You're just walking along minding your own business, or just standing around doing nothing. Everything is calm and peaceful, with no sign of danger or anything. Looks like today will be a nice, quiet-
Hey, how'd you get up in that tree?
This Comedy Trope, which uses similar principles to Pain-Powered Leap, is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a character develops astonishing jumping powers when startled, able to leap ten or twenty feet from a standing start. If it happens outdoors, the person or creature may be discovered clinging to a roof awning or other tall object; if indoors, he or she may be found doing an involuntary Ceiling Cling, or having left an Impact Silhouette in their wake in more cartoonish fare.
- Several Garfield strips had this happen to Jon, usually when Garfield scares him.
- One strip had Charlie Brown and Sally walking to school. While waiting for the bus, Charlie Brown tells Lucy that Sally is so scared about her first day of kindergarten that if someone even mentions kindergarten while she's around, she'd jump 30 feet in the air. Putting this theory to the test, Lucy says "Kindergarten" to Sally, who then promptly jumps up into the air in fear. Lucy then muses, "Only 10 feet. I knew you were exaggerating."
- Her brother Linus actually got Snoopy to clear thirty feet during an arc where Snoopy's house was supposed to have to be bulldozed for some reason.
- Magazine example: Buzz Beamer in Sports Illustrated for Kids watched a demonstration of a device called the "what-the," which measures a player's jump height after being slammed on the floor right behind the player (hence the Curse Cut Short name).
- Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin pulls this off on Hobbes once, when he snuck in through the back door and found Hobbes waiting to pounce on him when he normally comes through the front.
- Child of the Storm has Diana occasionally do this. Since she's got Super Strength and can fly, this usually tends to be about fifteen feet in the air.
- In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku prepares to fight whatever comes out of the hole that was just ripped in space in the middle of his kitchen. Then someone offers him friendly advice from behind, spooking him enough to shoot himself into the ceiling.
Mxyzptlk: [from behind Izuku] My friends' arms are a little crooked. Straighten them up for a tighter defense.
Izuku: Really? Thanks for the adviYAAAAAAAH! [flies into the ceiling hard enough to crack it]
Mxyzptlk: Geez, Louise! My friends doesn't have any guts, at all! It's so pathetic! Not so pathetic that it can't be fun, however.
- Haunting Starring Polterguy: All of the members of the Sardini family do this at some point. They jump very high into the air and often expose their underwear.
- In Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Vorselon interrupts Dr. Nefarious in the middle of a chicken taunt to Lawrence, causing him to jump in surprise. Lawrence just stoically gets ready to catch his employer despite using a hologram, and dismisses his failure to catch as "butter fingers".
- Happens twice in Kingdom Hearts in regards to worlds that involve form change.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, Timon and Pumbaa share a Freak Out when they see Sora for the first time, and mistake him as a predator.
- In Kingdom Hearts III, moments after entering Monstropolis, Sora, Donald, and Goofy all jump in terror over their new forms. Later loading screens imply Sora still hasn't got used to the change, especially in contrast to his other monster form.
- Winnie-the-Pooh: Rabbit fell victim to this trope when he asked Pooh to call for Christopher Robin. Pooh literally called out for Christopher Robin, which was what scared Rabbit.
- Garfield also did this a few times in Garfield and Friends when startled by either Nermal or Binky the Clown.
- Scooby-Doo also did this lots of times in all cartoon incarnations.
- Looney Tunes:
- There was a series of animated shorts in which a puppy would run behind a cat and bark loudly, causing the cat to jump up in shock and hold on to the ceiling. When there wasn't a ceiling, the cat would end up on a tree, a telephone pole, or even the wing of a passing airplane.
- Also happened a lot to Wile E. Coyote when the Roadrunner sneaks up from behind and goes "Meep-meep!" And to Sylvester when he's going after Speedy Gonzalez.
- An episode of Clifford the Big Red Dog had Clifford and Cleo trying to help T-Bone get over his fear of loud noises. T-Bone even jumped up into the air a couple of times whenever he heard a loud noise.
- Ray Stantz also fell victim to this trope in the The Real Ghostbusters episode, "Look Homeward, Ray".
- Mr. Bogus:
- Mole does this, after he and Ratty get scared by Bogus popping a balloon with a needle in the second act of the episode "Bad Luck Bogus".
- Bogus ends up doing this, after getting scared by a scary-looking hand (actually Brattus playing a prank on him) in the second act of the episode "Kung Fu Campout".
- Codename: Kids Next Door: At the beginning of "Operation: F.A.S.T.-F.O.O.D.", Numbuh 3 enters her room and is surprised by her team. They look up to see that she leaped upward to some rafters in fright.
- Some hoofed animals, such as fallow deer, reflexively jump straight up in the air when startled. It's thought to display how athletic they are, so that predators will think twice about chasing them.
- The main reason why armadillos often get hit by cars is that they jump when frightened. If they just stayed still (contrary to popular belief, the nine-banded armadillo does not curl up into a ball as a defensive mechanism like some other species), the car would often pass over them harmlessly.
- The larvae of Piophila flies are commonly known as "skippers", because when disturbed, the eight-millimeter-long maggots can catapult themselves six inches into the air.
- As most any cat owner can attest, this is a very common reaction for a startled housecat. This can be very bad news for anyone close, as the frightened and now airborne cat is liable to grab whatever it can with its claws, and climb it in a panic.