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Giant Animal Worship

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"The ancient scrolls say it's a white boar the size of a mountain!! That's what they call the Mountain God!!"
Denjiro, One Piece

A mostly adventure story trope, where a primitive tribe worships a giant animal as a god or otherworldly entity, leaving it sacrifices of food (and occasionally humans). The animal itself is rarely sapient, only learning that food regularly appears in a specific part of its territory if it leaves the humans alone. This makes the tribe appear even more primitive as the object of their tribute is a mere representation of nature's power which they feel helpless against and thus deify.

Compare Appease the Volcano God and Fed to the Beast.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Daikyouryu no Jidai shows a tribe of cavemen who offer sacrifices to the last living T. rex on the planet.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, The Four Gods switch between beast and human forms, and their beast forms are (fittingly) at least Kaiju sized. Additionally, the Priestess is technically a Virgin Sacrifice to be Fed to the Beast, although if she is strong-willed enough, she may escape this fate and go on to live a more-or-less normal life in her own world.
  • One Piece: Happens during the Skypeia arc in a flashback to 400 years prior, with a giant snake called Kashigami who was offered the most beautiful woman on the island of Shandia to stop a curse (which was actually a disease called tree fever). The woman was saved by the pirate captain Norland, who killed the snake and wiped the infected trees to stop the infection.

    Comic Books 
  • In Marvel Mystery Comics #23, The Golden Age Vision fights Kai-Mak: a giant, semi-humanoid shark creature worshipped as a god by the Zambiji Tribe, who appeased him with Human Sacrifices.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side parodies this by showing a tribe of insects leaving a butterfly tied up to be taken away by a giant (to them) entomologist.

    Film — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The Blue World by Jack Vance. The humans stranded on an ocean world after their Prison Ship crashed started feeding a large kragen so it would drive away the others. By the time of the novel King Kragen has grown into a giant sea monster that the Future Primitive humans worship, with the encouragement of their priests who secretly control the creature and use it to maintain their own power. The protagonist doesn't like this and decides to Kill the God.
  • In The Dark Profit Saga lizardfolk are said to be wired to worship "something" due to being created as the dark gods' shock troops. Often they end up adopting some sort of monster as their "god". In the first book the party encounters a tribe worshiping a stone drake.
  • Discworld: Parodied in Small Gods, where an extremely backwards swamp-dwelling tribe worships a giant newt and has no concept of fire or war. The newt shows up on Cori Celesti (because of how belief works on the Disc) and is just as ignorant as its worshipers, conceptualizing war as "like the time Pacha Mog hit his uncle with big rock, only more worse".
  • Garrett, P.I.: Garrett once consulted a priest of a minor TunFaire snake-cult about two even less-successful cults along the Street of the Gods. Attempting to impress Garrett, the priest told the investigator that his cult has a genuine, for-real god-snake big enough to swallow horses at its temple. Garrett was thrilled to hear it ... but only because he hates horses.
  • Somewhat inverted in InCryptid, where the Aeslin mice worship the human Price-Healy family as their Animal Religion, and rely on their gods to protect them from larger threats, like dangerous predators and the Covenant. Before encountering the family, the Aeslin played this straighter, worshiping a chicken.
  • Inheritance Cycle features a rare sapient example in the form of the pterosaur-like Lethrblaka worshipped in a Town with a Dark Secret called Dras-Leona. Juvenile specimens (called Ra'zac) are closer to humans in size and general body shape, but they share a lair with the grown Lethrblaka note  and accept human sacrifices from Dras-Leona too.
  • John Carter of Mars: In Thuvia, Maiden of Mars, the Lotharians worship Komal, who is supposedly a great beast god, but is in fact merely an unusually large banth (the Barsoomian equivalent of a lion.)
  • Redwall:
    • The Taggerung has a tribe of pygmy shrews who feed on schools of tiny eels that migrate through their lands every year. In order to ensure that this happens, they choose a tribe member by lottery (they walk under a dripping stalactite and whoever gets splashed is chosen) to be fed to Yo Karr, an enormous eel they believe is responsible for bringing its tiny brethren. Tagg is having none of this and kills Yo Karr himself.
    • In Doomwyte, Korvus Skurr's tribe of crows, carrion birds and reptiles lives in a cave where a wels (a giant catfish) lives. They believe the wels is an oracle that only Skurr's snake advisor Sicariss can understand, and throw reptiles into its pool to attract it and interpret its wisdom. In fact it's just a giant fish, the "speech" is actually the wels opening and closing its mouth with Sicariss pretending to understand it. It ends up in an underwater fight with Baliss, a blind adder whose face is full of infected hedgehog spikes... and still loses to the snake.
  • In Spice and Wolf, Holo is a gigantic wolf who was worshiped by a village as a harvest goddess until the Church converted most of the people and she decides to leave with a traveling merchant. Of course one could consider her an actual god, what with her shapeshifting into a Little Bit Beastly human form and influence over wheat harvests.
  • Subverted in The Stormlight Archive. Due to some mistranslations early in contact, the Alethi assume that the Parshendi worship the Chasmfiends and Greatshells that live around the Shattered Plains. Their real gods are their ancestors, who return to life every Desolation.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • The dominant lifeform on the Ogron home planet is a giant slug-like lizard named the Eater, and the Ogrons both pray to and are preyed on by it.
    • In "The Power Of Kroll", a giant alien squid is worshiped as a god by the indigenous people. It's so big its intestinal gas is collected as fuel by the colonists. The size is because it swallowed a segment of the Key to Time.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Sandstorm sourcebook describes thunderbirds as often being worshipped as nature spirits and embodiments of the elements by desert-dwelling peoples.
    • The Stormwrack sourcebook mentions the natives of an undersea village seeing a giant shark as a kind of protector, because it scares off other predators.
    • Isle of the Ape (essentially one long King Kong Shout-Out) has a 30-foot-tall ape (several, actually) believed to be a god by the natives who regularly leave sacrifices to it consisting of pigs, monitor lizards or the occasional ape or human along with mountains of fruit and vegetables. The apes aren't particularly hungry for meat, they consider it a bonus as they're mostly interested by the fruits.
    • Krakens occasionally accrete cults of humanoids awestruck by the monsters' immense power and anxious not to find that power directed at themselves. Krakens pleased with their worshippers reward their flocks with calm seas and plentiful fish harvests, although they do not ultimately exempt them from their schemes to ruin all things.
    • Bullywugs occasionally stumble across a froghemoth and take to worshiping the monster as tribal deity, supplying it with food and a safe lair to lay eggs in. Though not terribly intelligent, the froghemoths eventually come to tolerate this relationship after eating only a few bullywugs.
    • Lizard Folk are sometimes depicted worshiping and serving dragons, recognizing them as a kind of apex predator among their own kind. While dragons are intelligent and powerful, they're rarely ever truly divine.
  • Pathfinder: Krakens are sometimes worshiped by coastal communities, either as avatars of nature or as divine figures themselves. In a variant, krakens are highly intelligent and malevolent and tend to think that Humans Are Insects, so they might accept the reverence — or demand it.
  • Warhammer:
    • The Great Maw is a gigantic, tooth-lined hole in the ground worshiped by the ogres, who regularly bring it sacrifices of food and in return are granted Gut magic, which has different effects based on what the caster ate.
    • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Certain tribes of swamp-dwelling goblins are said to worship hydras, giving them sacrifices and offerings to divert their wrath and appease their hunger.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Genestealer Behemoid Undercult worships the legendary Tyranid war-beast Old One Eye alongside its own Patriarch, having found it trapped in ice on the fringes of Ultramar space and believing it to be a prophet of a xenos god they call Behemoth.

  • Firebringer: Subverted in that while the tribe do worship a duck as the creator of the universe, it's not particularly big, nor is it even the same duck (they keep flying off or dying). Fortunately, the tribespeople (including the shaman) are too stupid to notice.
  • Tsukino Hyakki Yakou — Kurotenko and Shirotenko, the Black and White Heavenly Foxes are the ultimate gods of that universe. To those who don't know know them, they appear as giant four-tailed foxes. To those who are close to them, they appear as handsome young men who are A Little Bit Beastly with fox ears and four giant fluffy tails. They prefer to be seen as equal to everyone else, but they do possess extreme magic power.

    Video Games 
  • Dangerous Adventure 2 has a village of crocodile-men who worship a gigantic frog. You're tasked with killing it to bring its legs back as an Exotic Entree.
  • Donald in Maui Mallard: The Muddrakes worship a giant red frog which Maui either kills or appeases by feeding natives to it depending on the version.
  • Dwarf Fortress: Some individuals could worship the megabeasts who attacked their settlements.
  • King's Bounty: The Orcs of Dersu worship a colossal frog as their god. When you slay it on behalf of their goblin enemies, the Shaman will angrily complain about it before revealing that he intends to do the same to a snake and have it become their new god.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: As Lorule steadily collapses, some Loruleans have forsaken their homes and duties to follow and worship giant monsters such as the Gemesaur King.
  • Live A Live: The final boss of the Prehistoric chapter is a giant Tyrannosaurus worshipped by the enemy tribe.
  • MO: Astray: The Inhabitants once had a mutually beneficial relationship with the giant worm Doula, caring for it's eggs as a show of thanks for being 'Mother of the Land' and providing huge quantities of life-giving water. Doula is no longer holding up it's end of the bargain after being experimented on and mutated by human scientists. It continues to lay eggs but the offspring are shown to be mutated and vicious to the inhabitants who still try to look after them.
  • Paper Mario: The Origami King: A group of Koopa Troopas worships the Earth Vellumental, a creature resembling an immense tortoise, as their god.
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield: A petroglyph in Turffield depicts a Gigantamax Melmetal (which was already worshipped for its ability to generate metal seemingly out of nothing), implying that Dynamax and Gigantamax Pokémon (or at least, Gigantamax Melmetal) played an important part in ancient Galarian religion.
  • Portal 2: One of the hypothesized apocalypse scenarios is "Animal King" where such a being rules over mankind (represented by a giant leopard-print turret). The animal king turret turns out to actually be real, as it is briefly seen at the very end of the game as part of the turret opera.
  • Primal Rage features giant gods who take the form of apes and dinosaurs, and features cultists and followers for both gods during the fight. You can pick them up and eat them for a small health bonus.
  • A Total War Saga: TROY: The Lernean Hydra is attended by a cult of unfortunate wretches whose minds have become addled by the monster's venom, and who seek to spread its worship. These cultists serve as the monster's footsoldiers in battle and were instrumental in its resurrection.

  • Homestuck: The Prospitians and Consorts worship the Genesis Frog, a cosmic batrachian that holds an entire universe within his body, although mostly in an abstract sense as he's not yet alive for most of a Sburb session. By contrast, the Dersites detest him with a matching religious intensity.
  • Neverchosen: Our "heroes" (two idiot Nurglites) see some elves worshipping a huge crab and laugh at their behavior... by pointing it out to the perfectly ordinary goat they believe is a harbinger of Chaos.

    Western Animation 
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: In "Zipper Come Home", Zipper becomes king of a tribe of insects, who try to sacrifice him to a frog called The Great Ribbit.