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Four-Fingered Hands

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"Five fingers... ooh, freak show!"

"Yo, I'm Casper! 'Sup? Gimme four!... Oh, God, I'd kill for a pinky."
Casper, Casper

Why do so many cartoon characters only have a thumb and three fingers? Simple: a four-fingered hand is SO much easier to draw than a five-fingered hand. Plus, it simplifies the design of the hand in the same way the rest of the body is simplified.

Although this simplification has been on a decline in cartoons starring people, it has never completely gone away. This only appears in more "cartoony" styles; action or dramatic series won't usually use this, and it rarely shows up in Japanese works for several reasons:

  • Yakuza members traditionally chop off fingers if they are unable to pay back a debt, or as punishment for other offences that don't warrant death.
  • The four-fingered hand is taken as a derogatory and often offensive reference to the burakumin caste (four fingers = four legs = animals; also, it's easy to lose a finger through the sort of dangerous labour to which burakumin are often relegated).
  • The number four in Japanese also means death and is seen as highly unlucky.

(This only really applies to human characters: there are still plenty of animal, alien, or monster characters with eight fingers, most likely due to some form of What Measure Is a Non-Human?)

Quite often, Western four-fingered characters have to be edited to have a fifth finger. Interestingly, this does not include Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, despite Disney's popularity in Japan—see Kingdom Hearts. Not a fan of their works being edited in any way, Disney is said to have paid USD 5 million a year to Japanese pressure groups to avoid being sued for Mickey's "insulting" four-fingered hands.note 

This trope is not limited to depiction of humanlike characters: Animal characters (from any point along the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism) can also be depicted with a reduced number of digits on each paw when compared to its real-life equivalent — typically three visible toes on a given foot rather than four (although some of the earliest cartoons simplified it even further, depicting only two digits on a given foot). Actually, sometimes, the fact that the characters are not humans provides an excuse.

Funny Animals in particular often combine four-fingered hands with three-toed feet. This is excusable when human characters in the same context also exhibit four-fingered hands, but it can be jarring if the humans have five-fingered hands, or if other animals in the same context are depicted with the correct number of digits.

Those with four-fingered hands are often seen wearing White Gloves.

Compare Fingerless Hands, when a character has completely no fingers. Contrast Extra Digits when a character has more than 5 fingers and/or toes.

Examples Subpages:

Other Examples:

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  • Spoofed in an Oreo commercial which shows the mascot (a giant Oreo cookie) struggling to get through a security system. At one point he comes upon a hand scanner and presses his left hand to it; when nothing happens, he adds one finger from his right hand, which is good enough to open the door.
  • The Kool Aid Man has four fingers on each hand.
  • Complementing their White Gloves, all the M&M's characters have four fingers per hand.
  • Disney Channel had a short commercial celebrating their 10 year anniversary which spoofed this. Mickey Mouse's hand would pop up, counting off the fingers, then the second hand would pop up and count off fingers. There was a slight pause for the viewer to realize that's only 8 fingers, then a third hand would pop up and count off two more fingers.
  • Out of the six Monster Cereals characters, four of them (Frankenberry, Boo Berry, Fruit Brute, and Fruity Yummy Mummy) have four-fingered hands. In contrast, Count Chocula and Carmella Creeper have five-fingered hands, keeping the two of them more detailed, though their fingers are much slimmer than the others in comparison as well. Frankenberry originally had five-fingered hands, primarily thanks to being rotoscoped over for a scene in early commercials to lift up a piece of live action cereal, but swapped to four fingers later.
  • The Eggo Waffle "Waf-Full" commercials featured a giant cartoon waffle that had four fingers per hand.
  • Cap'n Crunch: The Captain has these.
  • Trix Rabbit: The Rabbit has these. In many commercials, the kids also have these.
  • Snap, Crackle and Pop: All three characters have these.
  • The eponymous mascot of the Filipino fast food restaurant chain, Jollibee, has them, as well as Yum, Hetty, Popo and Twirlie.
  • Miraitowa and Someity, the mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are depicted with two fingers and a thumb on each hand, though they each have a larger finger on both hands that resembles other fingers merged together.
  • Dot and Dash, the mascots of PBS Kids from 1999 to 2013, have these whenever their hands aren't drawn as just circles.
  • The Energizer Bunny has hands with only three fingers and a thumb on them. This is much more obvious post-Special Effects Evolution into full CGI.

    Anime & Manga 

  • The introduction to one Astro Boy manga chapter has Tezuka discussing how he's drawn Astro with four or five fingers at different times.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Piccolo and other Namekians have four-fingered hands in the manga. This is lampshaded when declares that he'll finish Goku off in 5 seconds and holds up a hand with five fingers, which the author points out with text beneath the panel. For the anime, this was changed to five due to Japanese broadcast regulations, for the given reasons above.
    • Other characters such as the humanoid animals or aliens also have different numbers of fingers. The author constantly mistakes the numbers of fingers on these characters. A good example is Kyui, who has five fingers in some panels and four in others.
    • Majin Buu: In the manga, he has two stubby fingers and a similar thumb in his Super Buu form, four-fingered, somewhat stubby hands after absorbing the aforementioned Piccolo and Gotenks, the standard five-fingered hands at his most humanoid after absorbing Gohan, AND a mitten-like hand with a lone thumb and stubby finger as Kid Buu. In the anime, however, he has standard five-fingered hands in all instances. Like Piccolo, this is because of broadcast regulations.
    • Frieza's henchman Sorbet has three fingers and a thumb in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' and his brief appearance in the Dragon Ball Super manga, but has five fingers in the Dragon Ball Super TV anime.
  • The final J9 Trilogy Super Robot, Sasuraiger, has four red, clawlike fingers formed from its train-mode's cowcatcher... which is a strange thing for it to have, considering it's actually a spaceship designed to look like a train and there aren't many cows in space, but that's neither here nor there. The animators sometimes forget this, however, and if you look closely in some scenes it'll have standard, humanoid hands.
  • Patalliro!: Sometimes Patalliro is depicted with only four fingers.
  • Zeromaru, one of the protagonists of Digimon V-Tamer 01, is first seen with four fingers/claws, though he eventually grows a fifth, or rather, "evolves" into a form with a fifth. Four whatever reason, other monsters of his initial form are always given five fingers/claws in every other franchise work.
  • The mecha in Zone of the Enders are an odd variation - their hands have three fingers and two thumbs.

    Asian Animation 
  • Depending on the season, the characters in GG Bond have either four-fingered or five-fingered hands.
  • All of the characters in Happy Heroes have four-fingered hands.
  • All the Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf characters have four fingers on their hands.
  • All characters in Simple Samosa have four fingers on their hands.

    Card Games 
  • The magi in the Magi-Nation card game have four digits on each hand, though this stems from the original art style. They are also not human, but from a fantastic world. Of course, the animated series uses five-fingered hands.

    Comic Books 
  • Almost all of the Bamse characters have four-fingered hands or Feather Fingers.
  • On the other (ahem) hand, the elves, preservers and trolls of ElfQuest are not four-fingered representations of five-fingered characters. They really do have only four fingers on each hand. After a few issues, the authors realized that they should logically count in base-eight, and the elves are retconned to do exactly that; Cutter gets the slightly less catchy title of "Blood-Of-Eight-And-Two-Chiefs".
    • Which makes no sense, given that 'base eight' does not mean 'only eight numbers' ('base-six' goes 'one two three four five ten', so base eight would be 'one two three four five six seven ten').
    • Lampshaded at least once: Cutter, attacked by a human, proposes to rectify the man's problem of an overpopulated hand as he cuts off one of his fingers.
    • Much later in the series, a culture of elf-worshipping humans amputated the little fingers and surgically altered the ears of their ruling elite, believing this could make them immortal.
  • Batman: Clayface is often depicted with only four fingers per hand. Somewhat justified in that he can shapeshift, though why he would prefer having four fingers over five is unknown.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • One of the effects of Ben Grimm's transformation into The Thing is that he now has four fingers and toes. In one What If? comic where he continues to mutate, he actually develops (devolves?) down to three-fingered hands.
    • X-Men's Nightcrawler, has three-fingered hands and feet. The X-Men: Evolution version of Nightcrawler has some kind of holographic disguise that makes him look like a factory-standard human. Whenever he's in disguise, his fingers stick together in a Vulcan-salute formation. So does his Alternate Universe daughter, Nocturne. Also Longshot, though it's due to his alien/technomagical origins.
    • In ALF, issue 29, "Used Karma!":
      Brian: Give me a high-five, so I know you're alive!
      ALF: How about a high-four, 'cause I ain't got any more!
  • Everyone in normalman. A few such characters (like norm's girlfriend the Countess) are drawn less cartoonishly than others and it looks really weird on them. When norm found himself in the American frontier in the 1800s, the frontiersman he befriended saw his hands and chuckled to himself about "when cousins marry..."
  • Three Fingers explores this; it is a pastiche of the Animated Actors idea, specifically the Who Framed Roger Rabbit concept that toons and humans coexist in the real world. Toons are born with a full set of five fingers, but the first toon actor to achieve real fame was Rickey Rat, a mutated toon born with only four. Toons were described as superstitious, and so many other toons began to mutilate themselves, having a finger removed in order to become successful in Hollywood; the book explores this shadowy ritual in-depth. The book is drawn in the narrative style of a TV documentary, like the True Hollywood Story or a Ken Burns film, mostly interviewees talking to the camera, with photographs intercut.
  • One episode of the Futurama comic takes place in a freak show. Exhibits include Zoidberg's uncle, a bearded lady, and a five-fingered man.
  • Ivy the Terrible in The Beano has four fingers, but oddly enough, other characters in her comic have five.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) has both the four-fingered and five-fingered hands. The SEGA-based heroes and the normal humans have five fingers while those from the Saturday morning Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) series or Original Generation characters have four fingers. The humans with four fingers were given the name "Overlanders", while five-fingered humans are still referred to as "humans". This was lampshaded in the original miniseries where a fish robot attacks a drawing of Sonic on a rock, then mumbles about how he should have realized it was fake because it had four fingers.
  • This happens to Steve Harmon when he's in his Slapstick form, since he was wearing his oversized four-fingered toon gloves when he got his powers.
  • The Smurfs have four-fingered hands and four-toed feet, while the humans they encounter have five-fingered hands. In their first comic book appearance in The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, they were originally drawn with five fingers. In The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol , their human nemesis Gargamel has four fingers.
  • Firebreather: Half-dragon Duncan Rosenblatt plays this for laughs in the comic book. After being called to the principal's office, a teacher stops him for a hall pass. He promptly tries various pockets, leaving one out to show the teacher. Once in the principal's office, he shows his four fingered hand and asks "Help me out, which one is "the bird"?" Oddly, the animated film gives him five fingers.
  • Lampshaded in a long-running Polish series of comic books, Tytus, Romek i A'tomek. Tytus complains about the 2002 animated movie because they "chopped off two of his fingers," while in the comic books he was always drawn with five fingers on each hand.
  • The title story in Werner Volle Latte! lampshades Werner's four-fingered hands (and the artist Brösel's inability to draw women) with Werner's dream woman drawn by Jörg Reymann (both actually and In-Universe). Reymann used his own drawing style and gave her five fingers which Brösel's Author Avatar later points out explicitly, worrying how many fingers her kids with Werner would have.
  • Blue Devil in the New 52 has four-fingered hands. Out of costume, though, he has five-fingered hands. Justified, as the costume is magical.
  • The titular character in The Scrameustache, who is an alien hybrid, has four-fingered hands, as do the Galaxians (also aliens). The humans and Human Aliens all have five-fingered hands.
  • Violator's clown form in Spawn has four fingers per hand. Since everyone else has five fingers, this is part of his human form being not quite right.
  • In Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, most Cybertronians have five fingers on their hands. Swerve, the loudmouthed bartender on the Lost Light, has four. There are also occasional characters who have claws in place of hands, like Whirl, but that's acknowledged In-Universe as the result of mutilation (the corrupt pre-war government would replace hands and faces with claws and cyclopean features as a form of public shaming).
  • In Albedo: Erma Felna EDF most of the anthropomorphic animal characters have four digits on their hands and use a base-eight numerical system (translated into base-ten for readers). Specifically noted when a human ship is found with a base-ten number pad on the door.
  • Norby: The human characters are drawn with normal five-fingered hands, but Norby only has four fingers on each hand.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, most of the characters have four fingers but in one panel of a strip, Calvin is drawn with five fingers on one hand and four fingers on the other by mistake.
  • The majority of comic strips such as FoxTrot follow this rule. Lampshaded in one strip where Peter goes through baseball pitching code, assigning five fingers to a knuckleball... and says to skip it, since not only do they only have four fingers, they don't have knuckles either.
  • Crabgrass: All characters have four fingered hands.
  • The Optimist occasionally loses a finger, seen here, here, and here.
  • Everyone in Garfield, including the title character, who shouldn't even have fingers at all, being a cat.
  • Parodied in one strip in the Finnish Fingerporinote  when it's implied that the reason this applies to characters from Duckburg/Mousetownnote  is because Goofy is in charge of teaching kids how to use a bandsaw.
  • While the human Peanuts characters have five fingers per hand, Snoopy and his siblings have four.

    Eastern Animation 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Averted with Boo, who has five fingers, but played straight with the monsters in Monsters, Inc., who all have four fingers. However, the monster who counts down to the beginning of scare floor activities starts with "we are on in seven..." and holds out his seven-fingered hand.
  • Abu and the Genie have four-fingered hands while the rest of the human cast of Aladdin has five... except for the merchant who narrates the opening. Originally, he was supposed to be revealed as Genie at the end of the film, and while that was left off the final cut, the design remained. This was sort of lampshaded in the Aladdin: The Series episode "Eye of the Beholder", in which Genie tries to place his hand onto a handprint on a door to opening, but because said print has five fingers, Genie magically conjures up a fifth one. In the original film, when Genie is telling Aladdin about the genie rules and limits on wishes, he briefly conjures an extra four fingers on his left hand, bringing that hands total count to eight. Interestingly, Jafar still has five fingers in genie form, and Eden, a female genie in the series, has five.
  • In (most of) the Dot and the Kangaroo sequels, Dot has four fingers on each hand and four toes on each foot as do other human characters, in contrast to the original film where everyone has the right number of digits.
  • Everyone in A Goofy Movie has four-fingered hands, except Lisa, who is clearly seen with five fingers in each hand.
  • The Blue Meanies in Yellow Submarine have six fingers. At least, their leader does.
  • In 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White and the Prince have five fingers on each hand, but the more cartoony Dwarfs only have four. Strangely on the 1987 reissue poster, Sleepy is seen with four on one hand and five on the other.
  • Like his cartoon counterpart, Mr. Peabody in Mr. Peabody & Sherman though subverted with Sherman, who now has five fingers unlike his cartoon counterpart.
  • In Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer everyone has four fingers, despite the characters being drawn semi-realistically.
  • Pinocchio has four fingers as a puppet, but has five fingers after he's been turned into a human at the end of the film. Geppetto, Stromboli, Lampwick, and all the other humans have five fingers each, but for some reason, the Coachman only has four. Justified for the Coachman: he's implied to not really be a "human…" Also justified for Pinocchio, since he's a puppet. Honest John the fox and Gideon the cat have four-fingered hands. Jiminy Cricket usually has four fingers, though in the educational short "You and Your Food", he suddenly has five when explaining the five food groups.
  • Interestingly, both played straight and averted in Wreck-It Ralph. Of the three games original to the film, only the characters from cutesy racer Sugar Rush have four-fingered hands. Characters from Hero's Duty have five fingers befitting its realistic looking design and characters from Fix-It Felix Jr. have five fingers befitting its supposed origin as an '80s Japanese-made arcade game. Oddly, the 1980 character Turbo, who otherwise has rather cartoony features like Felix and Ralph (rather than the Animesque look of the Sugar Rush characters), only has four fingers, even when out of disguise. It should also be noted that Sugar Rush is supposed to be a Japanese-developed game, and Japanese-made characters usually don't have four fingers for reasons listed above.
  • Madame Souza of The Triplets of Belleville has only four fingers, though her hands are otherwise realistic.
  • Played with in the fourth Futurama movie, where Leo Wong is dealing poker to Bender who ends up with five kings (the regular four plus a coaster that has the "King of Beers" on it). To illustrate Leo holds up a single five-fingered hand long enough for the audience to go "what the hell, he has five fingers."
  • In Planet 51, Chuck Baker, the human astronaut, has five fingers on each hand, but the aliens have only four.
  • Inversion: in The Thief and the Cobbler, Evil Chancellor Zigzag has six-fingered hands.
  • While most of the cast of Frozen have five fingers, the trolls have four.
  • All of the human characters in Big Hero 6 have five fingers, but the robot Baymax only has four.
  • Every character in Hoodwinked!. In the sequel, only the non-human characters; an Animation Bump resulted in all the humans gaining a fifth finger.
  • All the The Boxtrolls have them, while the other characters have five-fingered hands. It's Winnie pointing out the difference that convinces Eggs that he's a human.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, while Jack Skellington has four fingers, Sally has five. This varies throughout the cast: The witches and humans have five fingers, but the Mayor and Lock, Shock & Barrel have four fingers...
  • While Professor Ratigan, the main villain of The Great Mouse Detective, has five fingers, everyone else is drawn with four fingers.
  • In Oliver & Company, most of the humans are depicted with five-fingered hands. The only character to avert this rule is Louie the hot dog vendor, who for some reason only has four fingers on each hand.
  • In Mary and Max, every character has four fingers, despite the semi-realistic atmosphere.
  • In The Emoji Movie, Flamenca, Akiko Glitter, the internet trolls and all the human characters have five fingers on each hand, but the emojis have only four. And all the hand emojis have five fingers, but they only have legs.
  • In nearly all of the works of Aardman Animations, including Wallace & Gromit, the human characters always have five-fingered hands, while animal characters and machines usually have four or less.
  • In Sausage Party, likely as a nod to classic cartoons, all the non human characters wear White Gloves and have four fingers per hand.
  • Cats Don't Dance: All the humans have these.
  • Trolls: All the characters have these, but that doesn't stop one character from asking for a high five at one point.
  • In Dumbo, the only characters to have four fingers are Timothy Q. Mouse and the clowns.
  • In Robin Hood (1973), Robin has four fingers, like most characters, but Prince John has five.
  • In We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, most of the humans are depicted with five-fingered hands. The only characters to avert this rule are Stubbs the Clown, who for some reason only has four fingers on each hand, and also Dr. Julia Bleeb. Also, Louie and Cecilia who are transformed into apes by Professor Screweyes.
  • Alice in Wonderland (1951) goes all over the place with this trope. The human characters (Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, etc.) have proper five-fingered hands, but so do the Walrus and the Dodo, while the cards and the other non-human animals appear to have four digits on each hand.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Justified in Splice. Dren has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, due to the fact that she a hybrid creature spliced from a unholy mixture of animals' DNA that widely varies in the amount of fingers each species has.
  • Lampshaded in Casper from 1995. (Though why a ghost loses a finger when they die is never explained.)
    Casper: (practicing ways to introduce himself) 'Sup, I'm Casper. Give me four! ...god, I'd kill for a pinky.
  • Avatar:
    • The Na'vi have four fingers, four toes, and a base eight counting system. Given that the film's budget dwarfs many countries' annual budgets, this was probably just to be alien. The avatars have five, so it would seem intentional.
    • Played for Drama in Avatar: The Way of Water, where Jake moves the family to a community of Reef People Na'vi. Jake's kids already stand out (Reef People are lighter blue and have swimming adaptations like thicker tails and fins), but the fact that they have five fingers gets them called freaks. His son Lo'ak gets in a fight when he demonstrates to a bully that he can do something special with those five fingers... namely, deck him in the face. Their five fingers also allows the RDA troops to easily identify Jake's kids.
  • Transformers Film Series
    • Bumblebee in Transformers (2007) film has these, as do Jazz, Barricade, Megatron, "Dispensor" and Bonecrusher.
    • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen also gives these to Mudflap, Skids, Jetfire and Wheelie.
    • Transformers: Dark of the Moon gives us Que, Brains, Soundwave, Shockwave and several generics. Laserbeak, when disguised as a pink Bumblebee, also has thesenote .
    • There are several other characters either have three fingers (Sideswipe, Blackout/Grindor and Brawl, to name a few) or more than five (Starscream and The Fallen, who have six and eight, respectively).
  • Inverted in Gattaca: the pianist has six fingered hands (which exists in real life, but often removed), and he plays music you couldn't play with five-fingered hands. Well, he doesn't, but just roll with it.
  • Star Wars:
    • Zig-zagged by Grevious. At first he has two six-fingered hands, including two thumbs. But he can divide his arms, then he has four three-fingered hands.
    • Since they have only eight fingers, Hutts use a base-8 counting system. Zero through seven mean the same thing in both Huttese and Basic, but anything after that is just plain confusing, which many other races have been swindled by. If they want t avoid confusion Hutts will use base-10.
  • Hellboy's stone hand has only four fingers.
  • Cherno Alpha, Crimson Typhoonnote  and a few of the Kaiju in Pacific Rim.
  • Many kaiju from numerous franchises that use elements of Godzilla's design followed his lead, with the King of the Monsters himself having three fingers and a thumb.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial has four fingers on each hand.
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Klowns. Justified because they are aliens.
  • The Cat in the Hat: The Cat has these just like his book counterpart, complete with White Gloves. Lampshaded at one point.

  • The Kzinti from the Known Space universe have four fingers on each hand. Bonus points are awarded for having a base-eight mathematical system, which plays havoc with the humans they meet.
  • Most faerie species in The Spiderwick Chronicles (except ogres and giants which have 6 fingers).
  • In The Island of Doctor Moreau, the ape-man cites his own aversion of this trope as a sign that he's a better "man" than the other beastfolk, most of whom have four or fewer digits on each hand.
  • In Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit?, it's mentioned that Toon cigars resemble dynamite, and sometimes there's real dynamite mixed in—explaining why so many Toons have only four fingers. (Oddly enough, when Roger temporarily becomes human, he suddenly has five fingers, much to his confusion.)
  • The Centaurians in The Pentagon War have 4 tentacle-fingers on each hand. And they have four hands.
  • In the Mr. Men series, all the Mr. Men and Little Misses have four-fingered hands.
  • In the furry novel The Fangs of K'aath the characters have three fingers and a thumb. And are mentioned once to count in base eight.
  • Older Than Print: The Grolier Codex, a 900 year old Mayan astronomy guide, contains depictions of humans with four-fingered hands.
  • Characters having four-fingered hands is the standard in many children's books, such as Captain Underpants and Franny K. Stein.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Tall tale teller Hap Shaughnessy of The Red Green Show once claimed to be the one who convinced Walt Disney to do this. He says he saved Walt 20% on his hand animation costs.
  • Discussed on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Tara comments that if they were animated, they'd have to have four fingers, and wear White Gloves to compensate.
  • Walter Emanuel Jones, the first-ever Black Ranger, was born with only three fingers and a thumb on one hand. He would often wear a prosthetic finger on set.
  • The Silence in Doctor Who.
  • The Imperfects: Nate has these in Episode 7 following his transformation.
  • Emperor Banba of Inazuman only has two large fingers and thumb on his right-hand.
  • While the title character on ALF has four-fingered hands, the humans (and certain Melmacians — maybe it's a genetic trait?) have five. When Brian is recovered from a crooked used car salesman (as in, selling stolen cars), this exchange happens over a high-four-and-a-half, to take the average:
    Brian: Give me a high-five, so I know you're alive!
    Alf: How about a high-four— 'cause I ain't got any more!
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: The Enterprise's Scotty only had three fingers on one hand owing to an injury James Doohan sustained in the war. Doohan took great pains to hide his missing middle finger all his acting life.
  • The short-lived pricing game "Professor Price" on The Price Is Right had the titular puppet used to count right and wrong answers being given four fingers on each hand to avoid an accidental middle finger.

  • The members of the animated band Savlonic have four-fingered hands, which is especially noticeable in shots of the keyboardist playing music she couldn't actually do without another finger.
  • The cover of Kanye West's Heartbreak album has two hands with four fingers.

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: In the 4th edition, minotaurs and dragonborn are shown with three fingers and a thumb on each hand. They're the only non-human races with this array of digits. Minotaurs also have cloven hooves for feet, while Dragonborn have four-toed paws.
  • Magi-Nation: The magi have four fingers, but they're not strictly human. However, one artist goofed up in the first edition of the game and drew a magi (Grega) with five fingers. When the error was noticed, the game company decided to roll with it and say she descended from a five-fingered magi.
  • Traveller: The Aslan have four digits per hand, and count in base eight. (Their leadership is called the "Tlaukhu", translated as "Twenty-Nine"; it's more literally three eights and five.) "Toons" has been mentioned as a derogatory nickname for them, because of the four-fingered hands association.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Tau and Kroot only have four digits a hand. The fluff has the Tau logically using a base eight system.
    • The Orks, on the other hand (or possibly paw), have five fingers but use base six numbering. Which actually makes a certain amount of sense if you use the other hand for the second digit. Of course, this being Warhammer 40000 it all started as a joke on the theme of Orks being too stupid to count higher, to the point where they had specialist mutations (like Mekboyz and Doks) called "sumboyz" who were effectively Orky accountants because they knew the numbers that came after "lotz".

    Theme Parks 
  • At the Disney Theme Parks, Meet and Greet versions of any characters with four fingers will have the proper amount of digits by way of four fingered gloves.

  • BIONICLE could never make up its mind:
    • The original figures had either no real hands, or only two fingers or three claws. Only much later figures received articulate, fingered hands, usually the larger ones, and these had four. In '09, this phenomenon reached the smaller and medium-sized toys, as they got four-fingered graspers.
    • All of the prominent characters from the first two Direct to Video movies had five fingers, save for those that had claws (Nidhiki, Pewku), no hands at all (Vahki robots), or had just plain weird-looking hands (Krekka). Then, by the third movie, all of the new or newly transformed characters were outfitted with only four. In the fourth movie, which wasn't part of the original trilogy, they also had four, but this time it was because the toys also had that many.
    • The video game Bionicle: Heroes also decided to give the Piraka and Toa Inika four fingers, which is an understandable example of Artistic License, since their figures had no fingers at all, save for Toa Nuparu's huge claws.
  • Minimates generally have formless hands with no fingers, but on occasions when fingers are required, the toys have three fingers and a thumb. In keeping with this reduction, when they made a Minimate of the Fantastic Four's Thing, he was dropped down to two big fingers instead of his usual three.
  • Disney's Mickey Mitts Plush Mickey Mouse Gloves play with this. They stay true to the original, making them impractical to actually wear.
  • Marvel' Super Hero Squad toyline, as well as the products derived from it.
  • In The Grossery Gang, any humans in supplemental materials, along with any adaptations where the Grosseries have limbs, give them four fingers. Despite this, Sewer Glove, a Grossery based on a cleaning glove, has five fingers.

    Video Games 
  • Amateur Surgeon's human cast all have four fingers in each hand. This is one of the least noticeable anatomical errors in the series- the one operation featuring hands has you grafting thumbs to a pig's hooves.
  • Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia uses it due to sprites limitations, despite being both fairly serious and Japanese. Especially noticeable during Aurica's Victory Pose (she makes a V sign). Of course Character Portraits depict their hands normally.
  • All characters in Backyard Sports originally had four fingers on each hand. Somehow, they each grew another finger later.
  • Banjo the bear in Banjo-Kazooie, made by the British company Rare, has four fingers. Strangely, his design in the Japanese-made Super Smash Bros. Ultimate still shows him with four fingers, despite the other cartoon mammalian characters having either three or five (with the latter being the case with the Smash redesigns of their fellow Rare creations from the Donkey Kong Country games)note .
  • Along with their angular features, the Jennerit race from Battleborn is known for their four-fingered hands. Both traits set them apart from more "human" denizens of the universe.
  • Played with in Bendy and the Ink Machine:
    • The game has six cartoon characters: Bendy, Boris the Wolf, Alice Angel, Charley, Barley, and Edgar. They all have four fingers in their cartoons. They also all have real-life counterparts by the time the game begins, but only four of the real-life characters have four fingers on each hand.
      • Averted by the real-life versions of the fallen angel, "Alice," who have five fingers on their hands.
      • Partly defied by the Ink Demon, "Bendy," in that one hand has five fingers, human proportions, and no glove; and the other hand has four fingers, is larger than the first hand, and wears the usual cartoony White Gloves.
    • The game also has Sammy Lawrence having four fingers, even though he was originally human. This is an effect The Ink had on him.
    • There are also three- and four-fingered handprints among the many in the area with the boarded-up doorway that says "NOT MONSTERS" in Chapter 5.
  • Most of Cuphead’s characters have four fingers, including the main characters, except for Captain Brineybeard and Glumstone the Giant.
  • As if he weren't mysterious enough, Zer0 of Borderlands 2 is the only character in the game that has only four fingers, making even his species ambiguous.
  • Lance Galahad has them by example in Brain Dead 13, along with other characters.
  • Many of the Non-Human characters in the Breath of Fire universe only have four-fingered hands. Garr and Jean are the most noticeable ones, though.
  • Perhaps a testament to just how serious Dragon Ball Online was to throwing out all innovations from the show, all the characters that originally had four (or less) fingers in the comic do in the game, most noticeably every last Namekian.
  • As he's a monkey, it would normally be acceptable, but Diddy Kong gets a special mention: he had four fingers when he was still owned by Rare (which is British), but (probably because of the Yakuza concern mentioned in the intro) he switched over to five fingers when Nintendo (which is Japanese) took over. This somehow ends up making him a bit more anatomically accurate, since real life monkeys have five-fingered hands like humans.
  • The Vault Boy from Fallout is illustrated like a 1950's cartoon character.
    • Also played straight by some of the mutants.
  • All player characters in Fat Princess have four-fingered hands. Edited to be five fingers in the Japanese release. (See Above)
  • The animatronics in Five Nights at Freddy's are four-fingered cartoon animals. In addition the Puppet has three-fingered noodle hands and Balloon Boy has nub-like hands with holes.
    • Subverted by Springtrap who was supposed to be wearable.
    • Also subverted by the Nightmare Animatronics, who have claw-like hands.
  • In Glover, you play as a four-fingered glove. Justified as the thumb and ring fingers are his arms, and the index and middle fingers are his legs. Having a fifth finger would be...
  • All of the characters in Grim Fandango have four-fingered hands, despite being human skeletons (or Calaca dolls, depending on who you ask).
  • Half-Life: Vortigaunts have three arms, with the third one growing straight out of the chest, with two fingers on each, and their feet don't seem to have toes, instead ending in a pyramidal... claw, let's call it.
  • The vast majority of alien species in Mass Effect have only three fingers. The only exceptions are the asari, batarians, and drell, who have human-like hands, and the hanar, who have tendrils instead of normal limbs. Fans have made jokes about how hard it must be to buy gloves if you have human fingers.
  • Goemon in the first Super Nintendo Ganbare Goemon game was accidentally drawn with four fingers during the game's introductory sequence. He somehow managed to grow that missing finger back later in the game. This was probably an error by one of the game's sprite artists.
  • The Chozo in Metroid have four fingers, a rare sight for sympathetic and intelligent characters in Japanese games. The Metroid Prime Trilogy also portrays the Space Pirates with three fingers.
  • In the Mortal Kombat franchise, the Shokan (Goro and Sheeva, for example) have three fingers per hand. However, each Shokan has four arms.
  • Moshi Monsters: Furis, Diavlos and Zommers (different types of monsters) all have only four fingers on each hand, as does Commander Sassafras, one of the Cartoon Creature villains.
  • The amateur-produced Interactive Fiction game The Mulldoon Legacy has a puzzle involving aliens whose solution involves realizing you're dealing with base-6 mathematical system, because that's the number of fingers the aliens have. The game includes an alien skeleton, with the appropriate detail mentioned, as a very subtle hint.
  • Abe from the video game series Oddworld had four fingers in the original game. It was changed to, not five, but three due to controversy from Japan (scroll down to the eleventh question on the list).
  • Most of the non-human champions in Paladins have four-fingered hands, but Moji takes the cake by having three-fingered hands.
  • Most Pokémon that have hands and feet usually have three fingers/toes, unless they have human-shaped hands, in that case they usually have five. However, some might have four in earlier game sprites. Many usually have two toes on each foot, and some Pokémon based on cloven-hooved mammals have a single hoof on each foot. Their three-fingered hands can lead to unintentionally funny moments: see, with three fingers, the index finger is in the middle, so when certain Pokémon point in the anime, they're constantly flipping each other off.
  • Oddly enough, in Psychonauts, some characters have four fingers whereas other characters have the normal five. To further confusion, certain characters (such as Dr. Loboto) have more joints on each finger than their compatriots. Tim Schafer and Scott Campbell both, whether jokingly or not, refer to this "debacle" as the reason why the game never got released in Japan in the Psychonauts Vault Viewer app commentary.
  • The Ratchet & Clank games have an interesting subversion. Ratchet and any Girl of the Week characters will have five fingers. Everyone else, no matter the species, has only three. The official reason for this is because Insomniac wanted to avoid any Four Is Death connotations when they shipped the game to Japan, thus everyone who was originally intended to have four-fingered hands instead has three. This includes Captain Qwark, who otherwise looks human.
  • Every character in Shovel Knight was designed with four fingers per hand. This is most noticeable in artwork, but in-game it can be seen on large characters like Mole Knight, Treasure Knight, Polar Knight and the final boss.
  • Most of the characters in Skylanders.
  • While most characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog games have five fingers per hand, the character Fang the Sniper (A.K.A. Nack the Weasel) has only four fingers per hand. Seemingly a reference to the fact that jerboas have four toes, as he's a wolf/jerboa hybrid (despite what his Western name claims).
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Amazingly, both Bowser and Yoshi have four fingers. While the former is supposed to be a villain, one would wonder why a cute little dinosaur like Yoshi have four fingers instead of five like other fictional Japanese heroes.
    • The Mario Bros. and Peach in Hotel Mario. The official versions of those characters have five fingers.
    • The Toads sometimes had four fingered hands, although the modern design of them have five fingered baby-like hands now.
    • The cat suit only has four fingers on its glove, despite the heroes wearing it over their hands.
  • Character art from Torchlight shows that the characters have four fingers each, although it's hard to see in-game.
  • Undertale:
    • Mettaton, the game's resident human fanboy/robotic Agent Peacock, has four-fingered hands in White Gloves. According to Word of God, it's because all of his knowledge of humans comes from human media that has fallen into the Underground, including western cartoons, and the ubiquity of this trope left him confused over how many fingers humans usually have.
    • Zig-zagged with Muffet, who is drawn with three fingers per hand (18 total) in-game, but four per (24 total) in The Merch.
    • With the other monsters, it varies wildly. Most of the monsters lack hands, though those who have them are usually either shown to have three to four fingers or lack enough sprite detail to tell one way or the other. Monsters with a more humanoid shape, such as Knight Knight and Asgore, have five fingers on each hand.
    • On a related note, the Tough Glove is described as being "for five-fingered folk."
  • The Tauren and Trolls in the Warcraft universe only have three fingers on each hand. The Tauren's hands are evolved hooves most likely. The trolls are just trolls. Gnomes, goblins, and worgen in beast-form have four fingers per hand, as do the Pandaren.
  • The Kilrathi in the Wing Commander series are shown (usually) as having 4 digits, and use Base 8 numbering.
  • The characters in the classic arcade game WWF Wrestlefest are fairly accurate representations of real WWF wrestlers of the time — except for their four-fingered hands.
  • In X-COM, most if not all Aliens only have four fingers.
  • Both Torchlight and Torchlight II have all the characters with four-fingered hands.
  • In Overwatch, Orisa is a robot that has a four fingered hand (the other arm being her Arm Cannon). All the other characters, including the other robots, have five fingers.
  • Most of the species in Halo sport three or five fingers, but Grunts and Elites each have four - three fingers and an opposable thumb for Grunts, and two fingers and two opposable thumbs in the case of Elites. The Energy Sword, the Elites' legendary weapon, is also tailored-made for their weird hands, and apart from them, is only wieldable by Spartans.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest II: Atlas's design has four-fingered hands and three-fingered feet.
    • Dragon Quest III: Zoma's original artwork and sprites show him with only four fingers on each hand, subtly emphasizing how inhuman he is despite otherwise looking more human-like overall than Baramos. Later remakes and cameos would give him a full five fingers.
  • Yordles in League of Legends are depicted with four-fingered hands and feet.
  • Monster Hunter: Wyverians are usually depicted with four digits to a hand. This was largely inconsequential for a long while, largely because it was hard to spot - the limited animation on NPCS meant little attention on hands, when they even bothered to render individual fingers. Until Monster Huner Rise that is, where plot-central Wyverian twins Hinao and Mikoto have their three-fingered hands lovingly rendered in all their animations, making them very noticeable and adding to their mysterious aura.
  • In Uncle Albert's Adventures, the members of Chipikan's alien species have four fingers on each hand.

    Visual Novels 
  • The rather simplistic sprites used in the original Higurashi: When They Cry novels all have very large, four-fingered hands. The anime changes to the more typical five.
  • NomnomNami usually draws four-fingered hands for her demon characters and five-fingered hands for her other characters, which is most noticeable in works such as Contract Demon and Sex Advice Succubus. The only exceptions are the demons from KAIMA, which takes place in a different universe than her other works, and the Overlord from BAD END THEATER, who looks different from the other demons due to being based on a real person.

    Web Animation 
  • AstroLOLogy's characters have four-fingered hands.
  • Lampshaded at the end of the "Metric vs. Imperial" movie in Brain POP. Tim explains that we use the decimal system because we have ten fingers and raises both hands up to show ten... only to realize that he's missing two.
  • DSBT InsaniT: The cast actually started out with three-fingered hands! They eventually get that fourth digit in the Art Evolution from episode 4 that Dreamscape brought.
  • Most of the characters in Happy Tree Friends have mittenlike hands (except for Lumpy, who always has fingers, and Handy, who has nubs), but when they need fingers they have four on each hand (including a thumb).
  • All the characters in Hazbin Hotel have three fingers and a thumb in each hand.
  • The human cast of Mystery Skulls Animated have only got four fingers on each hand. It's not limited to just humans as the fiery skeleton ghost Lewis and the blue plant person Shiromori also have a total of eight fingers each.
  • In Homestar Runner, most characters with visible fingers only have four of them (or less), including Strong Sad and the Poopsmith. Strong Mad is a notable exception, as he has five-fingered hands in all but one instance (sbemail 86), where he has four fingers in one scene due to an animation error.
  • Glitchtale: Throughout the series, on humans and monsters alike. Given that one of the main characters can summon extra magic hands at will and there are numerous fight scenes involving said magic hands, taking animation shortcuts is entirely forgivable.

  • All characters of Cat Legend have always been drawn this way.
  • In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, having three fingers and a thumb seems to be not just an artist habit but a species trait, with some characters having three fingers and a thumb while others, usually horses or cows, have only three digits on each hand. As for humans, they tend to have a normal amount. (And yet the artist draws herself with only four digits, fueling speculation that she is secretly a Fraggle.)
  • Dork Tower: In "Fingered", Matt recognizes an image as AI-generated because it has a five-fingered hand, which he and Kayleigh find horrific.
  • Mostly averted in Everyday Heroes, where all the human characters have five fingers ... although Uma and her father, being aliens, have only four.
  • All the characters of Freefall. This is justified only in Florence, an anthropomorphic wolf, and Sam, a squidlike alien who wears an environment suit.
  • Averted in Fuzzy Things, though the "tradition" is discussed in this comic
  • Homestuck follows this trope with one notable exception — the Midnight Crew have varying amounts of digits. It's likely just an artistic choice, although their Dersite origins may offer an in-universe explanation. In the Descend animation, Jade is seen with four fingers except in the Hero Mode pictures where she's slapping John.
  • Most of the characters in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! have four fingers — except for Ahem and the Nemesites, Starfish Aliens who have only two.
  • My Middle Name's Adventure — with the exception of Winston, who only has two.
  • Newton the Newt has characters with this.
  • All of the characters in The Order of the Stick have only three fingers. Given this is a Stick-Figure Comic, they're lucky they have fingers at all. It's also used for several jokes:
    • The "Bugsby's Hand" spells have four fingers, though. One of them can apparently be used to display your displeasure with someone, but it happens off-screen so we can't be sure how it managed that.
    • At one point a character questions whether they really even have anything that qualifies as a "thumb".
    • #1281: "But It Gets Better Every Generation": A mimic takes on human form, and Belkar and Elan complain about it actually having four fingers and a thumb.
      Elan: Ewww, gross!
      Belkar: Haha, wow, that is not the right number of fingers!
      Serini Toormuck: Yeah, it's weird. They can copy anything but for some reason they always mess up the hands.
  • Terinu being a gene-gineered alien, has four fingers and three toes (three and a dewclaw) like his animal predecessors. Strangely, every other alien in the series has five fingers.
  • Zebra Girl averts this. Demons and Funny Animals have four fingers, but all humans have five.
  • It turns out there's a reason for this in Dark Legacy Comics.
  • The characters in Our Little Adventure are drawn like this.
  • Penny Arcade as by Krahulik nearly always draws only three fingers and a thumb, even in relatively "realistic" stories like in "Sand". There are exceptions to this, such as the female assassin with the umbrella fighting the Cardboard Tube Samurai, but those are highly unusual. Compare this comic with this comic.
  • Lampshaded in User Friendly, while breaking the fourth wall.
  • The furries from Stubble Trouble have four fingers while the humans have five fingers. Some hoofed animals are seen with three hoof-fingers.
  • This concept art of Commander Badass (which predates the comic Manly Guys Doing Manly Things) shows him with four fingers, but in the comic itself, the Commander (and everyone else) has five.
  • Parodied in this French webcomic, Le Geektionnerd. The characters read a human hand has five fingers, writes over it, and complains about the blog being crap.
  • The Noob has four fingers on each hand, and is thus actually showing six fingers in this comic.
  • In the first few strips of The Whiteboard, Doc was depicted with 5-digit hands, but shortly after the strip's name became an Artifact Title, the character design was changed to have 4-digit hands, with a note by the author explaining the change.
  • In Goblins, humans and demons have five fingers per hands. The goblins and about every non-human races (including elves and dwarves) have four-fingered hands. Reptiles (like kobolds, yuan-ti or lizardfolks) tends to have three-fingered hands. All non-humans (well, those with legs anyway) also have three-toed feet.
  • Karate Bears: They usually have four fingers.
  • The Cyantian Chronicles averts this with most immigrant Cyantians, with the exception of foxes. Leading some fans to comment "that fox has too many fingers" when the artist slips up and accidentally draws one with five.
  • My Roommate Is an Elf. All characters have these, along with White Gloves.
  • Zack of Urban Jungle is only drawn with three fingers and a thumb on each hand. It isn't until this strip we learn why.
  • The Packrat. Makes one wonder how different playing keyboards is with only four fingers per hand.
  • Everyone in Commander Kitty, in keeping with the comic's cartoony atmosphere.
  • Blue Milk Special does it...which makes it look a little weird when Darth Vader does the Vulcan salute.
  • All characters, human or otherwise, in The Mansion of E have four fingers (if they have hands). This is not just an artistic convenience; when a human character visits from another webcomic, he has five fingers. The 4-fingered trait seems to have influenced the development of their societies: they seem to use a base-8 number system, even saying "4 minutes" when real-world humans would say 5. (Correspondingly, they have 20 hours in the day.)
  • Lyra from Heart Strings can magically project arms from her body, all of which have four fingered hands. This is much to her confusion as she used to be a five fingered human. It goes further when Bon Bon explains that no creature in Equestria naturally exists with more than four fingers.
  • In Slightly Damned, the Jakkai and Khamega races play this trope straight. Pointed out and Played for Laughs in this post by the author herself. Since all demons look different some have five fingered hands, some have four fingers and others have only three, even then it can still be rather varied as in addition to the traditional four fingered look we meet one demon (Buwaro's late father) who had four fingers and no thumbs on his hands and some of the three fingered demons have a ninja turtle-esce design of two-fingers-and-a-thumb while a few had three fingers and no thumbs.
  • Usually, the human characters in Fluffy And Mervin have five fingers, and the Funny Animal characters have four.
  • General Protection Fault: Lampshaded in this strip
  • Justified in Lackadaisy by the fact that the characters are anthropomorphic cats.
  • Res Nullius: Reasonable for the alien Hazel. Lampshaded for the human Sam.
    24th century geneticists realized the fundamental truth that the fifth finger was a fundamental defect, and efforts were made to correct the problem so that we could be more like our glorious cartoon super men.
  • Mutants in Endtown tend to have four fingers, which becomes a plot point when it turns out that mutants who were human still think of themselves as having five fingers and have a mental breakdown when they try counting to five. One of the first things Flask notes when she's infected with the virus (after her pointed teeth) is the pinkies on her gloves flopping.
  • In Housepets!, King determines that a squirrel is a transformed human by asking him to hold up five fingers.

    Web Original 
  • In The Cartoon Man, Roy's hands have only four fingers when in he is in his cartoon form.
  • A majority of characters in Don't Hug Me I'm Scared have only four fingers, likely due to the series being a parody of children's puppet shows. The characters who don't have hands like these, the costume characters, have mitten hands instead.
  • SuperMarioLogan: A majority of the puppets have only four fingers. Justified because puppets usually have these to prevent an accidental middle finger. This has actually been lampshaded numerous times, mostly by Jeffy. Apparently they are missing the middle finger.
  • The McLeodGaming logo is a fist with three fingers and a thumb. This is done to resemble the letter M.
  • The Noedolekcin Archives: Upon closer inspection of Kirk Odd's Scratch model, he has only three fingers on his hands.

    Real Life 
  • Hippopotami have four toes on each foot.
  • Spider monkeys' thumbs are fused with their palms, an adaptation that ensures this digit won't get in the way when they brachiate from tree branches.
  • Amphibians have four clawless digits on each hand, but have five digits on their back feet.
  • Paleontology
    • Tyrannosaurus rex has two fingers on each hand, but four toes on each foot.
    • Yet also inverted with Mononykus, whose name even means "one claw".
    • Hadrosaurs have only four fingers on each hand, with no thumbs.
    • While the "standard" number of digits was really five at the beginning of their evolution, the carnivorous dinosaurs usually only had four (especially the more primitive ones), but three-fingered hands were the most prominent by far. However the tyrannosaurids and alvarezsaurids (to whom Mononykus belongs) weren't the only groups to have reduced their finger numbers: abelisaurids had virtually no fingers, just stubs, and, of course, there are the birds, the most obvious examplesnote .
    • Pterosaurs had four digits on their forelimbs, one of which was modified to support their wings.
    • Inverted by some of the earliest basal tetrapods, which had seven toes on each proto-foot.
  • In dreams if you look at your hands they will often have the wrong number of fingers (whether too few or too many) or have something else wrong with them, which can clue you in that you're dreaming.

Reduced Number of Toes Variant:

    Anime And Manga 
  • Many Pokémon with feet will usually have less digits than their upper limbs (barring wings, fins, claws, scythes and tentacles). The best example is Pikachu, who has five tiny digits on each "hand" and three digits on each foot. Other examples include Clefairy, Cubone and Marowak, Rhyperior and Hitmonlee and Conkeldurr. Although, the reverse is also true, especially for Kyurem (in normal form), Bagon, Raichu, Anpharos, Growlithe and Chansey. Averted with Infernape, who actually have 5 toes on each foot.
  • Ditto with Digimon. Some digimon, including more animalistic types, have three-toed feet with four or five fingered hands such as Veemon. However, others may have the same exact number of toes and fingers such as Agumon (who has three digits) and Leomon (who has five digits). And then there are the digimon who have their feet covered, such as Beelzemon or Knightmon....
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise: Whenever Kuroe Akaishi transforms into Harugon, her Notzilla form, she is shown to have just four clawed toes. Unlike its inspiration Godzilla, however, the Harugon form still has five fingers.

    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four: The Thing has three toes per foot.
  • The Incredible Hulk: The Hulk has had an ever-changing number of toes. When he first appeared, he had five toes. When his book was cancelled and he resurfaced in Fantastic Four, he now had three. When he joined the Avengers, he then had four, but went back to three by the second issue, only for this number to vary wildly in each subsequent appearance before the artists finally settled on five in Tales to Astonish. This was the subject in a Mythology Gag in Ultron Forever, where the Hulk transported from the past still had three toes.
  • Cerebus the Aardvark: Cerebus' otherwise human son had three toes per foot, just like his father.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles take this a step further — each of the turtles has only three fingers on each hand, and only TWO toes on each foot. Lampshaded in the 2003 series when Raph rates Leo's performance of a kick.
    Leonardo: Hey, Raph, only a six?
    Raphael: Bro, it's all I got!
  • The Savage Dragon has two toes on each foot.

    Comic Strips 
  • Odie from Garfield has two-toed feet, while the titular character has three-toed feet.

    Films — Animation 
  • Mittens from Bolt plays this trope straight by having three-toed paws, but Bolt averts this trope by having the proper four-toed paws.
  • Scratette from Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs has three-fingered hands and two-toed feet, while Scrat from all four Ice Age movies has the standard four-fingered hands and three-toed feet.
  • Ducky, the animated hadrosaur from The Land Before Time, has the correct number of digits on all four limbs (four-toed front feet and three-toed hind feet), although her opposable thumbs are out of place.
  • The lions in The Lion King avert this trope by having the proper four-toed paws, but the hyenas and meerkats play this trope straight by having three-toed paws. The lions also show dew-claw-lumps (thumbs) on their front paws.
  • The humans in Ratatouille were animated without toes according to Word of God.
  • Most Kung Fu Panda characters have four fingers and four toes, but a few particular species have three toes instead.
  • Joy from Inside Out doesn't have any toes.
  • In Zootopia it's played straight with all mammal species that have claws or paws, like foxes, rabbits, mice, etc. But addition, all cloven-hoofed species, like buffalo, sheep, and gazelles, are consistently shown with three — two "fingers" and a "thumb". And bizarrely enough, odd-toed ungulates (horses and zebras) don't have any fingers at all! This makes for an amusing sight when, as Bogo is about to kick Judy off of her case, Nick proclaims that she still has ten hours to solve it — while holding up all eight fingers.

  • Happens even in literature! In Animorphs, when Rachel morphed into a cat and scratches someone, she notes that it left "three red lines" on the back of his hand. Also, ankles "reversed" when morphing anything four-footed. Applegate, a grown sci-fi author, apparently don't know about digitigrade and plantigrade feet, although the morphing process is stated to change the body at random.
  • An inversion in Eragon. Dwarves and Urgals have seven toes on each foot.
  • Tolkien did that inversion first in The Lord of the Rings, with the seven-toed Treebeard.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This trope's presence in cartoons is alluded to in the 75th Academy Awards, when Jennifer Garner and Mickey Mouse were about to announce the nominees for Best Animated Short Film. After being complimented for his tuxedo, Mickey compliments Jennifer Garner's shoes, before counting her toes. He says "Five toes?" in a confused tone before whistling.
  • The Diffys on Phil of the Future have five-fingered hands... but they have four-toed feet, which is a plot point when Phil has to go barefoot on a field trip.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends usually gives characters boot-shaped feet, though they actually have three toes on each foot otherwise.

  • Housepets!: While the [rarely seen] humans have five fingers, the animals have four fingers and three toes. This is Lampshaded when King has a simple test to see if Marion the squirrel is really a transformed human. He asks the squirrel to hold up five fingers, and Marion automatically raises one hand, then realises that's only four.
  • Scoob and Shag: Humanoid Toones have four fingers in each hand, while Earthlings have five. This is especially notable in a flashback, where we see Shag walking among Earth humans, as is brought as one of the reasons why his human friends knew something was up with him.
  • S.S.D.D.: In a couple comics Naps gets stoned and starts thinking he has too few fingers, and why he only has three toes, four or five toes would spread the weight out more effectively.
    Kingston: "It would be a pain in the arse to draw though!"
    Naps: "Not really! Not unless you're a lazy hack!"

    Western Animation 
  • Most cartoon birds are often drawn with only two front toes.
  • On Ed, Edd n Eddy, characters not only have only four fingers, but only three toes.
    • In the same vein, Mike, Lu & Og.
    • However, in Ed's story in "Once Upon An Ed", a close-up of the giant Kankers' feet shows four toes.
  • The Flintstones characters go one step further by having four-fingered hands, and three-toed feet.
    • Though in "Dripper" a close-up of Fred's new "brake pads" show four toes.
    • In the spin-off series Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, the title characters have four fingers and toes.
  • Jerry from Tom and Jerry has two-toed feet.
  • Nearly all Warner Bros. Looney Tunes, Tiny Toon Adventures, and Animaniacs animal characters have three-toed feet too.
    • And Bugs Bunny's feet have three dots on the bottom, two small and one large, suggesting pads like on a dog's paw. This doesn't match the number of pads a three-toed mammal ought to have: one per toe, plus a bigger pad for the sole. To make matters worse, real rabbits' paws don't have pads at all.
    • And just like Jerry, Speedy Gonzales also has two-toed feet.
    • A striking example in The Great Piggy Bank Robbery: the human postman's hand delivering the comics (realistically-drawn, if rather knuckly) is also four-fingered. It looks pretty odd.
  • Most Disney animal characters have three-toed feet. Though characters such as Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy have four toes.
  • Woody Woodpecker has two-toed feet.
    • Woodpeckers in real life have feet with their toes in a kind of X formation — two forwards (the 2nd and 3rd digits), and two backwards (1st and 4th digits), to allow for clinging to rough vertical surfaces like tree bark. These are known as Zygodactyl feet.
    • Except Three-toed woodpeckers, which, as their name implies, have only three toes (missing their inward back toe).
  • Both protagonists in Sam & Max: Freelance Police, a dog and rabbit team, have three-toed feet. Lampshaded in "Moai Better Blues" from the video game series, when a tribe of foot-worshipping ocean chimps mentions that, despite fitting some general descriptors of their prophecies of the true high priest, he's ineligible for any role holier than sidekick to the high priest, because while he was blessed with feet, they're not complete. Max claims he never noticed before, and is suddenly repulsed by Sam's freakish feet.
  • The cast of TaleSpin.
  • The cast of Around the World with Willy Fog.
  • Averted in the Popeye cartoons, where the characters have five (or in the 1950s, four) toes on each foot. Played straight by Popeye in "A Job For A Gob" and Olive in "Beach Peach".
  • Used on Little People (Egmont), a series of claymation shorts based on toys by Fisher-Price.
  • In Regular Show, Mordecai the Blue Jay has two-toed feet.
  • Lucy, the only human character on 64 Zoo Lane, and she is usually if not always shown barefoot.
  • Squirrel Boy averts it for the humans and the animals; they all have five fingers on each hand. However, the animals mostly have three toes on each foot. Rodney's cousin Eddie has four toes.
  • The Fairly OddParents! is actually somewhat of an inversion. From a distance, it looks like the humans only have three toes, but whenever there is a need for a foot focus scene, or a Gross-Up Close-Up, they have four toes.
  • Phineas and Ferb. Lampshaded in the Cliptastic Countdown when Dr. Doofenshmirtz introduces song #4.
  • Averted in Tex Avery's "Billy Boy" - the title goat grazes off the front of the wolf/farmer's clodhopper shoe. He cries out "Just a minute here! [counts toes - on one foot, mind you] 2-4-6-8-10. Nope - they all there!"
  • Averted for Rick and Morty.
  • In Gargoyles, all humans have normal toes, but the gargoyles have three toes. The sole exception is the Japanese gargoyle named Sora, who has two toes.

    Real Life 
  • Guinea pigs, capybaras, maras, and other cavies have four-toed front feet and three-toed hind feet.
  • Parrots, woodpeckers, and owls have two toes that point forward and two that point back.
  • Ostriches have two-toed feet, in contrast to most birds which have three-toed or four-toed feet.
  • There's a tribe in Africa known as the "Ostrich-Footed People" due to having two-toed, birdlike feet as a result of a hereditary mutation. Apparently it's related to what Lobster Boy had.
  • Inverted with the cats living in Ernest Hemingway's Florida home. There are over 100 cats living there, and about half of them have six "toes" on each paw.
    • Polydactyl cats were at one time reasonably common as mascots on sailing ships, especially those sailing out of New England. This is where Hemingway's cats ultimately came from: a ship's captain gave Hemingway a polydactyl cat, and Hemingway liked it so much he sought out/bred more.
  • Two-toed sloths, as their name implies, have only two clawed toes on their forefeet, with three toes on their hindfeet. Three-toed sloths, on the other hand, have three toes on all of their limbs.
  • The blind, snake-like amphibious underground Olm is notable for having only three tiny "fingers" on their front limbs and two stumpy digits in the rear.
  • The all-famous Tyrannosaurus rex has only two functioning fingers (with a residual nonfunctional third finger) on their forelimbs and three clawed toes on their hind feet.
  • As a rule, archosaurs (the broad group of reptiles that dinosaurs, pterosaurs, crocodilians, and their closest relatives belong to) can have only up to four toes on the back foot.
  • Because cats and dogs are digitigrade and don't stand on their carpal pads (which come out of the wrist), they leave four-toed pawprints.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Four Fingered Hand


V&V - Dimensional Anomaly

Because apparently, their radically overdesigned character models weren't enough of a hint.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / FourFingeredHands

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