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Evil Egg Eater

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Ovivore Outlaw, Kulu-Ya-Ku
"These sailors on our shores are like the dinosaurs that plunder eggs from nests. They live on the labors of others."
Itzama the Crested, flavor text for Nest Robber, Magic: The Gathering
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Ovivory is when animals eat others' eggs. While humans do this all the time with poultry, for some reason we tend to depict non-human animals who do so as being cowardly, awful thieves that eat the eggs of innocent animals, usually a bird, though reptiles like crocodiles, dinosaurs, and (in fantasy works) dragons and griffins can also be victims. It's often a foe of the Egg MacGuffin the heroes need to guard against, who don't necessarily need to be its angry parent, who will often show up at the climax Big Damn Hero-style and terrify the thief into fleeing.

They'll usually be incredibly thin, filthy and even malodorous, stand with a hunched-over posture, and slink around like there's no tomorrow. In many cases, they're merely comic relief minions of the Big Bad, often in duos or trios. More serious cases will have lots of them Zerg Rush in on the nest and try to overwhelm the defenders.

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Species that routinely get this treatment include:

NOTE: A creature seen hunting eggs can't qualify for this trope alone. It has to be depicted and treated as cowardly and evil for it.

This trope often overlaps with Scavengers Are Scum, another trope about ecological niches unfairly demonized in popular culture. The fact that many species associated with one also do the other may or may not help. If a human or humanoid being does it, this is usually falls under Evil Poacher (not like the cooking kind), though they can still have the traits mentioned here. Finally, compare Would Hurt a Child, Offing the Offspring and Eats Babies for when after the eggs hatch.

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No Real Life Examples, Please!. Animals are not inherently evil in Real Life.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Pokémon Adventures had Gold trying to keep his newly-obtained Pokémon egg from being eaten by a hungry Gligar. The egg then hatches into a surprisingly violent and aggressive Togepi, who proceeds to defeat the Gligar with its Metronome attack.
  • You Are Umasou: The beginning features a flock of Troodon rampaging through a Maiasaura nesting grounds, devouring (and inadvertently smashing) several of the hadrosaurs' eggs. The whole ordeal leaves a mother Maiasaura with only two eggs, one hatching into a Maiasaura that gets named Light and the other — an abandoned one that she finds and decides to adopt — a Tyrannosaurus that gets named Heart.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: In "Escape From Forbidden Valley", Scrooge and the triplets encounter a pack of (scaly and oversized) Velociraptor feeding on dinosaur eggs. Scrooge muscles his way through the pack to get a couple eggs to bring back, only for the raptors to turn on him.
    Huey, Dewey, or Louie: Run, Unca Scrooge! Those are the most vicious type of dinosaur!
    Scrooge: Those ugly runts? A Yukon grizzly would make six of 'em!

    Film — Animated 
  • Adventures in Zambezia: The main villain is a monitor lizard who wishes to eat all of the eggs in the titular bird paradise.
  • The Angry Birds Movie: Like their video game counterparts, the pigs are primarily motivated by wanting to eat the birds' eggs. The pigs had never seen one before arriving on the island, and became obsessed with them after doing so.
  • Chicken Run: Downplayed with the rats Nick and Fletcher. While they are fairly shifty and very insistent that they want eggs in payment for their smuggled goods, which naturally the hens are reluctant to turn over, they are overall helpful to the chickens's efforts to escape. They also don't get to eat any eggs, as first they're tricked into being promised all of Rocky's eggs — Rocky being a rooster — then all the real eggs they're given end up being used as catapult ammo, Nick and Fletcher weeping as they load and fire.
  • Dinosaur (2000): In the prologue, Aladar's egg narrowly survives being crushed by a Carnotaurus' foot, but then is stolen by an Oviraptor. In keeping with its name, it's portrayed as shifty and sneaky, speaking only in croaks and gurgles. But before it can eat Aladar's egg, another Oviraptor tries to take it from them, turning into a fight that results in the egg being dropped into a river.
  • Ice Age: Collision Course has a Terrible Trio of raptors who fight Buck for a Triceratops egg.
  • The Land Before Time: The ornithomimids in this film series are referred as "Egg Stealers" and are not the pleasant bunch. Ironically, the TV spin-off features an Oviraptor as one of the protagonists with an omnivore diet and is referred as a "Fast Runner" rather than an "Egg Stealer".
    • In the prologue of the first film, a sinister-looking Ornithomimus attempts to steal Littlefoot's egg before he could even hatch. Mama Longneck put a stop to the egg thief, but it's implied the Ornithomimus had better luck in the past given that the other eggs were broken and Littlefoot is described as being the only baby left in the sauropod herd.
    • The first sequel, The Great Valley Adventure, had a pair of Struthiomimus, named Ozzie and Strut, as the villains. They have their own Villain Song about it, simply titled "Eggs."
  • The Rescuers Down Under: Joanna, Percival McLeach's pet monitor lizard, is obsessed with eggs, and wants nothing more than to eat the eggs of the giant eagle Marahute. She is also, notably, one of the only animals in the movie that doesn't speak, only communicating in hisses and snarls.
  • Tappy Toes: Subverted with the skuas. They appear to be antagonists at first and the narration even describes them as "nasty little scavengers". They steal Ozzy and Gertie's egg with the intention to eat it, but when it hatches before they can do so, they end up lovingly raising the chick, who they call Pingo.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Dinosaur! (1985) features a Struthiomimus stealing Maiasaura eggs from a nest while the mother isn't present. It's helped by having a snake-like appearance and movements, especially in its slit eyes. It does get its comeuppance in a fashion, when two Deinonychus pursue it and bring it down.
  • T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous: When 16 year-old Ally Hayden somehow ends up in the Late Cretaceous period, she finds a T. rex nest with five eggs and an Ornithomimus trying to raid the nest. Ally defends the nest despite the Ornithomimus being much bigger and more ferocious than her, until mother T. rex shows up and chases away the egg eater.

    Literature 
  • Anne of Green Gables: In Anne of the Island, a stray cat follows Anne home. She and her friends try to kill the cat, but it doesn't work. Their housekeeper Aunt Jamesina comments that it's wrong to wantonly kill cats... unless they steal eggs.
  • Dinotopia: Defied. The theropod dinosaur Oviraptor ("egg thief") is known as Ovinutrix, "egg nurse", on the island, reflecting updated findings since the species was discovered, and are first introduced assisting at the dinosaur hatchery. This is a subset of the books' general attitude that even carnivorous dinosaurs aren't evil solely because they can't subsist on only plants.
  • Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The owls of St. Aegolius Academy kidnap and brainwash young owl hatchlings, and were already portrayed as villainous. The revelation that not only do they kidnap owlets, but that they eat the eggs of other owls is treated with complete horror and disgust by the main characters beyond their other crimes, and spurs them to immediately plan an escape.
  • Jurassic Park: One of the themes with the cloned dinosaurs is the danger they pose to children, especially babies, and thus the egg-stealing stereotype is frequently mentioned in the book.
    • Dr. Alan Grant poses a theory that small, free-roaming carnivores like Velociraptor would likely eat the eggs in the nests of herbivores along with rats and other wildlife on Isla Nublar, explaining why the breeding dinosaurs saw a large increase in carnivores and yet low increase in herbivores. Consequently, this means there are 37 Velociraptors rather than the designated 8, and they happen to be the most dangerous dinosaurs on the island.
    • At the climax of novel, Grant injects poison in several dinosaur eggs and rolls them towards the investigating Velociraptors, hoping they would eat them. In this scene, Grant notes how Velociraptors are like Oviraptors and Dromaeosaurs, small carnivores long thought to have stolen eggs. While the park's dinosaurs have frequently debunked several pre-Dinosaur Renaissance misconceptions, Grant does note that modern birds would eat eggs of other birds, so egg eating wouldn't be out of the question. However, the raptors initially ignore the eggs on the floor, and only by rolling a loud one across the floor does Grant get a raptor to unwittingly eat the poisoned egg.
  • Redwall: The various "vermin" villains frequently mention eating eggs. In a setting where all animals — or at least all land vertebrates — are sapient, it's one of the habits that's used to mark them as the bad guys. The protagonists never eat any other animals except fish. One in particular, brownrat warlord Gruntan Kurdly, gets himself killed trying to obtain swan eggs for his dinner.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Walking with Dinosaurs: The six-part Mockumentary series depicts the various hazards that the dinosaurs faced during the Mesozoic era. One of the most common dangers are egg eaters.
    • In "Time of the Titans", an Ornitholestes raids a nest full of Diplodocus eggs to feast, even snatching up a newborn Diplodocus just as it was about to hatch. The Ornitholestes species are depicted as the go-to sinister antagonist for baby dinosaurs, only losing their relevance and intimidation when the babies soon grow into giants.
    • In "Spirit of the Ice Forest" and "Death of the Dynasty", small mammals like Steropodon and Didelphodon are depicted as shrewd scavengers seizing every chance they got to raid dinosaur nests, only to be driven off by the angry mothers.
    • In addition to the Didelphodon in "Death of the Dynasty", a Dromeosaur is seen sneaking up to a T. rex nest in the hopes of snatching an egg, only to be scared off by the mother who is resting nearby. The Dromeosaurs are later seen trying to kill and eat a baby Torosaurus.
  • Walking with Monsters: An amphibian called Seymouria is seen stalking around a female Dimetrodon and her nest, eager to eat her eggs. It literally waits for the female Dimetrodon to simply tire out from starvation — which lasted for nearly an entire year — before it makes its move. Fortunately for the mother, another Dimetrodon intercepts the Seymouria when it tries to raid the nest for the eggs as well, and decides that the Seymouria would make a better meal instead.

    Science 
  • The origin of Oviraptor's infamous reputation comes from how when it was first found during the 1920's, fossil specimens were found sitting on long cylindrical eggs. It was thought these belonged to the ceratopsian Protoceratops, so depictions of it usually bowing over a nest and cracking open the eggs or fleeing with them in its hands as the Protoceratops was nearby were commonplace. More often then not, it was depicted as green-skinned, grotesque, and standing in a hunched-over position. Thanks to discoveries of a related genus in the 1990's, we now know Oviraptor was sitting on its own eggs as a protective, nurturing parent, with depictions following suit (usually feathered and looking like a bird). While it's certainly possible that they ate eggs on occasion, the notion that Oviraptor and its relatives were particularly prone to egg-eating is now considered outdated.
  • Similarly, members of the Ornithomimidae family (e.g., Ornithomimus, Gallimimus, and Struthiomimus) were commonly depicted as egg stealers in older dinosaur media because the Oviraptor was thought to be part of that family for decades, until it was reclassified and reassigned into the Oviraptoridae family. Its perceived egg-stealing habits were transposed onto the ornithomimids. This has since fallen out of favour, with the modern consensus being that ornithomimids were omnivores with a primarily-herbivorous bent and likely no more specialized for egg-eating than oviraptorids.
  • A common, but now discredited, theory for the dinosaurs' extinction suggested that early mammals and other small animals ate all the eggs to such a degree that the dinosaurs couldn't keep up. Paleontologist George Wieland, who published this particular egg extinction paper in 1925, argued that small mammals were not capable of breaking dinosaur eggs, and instead suggested that the egg-eating culprits were other dinosaurs, which naturally reinforced the perception of oviraptorids and ornithomimids as egg thieves.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: The Nest Robber is essentially a feathered Oviraptor that robs eggs from nests with its winged claws. Itzama the Crested unfavorably compares sailors to this dinosaur, stating they live off on the hard work of others.

    Video Games 
  • Angry Birds: The premise of the game is that the greedy Pigs stole the Birds' eggs, which the Birds are trying to get back.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • Debuting in Monster Hunter Generations, the Great Maccao is portrayed as a Dirty Coward therapod bird wyvern, often abandoning its pack to the hunters when its life is on the line. Unlike other therapod bird wyverns before it, the Great Maccao doesn't even attack herbivores to replenish its stamina. Instead, it goes to a local monster nest and feast on the eggs there.
    • Debuting in Monster Hunter: World, the dodo-like Kulu-Ya-Ku is depicted as an egg-stealer and, unlike most large monsters, a cowardly bird wyvern that prefers to run than fight. In Monster Hunter: Rise, the Kulu-Ya-Ku is seen stealing an egg from a Rhenoplos and is given the title Ovivore Outlaw.
  • Pokémon
    • Sneasel is stated to feed on the eggs of bird Pokémon such as Pidgey. It is also a Dark-type, which is associated with cruelty and underhandedness.
    • The Poison-type Ekans (a snake) is stated to feed on eggs. In Pokémon: The Series, the most prominent Ekans belongs to Jessie, one of the main villains (though one episode reveals it's not actually evil and only does wrong at the directives of its trainer).
  • Starfox Adventures: One sidequest involves defending a nest from egg stealers swarming it.

    Western Animation 
  • The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales: Subverted. The titular fox steals chicken eggs to eat, only for the eggs to hatch and the chicks to imprint on him.
  • Bonkers: Wacky Weasel, a Toon weasel criminal who loves eggs (he broke into a jail because it had "bad eggs").
  • Dragon Tales: Cyrus the Slinky Serpent is the only recurring antagonist in the show, and both times he appears, he tries to steal eggs to eat.
  • The Lion Guard has an episode where Ono the egret has to protect a hamerkop's egg from a hungry African harrier-hawk.
  • The Magic School Bus: In "The Busasaurus", the class is transported 67 million years in the prehistoric past, an Ornithomimus steals Arnold's unfossilized egg (that belongs to a paleontologist that he promised to keep safe), causing both Arnold and Pheobe to go after it. It's depicted as a very shifty-looking dinosaur, with slit yellow eyes and a snake-like head. It's even speculated by the two kids that it only eats eggs rather than plants or meat.
  • The Simpsons: Krusty the Clown is a rare human example. In "Marge Gets a Job", he swipes and devours an egg from an eagle on his show, causing the eagle to maul him.
    Animal Handler: She must think you're after her eggs!
    Krusty: I only ate one!
  • The Tale of the Great Bunny: The weasels and their king kidnap the Great Bunny when he's starting his Easter Egg run one day.
  • Wild Kratts: Egg thieves show up a few times, even if they're ultimately normal animals trying to survive and treated accordingly. The first episode for instance has a Nile monitor lizard serving as the closest thing to its villain, trying twice in the episode to raid a Nile crocodile's nest. Both the croc itself and later the Kratt Brothers chase it off before it does.


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