It's small. It's fluffy. It's adorable. But if you get on its bad side, your death will be swift and painful. Beware the cute ones.
Related to but distinct from Fluffy the Terrible, as well as being sort of a subtrope to Our Monsters Are Weird, the Killer Rabbit is any monster that's far more dangerous than it looks. Maybe it's strong for its size, poisonous on a massive level, has flesh-rending pointy bits that aren't readily apparent, or can just turn into something far more dangerous. Particularly devastating ones can even be Instakill Mooks. Either way, it can make a person wary of picking on small, defenseless animals, much like the Old Master can make a person more eager to respect their elders. In many cases, the creature isn't even all that harmful unless you actually mess with it, whether intentionally or not.
This trope takes its name from the "Dread Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog" in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which seems to be a completely ordinary bunny rabbit, with the notably unusual ability to leap through the air at high speed and tear out people's throats.
This creature is also known as a "Vorpal Bunny", a name which comes from the monster of that name in the original Wizardry game from 1981, possibly inspired by the Monty Python movie and is named after "The Vorpal Blade", a fictional sword used to decapitate the title creature in the Lewis Carroll poem "Jabberwocky". The name also spread (via Dungeons & Dragons) to other games such as Quest for Glory and Ultima Online.
There's enough truth behind this that one of the first things many children are taught is "don't try to play with any animal until you know it's friendly." (Another lesson, learned later in life by many, sometimes too late, is: "Animals can become unfriendly pretty damn fast.")
Specific types of Killer Rabbits include Evil Girl Scouts and Ridiculously Cute Critters that are secretly evil. Civilizations that are more dangerous than they look are Superweapon Surprises. Killer Rabbits are the most notable subversion of What Measure Is a Non-Cute?, which is pervasive enough for everyone to assume that cute animals are friendly by default.
This trope is pervasive enough that if any of the Standard Fantasy Races in games seems to be cute and harmless, they would by definition have to be occasional Killer Rabbits to make them viable to play.
For cases where the Killer Rabbit is a literal rabbit, see Hair-Raising Hare.
Psycho Poodle is another subtrope of this.
If it has a scary name, but not a scary demeanor (such as Tasmanian devils), it's Deathbringer the Adorable. If it's scary-looking but innocent, it might be a Cute Monster.
Compare: Happy Fun Ball, Beware the Nice Ones, Pint-Sized Powerhouse, The Catfish, Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, Cute, but Cacophonic, Badass Adorable, Super-Fun Happy Thing of Doom, Cute Creature, Creepy Mouth, and The Not-So-Harmless Punishment. If the video game character becomes a Killer Rabbit only when you hamper him, then he's Savage Setpiece.
Contrast Paper Tiger, which looks menacing but is virtually harmless.
Not to be confused with Kill da Wabbit.
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- The Chainsaw Ferret Massacre Mountain.
- The Bud Ice Penguins.
- This Fruitsnackia commercial, "Claw Machine" involves Larry trying to win a cute plush toy for his girlfriend Gigi after failing to impress her with the high striker. However, the machine comes to life and puts Larry inside it. He then gets squeezed and fed to the plush toys that turn out to be violent little monsters.
- Knights of the Dinner Table. There was the 'squirrel as a fifth level monster' from the strip "The Most Dangerous (Small) Game". Also, llamas in B.A.'s campaign have horns and gore people.
- Twisted Toyfare Theatre usually brings in unpopular characters in order to gruesomely kill them for a Take That!. The Ewoks, however, instead became a race of vicious, psychopathic Killer Rabbits who dismember, kill, and eat anything that crosses them. Mostly because they are little carnivores with no regards for intelligent life, from the original canon.
- The eponymous critters in the Frank Hayes filk song Little Fuzzy Animals are examples of this trope.
- "Dogz Don't Kill People (Wabbitz Do)" — courtesy of Mouldie Lookin' Stain, a.k.a. Chris Moyles.
- "Chosen Ones" by Megadeth is all about the killer rabbit from Monty Python.
- "Furever" by Marc Jungermann tells the story of a ferocious bunny with a sharp knife — thoroughly illustrated in the music video.
- "Kitten Is Angry" by Lemon Demon
- Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters from a Planet near Mars, by "Weird Al" Yankovic.
- "Killa Bunnies" by Moloko is about exactly what it says in the title.
- The pink teddy bear in the music video for "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons. It seems like it's getting curb-stomped by the monstrous stuffed gorilla like all the other living stuffed toys fighting in the arena, but then it takes it out in one glowing-energy-punch — and then destroys two human goons with Eye Beams.
- "Scuzzy Kizoozle Curl, the Homicidal Squirrel" by Hank Green.
- "Story about a Poor Blue Rabbit" describes how a child kills and eats his mother because he never wants her to leave him.
- The Ur-Examples are marginalia in illuminated medieval manuscripts, depicting knights running away from rabbits as - yes - a sign of cowardice.
- Valak from the Ars Goetia manifests in the form of a small, innocent-looking child with wings, yet he is the Grand President of Hell.
- The Al-mi'raj, from Islamic poetry is a literal version of this. Looks like an ordinary bunny with a large horn. Is a voracious carnivore that will fearlessly kill and eat creatures several times its size without effort, and vicious and territorial to the point where witchcraft is the recommended way to deal with one. Bear in mind that witchcraft is strictly forbidden in Islam.
- The Jackelope is another quite literal example. It looks like a jack rabbit with a tiny pair of deer antlers but eats the hearts of predators that normally eat rabbits.
- Greek Mythology had sheep with wool that shined like the sun. They were also partially carnivorous and venomous.
- Aztec Mythology's Huitzilopochtli is their god of war, conquest and sun who defeated his 400 other brothers and sisters after birth and the main reason for the religion's infamous Human Sacrifice. He's also strongly associated with the diminuitive hummingbirds — indeed, his very name means something to the effect of "Hummingbird's South/Left" — and hummingbirds on the Earth were said to be the Reincarnations of fallen warriors. The association comes from the hummingbird's energy, metabolism, and aggressive behavior defending its territory being in common with Huitzilopochtli's constant defence of his mother which required the Human Sacrifices to give him strength.
- The Leapers in Scared Stiff, which resemble frogs but sport Lamprey Mouths and Eat the Camera when provoked.
- Krypto the Super Dog may be a cute white puppy, but as Plumbing the Death Star spins it, he's also an invincible, lightning-fast alien monster with the strength of a locomotive and no capacity. If anyone upset him, there'd be no way to calm him down before the amoral hound ripped out their jugular. There's a reason he gets voted the third most horrifying hero ahead of the likes of Wolverine.
- Pokémon World Tour: United: Rose's Togepi, Scramble, is as cute as any baby Pokemon could ever hope to be. It rides in Rose's backpack, acts as her secretary and keeps things organized, and is an overall Cheerful Child. However, its primary attack, Metronome, has an unsettling tendency to call upon the powers of large, imposing, and/or Legendary Pokemon. Over the course of the first act it uses attacks specific to Giratina, Mewtwo, Rayquaza, and Zygarde. Rose loves her little Scramble and sees her as an angel. Anyone else who's seen Scramble in action is just a little afraid of the power she can throw around.
- The Muppet Show: In the Alan Arkin episode, some bunnies drink Dr. Honeydew's Jekyll-Hyde potion and turn into vicious little critters that attack people.
- Fizgigg from The Dark Crystal. If a tribble and a bear trap had a baby....
- "HI, I'M A BUNNY!" This is a subversion. You don't need to be a genius to realize how dangerous Carl is...especially if you fit in his mouth.
- Bleak Expectations: A pack of under-water squirrels, who are capable of biting arms off, and chase Pip Bin, and his aunt, across the length of Britain for revenge after Pip ate several of them.
- Subverted with the killer sloth ("Nature's deadliest and slowest assassin!"), who is expected to violently kill Pip, his sister Pippa and best friend Harry Biscuit... only for it to remain asleep, even with the assistance of coffee. It then gets blown up along with the building it and the protagonists were in.
- In the the radio show Old Harry's Game, Satan finds the most evil being in the world is a Dolphin. Called Chuckles.
- In one episode of A Prairie Home Companion, cowboys Dusty and Lefty come across "The Free-Range Chicken", which they then engage, and nearly lose to, in a gunfight.
- The South Sydney Rabbitohs have won more premierships than any other Rugby League team in Australia. note
- The Pittsburgh Penguins. Penguins are not exactly known for their toughness.
- The Youngstown State Penguins were the dominant team of The '90s on the I-AA/FCS level of Collegiate American Football.
- How exactly the Saints (New Orleans, St Kilda, Southampton) pull off a appropriately-tough brand and team image when their chosen name evokes beatific serenity, patience, and long suffering for their beliefs, is a tricky question. A few American colleges (Aquinas in Michigan, Saint Francis in Illinois, Santa Fe in Florida) even go a step further in this direction by using Saints, then having their mascot be that paragon of cuddly, Gentle Giant heroism, the Saint Bernard.
- The battle for "most kawaii college sports mascot" comes down to the Cal State Monterey Bay Sea Otters versus the Columbia College (of South Carolina) Koalas (Columbia's sports logo tries to avert High Koala-ty Cuteness, though).
- The Werebears toys were seemingly adorable teddy bears with reversible heads and paws that would reveal their "nasty" face when turned inside out.
- Aurora's Monster Scenes line of model kits featured a very fearsome-looking "sabre tooth rabbit" in a large jar as part of the Mad Scientist Laboratory kit "Gruesome Goodies."
- Fiesty Pets, which look like harmlessly cute animals at first, but when you squeeze their backs they bare their fangs and scowl.
- After playing Hatoful Boyfriend to completion, Chukar partridges feel like singly terrifying little fluffy heretics.
- Thanks to the other characters, the "Bad Boys Love" route, and the sequel Holiday Star, fantail pigeons and king quail are not far behind on the list of adorable birds that you will fear forever. Bad Boys Love reveals Yuuya and "Kazuaki" to be murderers, and Holiday Star ultimately reveals what happened to the real Nanaki Kazuaki.
- Umineko: When They Cry has the Chiester Sisters, very cute and innocent-looking rabbit girls… who can detect you, lock you on and shoot you dead with absolute precision from a kilometer away. Their arrows are homing and armor-piercing, so hiding is useless.
- The Bunnykill web animation series. A liberal exercise in the trope of Killer Rabbitry (and Katanas Are Just Better).
- Happy Tree Friends has several small animals that are for some reason vicious. Whistle, the man-eating puppy, a man-eating baby turtle, and a flock of man-eating ducks have all appeared. Plus, well, most of the cast.
- The Metal Gear Solid short "Crab Battle!", where Naked Snake gets his ass handed to him by a Kenyan Mangrove Crab.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Puppy Bot, the friendly, child-sized, bulletproof axe murderer. If you survive, be sure to check out the man-eating ponies in his van.
- This short animated film Red where Little Red Riding Hood refuses the advances of the wolf (who looks like a slightly feral child wearing a wolf costume) after spilling the cakes she was going to bring to her grandmother. After leaving brokenhearted, Red encounters a unicorn-horned rabbit, which she hugs (not noticing the evil toothed grin it makes before mutating into a bear-sized horned monster that was ready to devour Red before the wolf comes back in time to save the day.
- Sock is an adorable ever-smiling hamster. He is also a demon that destroys an entire city with his army of monsters from hell.
- The series True Tail includes a small rabbit girl named Melody the Bard. Not only does she have a lute, she has a whole plethora of ninja daggers!
"Aaaaaawwwwww, look at the cute little AAAAH OH GOD MY ARM IT ATE MY ARM OH GOD THE PAIN!"