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Wound Licking

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"It's only bad because I haven't stopped long enough to tend to it. Look." He licked carefully at the wound. Sure enough, it felt better already.
Survivors: The Empty City

An instinctive behavior in both animals and humans when injured is to lick the wound.

Saliva does contain anti-bacterial agents and possibly tissue factors that promote healing, but it's not generally recommended in Real Life given the possibility of infection and especially not after major surgery. Hence the existence of the Cone of Shame.

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Often used as an indication that My Instincts Are Showing. In some cases their saliva might be an example of a Fantastic Medicinal Bodily Product, in which case it's justified. This trope, through Intimate Healing, can overlap with Lecherous Licking.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Akaza can quickly cover his closing wounds by licking them.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, Foo Fighters upon joining with Jolyne and Ermes licks their wounds as compensation for injuring them during their battle. Neither of them were comfortable with that and quickly shoved F.F. aside.
  • In one episode of Wolf's Rain Toboe is shown licking Tsume's injuries, which he objects to when he wakes up. Note that they're wolves who project illusions to make them look like humans, and the scene shows their human forms.
  • One of Fist of the North Star's protagonist Kenshiro's most common actions in battle after being slightly injured is to touch the wound with a finger and then lick the blood off of it. It's one of the many ways he shows how badass he is.
  • In One Piece, not long after Zoro gets transported to Mihawk's personal island, he battled warrior gorillas who use their spit as first aid. Zoro lampshades it, being appalled by the gorillas' intelligence.
  • Tohru tries to lick Kobayashi when Kobayashi is injured in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. She claims that her saliva is a coagulant (not to mention the fact that bacteria can't survive in a dragon's body) but Ilulu suspects that it was actually a case of Lecherous Licking.
  • Azur Lane: Akagi licks the cut on Kaga's cheek while healing her. Later, Ark Royal tries to do this when the destroyer Glowworm cut her finger. Glowworm reacted exactly like you would expect.

    Fan Works 
  • At the end of Heart of Ashes, Smaug does this to his gashed hindleg. It's explained that since he's a dragon, his saliva is antiseptic enough due to being boiling hot.
  • In chapter 5 of Heritage of the Wolf, Jenna licks Balto's wounds after he gets injured helping her.
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    Film — Animation 
  • In Beauty and the Beast, the Beast licks his wounds after rescuing Belle from the wolves, while Belle tries to clean them with fresh water instead.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) after Alice returns the Bandersnatch's eye it licks the festering claw marks it left on her arm in their last encounter, causing them to heal in seconds.
  • God's Own Country: When Johnny hurts his palm during farm work, Gheorghe spits into his wound as first aid. After having their second sex, Gheorghe does this which doubles as a gesture of affection.

    Literature 
  • Having brought the wounded rabbit Hazel back to Watership Down, Hazel and the other rabbits try licking the wound in Hazel's right flank. The tern Kehaar asks them if they've removed the little black stones. "Stones?" wondered Hazel. "Always with gun is come little black stones. You never see?" Kehaar then uses his narrow forceps-like beak to extract the shotgun pellets from Hazel's soft tissue. This scene is faithfully animated in Nepenthe Productions' Animated Adaptation.
  • In The Coming Race, the Vril-ya are able to heal wounds by kissing them.
  • Artemis Fowl: Dwarf saliva apparently has healing properties. Mulch is able to recover both thumbs being badly burned in a few minutes thanks to this.
  • In The Summoner Trilogy, Fletcher's Salamander can actually heal wounds this way.
  • Survivors: Stray dog Lucky teaches the former pets the value of wound licking early in the first book:
    "It's only bad because I haven't stopped long enough to tend to it. Look." He licked carefully at the wound. Sure enough, it felt better already. "Come on, Sunshine. Try it."
    Obediently Sunshine bent her head and licked rather dubiously at the scratch on her own paw. When nothing terrible happened, she tried again, and was soon washing it quite painstakingly.
    "You're right," she whispered in awe. "It doesn't sting so badly. It does feel better." She stopped licking to gaze admiringly at Lucky. "He's right, everybody!"
    "You see?" he barked. "You don't need a silly longpaw vet!"
  • In Warrior Cats, a standard part of treating wounds is to lick them clean. Justified, since they're cats and don't really have any other way to clean it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lampshaded in The Alienist when Dr. Kreizler offers to lick a cut on his servant Mary's hand. He tells her that saliva contains a natural coagulant.

    Tabletop Games 
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    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • The Fox Sister: After her fight with Soot Bull the kumiho's shadow is shown in fox form licking the shoulder he injured.
  • In Girl Genius Maxim licks his hand after it gets impaled by Old Man Death.
  • Exploited by Zii in Ménage à 3. When she burns her tongue with hot coffee, she tells the attractive waitress Sonya that they need to apply saliva on the burn, and the best way to do that is making out. Sonya doesn't realize Zii has saliva in her own mouth.

    Western Animation 
  • Samurai Jack (2017): While Jack is recovering in a cave, a white wolf also comes in to rest. Upon seeing Jack mending his knife wound, the wolf takes the time to lick it before focusing on its own.

    Real Life 
  • Some cats and dogs will attempt to lick their owner if they find a wound, or even a rash. It is not good for this to be allowed at all as this can infect it easily or transmit disease, and there are far better, safer, and more effective alternatives to help heal something, even on a budget.
 
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Video Example(s):

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F.F. licks Jolyne and Ermes

F.F. makes up for Jolyne's and Ermes's injuries by licking them. Neither of them are pleased by it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

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Main / WoundLicking

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