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Rampage from a Nail

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SpongeBob SquarePants: "But what about Gary, then? If he doesn't have a disease, why'd he bite all those people, including me?"
Dr. Gil Gilliam: "Hmm... mm-hmmm... Ahh! The problem's right here: He's got a little splinter in his foot."
SpongeBob SquarePants, "Once Bitten"

You're just minding your own business when there is suddenly a commotion aroused nearby. A Savage Wolf suddenly appears snarling and chasing everyone in town. No matter what happens, you can't seem to subdue the wolf. Suddenly, as the wolf turns around, you look and see that there is a thorn stuck in the wolf's left hind paw so you quickly trap the wolf with a net. Once the wolf has been subdued, you pull the thorn out from the wolf's foot. The wolf gets back up again, but this time, he starts licking your face and wagging his tail, happy that the thorn is removed.

This is when a creature of some sort wreaks havoc in a nearby community, due to the fact that there is a sharp object stuck on a part of its body. Once you remove the sharp object, the creature is no longer angry. Sometimes, the animal might just run back into the forest without a display of gratitude or affection for whoever stopped the pain.

Not to be confused with: For Want of a Nail, In Spite of a Nail, or I Broke a Nail. Compare: Androcles' Lion.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • This is essentially the effect of "black gears" in Digimon Adventure and dark rings and dark spirals in Digimon Adventure 02.
  • In the Fresh Pretty Cure! movie, Inori/Cure Pine gets stuck in a prehistoric jungle and got chased off by an angry Tyrannosaurus rex. But then, Pine found out that it's just in a rampage because a glass or sorts got stuck in its leg, so being the Kindly Vet, Pine removed that glass thing to calm it down.
  • This happened five times in Pokemon The Series:
    • The Kanto episode "To Master The Onixpected" had Elite Four member Bruno capture an Onix after pulling out a Sandslash that had been lodged between two segments of its rock body.
    • The Sinnoh episode "Faced With Steelix Determination" involved a Steelix going on a mad rage near a village of Bidoof because of some shovels that Team Rocket had accidentally jabbed into its head. Made even worse when it was nearing a large lake during its anger (Steelix are Steel and Ground Pokemon and are weak against water). Fortunately, Ash and the gang, with help from the Bidoof, were able to remove the shovels before Steelix could fall into the lake.
    • A wild Elekid is acting unusually aggressive and seems to be far more powerful than an Elekid should be. After some investigating, it is determined that the Elekid had been struck by lighting, causing it to be overcharged. It goes back to normal after Pikachu also catches a lightning bolt and fights it and forces it to discharge all the excess electrical energy.
    • Later Professor Oak proved his identity by identifying that a Tyranitar had a splinter in its foot. The Tyranitar didn't go on a rampage but its trainer said it had been acting grumpy lately.
    • A Best Wishes episode had a wild Gigalith that was terrorizing town while Ash was battling against Unova Champion Alder. Alder then noticed that Gigalith had a nail stuck in its foot so he removed it.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman and Spider-Man: Hulk is on a rampage and Superman discovers a tiny little machine is emitting a sound that is driving Hulk crazy. Superman destroys it and soon after Hulk begins to calm down.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • The MLP crack fic King Sombra's Greatest Weakness does this to Sombra's entire rampage: After his village was afflicted with hoof rot, Sombra couldn't step on anything without suffering, only marginally helped by his boots, which are adapted into a sort of primitive orthopedic. The whole story kicks off because Sombra ends up stepping on a nail during a monologue, the pain fed negative emotion into his dark magic, and his motive, of course, was to inflict pain on others, physically or mentally, because he was in so much himself. He does get better, though, and this changes things; he can no longer utilize dark magic due to the pain being gone, his outlook is more positive (though the counselling might have helped,) he doesn't need his boots anymore, and when another nail makes itself known, Sombra doesn't feel a thing. Of course, he never promised nicety during his pain-induced swearing on Faust...
    The doctor had exclaimed that it was a miracle that Sombra could walk without screaming, and he had never seen hooves so terrible on any living pony that didn't involve sticking a limb in a wood chipper.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone, 26 helps Stinktooth out with a splinter stuck in his teeth, after which he considerably mellows out and befriends the heroes.
  • Kirikou and the Sorceress: The sorceress has a massive thorn in her back, stuck so deeply in the only way to remove it is with your teeth. When it's removed, she gets better.
  • The boar at the beginning of Princess Mononoke was crazy/evil because of a bullet (or rather the ensuing infection).
  • A supernatural variant occurs in Spirited Away. The bathhouse is besieged by a rather grouchy stink spirit; while it's in the bath, Chihiro notices that it has a thorn in its side actually the handlebar from a bicycle, which leads to a lot of miscellaneous junk stuck in its body, the result of people throwing unwanted objects into the river. When she pulls the thorn and everything else along with it out, the stink spirit transforms into a much more benign river spirit.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Descendants, Beast-Ben's aggressive behavior turns out to be due to a large thorn in his palm. Carlos calms him down and removes the thorn, after which Beast-Ben is no longer violent, albeit still animalistic.
  • In the Hallmark miniseries adaptation of Dinotopia, the first proper encounter with a dinosaur is when Karl and David come to a village and an ankylosaur suddenly charges in, smashing everything around it. Female lead Marion fearlessly walks up and yanks one of the ankylosaur's teeth out—it turns out that it had a nasty toothache. No longer in pain, the ankylosaur lumbers back into the forest.
  • Inversion: In House of Frankenstein, removing the stake from the heart area of Dracula's skeleton lets him instantly re-form and go on a "rampage" of bloodsucking.
  • In the film Jungle Boy, main character Suresh figures out that a horse is rearing because of something stuck in its hoof.
  • The film Namu The Killer Whale had one of these—Namu was provoked into a rage by someone throwing him a fish rigged with a hook. He finally calmed when someone found the hook and pulled it out.
  • In Snow Dogs, the malamute Demon seems to have a permanently vicious temperament. Near the end of the film, we learn that it's all due to a bad tooth. Ted (a dentist) pulls out the tooth, and Demon gratefully licks his face.

  • Riftwar Cycle: A bear went on a rampage because it had an arrowhead stuck in it. The arrowhead was shown be made oddly or wrong, and its maker—also assumed to be the one who shot it, ended up wanted for murder—specifically of those the bear had killed in its rampage.
  • Beren and Lúthien: Carcharoth was already evil and violent to begin with when he ate the hand of Beren, which caused him to go on a mindless rampage - probably because the hand in question was holding a silmaril at the time, meaning that Carcharoth's guts were engulfed in constant burning agony. Possibly one of the most extreme examples of this trope—both in terms of deadliness of rampage and the pain.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the first episode of the Dinotopia miniseries, an Ankylosaurus is driven into a rampage by a bad toothache. Marion manages to calm it long enough to pull the offending tooth.

  • In Dino Attack RPG, Rex's only tamed Mutant T-Rex, Maw, suddenly went on a maddened rampage and, in the process, nearly killed Dino Attack Team's founding members. When Rex was finally able to calm Maw down, he discovered that the T-Rex had been stabbed in the foot by Sam Sinister.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Angron and his World Eaters are the absolute incarnation of this trope. Hell, they got devices called Butcher's Nails in their heads that cause them to go batshit insane with anger. And you know what? We may never know, but Angron could have been the most brotherly primarch (read: Demi-God) if he didn't had that mind raping, eternally hurting device installed on his skull by Nucerian Slavers, based on his and the Twelfth Legion's past.

    Video Games 
  • Champions Online: The reason for the Qualar invasion in the tutorial; several devices in champion's headquarters are making a sound that is "driving the Qualar CRAZY!
  • DuckTales Remastered: The Yeti boss of the Himalayas attacks Scrooge because of the Crown of Ghengis Khan stuck in her foot.
  • Frogger's Journey: The Forgotten Relic: The Blob in Atlantis is revealed to have been rampaging because of an anchor stuck inside it that came from one of Eric's ships.
  • Mass Effect: The rachni are wreaking havoc on the research station on Noveria. It turns out this is because they are separated from their mother, causing them to become mindless and violent. The original Rachni Wars were also a result of this: the rachni are normally a peaceful species, but the Reapers made a "sour, yellow note" that caused the rachni to viciously attack the salarians and asari.
  • Eely-Mouth in Super Mario Sunshine goes on one of these. Its dental hygiene is so bad that it severely pollutes the entirety of Noki Bay, and the boss fight with it only lasts until you clean all its teeth. Upon doing so, it spits out a Shine Sprite it was using as a false tooth and retreats, leaving a heart-shaped arrangement of coins in its wake.

    Web Comics 
  • In one Oglaf strip, a dentist-wizard ends a monster's rampage by curing the beast's impacted molar.

    Western Animation 
  • The Care Bears: Adventure in Wonderland had the Jabberwocky, who was in a state of crankiness, due to a thorn stuck in his paw. With the combined effort of everyone, the thorn was removed, inciting the Jabberwocky's Heel–Face Turn.
  • In the ChalkZone episode "That Thing You Drew", the Yadda Yadda Yeti turns out to be good-natured and was only acting fierce because she had a pickle dog stuck between her toes and it was causing her pain.
  • In the Danny Phantom episode "Infinite Realms", Danny's first encounter with Frostbite has Frostbite attack him and his friends, but ceasing his attack and becoming friendly when Danny discovers and removes an icicle stuck in his back.
  • Dink, the Little Dinosaur: Dink and his friends had to convince a really huge dinosaur to help them in one episode. He initially refused, stating he had his own share of trouble, he had a thorn stuck on his foot.
  • An episode of Doug, with the eponymous character posing as his superhero persona Quailman, involved a giant monster created by Dr. Rubbersuit called Klotzilla that was rampaging throughout the city. Quailman then discovered that said monster had a thorn stuck in his foot and removes the thorn, helping Klotzilla from the pain he was in.
  • Dragons: Riders of Berk: In "Viking for Hire", Hookfang had a bad tooth, and it makes him lash out. Once Gobber pulled it, he returned to normal.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "Little Ed Blue", Ed becomes abnormally grumpy and bad-tempered, and goes on a rampage that genuinely scares the entire cast, all because he has a pebble in his shoe. Edd can't believe that it was all over so small a problem when it's finally resolved and Ed goes back to being his regular happy self.
  • In one episode Eek! The Cat, Eek is being chased by an angry dinosaur, and then discovers it's only angry because of a corn cob stuck in its foot. The dinosaur then turns out to be very friendly after Eek pulls the cob out.
  • Subverted in The Fairly OddParents! season 10 premiere "The Great Fairy Share Scare", where Crocker shows video footage of Chloe Carmichael appearing to stop a giant monster from attacking a city after removing a splinter in his foot. When Timmy is later made aware of why Chloe is miserable enough that he has to share his fairy godparents Cosmo and Wanda with her, it is revealed that after Chloe removed the splinter, she unwittingly encouraged the monster to destroy the city by telling him that she accepted him for what he is, a monster intent on destroying the city.
  • Mickey Mouse (2013): "The Boiler Room", the boiler initially attacks Mickey due to a pipe being blocked by a wrench. Once the wrench is removed, the boiler immediately stops being hostile
  • In the second episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Fluttershy manages to calm down an angry manticore attacking the group, and learns that its fury was because of a thorn in its paw.
  • In an episode of The Powerpuff Girls (1998), the giant flaming squirrel rampaging through Townsville turns out to be saying "Help! Put me out! I'm on fire!" in Spanish. Bubbles is able to translate thanks to her ability to speak Spanish. Blossom is able to put out the fire with her ice breath. The bulk of the episode is then dedicated to Buttercup trying to find her own special power.
  • In The Simpsons, a bear that assaulted Homer was aggressive because of some electronic chip attached to his ear.
  • In one Robot Chicken sketch, a red dragon attacks a city, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have to stop it. They soon realize the dragon is angry because of a skin condition, so they scrub it and clean it until the red scales turn pink, making the dragon feel much better and no longer willing to attack. Then the girls rip its skull out of its head.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • "The Smoking Peanut" has a giant clam behaving this way. Everyone thinks it's because it had a peanut thrown at it, but later it turns out its egg was stolen.
    • There was also one episode in which Gary is entirely unruly and goes around biting people. It turns out it's from a splinter. A very, very large splinter. Large enough to almost make this example a parody.
    • Another episode parodies this with an entire army of whelks attacking Bikini Bottom because they had a cold.
  • What A Cartoon! Show: The lion in the second Yuckie Duck short "I'm On My Way" gets a tack stuck in his rear end.

    Real Life 
  • It was suspected that the rogue elephant of Aberdare Forest behaved the way it did because it had a bullet lodged near the nerve center of its tusk.
  • One theory for why elephants in musth become erratic and violent is that they’re in extreme pain from their swollen temporal glands, similar to a toothache.
  • The maneating leopard of Gummalapur had two porcupine quills stuck in one forefoot, making it unable to run after faster prey. Interestingly, the Androcles' Lion trope is also present in this story, but with a twist: the hunter assigned to kill the leopard, Kenneth Anderson, fed a hungry stray dog that later helped him locate the leopard. Anderson called the dog Nipper and adopted him.
  • Heartwarming example with a tiger here.
  • Subverted in the case of the Maneaters of Tsavo: one of the lions had a broken jaw that had healed, probably due to being kicked by a zebra or wildebeest, so it was initially assumed that it had become a maneater due to being unable to hunt its normal prey. However, an analysis of the Tsavo attacks showed that the lions were primarily hunting humans only during the dry season when herd animals were scarce. During the rainy season when the herds returned, the lion attacks slacked off, indicating that they were in fact merely targeting the humans opportunistically.


Video Example(s):


Snow Dogs: Demons Tooth

Demon the Siberian Husky is vicious due to having a bad tooth. Ted easily fixes it because he is a dentist.

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4.2 (5 votes)

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Main / RampageFromANail

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