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John Madden: This could be the score that Sylvester needed right here!
Pat Summerall: No, there's Tweety [still inside Sylvester's head]. He has not broken the plane of the esophageal tract. Sylvester did not score.
John Madden: This is unbelievable! All Sylvester needs to do is swallow him!
Cartoon Network Big Game XXVII

The nature of predator and prey is often made more complicated than it needs to be. Especially when the prey just happens to be the protagonist.

For instance, if the predator seeks to kill his enemy or turn it into food, one would think that the process would be fairly simple. Just have it catch the prey in its mouth, chew its flesh and/or bones into a nonliving paste, and swallow it.

If the character is fodder for the Monster of the Week or a horror antagonist, this doesn't happen. One of the following two outcomes almost always ensues:

  • The predator catches the prey in its mouth. It chews for a while, and then spits it out again. The victim may be injured, or traumatized, or covered in a massive amount of spittle, but he is likely to survive.
  • The predator catches the prey in its mouth, and then swallows it whole without chewing. This may make sense for snakes and sea life, but even toothy carnivores seem to do this. Unfortunately for the predator, this approach tends to result in either a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot or Womb Level on the part of the victim, and often results in the creature's death or discomfort due to damage to vital organs and the like. This version is often used as a family friendly fate for a character, since this isn't obviously graphic. Sounds of the person being chewed up need not be included, and neither does there need to be any blood or remains depicted, though it hinges on the younger members of the audience not realizing that being contained in an airless, claustrophobic, fleshy area and being covered with highly corrosive hydrochloric acid, enzymes and other digestive chemicals would be one of the most horrible deaths imaginable. It also doesn't make sense if the eater is intelligent and savoring the meal at hand, to the point of verbally describing it; swallowing a piece of food whole, especially meat, means you don't really get to taste it.

The first example is especially common in video games with a life meter, as getting a Game Over because you made one mistake at full health wouldn't really make for an entertaining boss fight, though the boss may swallow if the player's health reaches zero while they're in its mouth. Those that do kill the player instantly tend to appear in the survival horror genre, or serve as stage obstacles in platformers.

The carnivorous equivalent of Just Hit Him. Not to be confused with Just Eat Gilligan. Compare Eat Me when someone deliberately tries to get eaten. May involve a Mouth Cam. May be averted, or at least delayed, by Palate Propping. Contrast Eating the Enemy where the foe actually does (or at least tries to) devour their foe efficiently.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop: This is the only proven way to kill the Blob Monster in "Toys in the Attic", although it happened by pure coincidence.
  • Ranma ½: More of a case of "just butcher him," but whenever Ryoga Hibiki almost gets eaten while stuck in pig form, the eater inevitably decides, instead of killing him and chopping him up, to boil him alive like a lobster. Fortunately this turns him back into a man (who, since he's Made of Iron, only turns red rather than get covered in third-degree burns). He gets even luckier in his first encounter with Shampoo, who doesn't even try to cook him; she just knocks him out and puts him on a plate.
  • Digimon Adventure: Metalseadramon tries this on Wargreymon.
  • Averted in Blood-C were the writers seem to actually make time to showcase the Elder Bairns killing and eating anyone in the vicinity while the heroine suffers a convenient headache, is out cold after being thrown into a wall or is simply too shocked to react.
  • Most ghouls in Tokyo Ghoul eat their victims a bite at a time, but in the sequel, the massive Ghoul known aptly as "Big Madam" begins swallowing a still-wriggling Urie whole like a snake. His aptly-timed Superpower Meltdown allows him to pull himself free and escape in one piece.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Pogo on at least two occasions, small critters (bats, mice) took up lodging in Albert Alligator's digestive tract while he was sleeping, and soon afterward emerged unharmed.

  • The Final Fantasy VIII fanfic That Which Devours by DK demonstrates this trope brought to its logical conclusion.
  • In A New World, A New Way Commander Sev gets eaten by Apocalypse after spoutiong too much propaganda. Apocalyspe spits him out shortly as he doesn't want indigestion from eating a Poison type like Sev. Everyone else on the other hand wished Apocalyse had just eaten him anyway.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Shrek, the dragon eats Lord Farquaad, but an After the Credits sequence shows he's "ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' aliiive...." Mostly this is just a joke, as he never gets out and presumably died eventually (his ghost appears as the antagonist in a Shrek-based theme park 3D film).
  • In Spirited Away, No-Face swallows first a talking frog (taking on its voice), and then a pair of bath attendants, only to vomit them later (unharmed) along all the food he'd gobbled down. Though, as he's a very strange shadow creature, eating and digesting are probably just unnatural for No-Face.
    • He absorbed his surroundings—in that case, the greed and avarice of the bathhouse. He took on the voice of everyone he'd swallowed at once. Purged of his greed (and everything else) he returned to his original mild-mannered appearance.
  • Averted in the film Beowulf. A great deal of the men Grendel killed were just for giggles, but the ones he wants to eat are killed very swiftly, and there is a shot of him ripping off somebody's head and savoring the taste.

    Films — Live Action 
  • At the end of Cloverfield, Clovey gets his first (on-screen) sample of human flesh when it nibbles on Hud. We watch from the camera's eye (carried by Hud, of course) as the monster picks him up in its jaws and mangles him around a bit before incidentally dropping his top half and the camera.
  • In the movie Dude, Where's My Car?, the Jerk Jock asks the alien giantess "Spit or swallow?"... you can pretty much guess what happens next.
  • Eraserhead climaxes with The baby eating Henry (apparently) in retaliation for murdering it.
  • This is done in The Gingerdead Man, but it backfires horribly when the homicidal pastry somehow possesses his devourer, turning him into a human-sized cookie.
  • The ending of Godzilla 2000 has Orga expanding his jaws like a snake. Godzilla, realizing his opponent has made a fatal mistake, willingly goes inside, and as Orga absorbs more of his DNA and begins growing Godzilla-like spines, Godzilla charges up his atomic breath to a point where he starts glowing orange. When he fires the beam, he blows the top half of Orga's body to bits.
  • Men in Black:
    K: You're nothing but a smear on the Sports page to me, you slimy, ugly, intestinal parasite! Eat me! Eat me!
    • Moments later, K manages to blow Edgar up from the inside by using a blaster the bug had swallowed earlier. The novelization hand waves this by saying that the Bug only swallowed K whole out of anger; he would have chewed J if he'd gotten the chance.
  • In Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, this is averted with the Rancor but played straight with the Sarlacc, as evidenced by Boba Fett's escape from the monster's stomach in the expanded universe novels.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, Devastator attempts to suck in one of the Autobots, Mudflap. It ends in option 2, with Mudflap blowing a giant hole in Devastator's head
  • In Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, Burt actually gets eaten by a Graboid at one point. Fortunately, it swallows him whole and he still had his walkie-talkie on him, so he was able to coach the nearby Jack into tricking Graboid into smashing itself against one of the underground concrete walls surrounding his compound. Jack, in turn, manages to dig down to the Graboid and cut it open in time to get Burt safely out.
    • Justified, since Burt wound up taking refuge in a 55-gallon steel drum while being swallowed (so he had some "chewing armor.") Of course, the drum was nowhere to be seen when it came time to chainsaw Burt back out.

  • Rationalized in Animorphs: Megamorphs #2. The victim managed to avoid the T. rex's teeth long enough to acquire the dinosaur's DNA and turn into a duplicate of it. This transformation was sufficient to make something inside the T. rex go all 'splodey. You try swallowing something that proceeds to start growing inside you.
    • Earlier, Rachel and Tobias got swallowed by a Kronosaurus. Rachel then turned into a bear and mauled her way into its lungs looking for breathable air (whereupon it conveniently beached itself to die).
      • It also plays the horrific nature of what that would entail quite graphically, making quite clear that our heroes are being covered in very painful stomach acids. Plus, Kronosaurus is actually big enough to pull this off.
  • Razor Eddie allows himself to be eaten by a huge worm-like monster in Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth, specifically so he can evoke this trope and cut it to ribbons from within.
    • Simon R. Green also used a variant of this trope in The Bones of Haven, when a sewer-lurking giant spider's corpse lands on Hawk, apparently pinning him underwater. Actually, he ends up inside its abdomen, and must cut his way out with his ax. A partial subversion in that it hadn't eaten Hawk, just collapsed on top of him when he'd cut its body open from beneath.
  • In Mark E. Rodger's The Adventures of Samurai Cat during the Battle of Valhalla, Fenrir makes the mistake of eating the titular character. Big mistake.
  • Averted in Everybody Loves Large Chests. The dungeon mimic protagonist doesn't hesitate in eating everyone it can dig its teeth into.
  • Somewhere offscreen in Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse an elephant-sized Quetzalus tried this on a human soldier, who shot their way out from within. The human was probably wearing armor.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be", the djinn slowly drains blood over days while creating an elaborate fantasy for the victims, instead of just knocking out his victims, opening an artery, and filling the blood bags for now or a late night snack.

    Music Videos 
  • In the video for Miserable after letting the guys walk all over her bikini-clad body and flirtatiously toying with them for most of the video's runtime the Giant Woman (played by Pamela Anderson ) spends the last half of the video trying to eat them. However, she's actually pretty good at it, catching each guy one-by-one and swallowing him alive with a little playful flair (snapping up one guy standing on her lips, slurping one guy up and spitting out his shoe, throwing one guy into the air and catching him in her mouth) and by the end she's successfully devoured every one of them and contentedly saunters away.

    Religion, Myth, & Legend 
  • Jonah and the Whale (or "Great Big Fish") from The Bible. Justified since the fish had been sent by God, so presumably the whole thing was miraculous.
  • Swallowing one's offspring alive is one of many, many bad habits practiced by the Greek pantheon. Granted, they generally survive because you can't kill them at all so that may actually be a decent place to hide them.
  • The Grimm version of the story Tom Thumb has the titular character getting swallowed by both a horse and a wolf and coming out alive both times.
  • In Bowdlerized versions of some fairy tales, most notably Little Red Riding Hood, it often turns out that the wolf (or similar predator) swallowed its victim whole, thus allowing for a happy reunion after the events have played out.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, some creatures have a special attack called "Swallow Whole" which causes massive damage by crushing and acid. It is possible for a victim to cut their way out (in which case, inexplicably, "muscular action closes the hole" without exception) or in some cases, climb back into the mouth and out.
    • Notably, it is a semi-feasible strategy to fight the legendary Tarrasque from within, as its spell-reflecting carapace and absurd number of natural weapons make it more dangerous on the outside. (Acid-resistance spells are still a good idea, though.)
    • In 4th Edition, it's no longer possible to carve your way out of the creature until it's dead. Creatures still have much lower internal AC than external, though.
      • Some monsters still have an escape roll option; some are insubstantial or gelatinous so you literally push through, the rest you can only assume you crawl back out their mouth. Or somewhere else.
    • As an aside, the game's titular dragons are by and large not among the monsters who try this, despite being big enough to do it as they grow older (doing so requires the dragon take certain feats).
    • In the Blood War, the conflict between devils and demons, a lot of Mooks that form fiendish armies, like lemures and manes, don't stay dead under most condition, having incredible regenerative abiliies. One way to make sure they stay dead is to eat them, and this is often a practical method used by fiends on the opposing army. Any fiend worth his salt has little qualms against eating sentient beings, after all. Still, this method doesn't work for mortals who fight fiends, even members of races who are willing to do it; the flesh of fiends isn't something that any mortal creature could stomach...
  • Averted in Warhammer. Giants use randomly determined attacks. Among the possibilities is "pick up and eat", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and an instant kill no matter what cool magic items or special abilities the target may have.
    • Played straight if eaten by Ghurk of the Brothers Glott, from the End Times campaign; The fluff explains that Ghurk eats his victims alive, and expels them as virulent, mummified sacks which are later used to bombard the enemy at sea.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Tyranid Mawlocs have a tendency to swallow people whole. And they're still alive as they're being digested.
    • Actually discussed in the Ciaphas Cain novels. Inquisitor Amberley Vail points out victims are likely crushed by muscular action or suffocated long before they have to worry about being digested. She also notes that isn't nearly as comforting as she intended it to sound.
    • The tabletop rules also subvert most of the downsides of the trope; the swallowed target is killed outright with no chance to cut his or her way to freedom.

    Video Games 
  • Space Ace: Ace's gigantic "dark side" doppelganger tries to do this.
  • This is very common in The Legend of Zelda series.
    • Like-Likes have appeared in the series since the first game. Their main attack is to swallow Link whole, then spit him out with only minor damage. This may be justified, considering that the creatures seem more interested in devouring his shield or armor.
    • Any boss monster that actually manages to catch Link in its mouth tends to merely do several hearts of damage and then release him. Recent 3D games treat this as a mini-cutscene.
    • Moldworms, unlike most swallowing enemies, do not spit Link out, rather putting him through the entire digestive process (yeesh). Strangely, this is not necessarily fatal.
  • Tanzer from SaGa Frontier has a habit of swallowing airships whole. The victims attempt to continue their lives inside its body, at least until the main characters arrive.
  • Star Fox:
    • Andross in Star Fox 64 could also eat Fox's ship whole, only to spit him back out after stripping the wings off his ship, heavily crippling the controls.
    • Galdon in Star Fox Adventures. Particularly notable, because he swallows Fox and gets his uvula beaten up multiple times during the fight. You'd think he'd, like, stop eating him eventually.
  • Adding the adjective omnivorous to anything in Scribblenauts will cause it to eat everything, including you.
  • Justified by Chompasaurus from Banjo-Tooie. He suffers from digestive troubles, and is more interested in getting someone inside him to fix the problem.
  • Disgaea:
    • In Disgaea 3, the Dragon monster class possesses the Inside Tour attack, which has the dragon smack the target into the air, vacuum them into its mouth, swallow them, poop them out, then nail them with a tail strike while they're stuck in the swirly pink poop pile. Can be used to hilarious effect in a combination attack, where the target can get subjected to more abuse while in their humiliating state, or more ridiculously, the other attacker can get swallowed along with them, and proceed to audibly pummel them through the entire process.
    • In Disgaea 4, the Cockatrice has its Reverse Egg magichange attack, which has its snake tail enlarge and devour a multitude of targets, after which the bird proceeds to spit them out as eggs.
  • The Warcraft games have Kodo Beasts which can devour most enemy units whole. They slowly lose health until being digested completely. It seems they are pretty fine before though, since they still provide field of view for enemy players in there, and when the Kodo is killed, they simply get out. Dryads are indigestible due to spell immunity. They can be swallowed perfectly well, but will then remain alive in the kodo indefinitely.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • Yoshi's Story has an boss made of cotton candy or something similar that you have to lick until nothing remains. You get health every time you lick it, so suffice to say it is an easy boss. Yoshi's Island has a boss battle where you are eaten by a frog, and must kill it from the inside.
    • Paper Mario
      • In Paper Mario 64, Mario is asked to do battle with Tubba Blubba, who's been eating Boos. Once he is defeated, he decides to open his mouth and let them all go, they all come flying out.
      • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Koops goes with Mario, partially to avenge his father, presumed dead. When they defeat the dragon who ate him, he's regurgitated and is spit out. Despite having been in there for many years, he's fine, except his shell smells of dragon insides.
  • In Luigi's Mansion 3, Ug eats Blue Toad's painting as the T-Rex skeleton right before the fight.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando plays this straight during the optional fight against the giant swamp-monster mother—if Ratchet is swallowed whole by the beast but still has life left afterward, the beast will then hurl him back out and pick its teeth.
    • The giant venus flytrap plants on Oozla will snap their jaw-like, toothed petals closed on Ratchet, then "chew" briefly before releasing him.
    • The Giant Mutated Protopet at the end swallows Captain Qwark whole. He gets spit out intact when Ratchet wins the final boss battle.
  • Dino Crisis averts this, with the T. rex swallowing you nicely in one bite if you stand still too long in front of him.
  • Averted in Resident Evil 4. Sometimes, your enemies' heads will explode, releasing the parasite inside their body in several different ways. In one of these ways, the parasite is merely a mouth on an enormous neck that can take Leon's head off in one bite. There's also a boss monster that can gobble you up.
    • Likewise Gamma Hunters, Frog-like monsters in Resident Evil 3 and the Outbreak series, can swallow a character whole, resulting in an instant kill.
  • In Heart of Darkness, the hero Andy is once swallowed whole by a Giant Mook. This looks like an endgame but isn't, because the toad-like monster had earlier swallowed Andy's plasma riffle... and the hero can recover his weapon in the mook's stomach and blast it from the inside. He is not, however, so lucky in many of his death animations.
  • Subverted in Star Wars: Battlefront II. When playing the Jabba's Palace map, one must take care in the throne room to avoid the area directly in front of Jabba himself, lest you fall through the same trap door seen in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and be eaten in one chomp by the Rancor. Note that there is another way into the Rancor Pit; the Rancor doesn't notice anyone who enters by that door.
    • There's also a level with a Sarlacc pit in the original (again, One-Hit Kill if you're eaten by it).
  • Averted in Ecco the Dolphin, where the Vortex Queen does just eat you. Get caught in her mouth and she chomps down on you, causing instant death. The same applies to the Foe Queen, her Expy in Defender of the Future. Defender also features a great white shark as the first boss; another instant killer if you approach it the wrong way.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2002), the titular character faces down a giant snake monster thingie in Angel's mansion. Play wrong and Buffy gets chomped on... then thrown aside. Granted, she is durable... but other vampires try to go for the throat. It's very confusing.
  • In NetHack, purple worms swallow their victims whole (which is a nod to their D&D origins, discussed above). If said victim is your character, you do have a chance to cut or blast yourself free, but you'd better make it quick. If you're wearing a ring of slow digestion, the worm automatically spits you back out. This attack form also means that PWs make useful pets if you can magically tame them, but you and the worm may eventually learn that swallowing certain types of creatures is a really bad idea.
  • Averted in Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb. If the giant crocodile found in the last chamber of the Ceylon ruins manages to get close enough to Indy, it swallows him in one bite.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • This almost happens with the Leviathan from Final Fantasy II, except with regular ships.
    • A few of the larger bosses and mundane enemies in Final Fantasy X and X-2 use this as an attack.
  • Jet Force Gemini: one level takes place in a giant worm. Why none of the heroes (or enemies) are digested is never explained. Successful exiting of the worm is by the obvious back exit.
  • While usually averted in the Kirby series in the sense that you just completely defeat an enemy you eat, it's played straight for an actually scarier effect when fighting Dedede in Kirby's Dream Land 3 and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. He mutates as an Eldritch Abomination and eats Kirby with a huge eyed mouth from his stomach and spits him from the mouth. Note that here being eaten causes the damage, while normally it's caused because of being spit against a wall at full strength.
  • In Muramasa: The Demon Blade, while in Hell, Momohime has to let herself be eaten by an Oni in order to retrieve Jinkuro's soul after she unwittenly causes it to be eaten. She even convinces it to swallow her whole for her plan to work. Given that she has swords, getting out it easy (and takes a whole life bar from the Oni). What's strange is that midway through the fight, the Oni will try and eat her again, leading to the same outcome, despite having been slashed from the inside before. Hell, it poses minimum threat.
  • Jak and Daxter averts this in one partially-submerged town. If you fall in the water and remain there for more than a few moments, you will instantly die when a huge fish eats you. Even if you make it out of the water, if the fish was close enough, it may just jump over your tiny floating platform to eat you anyway. Also, when the fish is coming for you, the music stops and is replaced by a slow heartbeat sound, which manages to be absolutely terrifying, especially since it takes place in the mostly-peaceful mission hub.
  • Turok: Dinosaur Hunter has a T. rex boss that will heft you up in his jaws and swallow you down whole in a cutscene after he brings your lifebar to zero. You would think he'd chew you up with those sharp teeth but he doesn't. This might or might not just happen if you get too close to him and die, because he does have some miniguns and rocket launchers strapped to his back.
  • World of Warcraft: One boss, C'Thun, is an Expy of Cthulhu, and will eat players if the fight goes on long enough. When that happens they are taken to another room—basically, his stomach—where they should attack internal organs to weaken him, but they take substantial damage from being digested. It's possible to force him to spit people out again before he dies.
  • Kronos the Titan swallowed all of his children, and in God of War III, he does the same to Kratos at the climax of their fight. It backfires spectacularly when Kratos being Kratos, just cuts his way out of Kronos' stomach with the Blade of Olympus. Ouch. Technically also occurs in the first game with the Hydra, though it could be considered a subversion since it is voluntary.
  • Splatoon: The Octomaw has an attack where it tries to eat Agent 3 by trapping it in its jaw. If you don't break through the circular field of teeth and get out, it's an instant kill.
  • Pikmin: Many enemies in the games, primarily the Bulborbs, kill your Pikmin by eating them.
  • Tales of...
  • Savagely averted in the Diablo III debut gameplay trailer, where the Siegebreaker warbeast picks up the male Barbarian and bites his head off.
  • In the Half-Life mod Natural Selection, when playing as a huge mammoth-like alien the player can use it's "Devour" special attack to instantly eat an enemy.
  • In Devil May Cry 4, Bael/Dagon can eat you as an attack. He'll chew a little, but always spits you out after a few seconds.
  • The final boss in Klonoa: Door to Phantomile inhales you and everyone else after you complete the first phase. Phases 2 and 3 take place inside its body.
  • Mass Effect: Wrex is fond of suggesting this as a solution to various problems in the first game.
    Shepard: Anoleis is paying you to shake this place down. That makes you a criminal. (pulls out pistol) I can kill criminals.
    ERCS Guard: You're bluffing.
    Wrex: You're right. They're actually going to let me eat you.
  • Elvis' One-Winged Angel form in God Hand has an attack like this where he chomps down and flails Gene about. Failure to escape before you hit zero health will have him swallow Gene whole.
  • Several bosses in Dragon's Crown, such as the Gazer and the Arch Demon, have a bite attack where they'll at most munch the player characters for a bit in their mouth before spitting them out. The only boss that will eat its enemies with conviction is the Killer Rabbit, who has an attack where it lunges forward and bites off a large chunk of any poor character's head caught in its path for a One-Hit Kill.
  • The Dark Souls series thoroughly averts this, being the kind of game it is. If something—say, the Gaping Dragon—manages to get you in its enormous mouth, expect an insta-kill 98% of the time.
  • Minty Fresh Adventure!: In the final boss battle, an Ursa Major grabs Colgate in it's teeth and bites down... Very, very, slowly, giving her enough time to run around on it's tongue and do some emergency dental work. With its size, it could probably swallow her whole without much issue.

    Web Comics 
  • In the early days of Sluggy Freelance, Torg was saved from being devoured thanks to his dandruff shampoo. Expendable characters got devoured left and right.
  • Here, in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!. Fortunately, Bob was not digestible.
    • Heck, Bob almost getting eaten has become a Running Gag.
  • This strip of The Order of the Stick. It ends very badly for one dragon, and works out perfectly fine for another.
  • This strip of Nodwick.
    Artax: Nodwick told you that after you ate him?
    Trung the Ogre: Yes. Fortunately, Ognar isn't much for chewing.
    Nodwick: (from Ognar's belly) True, but his digestive juices are impressive...
    • Considering that Nodwick's teammates tend to use him as a meatshield or just bait, this happens a lot to him. Indeed, in another comic, Nodwick mentions going to a henchman conference and being asked to give presentations on the digestive tracts of several monsters, since he has so much experience with them.
  • In Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic, Bob the beholder is once swallowed by an undead dragon during a massive battle. He manages to "kill" it from the inside and rip out of the body, but is a bit traumatized by the experience.
  • Happens once when Red Mage is fighting (or trying to) a dragon in 8-Bit Theater. Despite sounding like he's in denial, Red Mage is able to kill the dragon by freezing it and smashing his way out, though not before everyone else found out the dragon was intelligent and co-operative.
    Red Mage: It has exposed its fleshy underbelly to me in the form of its digestive tract!
  • Bob and George: The Demon/Met hybrid does it to George. (It ends badly.)
  • Schlock from Schlock Mercenary can, and often does, just eat enemies. In some cases he'll burn them to ashes, then eat the ashes. When asked if he eats his enemies as his fallback option, he responded that he eats his enemies because they are delicious.
    • He does it so frequently Ennesby even invented a new word for this, and Doctor Bunnigus refers to it as "brunch at the zero-evidence buffet".

    Western Animation 
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Played for laughs in more than one cat-chasing-prey comedy. On at least one occasion, Sylvester has successfully eaten Tweety Bird, at which point Tweety starts walking around in Sylvester's head and eventually escapes. Even taking wacky cartoon/Rule of Funny physics as a given, it makes the whole exercise seem rather pointless.
    • Another example took this only a tiny bit more realistically. Sylvester and Tweety are staying in a hospital and Nurse Granny finds Sylvester looking full with feathers in his mouth. She rushes him to an X-ray and Tweety's silhouette is seen in Sylvester's stomach. Cut to Sylvester in his bed with a surgical bandage on his stomach and a completely unharmed Tweety next to him saying "Bad ol' puddytat!"
  • Happens with a giant worm in Courage the Cowardly Dog, which eats Muriel along with a pair of alien teddy bears. The entombed bears then have to talk Courage through piloting their space ship back to their home planet before they're fully digested.
  • Featured often, as can be expected, in Tom and Jerry cartoons, with Jerry and a duckling character often making their ways into Tom's mouth, be it as prey or intentionally.
  • In Season 3 of Voltron: Legendary Defender, after Shiro crashes on a frozen planet, one of the aliens who found him wonder if they should just eat Shiro instead of saving him.
  • Wakfu: This happens twice in episode 21, with Igôle swallowing whole first Az and then Adamaï, and being forced to regurgitate them both later. (Adamaï can even be seen pounding the beast's distended belly from the inside.) And again with Adamaï in tofu form in episode 23 — this time, Igôle willingly spits him out.
  • Horribly averted in one episode, "The Boy Who Cried Rat", of The Ren & Stimpy Show. Ren pretends to be an invading mouse so that his resulting havoc will force the house's owners to hire and pay for Stimpy, who is masquerading as a mouse catcher. When Stimpy is forcibly encouraged by the house's husband to eat rather than release the mouse aka Ren, Stimpy tries to hold him in his mouth, but again is encouraged by the husband to chew it so he can eat it faster. Cue Ren inside shown being grinded back and forth between Stimpy's suddenly humongous teeth. And being a cartoon character, Ren lives through the entire experience, albeit heavily mutilated (by cartoon standards).
  • The first act of the Mr. Bogus episode "Waterboy Bogus" had this happen to Bogus, when he winds up getting swallowed whole by an orca at the aquarium, a la Pinocchio.
  • A family-friendly variant occurs in an episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. The Scooby Snack factory is being haunted by a cheese monster, and when he goes after Scooby at the end of the episode, he locks himself and Scoob in a room to go after him. His fatal mistake being his costume is made out of actual cheese, and he’s now trapped in a room with a perpetually hungry Great Dane puppy. When the rest of the gang finally get the door open, the “cheese monster” is running out of the room in his underwear as a very happy Scooby just sits in the corner and pats his now distended belly.

    Real Life 
  • Case in point: great white sharks are known to occasionally grab swimmers, drag them a few yards, then let them go. Some researchers believe that these technically aren't shark attacks. There are several possible explanations for the behaviour.
    • Sharks are known to generally chomp larger prey once and then wait for it to bleed out before eating it. This reduces the risk of sustaining injuries during a long struggle. Unlike most shark prey, humans usually manage to reach land before death. (This is also unlikely in the case of great white sharks and the other classic "man eaters", as they are typically big enough not to have trouble with a human.)
      • Great whites do perform this trick with seals, so it seems they will let people go for the same reason. This is much more likelier than the "mistaken identity" scenario shown below.
    • Another possibility is that it's a taste test. Humans don't look or sound much like seals or fish, and they don't taste right, even if they aren't covered in those nasty external skins, so the fish throw them back. Typically, a shark won't eat a human unless it's starving or too badly injured to go after better prey; humans have a higher bone-to-flesh ratio than most shark food. Shark stomachs just aren't made to eat them, so they will often take more calories to catch and digest than are gained from eating them.
      • Shark attacks on boogieboarders tend to be higher. It's believed the outline of the board and a pair of legs looks a lot like a seal. Then again, boarders are always at the surface and that is where most shark attacks (human or otherwise) occur anyways.
    • The most likely possibility, based on several survivor accounts and ongoing research into the nervous system of the shark, is that the shark is simply investigating the human. Unfortunately, sharks don't actually have a sense of touch. The only place on their body that comes close to feeling a similar sensation is the bridge of their nose and their gums. This means their only way of figuring out what the big, noisy creature swimming around their reef is involves lots of very sharp teeth, and as humans are somewhat less durable than similar-sized aquatic creatures (dolpins, seals, other sharks, etc.) this can have unfortunate results.
  • Grizzly bears. Most grizzlies just don't care about human beings. (Some people theorize that this is because they're actually afraid of humans.) It's extremely rare for grizzlies to attack people; most maulings occur because the bear feels threatened. Or worse, feels her cubs are threatened. The safest course of action when faced with a grizzly is to play dead.
    • The same is not true of black bears. Someone who plays dead when faced with a black bear is likely to get eaten. It's thought that this is because grizzlies are active predators and black bears, which are smaller and have more plant matter in their diets, favor carrion. In this case, the best thing to do is to scare off the black bear by yelling at it.
      • Same for polar bears, who are almost exclusively carnivorous and have little fear of humans. They will actually go out of their way to hunt a person if they're feeling hungry, though if they're not actively starving, sounds like gunshots will keep them away.
      • In Alaska, the standard safety tips are: "Black, fight back; Brown, lie down; White, say good night."
  • All snakes swallow their prey whole. The only major difference between the various snake species is if they poison the prey or strangle it first. And a couple of species, like the Black Racer, actually do swallow their prey alive.
    • Naturalists have observed snakes swallowing poisonous salamanders and the like and then, somewhat later, observed the aforementioned salamander walking out the mouth of the dead snake.
  • Carnivorous plants, while they don't "swallow" per se, do trap their victims and digest them alive. The lucky ones go in the pitcher plants, where they'll likely drown before the digestive juices go to work. The venus flytraps, on the other hand...
  • Frogs.
  • Pelicans, oddly enough.
    • As do cormorants. Like with the snakes and salamanders above, there are observed cases of fish that these birds have started to swallow successfully wriggling loose and escaping, but presumably, they hadn't reached the gastric acids yet.
  • Ducks.
  • Many, many fish. Numerous deep-sea species have long teeth just to hold prey until it's swallowed.
  • Humans. For a time, swallowing live goldfish was a fad.
    • A variant occurs for some dishes where the animal is obviously no longer alive but its body still continues to move, such as the Korean san-nakji, which are seasoned raw wriggling octopus tentacles meant to be swallowed whole and present a considerable choking hazard resulting from the suction cups clinging to the eater's throat.
  • Any cat owner (at least, outdoor-cat owner) can tell you that cats like to play with their food, tormenting it until they get bored before finally killing it. As with sharks, this serves a purpose for the cat; many mammalian prey animals favoured by cats, such as mice and rats, are actually quite capable of putting up a fight if they have the chance, so all that slapping and swiping serves to wear down the prey to the point where it can no longer defend itself or escape.
    • Cats are known to bring dead animals to their owners as "gifts", but sometimes the animals aren't yet dead. Again, this serves a purpose, but in the cat's mind, it's for you this time - the generally accepted theory for why cats do this is that they're trying to educate you in how to properly hunt, as cats will also bring live prey to their kittens to teach them how to catch other creatures.