Raising the Steaks

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Zombie Night at Gotham Aquarium

"Once the chickens became zombies, the war was lost."

Sometimes the Zombie Apocalypse, unlike the bird flu, can carry to other species.

Yes, occasionally even dead animals can be revived into shambling monstrosities after human flesh. This can reach such levels of ridiculousness as (as suggested by the title) meat animating itself and moving around.

In video games, these animals are often a Sub-Trope of Night of the Living Mooks, but not always.

In works where zombie humans have Zombie Gait, for some reason animals almost never move slower. If anything, they might even get a speed or strength bonus. Can in some cases be justified when zombification reduces brain function, as it takes more dexterity for a biped to run without falling over. Can also be justified in that the zombie plague causes the higher brain functions to cease, while the animal part of the brain keeps functioning. If the subject's already an animal, then there's no hindrance. Likewise, the fact that zombies don't get tired may work in a reanimated animal's favor, as many living carnivores are sprinters, unable to sustain high speeds for long.

Compare Non-Human Undead

Examples of Raising the Steaks include:

Anime and Manga

  • Junji Ito's manga Gyo is about a village under attack by fish that are technically dead, but propelled by mechanical legs, so they vaguely fit the trope.

Comic Books

  • In Creature Tech, the blood of Christ in the Shroud of Turin can heal wounds and raise the dead. When the shroud accidentally comes into contact with some meat in a butcher shop, the various cuts assemble themselves into a sentient Meat Man.
  • Happened in Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers.
  • One of the stories in the Halo Graphic Novel involves a Flood infestation on a Covenant station. They completely wipe out and assimilate the onboard wildlife reservation.
  • Hitman: Tommy and friends experience "Zombie Night At Gotham Aquarium," which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.[1]
  • In one issue of EC Comics, there is a zombie elephant.
  • In the new 52's reboot of Swamp Thing, the Big Bad is Death itself (technically, the Rot) personified. As such, Alec must face such undead abominations as zombie pigs and a reanimated woolly mammoth fossil.


  • In Return of the Living Dead, zombifying gas spreads throughout a medical supply warehouse, reanimating half a dog and a butterfly collection. A giant rat also gets brought back in Necropolis, while several lab mice (including the so-called "Mr. Stinky") also become infected in Rave to the Grave.
  • An Asian butcher shop is subjected to reanimating energies in Dead Heat, causing hook-suspended ducks to quack, headless chickens to blunder about blindly, and an entire dressed beef carcass to lurch out of the freezer and grapple a hero inside its body cavity.
  • In Princess Mononoke, Moro's severed head is briefly reanimated upon contact with the Forest Spirit's black goo...whereupon it proceeds to lunge at Lady Eboshi and bite off her arm.
  • In Dead Alive (aka Braindead) a zombie biker gets cut in half and his guts spill out. Bad enough that he props his torn-up torso atop his severed legs and continues attacking, but his splattered internal organs pull themselves together and start slithering after the protagonist in a steaming lump of zombified intestinal goop.
  • Resident Evil: Extinction has zombie crows, and all three films have zombie dogs.
  • One of the ickier feats of ghostly telekinesis in Poltergeist was a raw steak that slithered along a kitchen counter.
  • In 28 Days Later the zombie Rage virus was originally tested on and spread by chimpanzees.
  • In the Re-Animator movies, Herbert West, like many a real-world medical scientist, tests his methods on animals first. This includes a cat in one movie and a rat in another. (A rat that, apparently, learnt kung fu by becoming a zombie...)
  • In The Mad, one of the characters is attacked by a zombie hamburger patty.
  • In I Am Legend, The vampires have dogs to follow them, though this is strange since the vampires are supposed to be mindless animals. anyways. Also, for some reason the main character hunts a deer that is not infected, so supposedly it only works on humans and canids, unless the deer is an imune.
    • Not to mention the lion either
    • It worked on rats too. Presumably the deer are cagey enough to avoid the infected for the most part, and the lions may avoid hunting them because they smell wrong.
      • The might be immune to the airborne variant.
    • The vampires were intelligent. Our scientist just didn't notice.
  • The Gamers 2: Dorkness Rising- After defeating Mort Kemnon and realising he was not the Big Bad, sorceress Luster hands a note to the DM: "Raise Dead on the turkey". That they were roasting over their campfire. It kills the bard before getting eaten (and still zombie'd).
  • In Daybreakers, there's mention of vampire animals. Apparently, they keep igniting in the sun, leading to forest fires.


  • Used in Everworld. A fight began during some diplomatic feast. Merlin reanimated the animals they were eating. He also reanimated people that died during the fight so that they could keep fighting.
  • In Simon R. Green's The Gods of Haven, thousands of enraged animal ghosts are called up from a slaughterhouse, materialize as zombies, and embark on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against humanity.
    • Not clear if they're technically undead or not, but Green's Ghost of a Smile has a room full of animated black-market transplant organs attack the heroes and try to get inside them.
  • In Stephen King's Pet Sematary, there's a special burial ground and anyone buried there will come back to life. Burying animals there is fairly common, and the zombie animals are mostly harmless (the main character has a zombie cat, and his neighbor used to have a zombie dog), but human zombies aren't nearly as nice.
  • Older Than Feudalism: In The Odyssey, Tiresias and Circe told Odysseus that his men must not eat the sun god's cattle while on his island. Naturally, they do, since the island didn't have much more than herbs. However, the meat doesn't stay dead, and starts to moo on the spit as it roasts. And once they leave the island... though the intention was not a Zombie Apocalypse, but an omen that the sun god was pissed off and about to get revenge.
  • One of the rules of necromancy in The Dresden Files is that it's often not worth it to raise a zombie animal, as animals leave shallower "psychic footprints" than humans and thus don't have as much power when raised (consider that a human zombie, in deference to tradition, is typically as strong as the Terminator). Harry, however, being Crazy Awesome, latches onto two of the other rules—first, that is is technically not illegal to raise animals, and second, that the older something is, the deeper its "footprint" becomes—and applies these rules to Sue, the 65 million year old T. rex skeleton at the Natural History Museum. Awesomeness ensued.
  • The Kellis-Amberlee virus of the Newsflesh Trilogy affects any mammal over forty pounds. This includes large dogs, horses, cows...and whales.
  • Not actually seen, but in On Stranger Tides, when a sorcerer animates a sunken British ship's crew to serve him, and accidentally raises up the Spanish vessel that sank it as well, one character remarks that there are probably fishes swimming about beneath them that'd been skeletons an hour ago.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, anything killed by the Others will rise as a wight. This includes horses (often described as riding around with frosted entrails clinging to their bellies) and bears.
  • Brian Keene has notable examples of zombie animals in his books: The Rising, City of The Dead, Dead Sea and The Rising: Selected Scenes From The End of The World. Dead Sea has examples of zombie seagulls, zombie fish and zombie rats, while the other books have a whole selection of zombie animals spanning from birds to dogs. Zombie insects and zombified plants are also explored in The Rising: Selected Scenes From The End of The World and zombified plants are hinted at towards at the end of City of The Dead.
  • A pack of zombie hyenas appears in Iron Dawn, as products of the demonist's corrupted magic.
  • In the humorous Magitek fantasy novel The Case Of The Toxic Spell Dump, a seamstress removes a fresh bloodstain from a piece of cloth by having her pet vampster lick it clean. Yes, that's a vampire hamster.
  • Can YOU Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? has zombie lions.
  • In the third book of the Immortals series by Tamora Pierce, Daine raises dead dinosaurs and takes them on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge because she thinks Numair has been executed by the Emperor.
  • A vampire version of this appears in Christopher Moore's trilogy about vampires in San Francisco, Love Bites, You Suck and Bite Me. Under the series' rules of how vampirism works, anything that has a vampire's blood in its system, and then dies, comes back as a vampire. Since many animals instinctively fight by biting their attacker, animals get vampirized very easily. At one point in the story there are clouds of mist made of vampire cats flying around.
    • Fortunately, Undeath Always Ends. The further removed vampires in that setting are from the original vampire, the quicker they die naturally or self-destruct psychologically somehow, which is seem with formerly human vampires. Protagonists manage to kill the first vampire cat, and it might never be explicitly stated but we can assume that all animals of a lower "generation" than him fall apart on their own somehow. At one point a flock of vampire parrots bursts into flame in the morning sun simply because they don't know they need to stay away from sunlight.
  • David Drake's The Lord of the Isles features a lot of necromancers who, in their bid to take over the kingdom, love to raise the dead. Their armies include undead infantry, undead cavalry on undead horses, and even undead shock troops in the form of undead woolly mammoths. Undead cyclopses have also been known to appear.

Live-Action TV

  • Pushing Daisies: When you can raise the dead by touching them, be careful not to touch bearskin rugs.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the first zombie raised by mask that houses the demon Ovu Mobani is a cat. It was the one corpse closest to the mask.


  • Campfire song "Johnny Verbeck's Sausage Making Machine" has this verse:

One day a little Dutch boy came walking in the store,
He bought a pound of sausages and laid them on the floor.
And then he started whistling, he whistled up a tune,
And all the little sausages went dancing 'round the room!

  • The Rockapella cover of The Kingston Trio's song "Zombie Jamboree" makes a brief mention of a "King Kong zombie on the Empire State (Building)".
  • The video for Metallica's All Nightmare Long has the Russian scientists injecting the zombie spores into steaks, and watching them slither around.

Tabletop Games

  • There are skeleton and zombie versions of just about anything (but most notably hounds) in Dungeons & Dragons. A well played necromancer will not reanimate Demihumans, but monsters, as they retain qualities they had in life, leading to nice goodies like zombie pyrohydras[2]
    • Indeed, older editions of the game included Animate Dead Animals as a low-level magic spell, useable by novice necromancers who weren't yet powerful enough to affect humanoid corpses.
    • D&D also gives us "Skin Kites," patches of undead skin which fly around and can create more of themselves from the skin of their victims. Then there's the Skulking cyst, a crawling undead tumor. Still other undead include clouds of blood, severed appendages, constructs of bone and an entire graveyard able to come alive like a humanoid golem.
    • Forgotten Realms had Undead Familiar back in AD&D2 and Undead Mount back in AD&D1 (Lords of Darkness). Also, in Elminster's Ecologies Appendix I Rolanda Invenweigh who provides the exposition keeps an undead ferret as a familiar (and has an unfortunate habit of suddenly introducing it to the visitors).
    • Dark Sun even has undead giant insects used as a war machine.
  • Munchkin has an Undead Horse, undead ears, and Zombees, which are just what you'd think they'd be.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has the Vampire Counts, who regularly employ Undead Wolves, Horses and Dragons in their service. Nurgle likewise sometimes employ decaying dragons and gigantic Toads, but whether they're revived creatures or Daemons resembling certain fauna is up for debate.

Video Games

  • Practically omnipresent throughout the Resident Evil games. Zombie dogs have appeared in basically every game to date, and you have also encountered infected crows (very annoying AND dangerous), an alligator (in a sewer!), a giant zombie snake, and a giant Zombie Man-Eating Plant. Probably others, too, but those are the ones that come to mind...Mentioned in the backstory, with Wesker suspicious of why Spencer had a mansion in the middle of a forest, despite knowing that the virus could infect anything and from such a location, could end up infecting everything.
    • Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 had the protagonists forced to go through the Raccoon City zoo: You get attacked by zombie hyenas, zombie alligators, zombie elephants, and zombie lions.
    • How can you forget the damn ZOMBIE SHARKS?
    • This got to the point that when normal, if aggressive, crocodiles were featured many were speculating on whether or not they were actually infected with anything.
  • In Dead Rising a zombie poodle is shown during one of the opening Cutscenes. You don't run in to any other zombie animals in the 360 version. The Wii version features them during the normal game.
    • It's debatable if the poodle was even a zombie in the 360 version, it could be the zombies favor human meat exclusively to animals.
    • Zombie penguins are mentioned as being an attraction in Fortune City in the tie-in C.U.R.E. website. None are seen in-game, though.
    • Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop also has zombie parrots. They have an annoying tendency to drop grenades on your head.
  • Destroy All Humans!: Radioactive Exploding Zombie Cows, anyone?
  • Animales de la Muerte, a game currently[when?] in development by High Voltage Software, developers of The Conduit, involves zombie zoo animals a Mexican zoo hit with a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • The Meat Circus in Psychonauts features zombie rabbits that attack Lil' Oly during the Escort Mission.
  • Plants vs. Zombies has zombie dolphins attack the household.
  • In the haunted house level of Time Splitters: Future Perfect, racks of zombified beef attack you in a kitchen. In another room, a huge mass of flesh bursts out of a wall attached to a stuffed moose head.
    • And we won't even begin to discuss "Princess"...
  • Zombie Carp in Dwarf Fortress. Normal carp are notorious for dragging unlucky dwarves into the water to their doom, but they're generally easy to avoid as long as you stay away from the water. Zombie carp are a whole new magnitude of "scary," being capable of leaving the water and pursuing the hapless dwarves to their very beds. And this isn't even taking into account the possibility of zombie whales...
    • And of course most normal wildlife in the game comes in undead form. Carp are just the worst Demonic Spiders of the lot.
      • And what's more, the recent update made them unkillable.
    • In the latest release dead things and dead parts of thing in an evil region can be spontaneously raised as undead, including untanned animal hides and the shells of mussels.
  • Guild Wars has undead dogs (or wolves), undead horses, and undead dragons (several. The Big Bad of Guild Wars 2 is itself an entirely different sort of undead dragon)
    • Not technically undead, but a similar idea, are the afflicted cows in the second mission of Factions.
  • EarthBound and Mother 3 both feature Zombie Dogs.
  • Thunder Force V has the boss "Iron Maiden", a reanimated... animal thingy.
    • "It was dead, but alive at the same time"
  • In Dawn of Heroes, the first Epic Monster you have a chance of fighting is a zombie-cow. It gets 'milked' for any number of bad puns. And then it stomps you flat. (Its basic attack does 264 damage. Twice. At the time when you can first face it, your strongest unit may have 150 HP.)
  • In World of Warcraft, the undead player's racial mounts are undead, skeletal horses. There are also models for deer, bears, and wolves that look undead and are confirmed to be infected or diseased with something, but not actually undead. Although in Razorfen Downs, the undead Quilboar are happy to send a pack of undead boars to attack you. There are also undead crabs in the Ghostlands, but this is informed, since they look and act exactly like normal crabs.
    • In most bodies of water there are swimming schools of fish that serve as decoration. In undead territories, they're fish skeletons.
  • In the Undead Nightmare DLC of Red Dead Redemption, the undead plague has spread to the animals, resulting in undead horses, undead wolves, undead cougars, and undead bears.
  • The popular Half Life mod, "They Hunger", has zombie dogs, bulls, and chickens.
  • In Dead Space some fish have been infected by Necromorphs and attack each other.
    • The Stalkers are implied to be made of both human and animal corpses, namely household pets like dogs and cats.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask introduced undead fish for the water levels.
  • Dark Souls has the Undead Dragons. They like to spit poison and have an almost-Instant Death Radius.
  • In Cold Fear is stated that Excell were experimented on animals, including dogs and apes. There's also a dead orca whale which hosted several Infectors, which proceed to attack you.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds features a zoo level with zombified gorillas and penguins. Unfortunately, the latter don't appear outside cutscenes.
  • In Parasite Eve, Aya's adventure in the American Natural History Museum sees her getting attacked by several insect specimens that were brought back to life, as well as reanimated and mutated velociraptors, a triceratops and even a T-rex.

Web Comics

  • In a more logical instance of this trope, Erfworld combines the powers of different mages to revive a dead volcano.
  • The Character Blog of Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer! from Girl Genius once had our lovable Large Ham trying to fight past a horde of undead stoats.
  • In the backstory graphic novel for The Order of the Stick, Xykon first discovered his powers as a sorcerer when he reanimated his dead dog.
  • Averted and Discussed in The Zombie Hunters. Animals are explicitly The Immune, which piques the interest of scientists trying to Find the Cure, and prompts jokes amongst the Zombie Hunters: "I have always considered it a blessing that animals don't turn. Can you imagine? Hunter Zombie Squirrels?"
  • Zombie horses, mules, and even prairie dogs have been shown as part of the world of Zombie Ranch. Although carnivorous, their behavior seems mostly unchanged compared to human zombies, and their bite isn't infectious to people. Zombie horses are even considered a preferred mode of transportation, but zombie cattle were put down as useless. Regardless of your former species, zombification apparently makes you taste terrible.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • On The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, a two-part zombie episode includes reanimated dogs, frog's legs, a chicken and serpentine sausage links.
  • In one episode of The Fairly OddParents, Timmy's long-dead pet gerbil comes back as a zombie, with Squick-y results. At the end of the episode, it is implied that all of his other dead pets have also become zombies.

Real Life

  • Real Life example: On the survival program Man Woman Wild, when a small rattlesnake is killed and then eaten immediately, reflex activity in its spinal cord causes its headless body to writhe slightly as it's being cooked.
  1. Hitman #13-14
  2. like the inability to have their heads destroyed by non-acid damage, complete immunity to fire and cold damage, and ability to attack once per head in a round.