion puts in a cameo appearance when the transport truck taking him to the zoo crashes. He tries to eat a little boy but is talked out of it by Astro Boy's sister, Uran.
  • Downplayed in Powerpuff Girls Z. When Mojo first appears, he tries setting all the animals at the zoo loose, except they still remain where they are.
  • Spy X Family: The admissions interview for Eden Academy are briefly disrupted when cattle for the campus stables get loose and nearly trample the prospects. "Briefly" because Yor uses a pressure-point technique to take down the lead cow, thus scaring the other animals into submission.
  • The anime Sword for Truth begins with a giant tiger escaping from its cage and slaughtering a large number of the Shogun's men before being cut down in one stroke by protagonist Shuranosuke Sakaki.

    Asian Animation 
  • Tobot Galaxy Detectives: In Episode 4, a female gorilla escapes from the zoo and kidnaps one of Tyler's Jay. Tyler and the Tobots chase the gorilla across the city to the top of a tall structure, where they manage to put the gorilla to sleep and save Jay. The episode ends with the gorilla back in her exhibit, much happier than before.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: One Carl Barks comic strip had Donald Duck's nephews walking around with a lucky rabbit's foot charm that actually brings good luck. When Donald hears that a dangerous gorilla escaped, he decides to turn the giant ape in, believing that he will be protected by the nephews' lucky device. Since he unfairly snatches it from them for the purpose, it doesn't work.
  • De Kiekeboes: In Het Stokvis Incident (The Case Stokvis) Fanny saves a chimpanzee from a medical laboratory and keeps at her house. The animal then escapes from her room and goes to the neighbours where he climbs inside the bathroom and helps the unknowing woman of the house with scrubbing her back.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: In the album "Pànico en el zoo" all zoo animals escape and Mortadelo and Filemon have to catch them.
  • Nero:
    • In Hannibal a baby elephant escapes from the circus and is adopted by little Clo-Clo, who keeps him as a pet. The animal is stolen back to the circus and Clo-Clo is kept imprisoned there too. In the end Nero and his friends liberate Clo-Clo, but Hannibal suddenly disappears. This leaves Clo-Clo depressed and he waits and waits for his animal friend to come back. In the end Hannibal does come back, but he is an adult sized elephant now! The Happy Ending shows the others still welcoming him back in their midst.
    • Subverted in Allemaal Beestjes where Nero is transformed into a lion and then caught by frightened people who bring him to the zoo, despite nothing having done anything. A similar storyline can be found in Zwoele Charlotte, where he is dressed in a gorilla costume and again sedated and brought to the zoo, because people think he is a real ape.
  • Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan, in which a pride of lions escape the Baghdad Zoo during the U.S. invasion.
  • Spirou and Fantasio: In the story "Le Voyageur du Mésozoïque" a dinosaur escapes from the Count of Rommelgem's laboratory and causes havoc in the city.
  • Superman:
    • This happened in Superboy 1949 #130 due to baby Superboy's desire for a pet: here.
    • In Superman's Return to Krypton, Superman (who has gone back in time and met his biological parents) Lyla, Jor-El and Lara are visiting a Kryptonian zoo when a two-headed beast escapes from its cage, and Superman must recapture it to stop its destructive rampage.
  • Suske en Wiske:
    • In "De Straatridder" ("The Street Knight") Lambik helps several zoo animals escape and hides them in Suske en Wiske's home.
    • In "De Apekermis" ("The Monkey Fair") the apes in the local zoo become intelligent and decide to escape to take over the world. note .
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Volume 1: A large female gorilla escapes from the zoo and starts attacking people and property. She is eventually subdued by Wonder Woman, and when most are pushing for her destruction due to just how dangerous she is Prof. Zool asks permission to use her in an experiment, which ends up turning her into the human villain Giganta.
    • Volume 2: When Hera knocks Themyscira out of the sky and destroys its magical protections many of the, often incredibly dangerous, animals in their reserve and zoo escape and the Amazons have to recapture them to prevent many more deaths.

    Fan Works 
  • Nature Studies looks at various animal escapes in Ankh-Morpork. It starts in canon with the escalating problem with the Royal Mail and its mailboxes (as described in Pratchett's novel Making Money). Snails were eating the mail. Frogs and toads were inserted to eat the snails. The frogs bred. Snakes were inserted to eat the frogs. Then mongeese needed to go into the boxes to deal with the snakes — one of whom turns out to be a Howondalandian spitting mamba and not a harmless Lancre grass snake. This difficulty is dealt with by experienced hands. And then CMOT Dibbler takes it on himself to bring the joys of exotic wildlife to the city in the form of a Safari Park. A Dibbler disaster ensues and Howondaland's native animals escape.
  • Prehistoric Earth: Two particularly notable instances of this occur, with the first being a mass breakout that occurs at the titular Extinct Animal Park in the phase/season 2 finale amongst the various carnivorous dinosaurs rescued up to that point in the story and the second being in the two part season/phase 3 finale when the villains of the story send in a rogue female t. rex brought to the future via their own jury rigged and inferior time portal to cause chaos while the park staff subsequently release several of the animals they themselves have already rescued from the past from their enclosures to put a stop to the villains.
  • Prehistoric Park Reimagined: Several instances of this occur, with first a male torvosaurus managing to very nearly escape from the titular park's boundaries, then a male teratornis putting up quite a fight to attempt to avoid getting recaptured, and then multiple carnivores ending up infected by a Hate Plague and acting more aggressive and violent than normal over the course of the story's Big Storm Episode.
  • Prehistoric Park: Returned from Extinction: With the exception of a single instance, this is Averted whenever a mass breakout happens — in fact, most of the escaped animals will put their normal grudges and conflicts aside to deal with more pressing issues. This is because the park itself it getting them to act as one.

    Films — Animated 
  • Madagascar: The first Madagascar movie is about a gang of zoo animals who escape in the city because one of them — Marty the zebra — is bored of his zoo life, and the others follow him. They are then re-captured and released into the wild.
  • Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers: One of the many threats is a Killer Gorilla who escapes from a wrecked circus train.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The final act of 12 Monkeys shows the titular Animal Wrongs Group releasing the animals of the local zoo, causing all sorts of pandemonium and their "we did it!" message spray-painted all over the city setting them up as the Red Herring for the cause of The End of the World as We Know It.
  • In The Beasts Are on the Streets, a truck crashes into the fence of an African wildlife preserve in Texas, unleashing dozens of wild animals, who cause a traffic jam and go on to menace nearby neighborhoods.
  • Happened in a a Christian direct-to-video movie about a talking puppy named Spunky in the episode "Circus Adventure", where the circus animals break loose.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:
    • Newt Scamander carries a zoo full of the eponymous animals with him in his magical suitcase. Unfortunately, the suitcase's security is quite lax, and following an involuntary Satchel Switcheroo, some of the animals escape and cause trouble.
    • A mundane version also occurs, after an erumpent (imagine a giant rhinoceros with an explosive horn) breaks into the Central Park Zoo looking for a mate, and most of the animals escape. The first sign the main characters have of this is when they see a lion walking casually down the street.
  • During the climax of Gangs of New York an elephant escapes the Barnum and Bailey circus during the Draft Riots, though the city is so overcome by chaos the elephant rampaging down the street is only another small part of the madness the city has descended into.
  • Good Burger: The reason Heather was committed to Demented Hills was that, "Small space aliens landed in her head and told her to break into the zoo and free all the kangaroos."
  • In Gorgo, a dinosaur-like Giant Swimmer is captured off the Irish Coast and put on display in a London circus. We spend most of the movie's second act well aware that this cannot end well. This trope is ultimately subverted, though; he doesn't escape. His mom comes and gets him.
  • The first of The Green Hornet Serials: one episode dealt with the gangsters trying to take over a zoo. We see a tiger get loose due to sabotage, and it's indicated that this wasn't the first time.
  • Jumanji: In this film, a magical game board causes all kinds of animals to break loose from the game and rampage through town.
  • Jurassic Park series:
    • Jurassic Park: John Hammond creates a zoo for dinosaurs. He plans it as a tourist attraction, but when a storm causes the electric power to fall out, the monstrous animals are able to come from behind the fences and have the humans run for their lives.
    • The second installment The Lost World: Jurassic Park has a Tyrannosaurus rex taken to the continent with the intention of putting it in a zoo, but he escapes before they could do so and runs amuck through most of San Diego. They manage to get it back in its cage by luring it there with its baby.
    • In Jurassic Park III, a flock of Pteranodons escapes from their cage and are shown flying into the sunset at the end. The promotional material for the next film reveals that they were shot down over Canada, presumably due to this trope.
    • In Jurassic World, a newly-created hybrid dinosaur, dubbed the Indominus rex, tricks her handlers into opening her paddock and letting her loose on the island. Naturally, she goes on a rampage, killing humans and dinosaurs alike. She then crashes into a giant birdcage, freeing Dimorphodons and Pteranodons, who immediately head for the thousands of people crowded at the visitor center. The Velociraptors also go on a rampage after being turned by the I. rex.
    • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Ends with all of the dinosaurs that were saved (or escaped on their own) from the exploding Isla Nublar (and were going to be put in an Auction of Evil) either attacking humans or heavily implied that they will attack humans after being released by Maisie.
  • King Kong (all versions that aren't set in the Legendary universe): After Kong arrives in New York City he is exhibited in a theater. When he escapes he terrorizes the city and... well, you know the rest.
  • In the 1932 Laurel and Hardy short The Chimp, roustabouts Laurel and Hardy are laid off by a circus and given their "pay" in the form of Ethel, a huge ape. But while Ethel's getaway from the circus is legitimate, a fierce lion actually escapes, and frightens Laurel and Hardy while they try to introduce Ethel to their home.
  • The Lost World:
    • A Brontosaurus is brought to the city, escapes from his cage and goes out on a rampage.
    • In the 1960 remake, the heroes find a baby Tyrannosaurus rex (actually a monitor lizard with plastic flippers) and announce their intent to bring it back to London, joking that it will likely be fully grown by then and go on a terrible rampage and destroy the city. We don't get to see that part, though, because the movie ends.
  • The Naked Gun: In the second movie, Frank accidentally causes a break out at the zoo, and animals are seen running around in the background of some scenes. In the end, the Big Bad is dispatched by an escaped lion. This also leads to the following exchange:
    Commissioner Anabell Brumford: Do you realize that because of you this city is being overrun by baboons?
    Lt. Frank Drebin: Well, isn't that the fault of the voters?
  • Planet of the Apes:
    • Planet of the Apes (1968): A funny inversion occurs when Taylor the human escapes from a medical lab where apes do experiments on humans and runs amok, scaring the innocent residents of Ape City.
    • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes climaxes with a cross between this trope and a Slave Revolt as the apes lead by Caesar rise up to overthrow humanity.
    • Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Apes escape from their own facility and release other apes from a zoo to create an army, before disappearing into the forests.
  • At the start of Rogue (2020), a lioness escapes from a game farm and kills the Evil Poachers who run it. The other animals escape and vanish into the grasslands, but the lioness stays around the farm and starts attacking the mercenaries when they hole up in the farm to await extraction.
  • The Valley of Gwangi plays out almost exactly like King Kong above. A gang of cowboys discover a Lost World full of Living Dinosaurs, and get the bright idea to bring an allosaurus back to town to participate in the rodeo. It goes about as well as you'd expect.
  • In We Bought a Zoo, a bear escapes and wanders around in a town until the zookeepers capture him and take him back to his enclosure.
  • White God: The last act of the film is a pack of escaped pound dogs rampaging through a city and attacking all of the humans who had wronged their leader.
  • In Wild Beasts, PCP on Frankfurt's water system causes animals to go crazy, and various dangerous beasts escape from the local zoo to terrorize people.
  • Zebra In The Kitchen: A 1965 movie in which somebody lets all the zoo animals go free.
  • Zoombies combined this with Raising the Steaks by having the animals at a state of the art zoo go on a rampage after becoming Plague Zombies.

  • Animal Farm: Farm animals break loose and — unprecedented in the animal world — take over the place and establish a revolutionary community.
  • Carnosaur: Dinosaurs cloned by a British aristocrat for his private zoo are released by his jealous wife, and rampage through the town of Cambridgeshire.
  • Court Martial by Sven Hassel. 2 Section have to get rid of a troublesome Gestapo agent who's blackmailing them. After a number of unsuccessful attempts have landed the Gestapo agent in hospital, Porta and the others decide to pay a friendly visit with a wildcat in a cage. Unfortunately the wildcat gets freed from its cage too early and proceeds to tear up the entire hospital.
    • In O.G.P.U Prison, Porta adopts a black panther called Ulrich, and there's a Running Gag of it giving heart attacks to everyone it meets. Ulrich just wants to play with them, but they don't know that.
  • Curious George: A chimpanzee who escapes from a zoo and has wacky mischievous adventures.
  • Matthew Reilly's The Great Zoo of China: Which is actually The Great Dragon Zoo of China. It's Reilly's homage/ripoff of Michael Crichton and Jurassic Park, and things go exactly as well as you'd expect.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry accidentally casts a spell in a zoo that releases a large snake from its enclosure. While the people are panicking, the snake doesn't attack anyone, it just thanks Harry and tries to go home to Brazil.
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Hagrid is revealed to have been expelled after he was framed as trying to hide and cover up a dangerous animal getting loose repeatedly at Hogwarts and killing a fellow student. While he did have a dangerous animal on campus it was not responsible for the attacks.
  • In James and the Giant Peach, James' parents were killed by a rhinoceros that broke out of London Zoo. And ate them, apparently.
  • Subverted in Life of Pi: Early on he explains that most animals who escape zoos blend in with the outside very well, and cites an anecdote of a black panther who broke out and then was found months later in the woods feeding on deer. According to him, there are many other that have hidden themselves in the cities.
    "If you took the city of Tokyo and turned it upside down and shook it, you would be amazed at the animals that would fall out. It would pour out more than cats and dogs, I tell you. Boa constrictors, Komodo dragons, crocodiles, piranhas, ostriches, wolves, lynx, wallabies, manatees, porcupines, orang-utans, wild boar — that's the sort of rainfall you could expect to find."
  • In The Lost World (1912), the explorers take a Pteranodon egg home with them, to present it in London as proof of their journey. By this point, the egg has hatched, and the young pterosaur escapes out a window and flies away, presumably trying to migrate back to the Lost World. One character cheerfully suggests that it will die on the journey because it's dumb and clumsy, which was - at the time the book was published - the prevailing theory about why most prehistoric life had gone extinct in the first place. Note that just about every adaptation of the story does something else with this sequence: see above under Film for the 1925 and 1960 versions and below under Live-Action TV for the 2001 version.
  • In That Hideous Strength, After Merlin frees the animals from the experimental laboratory, they go on a rampage, trampling their captors to death.
  • In the novel version of The Man with the Golden Gun, Scaramanga killed his first man in his backstory as a Circus Brat when he shot the policeman who shot his elephant friend who had went into an amok run.
  • In The Snake by John Godey, a captive black mamba gets loose in Central Park during a heat wave, when the owner's attempt to sell it goes horribly wrong.
  • In the fifth Warrior Cats book, a pack of dogs gets loose from the tree farm that they were being kept in to guard, and they end up living in the forest. While escaped dogs might not be the scariest thing to a human, they were a big threat to the cats living there.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A Country Practice: A Wedding Episode two-parter airing around 1988 had several goats escape from a pick-up truck following a near-miss. Most were recaptured, but one goat provided to be difficult, and a farmer attempts to tranquilize him. He accidentally shoots the priest intending to minster the wedding, in the butt. The goat makes it to a local pub and eats the wedding cake before finally being recaptured.
  • Aftermath: Population Zero: In a scenario where all humans have mysteriously disappeared, All animals have to escape their confines or starve, as humans are no longer there to feed them. Zoo animals quickly test their fences, and break out into the unconventional habitats of cities and towns. This leads to such sights as bush elephants migrating through suburbs, feasting on the leaves of trees there, and lions trying to catch monkeys hanging out in playgrounds. Ultimately this pays off for them; even though they're far removed from their normal homelands, the wild animals make new lives for themselves amongst the landscape once occupied by their keepers.
  • Doctor Who: A pack of wolves escape the London Zoo in the "In The Forest Of The Night" episode due to the sudden, explosive growth of forests and run rampant around central London. A tiger also escaped and the wolves are far more afraid of it then any humans.
  • In The Lost World (2001), the explorers bring a Pteranodon egg back to London as proof of what they found, but in the uproar of the crowd, the creature escapes out a window, indicating that this trope would happen. However, the final montage of the series shows the Pteranodon peacefully making its way back home, successfully, averting this trope.
  • Sesame Street, Ernie tells Bert about his day at the zoo in an early skit. Ernie describes the day as largely uneventful, despite the chaos that resulted from several animals getting out of their cages. [1]
  • In the Tremors TV series, the ass-blaster that was captured alive in the third film escapes from captivity and menaces Perfection again.

  • Goerges Brassens, french singer, tells the story of an escaped gorilla in "Le Gorille". The narration is made funnier by the reason for his rampage being his chastity. He ends up kidnapping and abusing a judge.
  • The track "Moonlight On Vermont", from Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, has a line about a white elephant escaping from a zoo. It's just one of the many acts of insanity caused by the power of Vermont's moon.
  • "The Tigers Have Spoken" by Neko Case is about an escaped circus tiger. He is portrayed sympathetically; he only knew happiness as a bottle-fed cub, and went insane from being chained up in a tiny cage. While he does find freedom, it lasts very briefly before he gets shot.
    • Also alluded to in "People Got A Lotta Nerve". Neko compares herself to an elephant that goes crazy from "standing in a concrete cage", and goes on a rampage that ends with cops arriving to shoot it. Neko complains how people have the audacity to be shocked when dangerous animals act dangerous; as a metaphor, it can be read as Neko being disappointed in a lover who disagrees with her boy-chasing nature.
  • In Poets of the Fall's "Drama for Life," the singer conceptualizes his creativity using bull imagery, and its depicted as running rampant.
    He tears a stampede through my head
    Wild and horny

    Video Games 
  • Chrono Cross: Early in the game, to get the manor key needed to enter Viper Manor, players must enter the dragon stables and complete a dragon-feeding minigame. Much later on, the party escapes the manor by busting through a stained-glass window and unleashing the dragons from the stables to trample the enemy soldiers.
  • In EarthBound Beginnings, this happens early in the game due to a Starman using his ship to control the animals. It's Ninten's job to investigate and stop the aliens causing the trouble, all the while battling angry elephants and tigers.
  • In The Eldritch Zookeeper, creatures will escape if players do not satisfy their needs or if the player deletes one of the fences.
  • Jurassic Park: The Game: it's set during and right after the first movie, and they have to deal with the escaped dinosaurs frequently.
  • In Parkasaurus, if your animals get too bored or too hungry, they'll break down their fences and start attacking the guests.
  • On Corellia in Star Wars: The Old Republic the Coronet Zoo is damaged during the fighting and all the animals escape and start roaming around. As you arrive at the area, you overhear a man complaining about the "traumatizing" experience, but his daughter enjoyed getting so close to the animals and thought it was great. The game Codex says the rumors of a Rancor running loose are unconfirmed.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge: In the Rumble In The Zoo level, there are multiple points where an Animal Stampede of rhinos and wild boars will come charging across the screen, trampling everyone who doesn't get out of the way. It's because level bosses Dirtbag and Groundchuck have come to the zoo to break the animals out.
  • Zoo Tycoon: Animals can be released by deleting a section of fence or they can escape on their own if you don't maintain damaged sections of fencing. Releasing the Tyrannosaurus in Dinosaur Digs can provide a little fun via easter egg. If the T. rex destroys a one-person restroom, you can see a person crying on the toilet (a reference to the lawyer's fate in the Jurassic Park films).

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • This happens to Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender in "The Tales of Ba Sing Se" when he sets free all the animals in the Ba Sing Se zoo. To be frank, the zookeeper wanted to move them to wider open spaces.
  • Beverly Hills Teens: A circus is released when Chester accidentally gets some cotton candy on the cage controls.
  • Big City Greens: In the episode "Uncaged", Cricket and Tilly decide to free an orangutan from the zoo in an attempt to impress their mother Nancy. However, when messing around with the zoo's controls, they end up releasing all the animals, prompting them to turn to their mom for help.
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: In "The Hyper-Potamus Pizza-Party-Torium", as a distraction while kidnapping Hangry Panda, Noodle Burger Boy releases a mountain gorilla from the zoo that beats up Fred and Baymax.
  • The Cuphead Show!: In "The Devil's Pitchfork", The Devil mentions that he released all carnivores from the zoo as part of his rampage.
  • The cartoon "Donald Duck and the Gorilla" has an aggressive gorilla escaping from the local zoo and breaking into Donald's house, attacking him and his nephews.
  • On the third of the Garfield Specials, Garfield on the Rough, an escaped panther stalks the woods where Jon, Garfield and Odie are camping.
  • Hey Arnold!: In "Cool Party", Curly goes crazy (again) after he's among those not invited to Rhonda's party, and acting on an impulse, frees all the animals from the zoo.
  • In the very first episode of The Huckleberry Hound Show, Huck (as a police officer) is tasked with tracking down an escaped gorilla named Wee Willie. The episode "Huck and Ladder" has Huck (this time as a fireman) dealing with another escaped gorilla at a circus. Just when things can't get any more crazy, a lion escapes.
  • Also in Looney Tunes, many of the Tasmanian Devil's appearances have him escaping from confinement in the beginning of the cartoon.
  • Mickey Mouse. In "Mickey and the Seal" a baby seal escapes from the zoo and unknowingly to Mickey and Pluto travels along to their house.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Animan, (the Akuma-target of the Week) lets a bunch of animals out of their cages, resulting in this.
    • "Syren" opens with Ladybug and Chat Noir stopping one of these with the help of Rena Rouge, although it's implied to not have been caused by any supervillains this time.
  • Mixels: In the episode "Every Knight Has Its Day", Mixadel, in a fit of anger for being laughed at, decides to get revenge on the other students by releasing the Mixeloptors, monster-like Mixamals. They end up destroying the security control room, trapping the MCPD before they can corral them, and finally Mega-Mixing into even more threatening monsters. It takes the combined Mixing powers of some of the students to finally reel them in at the end.
  • Pac-Man: In "Goo-Goo at the Zoo", Pac-Baby takes the zookeeper's keys and unlocks all of the cages. The newly liberated animals wreak havoc throughout Pacland and end up at Pac-Man's home.
  • In the Pepé Le Pew cartoon Wild Over You a wildcat escapes from the Paris zoo, catching his attention.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the episode "Marge Gets a Job" a wolf escapes from Krusty's TV show. He then attacks Bart at school, who tries to warn Mrs. Krabappel, but just as in "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" nobody believes the previous liar anymore.
    • In "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" Kent Brockman is reading the news in front of a window:
    In today’s news, a two-ton rhino escaped from the Springfield zoo. But zoo officials were quick to act, and Petunia, as she is known, is safely back in captivity. [A rhino starts attacking the crowd outside the window.] In other news, a three-ton rhino that escaped from the zoo last week is still at large.
    • Screaming Yellow Honkers: Marge gets a Canyonero and develops a bad case of road rage. The climax is Homer accidentally releasing a pack of rhinos from the zoo and Marge having to use the SUV to corral them in and save her family.
  • Superman Theatrical Cartoons:
    • The cartoon "Terror on the Midway" features Superman attempting to stop the chaos created when several circus animals escape their cages and restraints, including a gorilla named Gigantic.
    • The Artic Giant, about a T. rex (that looks nothing like the real thing) waking up from a giant block of ice and running amok through Metropolis.
  • Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird
    • Many of these cartoons have Hippety Hopper, a kangaroo, escaping from the zoo, causing Sylvester and his son to think that he is actually a "giant" mouse.
    • One of these cartoons had a panther escape from the zoo, just as a Bully Bulldog is chasing Sylvester. Hilarity Ensues when he mistakes the panther for Sylvester.
  • Tom and Jerry:
    • The cartoon "Jerry and the Lion" has a lion escaping from the circus and Jerry desperately trying to keep him hidden from Tom. In the end he helps him get back on the boat to Africa.
    • In "The Little Runaway", a baby seal escapes from the circus and hides with Jerry, while Tom tries to catch him for the reward.
    • "Jerry and Jumbo" has a baby elephant falling off the circus train and ending up at Jerry and Tom's house. Jerry disguises him as a giant mouse to freak out Tom.
    • In "Down Beat Bear", it's a circus bear who dances whenever he hears music. Every time Tom tries to report him, Jerry plays music and the bear makes Tom his unwilling dance partner.
    • In "The Missing Mouse", a white lab mouse escapes after ingesting an experimental explosive. Jerry paints himself white and messes with Tom, but Tom eventually finds out... just as the real lab mouse appears.
  • Total Drama:
    • For the sake of drama, Blaineley unleashes all the animals that DJ has had a bad encounter with and which have been gathered to appear on the Aftermath in "Aftermath II: Revenge of The Telethon". The animals proceed to attack everyone in the room, including Blaineley because she didn't think this through. Rats attack Trent and Justin, a panda gnaws on Katie, an alligator lunges at Beth and Eva, a snake captures Blaineley, monkeys take down Geoff and the camera and attack Lindsay, a goat stomps the camera, and a snapping turtle bites down on Bridgette. The damage doubles the money that needs to be raised to save the show.
    • Chris has many of the island's captured to be used as his whim against the finalist during the gladiatorial battle in "Brains Vs Brawn: The Ultimate Showdown". However, his remote gets destroyed, which sets all the captive mutants free at once. Chaos ensues. The mutant squirrel attacks the audience and Anne Maria in particular, but she is saved by Ezekiel, whom she's then saved from by Cameron. The mutant gophers go after Chris, whom is saved by Larry, whom he then sics on everyone else. A mutant turtle stomps on Sam, prompting Dakota to attack the creature. And tree tentacles punch down on B mercilessly.
  • Totally Spies! season 2 ep, Animal World had this happen when a scientist created a device to give humans animal DNA and vice versa (essentially humans become more animal like while animals gain human intelligence and speech). A gorilla he was testing it on turns against him and proceeds to give the animals of a local zoo the the procedure, causing them to run amuck and forcing the spies (including a partially animal-ifed Clover) to round them up and reverse the process.

    Real Life 
  • In 1874 the New York Herald printed a front page article saying that the animals from the Central Park Zoo had escaped and were rampaging across the city. It was a hoax story though.
  • George Orwell wrote a short story based on a real life incident (which he was punished for, as the shooting was either accidental or out of malice), "Shooting an Elephant", about a time when an elephant escaped from a circus and rampaged through a town in India. They called him out to kill it. By the time he found it, its rampage was over and it was eating quietly in a field. However, the whole town was gathered round, so he shot it. It didn't die, so he shot it again. Still didn't die. Third shot did it. Well, it took another half hour to die, but it collapsed.
    Orwell: I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool.
  • During World War II, the administrator of Tokyo, Shigeo Odachi, defied this trope by ordering all large and dangerous animals at the Ueno Zoo be killed in case an American bombing raid set them loose. Most were killed by poisoning, but the zoo's elephants refused to eat food which had been laced with poison and their thick hide made it impossible to kill them by lethal injection, so they were starved to death.
    • A similar order regarding the animals at Belfast Zoo in the UK was given in 1941, resulting in several of the zoo's more dangerous animals being euthanized. In this case, however, one of the animals, an eight-year-old Asian elephant named Sheila, was spared thanks to zoo employee Denise Austin, who took Sheila home with her and kept her in her backyard.
  • In 1994 a huge circus elephant called Tyke got furious after years of animal cruelty. She killed one of her trainers and then fled outside in the city, causing chaos and panic everywhere she went. She was eventually shot dead. Due to the high level of publicity of the event, as a news crew caught almost the entire thing on camera, numerous cities in the US and Canada passed measures outlawing circuses from using performing elephants, which started the end of the practice.
  • In 2007 a huge gorilla named Bokito escaped from a Dutch zoo. The media attention even inspired a short lived eponym "bokito proof", meaning a cage is strong enough to prevent the prisoner from escaping.
  • The BBC's frequent radio traffic reports throughout the day are usually sedate and rather predictable things, with the "usual suspects" and bottlenecks throughout the nation popping up with depressing regularity. But one day, the traffic reporter had to make an unrehearsed announcement and she was obviously reading blind from a report put directly into her hand. With clear and mounting incredulity, she reported that all traffic on a major road in Wiltshire had been blocked by a crashed lorry from which two African rhinoceroses had escaped and were now charging up the dual carriageway playing chicken with the traffic. Police and the RSPCA were trying to contain the situation and specialist help was being sought in order to recapture the creatures. They had escaped from an animal transporter en route between two zoos, apparently. Happily, they were recaptured alive, although no details were given. Damage ran into several tens of thousands of pounds.
  • The Zanesville, Ohio massacre of 2011 demonstrated that this is not usually a funny story when it happens in Real Life. A depressed man who also happened to have a huge collection of wild animals—bears, tigers, cougars, lions, and more—let all the animals out of their cages and then killed himself. The local police wound up shooting almost all of the animals.
  • There was a Real Life example at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo — one of the chimpanzees not only taught himself how to pick locks, but figured out how to hide the piece of wire he was using as a lockpick.
  • In the early 1970s, severe flooding in the Chicago area allowed two polar bears to swim out of their exhibit when their enclosure's dry moat filled with floodwater overnight. Luckily no one was harmed, but by the time their keepers arrived in the morning, the bears had eaten their way through every marshmallow, candy bar, and other tidbit at a nearby concession stand.
  • On a somewhat more mundane note, if you live in a rural area, you or someone you know will someday have to make at least one call to the police or Animal Control because someone's sheep or cattle have escaped and are wandering around on the highway.
  • The 2015 floods in Tbilisi, Georgia (the country) resulted in the escape of many animals from the zoo including crocodiles, hippos, bears, lions and a white tiger that hid in a warehouse and killed a workman when he opened the door the morning after.
  • A group of penguins escaped from their enclosure in Edinburgh Zoo in 1951 after a keeper accidentally left a gate open. They were penguins, however, so nobody was injured and the zoo started doing it on purpose as the now long-standing tradition of the penguin parade.
  • In 1975, a bull elephant named Nobby escaped from Chester Zoo in the UK while in musth and wandered into a residential area. Zoo officials tried to tranquilise him, but his heightened levels of testosterone meant the drug had no effect and they were left with no choice but to shoot him.


Video Example(s):


Miraculous Ladybug

In "Animan", the titular villain lets a bunch of animals out of their cages, resulting in this.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / EscapedAnimalRampage

Media sources: