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Predator-Prey Friendship

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When one hasn't tried to eat the other, you know they're the best of friends.

"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened lamb together, and a little child shall lead them all."

Two characters of different species wish to be friends, or even be lovers, however there is one even bigger issue: They're predator and prey species— one is known to kill and eat the other. Despite their instincts, they end up attracted to each other.

The predator might opt for becoming a Vegetarian Carnivore in order to avoid hurting those of their friends' species. Fantastic Racism is very common when this trope is used as well. In more anthropomorphic or fantastical works, this might bring up a Nature Versus Nurture argument. Usually the characters are animals however fantasy creatures count as well.

Sub-trope to Interspecies Friendship, Interspecies Romance, and Odd Friendship. Super-Trope to Predator Turned Protector, where the predator protects the prey friend against other predators. Might overlap with Starcrossed Lovers if romantic, and Mixed Animal Species Team if the team consists of predators and preys working together.


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  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Mighty Little Defenders, one of the goats' main goals is for the wolves to stop preying on them and become friends with them. It's not an easy task, but they eventually become friends.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Beastars is similar to Zootopia in that it takes place in a modern World of Funny Animals where predators and prey are two distinct groups with a tense relationship. Unlike Zootopia, however, here the carnivores genuinely crave the flesh of herbivores and run the risk of going feral. As such, this trope is put under the microscope in every way possible.
    • The most prominent example is Legosi, the wolf main character, and his relationship with Haru the bunny. Even though he loves her and is extremely protective of her, he still finds himself craving her flesh and has to perfect his self-control to be near her.
    • Another example is Louis, a deer who becomes the head of a ruthless gang of lions (who once kidnapped Haru as a snack for their old boss). In order to seem tough and avoid being eaten himself, he forced himself to smoke and eat meat even though doing so was making him physically sick, until one of his subordinates snuck him a salad out of genuine concern — turned out he'd already earned their respect with his business savvy, and his posturing was unnecessary.
  • Phantom Quest Corp.: The first Incident File is about a reformed vampire, named Bosco, and Makiko, a 19-year old college freshman. She was a regular patron at his tea shop, which is how they met and eventually fell in love. Makiko was the reason Bosco changed and she helps by allowing him to feed on her — four times a year at 200cc's per quarter.
  • You Are Umasou is about a T-rex who adopts a baby anklyosaur he was originally intending to eat. He told the baby "You are tasty-looking (umasou)" when he hatched, and Umasou assumes the T-rex is his dad and that Umasou is his name.

    Comic Books 
  • Albedo: Erma Felna EDF features this in a meta-sense, unlike Zootopia and Beastars, despite Fantastic Racism exist in a very different level, as the version of racism used there is handled in the same way human racism is handled in a way. Special note of the friendship between the titular heroine, an anthropomorphic cat, and her best friend Toki, an anthropomorphic mouse.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side: One strip showed a wolf offering flowers to a sheep. The caption reads, "Inevitably their affair ended: Howard worried excessively about what the pack would think and Agnes simply ate the flowers." (The working caption was the simple and obvious "Predator-prey relationships.")
  • Garfield: Garfield usually doesn't chase mice (being lazy and all) and is friends with some.
  • Krazy Kat has this between Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse: whereas they're undoubtedly Friendly Enemies, all the antagonism comes from Ignatz and (almost) all the friendliness from Krazy, who's madly in love with him. This hasn't prevented the rare moment in which Krazy's more primal reflexes are triggered, causing him to briefly stalk Ignatz in expected cat style.

    Fan Works 
  • On the Outside'' is a story about Shenzi, a hyena, and Timon, a meerkat, becoming friends.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the An American Tail series, Tiger (a cat) likes mice, not to eat, but as friends.
  • In Cat City, Cathy the kitten befriends Samu the mouse, despite her father Safranek forbidding her to play with a "filthy rodent".
  • Even Mice Belong in Heaven is about a mouse and a fox named Whizzy and Whitebelly respectively, who befriend each other in the afterlife after being taught in their mortal lives that such creatures are enemies to each other.
  • Finding Nemo:
    • Nigel is a pelican who is a loyal friend to the fish in the dentist's aquarium and who plays a major part in their escape at the end. When Nemo points out that Nigel would normally eat them, Nigel says that the fish in the aquarium are his friends even though normally "a bird's got to eat".
    • Bruce the shark and his gang of friends are a group known as the Fish-Friendly Sharks that try to live under the mantra "fish are friends, not food". While he does lose control at the smell of blood, his friends Anchor and Chum try to protect Dory and Marlin from his frenzy. After coming back to his senses, he yells for Dory and Marlin to escape the mines he accidentally set off. At the end of the movie, he's still their friend, and Dory stills attends the sharks' meetings.
    • In Finding Dory, Dory's childhood best friend is revealed to be Destiny, a whale shark. While whale sharks are filter-feeders rather than active predators, their diet includes small fish, and Dory is reunited with her by ending up in a bucket full of dead fish, similar in size to Dory, who were to be fed to Destiny.
  • The Fox and the Hound features a variant where they aren't prey and predator, but are still natural enemies. A fox kit named Tod and a Bloodhound puppy named Copper become friends however are too young to realize that Copper is a hunting-dog. When they meet as adults it becomes clear that they can't be friends anymore. They end up fighting, and Amos, Copper's owner, becomes obsessed with hunting Tod. However, when Tod rescues Copper from a gigantic grizzly bear, Copper returns the favor by placing himself between his owner's gun and the injured fox, forcing Amos to relent.
  • Diego in the first Ice Age film was only pretending to be friends with Manny and Sid, but was under orders from his pack to steal the baby human they were looking after so the sabres could eat him. After being with them for a while, he actually became their friend and underwent a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Kung Fu Panda has, among the Furious Five, two predator animals, Tigress and Viper, yet they're all good friends. Word of God said that Tigress is a Vegetarian Carnivore who only eats noodles and tofu.
  • In The Land Before Time series, the main characters are friends with a young sharptooth (a Tyrannosaurus specifically), Chomper, whose egg they found without knowing who his parents are. Justified in that they act as parental figures before Chomper's real parents find him. When they reunite a couple of movies later, Chomper helps his friends hide from his parents.
  • The Lion King: Predation Is Natural in the series. Lions are treated as a royal family who rule over other animals in their kingdom. The lions are shown to be friends with their prey and there's little animosity or fear between the animals. This creates Carnivore Confusion in The Lion Guard as Kion and his friends regularly "save" prey from their predators.
  • In Madagascar, Alex the lion is the best friend of Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo, and Melman the giraffe. Being a zoo animal, Alex has no idea where steaks come from — and when they are released to the wild, he is shocked to find out that his friends are his natural prey.
  • Moana:
    • Moana has a pig, Pua, as her close animal companion; at the beginning of the movie she is chewing on pork and exclaims "That's good pork!", upon which Pua gives a distressed reaction - and then she goes into "Oh, eh, oops, didn't mean that..." mode, trying to apologize to Pua.
    • Maui, the demi-God, takes Moana's other animal companion, Hei-Hei the rooster, with him with very clear intentions about what he's going to use Hei-Hei for: he exclaims "I'm going to enjoy you... in my belly" and repeatedly calls Hei-Hei "Drumstick". However, at the end of the movie, Maui accepts Hei-Hei as a close friend of Moana's, and foregoes the intention to eat him.
  • Open Season: Boog, a grizzly bear raised in domesticity, forms a friendship with Elliot, a mule deer, when they're stranded together in the forest.
  • Shark Tale: Great white shark Lenny, who is a Vegetarian Carnivore, forms a friendship with Oscar the fish.
  • The Wild: The primary cast is made up of both predators and prey, with the most notable friendship between Samson (Lion) and Benny (Squirrel). The former even eats rabbit meat in front of the latter, who doesn't comment on it.
  • Zootopia takes place in a World of Funny Animals. It's been thousands of years since predators have hunted prey, however there is still a fear between herbivores and carnivores/omnivores. The main tension of the film is the Fantastic Racism between the animals. The two leads, Judy and Nick, are a rabbit and a fox respectively who end up becoming friends over the course of the film.

  • In The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, Maurice the intelligent cat works with a group of equally intelligent rats and a human kid to run a Monster Protection Racket. However, he secretly does this as The Atoner because he knows that he became intelligent in the first place by eating one of the rats.
  • Bird and Croc is a children's picture book about a parrot and a crocodile who hatch next to each other and grow up thinking that they're brothers.
  • In Bravelands Fearless is a lion cub who is taken in by baboons after his father is killed and he is driven out of his pride. Fearless never quite fit in with his adopted family, however he was still a valued member of the troop. Fearless later befriends an elephant as well.
  • In The Muddle-Headed Wombat, Wombat's two best friends are Mouse and Tabby, who are also friends to each other. The question of what (or who) Tabby eats doesn't really come up.
  • The Night of Wishes: Jacob (a bird) and Maurizio (a cat) become friends while trying to stop two evil wizards in spite of cats being bird eaters.
  • One Stormy Night is a book series (later made into an animated film, manga, and anime) about a wolf named Gabu who befriends a goat named Mei. They end up running away together in order to avoid their family's criticism. The books heavily deal with Gabu trying to avoid his predator instincts.
  • Subverted in Stray. Granny Harris wants a cat but she owns a bird already. A shady pet store salesman tries to tell her that kittens can get along well with budgies. Granny Harris talks this over with a friend and comes to the conclusion that the salesman was just trying to sell her a kitten.
  • Tailchaser's Song:
    • After saving a squirrel, Tailchaser owes the squirrels and tries to convince other cats to stop hunting them. He regrets this, being uncomfortable with not hunting squirrels and feeling it is unnatural. In the end, in gratitude for the squirrels help elsewhere, Prince Fencewalker dubs a specific forest a neutral ground where it's safe for prey animals to coexist amongst cats.
    • Tailchaser has a friendly conversation with a crow, but there's still a tension between the two. The crow's son even asks afterwards if they can eat Tailchaser.
  • Midnight, from Warrior Cats, is a badger who can speak cat, fox, and rabbit as well as their species' language. This ability has led her to learn a lot about the cats and their culture, and she has become a trusted ally, helping the warriors on numerous occasions and even helping them when other badgers went to attack.


    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible has a passage in the Book of Isaiah that states that wolves and lambs will one day live peacefully together, as will leopards and goats, lions and calves, and humans. (It's often misquoted as "And the lion shall lie down with the lamb.")
  • Egyptian Mythology features the hippopotamus goddess Tawaret and the crocodile god Sobek as lovers. Crocodiles will not hesitate to eat baby hippos in real life, and a fully-grown hippo can easily bite a crocodile in half. But they get along so well that Sobek is sometimes depicted as literally part of Tawaret.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In The Muppet Musicians of Bremen, Catgut decides to give up chasing the rats, due to her old age, and befriends them.
  • Sesame Street: Big Bird and Slimey the Worm are friends, though they rarely interact. But at least Big Bird doesn't try to eat him.

    Video Games 
  • Serana and the Dragonborn can be this in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, provided the Dragonborn is not a vampire, nor a werewolf. Serana is a vampire and part of Clan Volkihar, who are known for keeping human cattle within their castle. The two of them even evolve into Platonic Life-Partners,
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce has a mutually predator/prey friendship between Kurogane, a monster hunter with PMEC who has ambitions of hunting vampires, and Yukiko, an actual vampire. It's even lampshaded that Kurogane fancies herself a vampire hunter and yet is friends with a vampire, and she laughs it off in her usual casual manner.
  • The Lonely Wolf Treat series has Fantastic Racism as a major theme, and the titular Treat is treated with fear and hostility by the rabbits of Frosting. When the friendly bunny Mochi accidentally barges into Treat's house, she quickly realizes that Treat is not as dangerous as everybody thinks despite being a predator. Treat and Mochi become good friends, and Mochi makes it her mission to convince the other rabbits that not all predators are evil.
  • Lost Home has this between the two main characters, who are an armadillo and a snake. The snake wants to eat the armadillo in the game's opening scene, but the two then find the forest where they live caught in a fire and are forced to flee. The story then follows their journey as their work together to find a new home.
  • In New Pokémon Snap, visiting Blushing Beach at night can reward you with a rare sight — a Corsola and Mareanie sitting together during Primarina's concert.

    Web Animation 
  • In an episode of the online cartoon Annie Ben and Mango, an anteater named Charo decides that she doesn't want to eat ants anymore because her best friend is an ant named Chaz. The heroes spend the entire episode trying to help her find something else she can eat so she doesn't starve.
  • Subverted in Dear Rabbit, a fan-animation to the song "But I Know I'm a Wolf" by Young Heretics. The wolf starts out hunting a rabbit but gives up partway due to wanting to befriend it. The wolf however can't ignore its instincts and ends up killing the injured rabbit anyway. It doesn't like its decision afterwards but couldn't stop itself.
  • In the animated short "Kill Wolfy," a wolf and sheep couple are at first debating which species' racism (speciesism?) against the other is worse. They end up having to fight off a horde of angry sheep who think the wolf wants to eat them. The wolf, despite being the predator species, is hilariously much smaller and pacifistic than his boyfriend. The wolf ends up fighting off other wolves trying to eat his boyfriend at the end.

    Web Comics 
  • Housepets!
    • The mouse character Spo is introduced initially by Sabrina deciding to spare him from her appetite and handing him off to Fido, upon which they become close friends. Another mouse, Squeak, develops a relationship with Joey, a dog.
    • Despite eating their leader in an earlier arc, Grape the cat introduces a group of mice to her and Peanut's theatre troupe for a performance with no bad blood.
    • Trinket, a bluejay, works briefly with Stewart, a badger. Granted, given that Stewart used to be human, the idea of eating birds may not be as appetizing to him.
  • Kevin & Kell has the main characters being a rabbit and a wolf who are married. Despite being in a World of Funny Animals, Carnivore Confusion is not a problem. Animals can kill and eat each other, but if an animal is killed and not eaten then it is considered murder. This element of the series only highlights the oddness of the main character's romance. It is taboo for a predator to hunt prey that they know personally, though.
    • It was seen as a breakthrough in her development with their daughter, Coney, started protecting some prey animals instead of indiscriminately eating all kinds of prey she just happened to encounter while hungry.
  • Justified in Sandra and Woo. Sid (a squirrel) and Shadow (a fox) were raised side-by-side in captivity after both of their parents were run over by cars, so they're practically brothers. This sometimes causes problems when Sid stops by to visit, since Shadow's mate and kits don't have the same connection to him.

    Western Animation 
  • In the An American Tail series, Tiger (a cat) likes mice, not to eat, but as friends.
  • CatDog: Played with involving Cat and Winslow. While Cat never tries to eat Winslow, the two don't exactly get along too well.
  • Dinosaur Train:
    • One of Buddy Tyrannosaurus' friends is Tank Triceratops, the stereotypical prey of Tyrannosaurus in paleoart, and was definitely preyed upon by Tyrannosaurus rex as shown by multiple fossils.
    • During the Classic in the Jurassic games, Boris Tyrannosaurus has a friendly wrestling match with a Triceratops.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Sam the Sheep Dog and Ralph the Wolf are Punch-Clock Villains (literally) to each other. Ralph only steals the sheep when on the job. After work, the pair are friendly towards each other and their shift replacements covering them.
    • In "Birds of a Father", Sylvester is shocked when he finds that his son is friends with a bird, and Sylvester Jr. is shocked when he learns that cats are supposed to eat birds.
    • While Sylvester usually chases after Tweety with intentions to eat him, in "Snow Business" they do get along well, only for Sylvester to go hungry and attempt to eat Tweety due to the lack of food (except for bird seed) in the house.
    • In "A Mouse Divided", the stork mistakenly delivers a baby mouse to Sylvester and his wife. While Sylvester initially wants to eat it, his wife immediately stops him after the mouse calls her Mama. And later, when Sylvester gets to be alone with the mouse, his wife unable to stop him from eating him, Sylvester changes his mind when the mouse calls him daddy.
  • Tom and Jerry:
    • Some shorts in the MGM Studio days had this dynamic between the notorious pair, many episodes where Tom expresses sorrow or remorse after he thinks Jerry is dead, or Jerry feeling pity when Tom is kicked out of the house. There was one episode in which the two started off as friends, and Tom only began to chase Jerry after his owner threatened to evict him if he didn't.
    • The later Hanna-Barbera episodes had the two characters as friends who found themselves with some new problem or adventure every week. There was absolutely none of antagonism between the two that existed in the older works.
  • Wunschpunsch: The two main heroes are a bird and a cat and they're friends.

    Real Life 
  • In a Tokyo zoo, a rat snake named Aochan was given a live hamster as a meal. But the two ended up being friends, to the point that Gohan (the name the hamster got) would even sleep on top of Aochan without fear.


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