The comic follows Dr. Benjamin "Ben" Rat and his family practice, with largely a Slice of Life theme. Events in the comic suggests it is located in the vicinity of Melbourne. It shows his interaction with his various patients. Since they are also different species of animals, this can be a source for much of its comedic fodder. There is also plenty of Australian humor, doctor humor, and dealings with Australia's Medicare universal healthcare system.
The main character is, obviously, a rat. The other main characters are Mary Scamper, his rabbit nurse, and Gizelle Thompson, his gazelle receptionist. There is also a rogue's gallery of regular patients which include koalas, numbats, kangaroos and a camel. Recently he married Daniella Hood, also a rat, who was previously his dentist and taekwondo instructor. Also listed is the local pharmacist, gorilla Phil Krubnuckle, though he's not featured as often.
Jenner created Doc Rat in the 1990s and drew one-offs in various Australian medical journals as requested. He created the organized web comic in 2006.
The comic has a complete archive at Cross Time Cafe.note
This webcomic contains examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: Wilbur's jokes usually result in a Lame Pun Reaction from Ben, but occasionally he manages to land a hit...
- All a Part of the Job: CPR, rescheduling patients. . . .
- The Alcoholic:
- Allan is an alcoholic patient attempting to recover, although it takes outside help in the form of a particularly vocal flea of his for him to start taking it more seriously. Realistically, he occasionally relapses.
- Danni went through a rough period in college where she drowned her sorrows and got into bad relationships as a result.
- All There in the Manual: Names (first and, in most cases, last) and species for all the frequently-seen characters (along with a few memorable one-offs) are listed on a character sheet on the comic's website. They also include the postnomials for Ben and Daniella as doctor and dentist, respectively.
- Ambiguous Gender: Roy, being a snake, is not obviously female.
- Amicable Exes: A little too amicable for Danni, anyway.
- Androcles' Lion: Referenced, then defied. They don't try it on Charmane, despite the thorn in the paw. Instead, Mary overbandaged her for it to ensure she didn't take retribution. She hasn't been heard from since Ben sacked her.
- Art Evolution: It's easy to see Jenner's art style change subtlely over the 15 years of the comic. In September and October 2021, he posted a selection of previous strips that had been coloured.
- Ass Shove: Inevitable in a medical-themed comic. One example can be seen here, courtesy of a slight misunderstanding...
- Babies Ever After: Invoked when Jarrad saves his little sister Hope from a predator attack on Shirley and Brayden's wedding. Shirl says Jarrad's reward will be "lots and lots more little baby brothers and sisters". She'd have her next litter not long after.
- Bad Liar: Ben's whiskers twitch when he lies. The bigger the lie, the more his whiskers twitch, as demonstrated here
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The paramedics invoke this over a heart attack.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Ben and Daniella going to the Rabbit Bungaree in a hot air balloon to treat an injured Flopsy counts.
- This is later subverted when they try to save Flopsy and Jazmyn from an illegal hunt but get separated from their backup, Pat the Tiger. Fortunately, a lucky Groin Attack from Ben to the wolf that was originally supposed to fight Flopsy neutralized the threat.
- The rams who came in to pull Quarrydog out of the mudhole he was trapped in—pulling up the lifeline that Jarrad, Pippie, and Macaulay dropped down to him—count as well.
- When Brayden gets cornered by two hungry leopards on a delivery run, his employer Forty actually risks missing his daughter's birth to rescue him. Not that Forty is entirely opposed to "wild meat", but letting one of his employees get eaten would be a grave insult to him and by extension his entire clan and boss alpha Blutenstein. Fittingly, the strip where the leopards get the spots beaten out of them is titled "Respect Lesson".
- The Big Damn Kiss: Ben and Danni's first kiss lasted four strips.Ben: (thinking) Words... who needs 'em?
Daniella: (also thinking) My thoughts exactly.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: It was implied around the time of his and Daniella's engagement that Ben...isn't exactly small in that aspect.
- Bilingual Bonus: Wolf language is based on German.
- Flopsy the wolf's surname is Jaegermond, German for 'hunter's moon'.
- Boss alpha Blutenstein's name means "bloodstone". Could be a Meaningful Name, referring to how his plan to stop the hunting of intelligent beings takes a lot of effort, i.e. "like trying to get blood from a stone".
- The wolves' favorite swearword ("Scheiszgrrl" or variations thereof) is the German word for "shit" ending in a growl.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: The muggers who attacked Ben and Danni could've gotten away with all of their things—including Ben's engagement ring he was preparing to give to Danni. But they decided they didn't want witnesses, so it crossed over with Bullying a Dragon and they ended up getting their tails kicked.
- Born in an Elevator: Melanie (Danni's best friend), Luella (Forty's wife), and Penny (Lord Lockley's wife) are all stuck in elevators at hospital while in labor. Luella and Penny midwife for each other in their births, while Mel can be extracted before she gives birth.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Happens to snake medical intern Roy when she ends up tasked with assisting Mel in giving birth while stuck in a hospital elevator. She ends up in a puddle.Daniella: I hope thatís sanitiser.
Roy: (visibly frowning behind her surgical mask) So do I.
- But We Used a Condom!: Danni was on the Pill when she and Ben first got married, but that didn't stop her from getting pregnant.
- Call-Back: The first strip has Ben writing up a rather scathing report on a "Mr. Smith", who's disappeared by the time he's done. Later, we meet Mr. Smith:Ben: Now then, Mr. Smith, if you're quite finished...
Mr. Smith: (typing on his smartphone) Huh?
- During their fancy night out, they freak out the waiters again:Danni: The thing about life is we can't shelter from it forever. Sooner or later, we'll all be exposed.
Ben and Danni: Garçonification! Twenty points!
- Wilbur Fuzz's haemorrhoids, which caused his near-fatal heart attack long before, come back. At least he saw Doc Rat immediately this time.Doc Rat: And you didn't want to sit it out?
Wilbur: Doc, I couldn't sit it out!
- During their fancy night out, they freak out the waiters again:
- Calling the Old Man Out: Jarrad, age 7, to his mother after she finally goes too far with her homophobic attacks on Julian, the man who just saved Jarrad's life:Jarrad: Jeez, mom, I don't know who my father was, but I'll bet he was a whole lot smarter than you. He just had to be.
- Camp Gay: Pat, a dog, one of his patients. Not only pretty flamboyant, but also very nosy. Julian's boyfriend is more than a little campy as well. Pat's partner (also named Pat) on the other hand is a rather Manly Gay Ducati-racing tiger. And florist.
- Captain Superhero: Captain Kerpow.
- Carnivore Confusion: Not central but present on a few strips. Follows a less brutal variation of Kevin & Kell rules.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Remember when the strip was just puns about medical conditions? That was quite a while ago.
- Cerebus Rollercoaster: It periodically has a new batch of pun-based "gag of the day" strips between story arcs.
- Character Development: Brayden Katanning goes from "Shirl's latest shitty boyfriend" to "responsible husband and dad" over the course of the strip, helped along by some traumatic experiences and positive examples from those around him. Notably he "grows up" faster than Shirl did despite starting out more immature.
- Fortenflanck Schlag has joined in this, initially being a lower associate of Boss Alpha Blutenstein, but beginning to show some backbone of his own following his son Quarrydog's confirmation. Interestingly enough, this would climax with Forty helping Brayden out of a pickle while his wife, Luella, is in labor with their daughter, giving him even more clout in Blutenstein's eyes.
- The Chessmaster: Lord Lockley is one of the rare (more or less) heroic examples. He expertly manipulates a whole lot of characters into doing exactly what he wants without apparent effort on his part. And to really drive the point home, he does play chess and uses chess metaphors a few times.
- Conlang: Lapine, the Watership Down-inspired secret rabbit language has its own grammar and syntax structures. It's not for outsiders to know, though, so keep it tish-tish.
- Cool Car/Cool Bike: Pat the Dog and Pat the Tiger share a love for fast conveyances. And Ben has experienced both.
- Cool Old Lady: Mavis the Koala and Lily Dryandra have their moments, but the overall prize goes to Lorna Lappin. Sassy, doesn't take any crap from anybody, rabbit Elder...rather nasty with that cane of hers.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: According to Jenner, the appearance and mannerisms of Boss Alpha Blutenstein are at least somewhat based on BRIAN BLESSED.
- CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Averted. In one arc in 2009, one of his patients, bear Wilbur Fuzz, has a heart attack in his office, but the CPR is portrayed realistically. Ben and Mary do CPR on him for eight minutes until paramedics arrive to defibrillate him. Even then, he suffered three more arrests at hospital before he was fully stabilized and treated. He spent a couple weeks in hospital, and also suffered rib injuries due to all that CPR.
- Crapsack World: Where Kevin & Kell plays the concept of predating other sentient furries for laughs, this one plays it for drama. Right down to the registering of "taken" citizens.
- Crush Blush: Once while flirting with Daniella.
- Crying Wolf: Wilbur Fuzz feigned heart attacks to get emergency attention. Eventually, he actually has one. The paramedics who take him to the hospital—who happen to actually be wolves—even lampshade it.Wilbur: After all my jokes... I called a wolf just one too many time.
Paramedic: ...and we came. Mate, Be Careful What You Wish For.
- Dark Secret: Keeping from your girlfriend that you're married.details
- Several run-ins with the rabbits and wolves eventually led Ben to figure out Daniella had lost two children in the past.
- There's also Blutenstein's son faking his own death to help his dad and Lockley get peace between wolves and rabbits. Apparently, Quarrydog knows.
- Deadly Euphemism:
- The predators have "Wild meat" for live Talking Animal prey vs. "farm meat" for farmed non-intelligent animal prey.
- The prey have "Don't tell the herd", "Gone missing", "Walked out", "On the road", "Lawfully assimilated" and the like for losing family members to the aforementioned predators.
- Depraved Dentist: After Ben and Danni are in a relationship, Danni is forced to stop being Ben's Dentist. So she sends him to her associate, Doctor Bell - who happens to be an Anglerfish! See here
- This is later invoked when Ben sees doctors reviewing films about doctors, and Daniella pointedly asks him to look up films about dentists:Daniella: Why isn't anyone ever pleased to see us?
- This is later invoked when Ben sees doctors reviewing films about doctors, and Daniella pointedly asks him to look up films about dentists:
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Pretty much any time anyone accidentally uses the secret rabbit language. Most recently when Penny uttered some phrases while working through a complication in Luella's birth of Grace.
- Did You Just Have Sex?: Gizelle and Siobhan, their respective receptionists, quickly figured out after Ben and Daniella's first time together.Siobhan: Is your doctor smiling?
Siobhan: So's our dentist.
- Dirty Business: When Allen the security guard hits, and kills, the poisonous snake.
- Disappeared Dad:
- The father of Daniella's first set of ratlings (who were subsequently eaten) dumped her when she got pregnant, and used all his pull to keep her out of his life.Daniella: If there were any justice, he's been eaten.
- Brayden appeared to do this at one point, but it turned out he was at hospital suffering from a snakebite, and was being held without treatment until he died so the snake could legally claim him for food. Ben filibustered the snake by taking him out for fast food, permitting the predation claim on Brayden to lapse so he could be treated and return to Shirley and their kits.
- Jarrad's biological father has been missing and presumed taken for quite some time. He would later return, only to arrange another disappearance.
- The father of Daniella's first set of ratlings (who were subsequently eaten) dumped her when she got pregnant, and used all his pull to keep her out of his life.
- The Ditz: Simon/Quarrydog's father, Fortenflanck Schlag. Let's just say Simon must have got all the brains from his mother's side of the family. Whenever there's an opportunity to do or say something foolish, Forty is rushing ahead to be first in line.
- Doctor's Orders: A good bit of the humor comes from orders falling victim to Malapropisms.
- The Don: The wolf clans are entirely legitimate (with occasional lapses into grey areas), but they still very much adhere to the style tropes of The Mafia. It's therefore entirely unsurprising that Boss Alpha Manfred Blutenstein comes across as this trope.
- Dude, Not Funny!: When Ben tries to joke about "secret bunny business" with Daniella after they got engaged, she smacks him. See: My God, What Have I Done?
- Endangered Species: One of the more serious plot points surrounds the numbats, which are exceedingly rare, yet still hunted. Shirley Dryandra-Katanning early on had difficulty keeping both children and mates, though she did have four surviving children prior to initially shacking up with eventual current husband Brayden Katanning (Jackson, Janeece, Jarrad, and Taylor), and her mother Lily is still around (in spite of her smoking, which has resulted in COPD). At least Brayden, despite early issues, has come around, and lately seems to have the protection of the wolf pack through his boss, Fortenflanck.
- Averted, however, with frequent elder patient Mavis, who is a koala, but that species' endangered status isn't a storyline (yet).
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: Even packaging
- Exact Words:
- When the snake that bit Brayden and Julian—and threatened Jarrad and the rest of his family—was punched and killed by Allen, Allen said he was "hit by a bus". Which was his occupation at the time: a bus for parasites.
- An otter needs to cut down on cholesterol and Ben tells her "It's very easy — if you're given the option of a low-fat custard or a rich, fatty pudding, you'd choose custard over the pudding." The last panel is her pouring low-fat custard over a rich, fatty pudding.
- Another patient has her mental acuity checked by being asked to subtract 7 from 100 as many times as she can ... and says it's always 93.
- The Extremist Was Right: Lockley's justification for manipulating everyone and risking innocent lives in the process.
- Extreme Omni-Goat: Nichaud the baby goat - but not her mom.
- Faking the Dead: Happens quite frequently with the wolf pack.
- Blutenstein's son faked his death to assist with the peace between wolves and rabbits. He actually emigrated to America under an alias.
- Jarrad's biological father, the writer of the Dr. Krymp books, fakes his death with the help of the wolf pack so Jarrad can inherit his fortune. He also emigrated to America, and will continue to write Dr. Krymp books under a pen name.
- Fantastic Caste System: Doctors receive a particularly large amount of respect among wolves, no matter the species.
- Wilbur Fuzz is shown faking a heart attack for laughs and later mentioning that he sometimes fakes having emergency heart trouble in the waiting room in order to be seen faster. Guess what happens to him?
- The numerous jokes about Jasmine having four kids and constantly having one get away from her get a lot less funny after she loses two to legal predation.
- While this strip seems to be saying that Willard's GP has no right to call Ben's brother for him, it actually foreshadows that he had come into conflict with Jack over something, which is explained shortly after.
- From the Mouths of Babes: A very serious example: while Ben still had a black eye from his fight with Willard, a piglet he was examining asked if his dad was angry at him. Ben called Mary in, with the implication that a call to social services was to follow.Piglet: Mummy?
Mom: I think we're going to get to make it better.
- Fur Is Clothing, Fur Is Skin: Averted. Fur is just hair. In every way.
- Furry Reminder: The source of much of the strip's humour.
- Gender-Blender Name:
- Roy, a snake medical intern involved in Mel's birth, is female. Her full first name is Roisin, which is an Irish female name.
- Julian mentions that had once found true love with someone named Jan. It's only later that Ben learns that Julian is gay and that it was a same-sex relationship.
- Heart Warming Orphan: Pippie
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Flopsy Jaegermond's presence at the Bungaree has been as welcome as one would expect from a wolf present at a rabbit gathering, but when a massive wagon filled with carrots comes hurtling down the hill at a tent filled with young rabbits, Flopsy hurls himself in front of it, saving the children at a cost of serious injury. It's touch-and-go for a bit, but he lives to enjoy the respect and admiration of the lapine community.
- When Boss Alpha Blutenstein has to launch his rule change before he's ready (thanks in part to Ben's attempt at a Heroic Sacrifice), he is immediately challenged by members of his pack. His son Alfon comes to his rescue by issuing his own challenge, which takes precedence, and losing, therefore settling the matter. For his efforts, Alfon ends up dishonored and outcast, a Fate Worse than Death in wolf society.
- High-Class Glass: Lord Lockley wears one. Comes with being very high up in the rabbit hierarchy and living in a huge mansion.
- Hoist by Her Own Petard: Lorna Lappin is keeping an eye (and two ears) on Ben for Lord Lockley and passing along all kinds of intelligence (quite a lot of which would be considered confidential). Her reaction when Ben lets her know that a.) he's known for a while and b.) he's been using her to feed information to Lockley is apparently not fit for print...
- Holding the Floor: Brayden Katanning has been bitten by a venomous snake, who in accordance with the predation laws has filed him as prey and may eat him within sixty hours of the bite. Since the snake doesn't want to fill out any more paperwork, he'd rather the original envenomation kill Brayden and thus plans to wait 'til as close to the sixty hour point as long as possible. If at any point the snake changes his mind about seeing if he'll die on his own and says he wants to eat Braydon(very likely), it's down the hatch. By tricking the snake into overstuffing on fast food and falling asleep, Ben manages to buy enough time for the sixty hours to expire.
- Honor Before Reason: This is Zig-Zagged in Ben and Danni's mugging. Initially, Danni is the one to say they should just surrender their belongings instead of fighting, primarily because their attackers were armed. Of course, per Bond Villain Stupidity, that ended up all for naught and they had to fight anyway. By the end, Danni wanted to kill them, and Ben became the voice of reason, insisting they wait for the police. This, of course, led them to find out the muggers were the same individuals who attacked Julian.
- Hope Is Scary: Hope hurts!
- Innocently Insensitive: Fortenflanck, a lifelong wolf, although entirely well-intentioned, has some difficulty at first fully understanding quite how upsetting it is to be a prey animal who was literally seconds away from being messily and painfully torn apart and devoured by two predators before being rescued, although to his credit he's shown to catch on quickly in this and the following strips. And hey, net positive, it reminded him to pick up his wife's bag and insurance card.
- The Insomniac: See Zombie Apocalypse
- Interspecies Romance: There are a number of one-off gags about this, and some very important storylines revolving around it. Notable examples:
- Flopsy (nee Fangripp) and Jasmin Jaegermond are a wolf and a rabbit respectively. Other members of their species (and their families) take issue with this at first.
- Danni was in a relationship with a rabbit, and they planned to marry, but his family forced him to break it off.
- I Resemble That Remark!: After Danni stops Wilfred from attacking Ben during Tae Kwon Do class, she tells off Willard, saying that she knows he was the aggressor and that he needs to learn control. Willard promptly smashes his fist into a wall and has to receive on-site medical care and a ride to the hospital from Ben. (We are not, unfortunately, privy as to how that ride went).
- Interspecies Romance: Flopsy (wolf) and Jazmyn (rabbit), something of a big deal considering wolves normally eat rabbits and Flopsy ate Jaz's ex-husband.
- Interrupted Suicide: After Flopsy's big secret comes to light ( He and his pack ate Jaz' first husband) he tries to throw himself off a cliff. Ben isn't having any of that.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Although Luella is speaking in favor of eating intelligent prey animals here, she isn't wrong about that fact that prey being able to reproduce roughly three-to-one completely unchecked does ultimately threaten the overall well-being of predators, especially when there's to concrete way of being certain that they would adhere to any non-enforced birth limit.
- Killing in Self-Defense: Well, injuring rather. Luckily this 'verse seems to have pretty solid laws about defending one's self and family. (As in "I came by your house to break your legs as a warning not to eat any more of my children", though having a great lawyer helped).
- Lame Pun Reaction: With several cast regulars (particularly Ben himself and recurring patient Mr. Fuzz) being notable Pungeon Masters, every now and then you get one so bad even the other characters acknowledge its lameness.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Daniella couldn't help but give an Aside Glance when Ben admitted to her that he accidentally let some rabbit language slip in front of Mary.Daniella: I feel a fresh adventure coming on.
- Let's Meet the Meat: The "I Want to Live" variant. See, there's intelligent Talking Animals and nonintelligent normal animals. By tradition, prey Talking Animals have large, very large families to keep the economy going and predator Talking Animals ensure the preservation of the environment and other resources by...uh, making sure those families don't stay too large without wiping them out. A legal system developed which allowed predators to feed themselves and their families upon a certain number of "wild" prey per capita so long as their hunt kills or severely injures the prey within five minutes of starting (legally) and they fill the proper paperwork later (and can apparently eat corpses all they want as long as they have a valid claim on the kill), while prey may continue expanding their families and the obligation falls upon them to keep themselves and their children from being eaten—usually by keeping vigilant at all times when outside the home. Prey also cannot seek retribution, legally, for lost family members, although they can apparently act in self-defense or in the defense of their family during an attack. A hawk, for example, swooping down on a baby carriage and taking a few rat pups from their horrified parents would be a perfectly legal set of kills. However, as time marches on, the tradition of eating "wild" prey has come into conflict with developing notions of morality, especially in light of modern science showing that farmed non-intelligent animals are exactly the same as wild-caught animals in every respect, including nutrition. Many predators have changed to farmed foods, but the tradition of eating intelligent prey (and the law tacitly supporting it) remains, costing thousands of innocent lives per year.
- Longest Pregnancy Ever: Danni was pregnant with her and Ben's ratlings for years. She found out she was pregnant in November 2010, and gave birth in January 2015.
- Melanie found out she was pregnant around the same time as Danni. She didn't give birth until December 2020! And it's even lampshaded by Danni:Daniella: And give my love to Mel. It feels like she's been pregnant for years.
Melanie: (from the maternity ward) DANNI, I'M A RHINO!
Daniella: How does she do that?
- Melanie found out she was pregnant around the same time as Danni. She didn't give birth until December 2020! And it's even lampshaded by Danni:
- Love Hurts: So do martial arts.
- Love Triangle: Daniella, with taekwondo students Ben and Willard. Eventually, Willard was cut out when he showed lack of control in her dojo, and knocked Ben out in a fight.
- Ludicrous Gibs: When watching a horror film, Ben quips, "Huh. Nobody's got an artery there."
- Magic Genetics: Largely averted, until a rabbit and wolf apparently conceive. They regard it a miracle.
- Malaproper: A frequent source of humor in the one-off strips as well as Jarrad's misadventures.
- Male Gaze: Ben couldn't help it when Danni was preparing to clip his ingrown tooth after he realized she was a dentist:Daniella: Nothing is worth dying for.
Ben: (thinking, while he sees her bending over at her tools) That depends on where you're sitting
- Maligned Mixed Marriage: Flopsy (Formerly Fangripp) (wolf) and Jasmine (rabbit) Jaegermond , face trouble from their families and their cultures at large.
- Manly Gay: Ravi Patel, Pat the Dog's tiger partner, runs a flower shop, but also drives a fast motorcycle, and is very well built.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Rabbits. Rats. Other creatures. And yet, they've got nothing on flies. (Has a tragic side, too.)
- Mercy Kill: Reddi-Pred, a powerful sedative, is administered by doctors to those prey whose predators lay claim to them while they're laid up at the hospital and are physically unable to escape under their own power (something predators can do within sixty hours of attacking their prey). This allows them to be eaten with a minimum of pain and distress. On the prey's part, not the doctor's part.
- Milestone Celebration: There hasn't been particularly special strips for "kiribans" like the 1000th strip. But a special color strip was made for the strip's 10th anniversary which was celebrated as Ben's birthday.
- Missing Mom: Ben and Jack's mother, Winston's wife, died of breast cancer.
- Mistaken for Afterlife: Doc himself, in the dojo:Ben: (coming to, only seeing a bright light) I'm dead... (sees Daniella) I'm in heaven. (sees Willard) Hang on... call security.
- The Missus and the Ex: After several months of trying to get into contact with her for a proper divorce, Ben's estranged wife finally gets back to him at an inopportune time.
- Mood Whiplash: This comic can go from deliberately terrible puns through nightmare fuel to heartwarming at the drop of a hat, sometimes all within the same three-panel strip.
- Moral Myopia: Carnivores.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- Downplayed with Willard's reaction to actually knocking Ben unconscious during their fight, where he does seem genuinely concerned (whether as to Ben's life or getting arrested is unclear). This brief moment of remorse doesn't stop him immediately lying about the cause of the fight to Danni, as well as flipping out and punching a wall in the next strip.
- Danni had this reaction when she smacked Ben after he joked about "secret bunny business" to her. He didn't know that a previous boyfriend of hers was a rabbit and his family forced him to break up with her, something she still felt bitter about at the time.
- Necessary Evil: Predation upon intelligent prey is justified in-universe by the idea that prey numbers need to be kept down to a reasonable level for the sake of resources and the environment. Well, by those predators who support eating "wild" prey and and the law anyway.
- Never Trust a Hair Tonic: Mr Pigg complains to the chemist that the tonic he'd purchased which promised to "add body to your hair" caused him to sprout hair everywhere. Turned out he'd read the label upside down; it actually said "adds hair to your body".
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: A five year-old child, the only survivor of a family of six who died in a brushfire expresses her feelings here.
- Nobody Poops: Averted here.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The real name of "Pat the Tiger" is Ravi Patel. Jenner later disclaimed that there is no connection to the American actor of the same name.
- Not That Kind of Doctor:
- As a doctor who deals specifically with the problems of rabbits, Doctor Brazzleberry has no experience treating the dislocated shoulder of a predator three times his size. Fortunately, Ben has a much...broader clientele.
- The situation is semi-reversed when Doc Rat finds himself in the position of delivering Flopsy and Jasmine's babies by C-section. As a GP, he hasn't performed a birth, let alone a C-section in years, but he's the only qualified doctor with any experience around. He successfully gets the babies out alive, but there's a complication and Jez starts bleeding badly. Fortunately, Doctor Brazzleberry, who was delayed by a predator attack, shows up just in time and is able to use his experience performing many, many rabbit births to save Jasmine's life.
- One-Steve Limit: More Played With for Pat the Dog and Pat the Tiger, since Pat the Tiger's actual first name is Ravi.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Ben's father, Winston, suffered dementia, usually responding to everything with "That's nice", with the occasional inquiry about his wife, who's been dead for years. But when he first met Daniella, he had an exceptional moment of clarity:Daniella: Mr. Rat...can I call you Winston?
Winston: That's nice.
Daniella: What's your trade?
Winston: Tax planner.
Daniella: You old rascal. Can I call you Dad?
Winston: Sure can. And if you stick with my son Ben, he'll make you a mother of some extraordinary children.
Daniella: Ohhh... Dad!
Ben: He's never done that before!
Winston: That's nice.
- Ben later noticed this when Jarrad's behavior began to change, and Shirl and Brayden initially tried to get him on ADHD drugs for it. Ben diagnosed it as a sleep disorder, and eventually Jarrad had his tonsils removed.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: They haunt orphans.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: There's an old wives' tale about how intelligent prey contains vital forces predators need for good health, which are lacking in non-intelligent animals. Science suggests otherwise.
- Outliving One's Offspring: A cruel fact of life, even after the wolf pack declared they would no longer hunt sapient animals, since other animals still do, and are legally permitted to. Shirl has had many of her children taken; Jarrad lost both of his littermates, and this crushed his biological father Toby when he found out. Daniella lost two ratlings from a young relationship as well, and sometimes is still paranoid when with her current set of ratlings with Ben.
- Papa Wolf: Flopsy, literally. Two of his stepkids got eaten by a fox. He broke the offending vulpine's legs and then paid for his medical treatment.
- Parent Never Came Back from the Store: A very real possibility in a 'verse with intelligent prey.
- Percussive Therapy: When they get rejected from further reservations with Mondo Venezio for accruing two no-shows, Daniella takes a bat to her training dummy and ultimately beats its head off.
- Perfect Solution Fallacy: Discussed, including Ben paraphrasing Voltaire's quote on the trope page, when he and Wilbur discuss the latter's cardiac arrest.note Wilbur: So, when I had my cardiac arrest, then you and th'rabbit gave me CPR?
Ben: That's right.
Wilbur: No bull?
Ben: No bull.
Wilbur: Aw, c'mon! A bull must've had a hoof in it somewhere.
Ben: Perfect is the enemy of good, Wilbur.
- Pet the Dog: After years of Jerkassery, Brayden finally comes around after the "death" of Jarrad's biological father, getting a good job as a delivery truck driver for a store, and paying for extracurricular activities for Jarrad out of his own wallet instead of using the trust fund set aside for him.
- Plagued by Nightmares: Pippie suffers from horrible nightmares and wets the bed after most of her family die in a wildfire. She gets better thanks to her friendship with Jarrad.
- Poor Communication Kills: In the case of Quarrydog, it almost did literally. When he got stuck in a hole, Boss Alpha Blutenstein gave up searching for him too easily out of fear he would reveal the secret of Alfon being alive and exiled. So Jarrad, Pippie, and Macaulay ended up being the ones rescuing him. It turns out that Quarrydog was alright with remaining a Secret-Keeper about Alfon, which ended up shaming Manfred personally.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Forty of all people gets a good one when dealing with a pair of leopards who tried to kill his delivery driver.Forty: Oh, and while I've got you - Apex Ethical Meat has a reward program for loyal customers.
Forty: You're not in it. (offscreen sounds of violence)
- Precious Puppy: Fortenflanck and Luella's newborn pup, Grace, certainly counts.
- The Problem with Pen Island: The demographic site IRateCustomers.com isn't as positive as hoped.
- Properly Paranoid: Herbivorous mothers typically are always on the lookout to protect their children. Particularly Daniella, Jazmyn, and Shirley.
- Pungeon Master: A common trait among the cast. Just about anybody, from main characters to one-scene extras, will launch into a Hurricane of Puns if given the opportunity, but the most egregious example has to be waiting room regular Mr. Fuzz. His constant punning is so awful even Ben, no slouch in the pun department himself, can't take it.
- Punny Name: Many. Some even get commented-on in-universe, such as recurring extras Pat the Dog and Pat the Tiger.
- According to the cast page, Pat's real name is "Pat O'Kake".
- Ben's receptionist is a Thompson's gazelle named Gizelle Thompson.
- Read the Fine Print: Some fine print was included in the dialogue between Ben and Daniella on one of their early dates.note another note further note
- A Rare Sentence: At the end of the medical conference story (and yes, It Makes Sense in Context...):Jayant: You correctly guessed the number of balls in the giant cage just before it was blown to bits in the legendary battle of the superheroes.Ben: ...A phrase uttered reasonably uncommonly during the average medical conference.
- Real Life Writes the Plot:
- When the Black Saturday bushfires occurred in 2009, Jenner incorporated them into the plot with one of Ben's patients, Colin, losing a brother and almost his entire family in the bushfires, and later adopting his remaining niece, Pippie.
- The bushfire season of 2020 would have its own arc with Ben and Daniella being involved in field medicine, and it begins with Colin getting a new psychiatrist referral for himself and Pippie.
- The COVID-19 Pandemic has also featured prominently in the comic. Ultimately, it ripped through the nursing home Winston was staying at, with Winston being one of the casualties.
- Really Gets Around: A sad example. Danni went through a period where her life went to shreds and she had a number of physical relationships to try and heal her emotional pain before getting it together.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: An important coming-of-age ritual among wolves is for the child to run with a pack and kill somebody. If they succeed, they are considered an adult in wolf society. If they fail or refuse, their entire family is dishonored, a Fate Worse than Death among wolves. This drives one of the comic's darkest and most dramatic storylines when Simon/Quarrydog finds himself torn between his realization that killing sentient prey is wrong and loyalty to his family. The Blutenstein clan ends up abandoning this tradition saving Quarrydog's life and soul, but at the cost of Alfon Blutenstein being unpersoned.
- The Reveal: Ben finding out Daniella, his taekwondo sensei (and someone he had a crush on), is also a dentist.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: During a conversation with Quarrydog, Jarrad mentions that some cyclists are hooked on endorsements. He meant endorphins, but it made Quarrydog think of professional cyclers wearing tons of ads on their outfits.Quarrydog: You got it in one, Jarrad.
- Romantic Candlelit Dinner: Doc recommends it -- and the bird takes his wife out for a candlelit dinner on a buffalo's back.
- Later, Ben and Daniella had one for themselves after their engagement.
- Running Gag: Two words: Mondo Venezio. It's a really chic restaurant Ben repeatedly has issues getting Danni to.
- The first time sees Danni worrying Ben is going to break up with her, when it turns out he's going to pop the question. She realizes this when they get mugged on the way there, and she discovers what was among his effects:context Mugger: Ooh, look't this!
Daniella: Was that a diamond ring?
- After they get married, they make it to Mondo Venezio on their second attempt. They discuss a few things, and Danni glosses over a couple past children (which we'd learn more about later). The next morning, she ends up with morning sickness, leading directly to them finding out she's pregnant.
- Their third attempt to go to Mondo Venezio is interrupted when they end up having to intervene with a situation involving Jazmyn and Flopsy.
- The fourth time, Ben is refused a reservation because he had accrued two no-shows. Flopsy finds out, and pulls some strings with Lord Lockley to get them an all-expenses-paid first-class dinner night at the restaurant.
- The first time sees Danni worrying Ben is going to break up with her, when it turns out he's going to pop the question. She realizes this when they get mugged on the way there, and she discovers what was among his effects:context
- Safe Zone Hope Spot: There's good news and bad news. The good news is that if you're a prey animal, a predator cannot legally hunt you inside a hospital or other health facility (parking lots exempted)! The bad news is that if a predator has hunted and injured you outside but you have escaped to a hospital/health facility, then said predator can legally register you as their prey and can lay claim to you within sixty hours. If they do and you are incapable of leaving the hospital under your own power, the hospital is then legally forced to mercifully inject you full of sedative and let 'em have you.
- Second Super-Identity: Captain Kerpow's secret identity is Awesome Possum, another crimefighter.
- Secret-Keeper: These are all over the place. Ben and Daniella are privy to many alleged secrets of both the Rabbit and Wolf clans. Penny and Luella both became this to each other after their most recent births. It's also true among the clans' leaders, Lockley and Blutenstein.
- Self-Deprecation: After clipping it, Daniella awarded Ben with his long ingrown tooth at the taekwon dojo.Daniella: I present you, student Ben Rat, with the Wayward Tooth of Wisdom.
Crocodile student: Wow, that's a big one!
Ben: Like it? I grew it myself.
- Serious Business: Played with. "Secret Bunny Business" is initially set up as a running joke following this trope (with Ben thinking it's all about rabbits taking their sex lives way too seriously) but turns out to actually be very, very serious business indeed that ties strongly into several of the strip's more dramatic storylines.
- Sexy Discretion Shot: Repeatedly, since the strip often deals with adult themes but tries very hard to remain safe-for-work.
- Doc and Daniella's first time together. After Daniella makes her intentions clear, the next strip shows nothing but two rat tails forming a heart shape.
- On their honeymoon, the scene switches from the couple drinking Nettlefrisk Tea (implied to be a very strong aphrodisiac) to them lying next to each other, utterly exhausted.
- Sexy Silhouette: The premonition of Their First Time: the strip before their Sexy Discretion Shot shows their silhouettes at dinner, and Danni looks like she's about to jump over the dinner table at Ben.Ben: Did you bring dessert?
Daniella: Did I ever.
- Shotgun Wedding: It's implied that Ben's first marriage was this, as it's mentioned that he and his ex were young and he wanted to do what he felt was the right thing. His daughter's also twelve and he's ambiguously thirty-something when we find out.
- To Kevin & Kell here, as part of the Magic Genetics incident.
- Julian Sands's name may be a Shout-Out to Julian & Sandy, making it a Meaningful Name.
- Readers have thought that it could be to the actor◊, but the author says he hadn't heard of the actor when naming the character.
- To Astérix in this scene. Not only is the brawl very reminiscent of the Gauls' usual amusements, two of the characters are clearly channeling Fulliautomatix and Cacofonix there.
- Simon the teenage wolf's new Pack Name is "Quarrydog"...a double reference to The Beatles: Before they settled on their final band name, they were known for a while as first "The Quarrymen" and then "Johnny and the Moondogs". It gets a lampshade hung on it by Simon himself who notes that "it sounds like a rock group".
- One to Sherlock where rabbit expy of Benedict Cumberbatch is pulled up when Jarrad and a friend look up "the greatest detective".
- Shown Their Work: A professional doctor writing a comic about a doctor? One should hope so.
- In a non-medical example, in this conversation between two bears, it's shown that one can hibernate and the other cannot, and indeed not all bear species do so.
- Sibling Rivalry: Ben and Jack didn't speak for years because of their father's dementia; Jack wanted to sue Winston's doctor for missing a diagnosis that contributed to it, while Ben wanted to leave well enough alone. Further wounding their relationship was that Jack sued Winston's doctor anyway, but dropped the suit after he ended up going through a divorce. While they tried to mend fences, they still couldnít see eye-to-eye about their father, and it took his death for them to finally come together.
- Species Surname: In some cases (e.g., Doc himself) but not all.
- Spit Take: A few:
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Danielle's first serious relationship was with a rabbit, who taught her about a good portion of the incredibly secretive rabbit culture with an eye toward marrying her and breaking down the walls together. However, pressure from his family led him to break the relationship instead, leaving her heartbroken.
- STD Immunity: Averted. this strip, according to Word of God is the prelude to Daniella informing Ben off-screen about her (controlled) herpes.
- Stepford Smiler: Downplayed. In the prey community, when one of their loved ones is eaten by a predator looking for some "wild" prey, the survivors have no choice but to more or less take it on the chin, not talk about it much and keep going.
- Straight Gay: Julian Sands, a camel. When it's discovered he is gay, however, it causes all sorts of issues for him and for Ben.
- Tears of Joy: At the wedding. Ben lampshades it:Ben: We've already chosen each other as a couple. This bit is just a legal formality. A transaction. A piece of paper. I wish I could stop crying.
- Tempting Fate: A rabbit talking about how many of her babies are still alive.
- Textile Work Is Feminine: A fly knitting for her maggots.
- That Came Out Wrong:
- Ben and Danni's conversation at a restaurant. Hilarity Ensues, as Ben teaches Danni how he made a game out of it: Garçonification.
- Also this. "He's a very sick mannote and they had to take him awaynote ."
- This exchange between Ben and Pat when they're racing to stop the release of Julian's attackers:Pat: It's the lawyer in me.
Ben: Yes, I think we've all had a lawyer in us, at one stage or another.
Pat: *Death Glare*
Ben: Oops... Sorry.
- Wilbur is also occasionally prone to this...Ben: Wilbur, have you had your colonoscopy yet?
Wilbur: No, we haven't been able to fit it in.
*Ben breaks down laughing*
Wilbur: Admittedly, I could have phrased that better.
- Their First Time: Danni did not regret Ben insisting they wait to have sex, if the strips around their implied first time—after they became engaged—is any indication.
- These Hands Have Killed:
- Part of Flopsy's guilt regards him taking Jazmyn's first husband as prey before learning he had a family.
- Allen also experiences this when he kills the snake that bit Julian, and was threatening Jarrad and Ben.
- Think Nothing of It: "Just doing my job."
- Those Two Guys: Mavis (koala) and Elsie (cat) are frequently seen at the same time in Ben's waiting room.
- True Love Is Boring: Daniella was concerned during their courtship that Ben's seeming lack of desire to have sex with her was a sign that their relationship was going south. As it turns out, Ben simply didn't see sex as a pre-requisite for them to develop a deeper relationship. They finally had sex after they became engaged.
- Ungrateful Bitch: Even after Julian saves her son's life, Shirl hopes he dies.
- Unsafe Haven: So, rabbits, you're a prey species who value the lives of your children above all else, in a world that has laws permitting legal predation. Why would you gather a large chunk of said children all in one enclosed, fragile place at one time? Why write that it's the children's tent in (one assumes) plain English above it? Why isn't that tent reinforced like Fort Knox from predator or happenstance? Why not at least one fire extinguisher?
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: With the originally-intended engagement pre-empted by a mugging, the ball finally got rolling when Ben casually referred to Daniella as his fiancée during an argument with her family. As they were leaving, he affirmed it quickly by asking her for real:Ben: Psst—marry me?
- After all the drama with his biological father, Jarrad asked Shirley and Brayden to get married as a reward for after his tonsillectomy. Brayden popped the question right there, and Shirl said yes.
- Waxing Lyrical: Roy drops a line/Title Drop from an Aretha Franklin-Eurythmics duet during the elevator rescue in late 2020 when she and Danni hear Penny and Luella's newborn children in the other elevator car.Danni: There's the other carósounds like a happy ending
Roy: Sisters are doing it for themselves
- What the Hell, Hero?: In one arc, Ben had an ingrown incisor that was life-threatening—as in, growing back into his mouth and about to puncture his brain—and elected to wait on dealing with it until work at the practice started picking up again and he could better afford getting treated, brushing off the concerns of Mary and Gizelle over his health. Mary makes her distaste for his stupidity crystal clear once he finally gets the tooth snipped.
- Whoopi Epiphany Speech: An orphan gets over her nightmares through drawing a picture, and seeing a boy draw one.
- World of Pun: Most of the strips that aren't part of a storyline (and even some that are) are nothing but high-speed punning.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Fought on a video game — to turn into a walking dead the next day.