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Mating Season Mayhem

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"As a young fela I scorned the young males in our tribe—they were overbold and self-satisfied. When I came into my season I made sure to be far away from the clan, so I would not be betrayed by nature into bearing a litter that I did not yet desire. I found that I enjoyed being by myself; enjoyed the solitary way of the hunter."
Roofshadow, Tailchaser's Song

Many animals have a mating season or an estrous cycle (referred as "going into heat"). Depending on the animal, this can be very messy, smelly, or (especially when it comes to males in rut) dangerous.

In fiction, mating seasons and estrous cycles are presented as a hindrance to characters. How this is presented depends on whether the character is the one in season or not.

Usually, this trope occurs for dog or cat owners during heat cycles. It's usually depicted as their female pet having gone into heat. The owner doesn't know how to deal with the mess, smell, and/or noise of an animal in heat. If they have a male pet, they'll have to quarantine them. Even if they don't have a male pet, a common gag is male animals (usually stray or free-roaming cats) hanging around their house. Sometimes this occurs with owners of tomcats, where the joke is instead that their cat is always roaming around and looking for mates.

This trope can also appear for animal or animal-like characters, ranging from Partially Civilized Animals, humanoids with animal characteristics, or aliens/monsters. In this case, heat is depicted as a more annoying version of menstruation. The trouble comes from the character's need to breed, as well as oftentimes heat itself being depicted as uncomfortably hot to experience. Mating season is prime humor potential because even normally mellow or sophisticated characters can't avoid their base instincts.

Another common joke is people in the wilderness during mating season. This usually leads to an animal attack due to the high amount of animals in the area.

Compare to My Instincts Are Showing, No Periods, Period, and All Periods Are PMS.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cat Planet Cuties: When Eris hits her first mating season, it causes her to go even more hyper and sexually suggestive than normal, and she attempts to forcefully kiss not just Kio but also Manami. Dr. Durel ends up being forced to give her an injection to end it early so she doesn't cause any further trouble.
  • The Pokémon: The Original Series episode "Forest Grumps" revolves around the gang being attacked by angry Ursaring during mating season.
  • Chapter 81 of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid deals with Ilulu going into heat and attempting to force herself onto Kobayashi. Tohru's attempts to tire her out with a sparring match fail, as Ilulu simply goes onto her instead.
  • Being a Cat Girl Nekomata, Koneko of High School D×D can go into this. However, being also fairly physically small at her age means that actually going through with it and getting pregnant would be very dangerous, and thus she and Issei avoid actually going through with the instincts of heat.
  • Interspecies Reviewers discusses this trope on several levels.
    • The centaur women from the Transportation guild have issues with going into estrus, so they have a part-time job as succu-girls that they only do when they need to deal with this.
    • The Warm Raw Egg is a 'joint' where egglaying females can go to 'put on a show' of laying their unfertilized eggs. The same chapter/episode also shows Meidri having some discomfort as her time to lay unfertilized eggs popped up, thus inspiring the Reviewers to visit the Warm Raw Egg.
  • Seton Academy: Join the Pack!: Ranka Okami the wolf-girl goes into heat and causes no shortage of trouble for Jin Mazama, asking him to mate with her while he's begrudgingly looking after her. Instead he breaks her heart by sneering that he hates her, though he wasn't being truthful.

    Comic Books 
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: While visiting Dr. Moreau, the heroes encounter a bear-man hybrid, and learn that he has violent sexual instincts which are calmed by sending him to an old gypsy woman. Not to calm him with drugs or potions, but have sex with her until his aggression drops.

    Fan Works 
  • In From Behind Bars, the zoo keepers introduce a female in heat to Mufasa and Scar in hopes that they'll have cubs. This annoys Mufasa because he has difficulties staying faithful to his mate Sarabi, who is still back home in Africa.
  • Heat is a Naruto fanfic where Naruto (a boy) has been having heat cycles since he was six due to the Nine-Tales Fox (who is also male) being trapped inside him. He finds them annoying but usually secludes himself until they're finished. Now that he's sixteen, however, he's having troubled dealing with his attraction to Hinata during heat.
  • The plot of Linked in Life and Love kicks off when Blake goes into heat and she runs out of the medication normally distributed to Faunus to suppress it while stuck in her room due to a lockdown.
  • Triptych Continuum: In Cutie Mark Crusaders Alpha Pack Leader, Apple Bloom winds up with just about every male dog (of a certain age) in Ponyville following her — because unknown to her, Winona is in heat and AB's picked up the scent. They're waiting for her to lead them back to the border collie. She decides she may be on the verge of manifesting a mark for canine training. Dogsledding ensues. Using a "borrowed" sleigh. On grass. In the summer.
  • The Teen Titans fic Prey Mate starts when the half-demon Raven hits her second heat. She looks for someone to help with her heat and ends up attracted to Jinx (due to Jinx's magical abilities).
  • Played for Drama in Chemistry. If Cadance doesn't take her medication, she enters a heat-like state which is very uncomfortable and hard to temper.
  • Daily Equestria Life with Monster Girl has a variant. Technically, centaurs don't have a mating season. Biologically, they are capable of sex at any time and their interests don't wax and wane. However, in the modern era centaur reproduction requires certain special arrangements to be made, arrangements complicated and risky enough that they are only used once a year, during a few nights in the spring.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Back to the Outback, with the bulk of the film taking place during funnel web spider mating season, Frank keeps involuntarily starting up a mating dance, and at one point flirtatiously asks a black widow spider if she is busy later.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Congo, as the adventuring crew set up camp for their first night in the jungle, they're kept up by the constant noise of monkey screeching all around them, which happens to be because it's their mating season.
    Monroe: When there's a moon like that, every monkey for 200 miles thinks he's Elvis Presley.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them features a female Erumphent (a rhinoceros-like creature) who escapes from Newt Scamander's Bigger on the Inside magical briefcase. As it's her mating season, he finds her at a zoo, attempting to mate with a much smaller hippo and having already destroyed much of the area with her large size. Newt even attempts to lure her back into the case using the musk of a male of her species and imitating the male's mating dance.

  • A Dog's Purpose:
    • In his first life, Toby lives in a compound with several other dogs. One day he notices that he's discovered a new "game" to play with his best friend, a female named Coco. She doesn't like it so much. Toby's annoyed that all the other males also want to play his new "game". As it turns out, Coco was in heat and all the males wanted to mount her. Coco, Toby, and a few other dogs are promptly sterilized.
    • Three reincarnations in, the protagonist reincarnates into a bitch for the first time. Having always been neutered, Ellie doesn't understand her first heat cycle. She just finds it uncomfortable and smelly. Ellie is promptly spayed after her cycle ends.
  • Stray: In his youth, Pufftail was a Casanova who would chase after any female cat in heat that he could scent. His yowling and flirting often annoyed both owners and other humans.
  • It's briefly mentioned in Tailchaser's Song that Roofshadow avoids males during heat in order to stop herself from having a litter she doesn't want yet.
  • In Mark Of The Cat, the women of the Outer Regions may go into heat. note  Those that do emit pheromones that attract the attention of every man in the vicinity. They compete to impress her, and she chooses her favorite to mate with. Rather like cats, in fact.
  • Hares in Frost Dancers call mating season "frost dancing". It's a turbulent season where jacks fight over jills. It's the only time where hares have a hierarchy.
  • The Parshendi in The Stormlight Archive are a race of crustacean people who can change between different forms every Highstorm. Each form is suited to a different task, and influences the mind of the user as well as the body. Mateform makes the wearer silly and irresponsible, focused almost entirely on sex, so most Parshendi prefer other forms when they don't want to reproduce.
  • In World War, the Race have a specific mating season, and once females arrive on Earth, they cause mass chaos by Making Love in All the Wrong Places. Once it's discovered that ginger makes females go into heat at any time, this lessens and some even use it to try out the utterly alien concept of monogamy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • Vulcans experience pon farr every seven years, a hormonal imbalance that will kill them unless they mate or participate in a Duel to the Death. Being a Proud Scholar Race, they find the whole experience extremely mortifying, and to make matters worse, pon farr will inevitably occur in the most inconvenient and messy way possible, dragging the afflicted Vulcans (and their friends unlucky enough to find themselves caught in the middle) through an episode's worth of violent chaos.
      • The episode that introduced the concept, "Amok Time" from Star Trek: The Original Series, shows Spock gradually losing his mind to the madness while trying to keep the whole thing from his friends. When Kirk finally gets him to confess, he invites the captain and McCoy to his wedding, only for it to go off the rails when the bride insists Spock fight to win her hand and picks Kirk as the other fighter. The results leave Spock devastated almost to the point of suicide before he finds out Kirk wasn't really dead.
      • The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Blood Fever" has the insanity crossing racial boundaries when Vorik, one of the Vulcan crewmen, starts losing his mind to pon farr. He forces a mind meld on B'Elanna when she turns down his advances, infecting her with the madness.
    • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Manhunt", Lwaxana Troi is going through the Betazoid equivalent of menopause (called "The Phase"), which causes a tremendous increase in her sex drive. She tries to mate with Captain Picard and get married to Commander Riker.
  • In Dark Angel, Max's feline DNA causes her to go into heat a few times a year. In the second season, when she's carrying a virus tailored to kill her boyfriend Logan, this causes... issues.

  • In the Eels song "End Times", the narrator has to deal with this while trying to get over a breakup.
    Outside my window there's a cat in heat
    Shut up cat, and leave me alone.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Multiple arcs in Footrot Flats deal with the antics of the Dog (and the other dogs) trying to get to Jess when she's in heat.

    Video Games 
  • In Monster Hunter:
    • As revealed in Monster Hunter Portable 3rd (and reinstated in all future games where the monster appears), the Black Diablos are female Diablos in heat. Their shells turn black during the mating season and they are much more aggressive and hostile toward intruders than usual, meaning that both the hunters and the creatures around face huge trouble when a Black Diablos is nearby.
    • Monster Hunter Generations: Male Mitzusune have been known to go berserk during the mating season, they typically aren't hunted (and there are laws saying that they normally can't) but during the mating season, hunting requests come in to hunt males that have gone berserk near inhabited areas.
  • In Don't Starve, normally peaceful beefalo become extremely aggressive during mating season, during which baby beefalo spawn offscreen.

  • In the furry comic S.S.D.D. Annie, as an anthropomorphic red fox, goes into heat once a year. It starts out as her acting even hornier than normal, but then turns into a massive case of PMS.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Musth has been bred out of Uplifted elephants, though occasionally used as an insult. In the non-uplifted ones it's usually suppressed by nanobots, but those can be hacked.
  • Sorcery 101 mentions that werewolves experience this during January, and unlike with real wolves, it affects both sexes. A Breather Episode chapter explores this for comedy.

    Web Original 
  • Chakona Space: Many species of "morph" have some variety of estrus cycle, the hermaphroditic chakats have both a "heat" and "rut" cycle.

    Western Animation 
  • In the South Park episode "Cat Orgy", Cartman's cat is in heat and attracts every male cat in town to his home, where they have the titular orgy.
  • The Futurama episode "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?" has Zoidberg behaving erratically because it's mating season for his species. He ends up in a duel to the death with Fry over a decapodian woman in a parody of Star Trek's "Amok Time".
  • In an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Zorak is in a frenzy because it's mating season (especially because it's his first time). The issue is complicated by the fact that females of his species eat the male after mating.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Mewman females such as Star go through a process known as "Mewberty." It starts with them shedding little hearts whenever they're around attractive boys, and ends with them transforming into a six-armed butterfly monster that captures and cocoons every male it comes across. Unfortunately despite how horrifying the whole event is for everyone involved, there's nothing you can do other than letting it run its course. After Star's Mewberty, she has tiny wings that she can barely use to flutter, and her mother later demonstrates the ability to go into six-armed butterfly mode at will.

    Real Life 
  • Male elephants go into a period called musth when they're ready to mate. The condition can be identified by what look like tear streaks on the head and dribbling urine. They're extremely dangerous and unpredictable during this time due to the pain caused by the swollen glands on their head combined with a massive boost in their testosterone levels, basically turning into Real Life examples of Cruel Elephant.
  • Male deer, elk, moose, and caribou all enter rut during mating season. Their antlers become extremely itchy, causing them to scratch the velvet off them and reveal the sharp bone underneath. They also become extremely aggressive and begin gathering into groups to fight, which can sometimes be to the death if the loser doesn't flee fast enough. They're also known to occasionally attack and sometimes even kill humans in this state.
  • The male antechinus undergoes some drastic hormonal changes during the mating season in order to increase reproductive output. The side-effect of this is that these changes can and often are fatal, which encourages the males to roam as far as they can and mate with as many females as possible, often to the point of foregoing food and water. Between the extreme hormonal changes, starvation, dehydration, and simple exhaustion, it's very rare for males to survive more than one mating season.