Stock Animal Diet

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One of the most prevalent Animal Stereotypes. Animal characters, whether Talking Animals or Funny Animals, have a love for a certain kind of food that goes to the point of obsession (they go crazy for it) or exclusivity (they eat nothing else).

Which food the animal character loves is determined mostly by the character's species, and is usually universal across series, companies, and even media. Sometime these diets are true. For example, cats really do go nuts for fish. Others are so ridiculously false that it's amazing how they ever got started, but have been presented to us as true so often, that it's weird to think that it can't be true. Could you imagine a mouse not liking cheese?

Compare Trademark Favorite Food.

The most commonly encountered are


Anything in a picnic basket

  • A few Tom and Jerry cartoons had this, such when Spike the bulldog was having a picnic with his son, and ants began carrying sandwiches and apples away with them.


Ants, of course, though real ones prey on termites just as often.


Honey. This one is actually true. Bears go mad over honey and will raid hives when they find them. The crunchy bee larvae are a protein-packed bonus. (In fact, some languages' word for "bear" actually translates to "honey-eater.")

  • Bears go absolutely gaga over any sweet food, it's genetic—condensed milk is a perennial favorite of polar bears, who hardly ever have anything sweet in their normal diet.
  • That includes ice cream, as Ed Sullivan found out when he was holding an ice cream cone for a dancing bear doing his act on The Ed Sullivan Show. When it started melting, Sullivan took a lick and the bear saw that, roared in outrage and charged him for mooching on his ice cream.
  • Winnie the Pooh is notorious within his own stories for his love of honey.
    • Most characters in the "Winnie-the-Pooh" stories had one of these foods, as revealed when Tigger first arrived. Pooh loves honey, Piglet loves "haycorns", and Eeyore loves thistles. Tigger, who claimed to eat anything, decided he didn't like any of these foods. Tigger eventually ended up living with Kanga and Roo because his favorite food turned out to be Roo's strengthening medicine - extract of malt.
    • Malt extract is what it sounds like - it is made from malt (what you make beer from) and was considered healthy for little kids who are growing. BTW, Kanga couldn't help her maternal instincts, so she started having Tigger eat some of Roo's breakfast as HIS strengthening medicine... as if he needs it.
    • Malt extract isn't actually all that bad, but the flavor is not only extremely sweet, but vaguely butterscotchy and rather overwhelming if you eat too much of it. In fact, it's sort of like a Warhead candy, but for umami instead of sour.
  • In The Three Stooges short "Idiot's Deluxe" a bear steals the stooges food as they're camping in the woods, and we get a long shot of the bear licking the honey out of a jar with it's extremely long tongue.
  • Today the "bears eating honey" is slowly being replaced with "Bears eating salmon", which is also Truth in Television as fish are a main component of a bear's diet.
  • A within-universe commercial in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang had Michelle Monaghan's character interacting with a poorly CG animated talking grizzly for a fictional drink called "Genaros". Bear: "I'm for Genaros, but what do I know! I'm a bear! I suck the heads off fish!".



  • This is sort of true, as beavers will eat the leaves, small twigs, and inner bark but not the entire log itself other than wearing it down.
  • In "The Angry Beavers", the beavers not only ate wood (for example, they use wood shavings in their cereal), but chewed on it to keep their teeth from growing too long, which is true for beavers in Real Life. In one episode, Norbert's refusal to chew on wood because his long teeth made him popular with the other animals caused his teeth to grow out of control and trap him (along with his brother Dagget, who also stopped chewing out of jealousy) in a cage made of their elongated front teeth.


Worms or seeds

  • "The early bird catches the worm," is an old proverb.
  • The worm variant shows up in the Tex Avery short The Early Bird Dood It
  • Wile E. Coyote often tried to lure the Roadrunner into a trap by tempting it with bird seed, even though real roadrunners are actually predatory.
  • In Ox Tales Audrey is an ostrich who likes to bury her head in the ground to look for worms to eat.
  • In The Fox and The Hound, the two bird characters are constantly trying to catch the 'fuzzy worm', who turns out to be a caterpillar.
  • A running gag on the U.S. Acres segments of Garfield and Friends was Booker trying to catch a worm.


Fish, Meat, Mice/Rats, and/or Birds. Though they were originally bred to hunt mice. Of course, with fictional cats, actually catching mice or birds is very rare. They can have better luck with fish though, at least sometimes. Milk is also a popular treat for fictional cats, despite the fact that many cats can end up being lactose intolerant in real life.[1]

  • Claude the Cat, from the abovementioned Looney Tunes cartoon, was so thoroughly Squicked by Hubie and Bertie he couldn't eat mice, and so tried to get a Dog to kill him.
    • Similarly, in an earlier Sylvester cartoon, "Life With Feathers" a heartbroken lovebird tried to get Sylvester to eat him, but Sylvester wouldn't, thinking he was poisoned.

Sylvester: (caving in after being tempted): I'll do it! I'd rather die than starve to death!

  • Dominic Deegan's pet cat, Spark with Fish.
  • Also cheeseburgers cheezburgers, in the case of LOLcats.
  • Sylvester the Cat usually engages in quixotic pursuits of Tweety or Speedy Gonzales that far outweigh any benefits of catching them.
  • Played with in Warrior Cats—all four Clans have some kind of territory-specific prey that they catch regularly. ThunderClan = squirrels, mice, voles and rabbit. RiverClan = fish. WindClan = rabbit. ShadowClan = lizards, frogs, snakes and rats. SkyClan specializes in birds, which they leap into the air to catch.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Hobbes loves tuna fish.
  • For many pet owners, tuna fish is like cocaine to their cats. Unfortunate too, as it's not good for them.
  • Cats also enjoy playing and eating insects
  • CatDog: Along with bones for Dog, fish was Cat's main motif throughout the series (in fact, half his house is made of a giant fish fused to a giant bone). Cat loved fish so much he once worked in the fire department simply because they had fish chilly at the time.
  • An episode of Krypto the Superdog had the titular super dog hit by a beam that caused him to engage in cat-like behavior, including having a large hankering for tuna fish.
  • Garfield- Garfield loves eating Jon's pet fish, amongst all his other food indulgences. The mice part is averted, he won't even chase them. Too lazy.
  • Cats are often also stereotyped as feeding on their owners after death. Apparently can be Truth in Television
  • Cat Girl Blake in RWBY orders fish when everyone else orders noodles; when it is officially revealed that she is a faunus, Ruby seems to think it explains why she loves fish so much.




Grass or Hay



  • The Barney Bear short "Cobs and Robbers" where Barney is a corn farmer and two crows dress in a scarecrow suit and try to steal his corn.
  • An episode of Little Bear had a group of mischievous yet good hearted crows eating from Little Bear's corn field.
  • In The Wizard of Oz, crows come from miles around to eat the corn in the Scarecrow's field and mock him.
  • Lord Commander Mormont's raven in A Song of Ice and Fire regularly begs for corn by name.


Bones. Which is partly true. Most commonly Stock Femur Bones.

  • Older Than Feudalism: Aesop's Fables tell a fable about a dog who was carrying a bone and saw his reflection in a river. The dog, desiring the bone in his reflection's mouth, barked at it, dropping and losing his own bone. But it's inconsistent, in that some versions of the story replace the bone with a piece of meat instead.
  • In A Night of Fright is no Delight, it is shown that Scooby Doo is not afraid of haunted bones.
  • Some cartoons even show dogs hankering after fossilized bones, despite the fact they're made of stone and wouldn't smell
    • Which was used in Pixar's Up, where one of Muntz's cleaning dogs was shown cautiously nibbling on his fossil displays when he wasn't looking.
  • This is only partly true because dogs love chewing on bones, since the act of chewing relieves stress and boredom. Actually eating bones isn't the point, and can lead to throwing them back up if their stomach gets irritated from the bone shards. Many dog-owning tropers can attest to the fact that dogs will chew almost anything they're given. Or just happen to find. (They may be after the marrow inside the bones as well.)
  • One episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog had a magical giant bone so irresistible to dogs they licked it until they died of starvation. Courage managed to escape this fate through sheer Heroic Willpower.
  • A Disney episode had Pluto try to steal a large bone from a sleeping lion in the zoo because his bone was too small.
  • In CatDog, bones are Dog's main Motif (in fact, half of his house is made of a giant bone fused to a giant fish, which is Cat's motif). He even once stole the bones of a Tyrannosaurus Rex from a nearby museum and when arrested, was eating the bones of dead prisoners, whose cannibalistic behavior horrified cat (although in the end it was All Just a Dream by Cat.
  • Spike the bulldog from Tom and Jerry loves bones so much that he's almost always shown sleeping with a bone resting under his paw.
  • Son of the Mask had the Uncanny Valley cartoon baby trick the mask-wearing dog with an exploding bone, Looney Tunes style.
  • In Sooty, Sweep loves bones to the point where he can't understand why everyone else doesn't like them as much as he does. For example in one of the spin-off books he genuinely thinks an ideal birthday present for someone else would be an oil painting of a bone.
  • The dinosaur bone joke was also used in an episode of Jackie Chan Adventures where Jade's pet dog, Scruffy, is accidently possessed by a demonic Japanese oni mask that mutates it into a gigantic beast. Before becoming completely taken over, Scruffy engages in typical dog antics, including stealing a dinosaur bone from the local museum and trying to bury it.
  • Used yet again in the Candadian Gross-Out Show Mega Babies, where a robotic dog is contructed to keep the trio of super babies company. Of course, the robot malfunctions, culminating in it causing trouble around the city, including stealing a generic dino bone.
  • Bones are often a favorite food of choice for Krypto the Superdog and his super canine allies.


Breadcrumbs, fed to them by a Homeless Pigeon Person most often.



  • Which is one of the more idiotic examples, actually. Elephants can only digest about 40% of what they eat, so in one day they need approximately 400 to 600 pounds of food. Needless to say, if they go for peanuts exclusively, they're dead. The real "nut" that elephants are crazy about is coconuts, which they love so much they'll eat it with its shell. They also eat coconut palm tree leaves on a regular basis.
  • The elephant/peanut connection comes from performing elephants, as gullible circus audiences were (and still are) persuaded to buy overpriced peanuts to feed to the animals as well as themselves. After the show, the elephants go back to their pens and eat hay.
  • Elephants also have a love for chocolate more than peanuts and also a hankering for sugarcane, even robbing sugar cane trucks in Thailand.
  • Elephants apparently also love watermelon. An Animal Planet show shows them eating it enthusiastically.
  • The Classic Disney Shorts "Working for Peanuts" had Chip and Dale trying to steal peanuts from an elephant at the zoo while trying to avoid the wrath of zookeeper Donald Duck.
  • Shows up in Dumbo.
  • Lampshaded in the Simpsons cartoon, "Bart Gets an Elephant" where Bart gets a pet elephant and names it Stampy. To solve the food problem, Homer follows this trope by giving Stampy a whole bag of peanuts (from Moe) to eat which later causes it to become sick and weak afterwards. Lisa: "He can't just eat peanuts, Dad, he needs plants to live." Learning from his mistake, Homer has Stampy strip all the leaves from a nearby park.
  • The elephant from The Penguins of Madagascar went crazy from hunger after the zoo lost power and tried to eat lemur Julian because he looked like a peanut.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, a film producer who has been working on a film starring the cartoon elephant Dumbo remarks that the best part about it is that the star is literally paid peanuts.
  • A couple of Pay Day candy bar ads involved an elephant going after a hapless man's Pay Day bar, because it had peanuts in it.
  • An episode of Krypto the Superdog had Streaky assisting the Dog Star Patrol in their mission to catch the thief responsible for stealing the world's supply of peanuts. The perpetrators turned out to be a group of space elephants that were stealing all of the peanuts, because as we all know, elephants love peanuts.
  • The Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "An Elephant Never Suspects" had the rangers accused of peanut thievery by most of the animals at the zoo, including a group of elephants. The peanuts were actually being used by a pair of panda siblings in a machine made entirely out of bamboo, with the peanuts made into peanut butter as fuel for the machine.
  • Peanuts also seem to be the Trademark Favorite Food of Tantor the elephant in Tarzan.
  • In his segments on CB Bears, Undercover Elephant's love of peanuts caused him to blow his cover.
  • Woolie the Elephant in Cats Don't Dance makes peanut tea for Danny when they first meet, and rambles on random factoids about peanuts.
  • Peanut dispensers are among the enrichment items available for elephants in Zoo Tycoon 2. If given an easel as another form of enrichment, elephants will occasionally paint a picture of a peanut.


Buns. In British media the idea that elephants liked peanuts was comparatively rare, but there was an idea that elephants love buns, and certainly an idea that people liked to feed elephants buns when they visited them in the zoo or at the circus.

  • The story Too Many Buns For Rosie by Eva Haddon lampshaded this. It was about an elephant who loved buns, but ate too many of them which made her unhealthy until she switched to eating fruit and vegetables.
  • In The Beano video The Bash Street Kids are told that elephants have a good diet. Fatty is pleased with learning this as he thinks an elephant's favourite food is buns, so takes it to mean he can eat lots of buns.


Chicken. Foxes are carnivorous scavengers, as such they'll take any food they can get but they especially love chicken. There's a reason "Fox in the henhouse" is an old saying.

  • Chickens are among the prey Mr. Fox steals for his family in the book Fantastic Mr. Fox.


Flies, which they catch with their long, sticky tongues.

  • Rocko's Modern Life: Mr. and Mrs. Bighead (and any other toad) tend to catch any fly that flies around their vicinity with their tongues. Like real toads, Mr. Bighead also enjoyed eating other insects, including the ones that tried to eat his precious garden, and even kept a bug jail for future consumption (before Rocko saved them).
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: Among the strange phenomenon plaguing Courage and his owners were a group of bullfrogs led by their king who invaded their house and tried to build a pond in their living room. They force the Bagge's to act like frogs, including catching flies with their tongue, and use Courage as a fly catcher by covering him in honey. Courage rids the house of the frogs by catching flies with fly paper, stapling the fly-covered paper on the walls above where the frogs were preparing to feast on Eustace and Muriel, catching their attention where they all get their tongues stuck together on the sticky fly-paper trying to get the flies, and then grabbing all their tongues and flinging off into a far away distance.
  • The Princess and the Frog: After being turned by frogs by a magic spell, Tiana and Prince Naveen fall under their animal instincts and try to eat the Comic Relief firefly, Ray. Tiana was even embarrassed that her Instinct Are Showing.
  • An episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers had a frog force a tribe of beetles to find him a fly because he's tired of eating beetles, and naturally they capture the fly member of the Rescue Rangers, Zipper.


Tin cans or other junk and metal.

  • In case you were wondering, this started from people misinterpreting goats trying to eat the labels (and glue) off cans. Now you know, And Knowing Is Half the Battle.
    • Goats' genuine taste for paper sometimes turns up in variants of the homework-eating-dog scenario.
  • Percy Jackson and The Olympians Grover, the half-goat satyr would like to eat tin cans apples and such.
  • One Popeye cartoon randomly featured a Funny Animal goat who eats steel, and eventually eats an entire navy ship.
  • A Daffy Duck Wartime Cartoon, "Scrap Happy Daffy", has Nazis sending a goat to eat piles of scrap metal that Daffy was guarding for the war effort.
  • Lampshaded in The Simpsons episode "Lisa The Vegetarian". The family visit an amusement park that has a petting zoo, and Homer tries to get a goat to eat a tin can, but the goat isn't interested. Marge tells Homer that they're supposed to feed them from the animal feed stored in a machine.


Seem to enjoy sunflower seeds a little too much.


Sugar (usually sugar cubes), carrots, apples, oats, or hay. Real horses will eat all of these things, but hay and/or grass makes up the bulk of their diet, supplemented with grain; the rest, especially the sugar lumps, are treats that should be given sparingly.

  • Prince Phillip in Disney's Sleeping Beauty bribes his horse with the promise of "an extra bucket of oats. And a few... carrots?", only to irritably retract the carrots after the horse inadvertently clotheslines him on a tree branch.
  • In some of The Legend of Zelda games, the amount of times Link can make his horse Epona boost her speed is measured in carrots.
  • The old cliche, "Hey? Hay is for horses!"
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has this, in some interesting ways. Twilight mentions eating hay, and everyone enjoys Apple Jack's apples. The entire population seems to have a huge Sweet Tooth for things like cake and candies, which is probably an extension of the "horses like sugar cubes" concept. (Real Life horses will eat donuts and mints quite happily).
    • Given that the local sweet shop is called Sugar Cube Corner, chances are this was deliberate.
  • In Gulliver's Travels, the intelligent Houyhnhnms try to feed Gulliver hay to see whether or not he's one of them or a barbaric Yahoo. When he turns it down they bring him raw meat (which Yahoos eat), but he turns this down as well.
  • Maximus from Tangled loves apples.

Male Humans

Meat. And they only drink beer.

Female Humans

Chocolate. Salads if they're on a diet. When they do drink alcohol it's always the fruit-flavored kind that men would get made fun of for drinking. When they're depressed, it's a carton of ice cream.

College Student Humans

Ramen Noodles and Pizza. Drinking anything with alcohol or caffeine in it.

Mice (and sometimes rats)

Cheese. (Even though in real life most don't like it. Ironically the mouse's mortal enemy, the cat, adores it.) Peanut butter would be a better choice, which mice DO love.

  • Monterey Jack from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers has a psychotic Reflexive Reaction to just the smell of cheese, or even hearing anyone say the word. There's even an episode where his cheese addiction is treated like a G-Rated Drug and his friends have to confront him about it.
  • A Looney Tunes cartoon featured Hubie and Bertie, two mice who, after gorging all night on cheese, realized that even looking at it made them feel sick, so feeling they now had nothing to live for, they tried to get a cat to eat them.
  • In the novel House of Tribes, cheese is revered by mice as the Food Of The Gods.
  • Anatole, a French mouse in a series of picture books by Eve Titus, gets a job as a taster in a (human) cheese factory, leaving notes with suggestions for improvement.
    • If this sounds vaguely familiar, there's a reason or two.
      • Notably averted in Ratatouille where Remy and his family are shown eating a wide variety of food. However, in one scene his human partner, Linguini, gives him a piece of cheese from the food storage closet, which he eats with joy. Of course, he could have been starving, so anything seemed good to him; and he's a connoisseur of French cuisine, so perhaps it was just good cheese.
      • Rats, which are more prone to eating animal protein than mice are, enjoy cheese more than their little cousins do.
  • For Jerry of Tom and Jerry fame, cheese is still his favorite food, but he'll eat almost any food that's available to him no matter what it is.
  • In Mousehunt, the mouse loved cheese so much it devoured an entire cheese wheel that the two Butt Monkey Plucky Comic Reliefs were using to catch it. In the end it became a string cheese food taster.
  • Mickey Mouse averts this. In every cartoon, he's rarely seen eating any cheese at all. This is due to Disney's rule that Mickey is to never, ever be shown with cheese. "Cheese makes Mickey seem like a mouse. He's really not a mouse, you know, he's really more a human."
    • In one House of Mouse episode, however, Mickey spent the rent money on cheese. Specifically, a huge wheel of it that he swallowed in one bite. Even on House of Mouse, cheese is only one of the things Mickey eats, though. He also likes candy and sandwiches.
  • In An American Tail, immigrant mice come to America believing the streets are paved with cheese.
  • The browser game Mousehunt involves using cheese to bait a trap, though the varieties of cheese are as weird and wonderful as the mice they attract.
  • Rattrap of Beast Wars loves cheese, he even has a picture of one in his Heads-Up Display. Then again, he's not really a rat...
  • In the Nitrome game Cheese Dreams, an anthropomorphic ball of cheese is captured by space mice so obsessed with cheese, they use it to power their ships.
  • This particular Stock Animal Diet concept probably arose because, while hungry mice will nibble on any food that's left out in a pre-refrigerator-era pantry, cheese was the only thing that actually showed clear tooth impressions to prove they'd been doing so.
  • Ignatz, of Krazy Kat fame, is quite partial to cheese. In fact, cheese is to mice what catnip is to cats, and even Krazy Kat succumbs to its effects after getting invited to a "Fromage Festival" held by the mice.
  • In real life, a lot of vermin mouse and rat poisons are made to have the smell and taste of chocolate, as the little rodents are actually quite fond of anything sweet.
  • Cheese and mice in Who Moved My Cheese?. Downplayed as the Cheese (with a capital C) is metaphorical.
  • Cheese and rats in Who Cut the Cheese? by Stilton Jarlsberg. Unlike mice, real-life rats eat cheese as part of a more protein-rich diet.
  • Zigzagged with Verminious Snaptrap, the Big Bad of T.U.F.F. Puppy. He likes cheese as much as the next rat, but he can't eat it because he's lactose intolerant. "Yes, I'm aware of the irony!" he laments.



  • Truthfully, a real mongoose is willing to eat anything they can catch, snakes being one of them.
  • Done with the titular mongoose protagonist of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

Monkeys (and sometimes Apes or Gorillas)

Bananas. Real apes will indeed eat this and any other fruit they find.

  • See Donkey Kong Country.
  • Parodied in a Looney Tunes cartoon where a Chimpanzee is shown in a room with several blocks and a banana hanging from the ceiling. The expectation of the narrator is that in this logic test, the chimp will stack the boxes on top of each other to reach the banana. Sure enough, he chimpanzee stacks the boxes, climbs up to the banana... then whips out a saw and uses it to cut the entire section of the ceiling away to bring down the refrigerator that happens to be sitting right above it. Cut to the next scene of it happily enjoying turkey legs and cake, much to the surprise and confusion of the narrator.
  • In Discworld, this is the best way to get into the Librarian's good graces. Sometime between Light Fantastic and Sourcery he hires inept wizard Rincewind to fetch him bananas.
  • In a rare live-action version, this was amusingly subverted in Escape From The Planet of the Apes - Zira is in a test room with a set of puzzle blocks that form a staircase. Hanging above is a banana. She completes the puzzle in about fifteen seconds, climbs the stairs, looks up at the banana and sighs. When one of the scientists wonders aloud why she won't take it, she replies testily "Because I loathe bananas!"
  • Inverted in Manifold: Origin by Stephen Baxter; when the advanced hominid "Daemons" (who resemble gorillas) want to reward the human scientist Nemoto, they try offering her a banana. She is understandably insulted.
  • Subverted on an episode of Justice League. The Flash offers a banana to a gorilla in a laboratory, before being scolded by a scientist. When the gorilla reveals himself to be the Mad Scientist Gorilla Grodd, he clocks Flash a good one and remarks, "That was for the banana. I hate bananas."
  • Also parodied in Brandy and Mr. Whiskers where Brandy tried to use a banana to bribe villain gecko Gaspar's giant monkey Mooks, who took offense to the stereotype (though they later expressed enthusiasm in finding bananas for themselves after they left).
  • Inverted with Curious George, who not only ate bananas, but anything else he could get his hands on (like a puzzle piece).
  • Gunther, a monkey from one episode of Futurama, likes bananas but prefers not to eat them since they remind him that he's only fully sentient because of Professor Farnsworth's experimental hat.
  • Magilla Gorilla always ate bananas; he'd squeeze them at the bottom and they'd pop out the top and into his mouth.
  • The original King Kong may not have mentioned bananas, but the Universal Studios theme park ride ride blasted the audience with banana-flavored gas from animatronic Kong's mouth.
  • Super-intelligent gorilla Winston from Overwatch loves bananas, but not as much as he loves peanut butter.





  • This is actually true as shellfish are a predominant part of a sea otter's diet.
  • A Geico commercial saw the Gecko trying to explain insurance to an otter. He asks if the otter is eating clams, and then professes his own love for clams... Yeah.


Mice and other small rodents

  • Though rodents are part of their main diet, they're only a part. Owls will eat just about any small animal it can catch.
  • Mrs. Brisby in The Secret of NIMH is afraid to go see the Great Owl because "Owls eat mice!"
  • A scary one-eyed owl chases the furlings down in Once Upon a Forest, who are a hedgehog, a mole and a woodmouse respectively.
  • Spike from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic uses this assumption to try to frame Twilight's new pet owl (who he was jealous of), by finding a toy mouse and covering it in ketchup so it looked like blood.
  • It's mentioned a few times that Hedwig goes out every night to catch mice and frogs.
  • One episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy had Billy's mother go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against a particular species of owl when she thought one of them ate her beloved snot-covered rat after she let it out to roam in the yard. In the end it was revealed by an animal expert that the owls could not have eaten her pet since they were vegetarians. It was actually Big Eater Billy's dad who devoured her rat.



  • Pandas in fiction will only ever eat bamboo. Admittedly in Real Life it does form a major part of their diet, but not to exclusion as they will also eat other vegetation plus eggs, fish, and carrion.
    • The bamboo association comes from the fact that pandas have the same dietary needs as your average grizzly, but (possibly when they noticed bamboo was edible) they got too lazy and retarded somewhere along the line to actually catch anything that's not rooted down, and bamboo is plentiful where they live; so if you see a panda in the wild, and it's eating, there's a good chance it'll be eating bamboo.



  • Iago from Aladdin averts this; but to his annoyance he's often force-fed crackers by the sultan even though he hates them.



  • Truth in Television as fish is in fact their main food (although different penguin species eat different types of fish) along with krill and squid.
  • The penguins in The Penguins of Madagascar had several episodes involving their love of fish (for example making a growth ray so they can have more fish to eat, stealing a truck filled with fish when their diet of fresh fish was replaced with disgusting fish-cake shaped imitations, and defeating a giant monstrous fish in a nearby park lake then turning it into sushi).
  • The entire plot of Happy Feet resolved around Mumble trying to find a way to get the fish back for the starving penguins by communicating with the "aliens" who were stealing it (actually humans).
  • The cartoon baby penguin, Chilly Willy, once tried to eat a stuffed sword fish when invited into the home belonging to a friendly dog and his owner.
  • Sort of averted in Surf's Up. Cody the rockhopper penguin (and presumably the other penguins) ate fish, but enjoyed the squid on a stick served on the island where the surfing competitions took place because it Tastes Like Chicken.
  • The Penguin from Batman Returns at one point greedily eats a raw fish, although he was a mutant who was raised by penguins when he was abandoned as a baby.


Corn cobs, pigswill (obviously), and in the UK, turnips. Real pigs will eat pretty much anything.

  • In one The Muppet Show "Pigs in Space" skit, the crew of the Swinetrek are distracted from finding the Ultimate Answer because the galley is serving "Swill Stroganoff".
  • Dennis the Menace UK's pet pig Rasher can be lured places with turnips, and otherwise has his head in a trough of swill.
  • In the Discworld novels, kids leaving out a sherry and a pork pie for the Hogfather also leave a turnip for the wild boars who pull his sleigh, as a counterpart to Roundworld kids leaving a carrot for the reindeer.


Carrots and lettuce. Which they do like, but mostly they eat hay or grass.

  • Bugs Bunny has been shown eating lettuce (with carrots, of course), exactly once in his career. And his earliest incarnations, before he was properly named, ate celery. Any other time has been strictly carrots.
  • This flash video parodies it, along with other traits of your typical talking rabbit.
  • Reisen and Tewi, a pair of youkai rabbits from the Touhou series, are sometimes depicted eating carrots in fan works.
  • In Dark Cloud 2, you recruit one character, an anthropomorphic rabbit, to your trainload of support characters by giving him a carrot.
  • Fun Fact: Carrots have too much sugar for rabbits to eat everyday. They'll get Bunny Diabetes.
    • They do love them though.
  • The rabbit/carrot stereotype was parodied by Anya in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode.

Bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes
They've got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses
And what's with all the carrots?
What do they need such good eyesight for anyways?
Bunnies, bunnies it must be bunnies!

  • Subverted in Watership Down, where the rabbits correctly eat grass as their staple diet, and don't even have a word for "carrot". At best, they'd lump them together with other tasty vegetables as "flayrah", meaning "princely food".
  • Subverted in Happy Tree Friends, where the rabbit, Cuddles, is highly allergic to carrots.
  • While Bunnicula sinks his fangs into most veggies, he notably drains several carrots dry, including on the cover.
  • Used in variation in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The rabbits loved to eat carrots (in fact, in the movie Gromit fed the ones they caught only chopped carrots), but also enjoyed eating any other vegetables and fruit they could find (which was unfortunate for those who were growing them for the vegetable competition) necessitating the need for Wallace and Gromits' temporary rabbit catching services.




Human corpses/carrion, garbage, mice, cheese (examples for cheese go in the mice section, since it usually indicates that rats and mice are being used interchangeably. In real life, rats will enjoy cheese more than mice will)

  • All Quiet on the Western Front featured rats that would come out after battles to eat the dead soldiers.
  • In early episodes of South Park, rats would always come to eat Kenny's dead body.
  • In Willard, the title character trains the rats in his basement to exact revenge on his overbearing boss. At the climax, he commands his Swarm of Rats to eat his boss alive. In the 2003 remake, the rats consume a live cat as well. And in the original movie, the rats turn on Willard himself at the end, and eat him.
  • In Charlotte's Web, Templeton goes along to the fair with Wilbur so he can gobble up garbage after the place closes. In the film, this gives him an enormous Balloon Belly.



  • This one is especially unfair, given the relative rarity of someone being attacked by a shark, let alone actually being eaten. Sharks can and do bite with deadly results, but it's because biting is their way of figuring out what something is. It isn't their fault humans are so fragile.
  • Jaws can almost fully be blamed for this stereotype.


Rats and mice if they're small, humans if they're huge constrictors.

Squirrels and Chipmunks

Any sort of nut, usually acorns.

  • Chip and Dale are a prominent example of chipmunks favoring acorns, though they've been known to expand their diet of acorns to include peanuts and apples in some shorts. And their diet seems much more varied in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, Sandy Cheeks has a big thing for nuts. Most of her inventions are nut-based, such as the machine that could read the thoughts of nuts.
  • The squirrels in Jimmy Neutron once stole Sheen's Ultralord action figure and worshipped it because it cracked open their nuts.
  • In one Looney Tunes cartoon, "Much Ado About Nutting", a squirrel looking for nuts finds a coconut and tries unsuccessfully to break it open.
    • Real life squirrels regularly gnaw holes on coconuts to eat the coconut flesh.
  • In one Disney cartoon, a flying squirrel (which, unlike Real Life flying squirrels, actually flies) harasses Donald Duck and his Peanut stand because Donald wouldn't give him a specific peanut. They proceed to engage into an Escalating War, all because of that specific peanut.
  • Slappy the Squirrel from Animaniacs loved to eat walnuts, and often risked her safety (not that she had anything to worry about) picking walnuts from nearby yards defended by dogs. In one cartoon she drinks acorn-flavored soda.
  • Subverted with Hammy from Over the Hedge, who found himself enjoying human food like donuts, chips, and coffee more than the food he and his mixed animal family used to eat before their home became invaded by suburban home development.
  • Every Scrat scene in the Ice Age always had the prehistoric squirrel trying to catch or find a safe spot for his acorn at the risk of his safety.
  • Screwy Squirrel was sometimes shown cracking walnuts by placing them on his head and smashing them with a hammer.



  • In Western Animation their eating of wood will be accompanied by Buzzsaw Jaw.
  • In reality, if you have termites in your house they'll get into and eat practically anything an ant would.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Triceratops, Sauropods, Stegosaurs, and when cloned in modern times (or happens to encounter time travelers), humans. They're extremely persistent about it too.

  • The Jurassic Park series, naturally.
  • Though technically an Allosaur, Gwangi of The Valley of Gwangi really loved humans. He also developed a taste for elephant too.
  • The Tyrannosaurs in King Kong were willing to fight an 80 foot gorilla just to get at the pretty little human he was carrying.


Anything that drops dead in a desert.


Sheep, pigs, humans


Several of the above.

  • The video game Baku Baku Animal is based on this trope: dogs eat bones, rabbits eat carrots, pandas eat bamboo, monkeys eat bananas, and mice eat cheese.

Random Real Life

  • Truth in Television: Koalas can only ingest gum (eucalyptus) leaves. Even water makes them sick, although they will drink it if they're really really desperate. And that's only particular kinds of gum leaves.
  • Lammergeiers eat almost exclusively bones.
  • If you see a lizard in a cartoon, chances are, he/she is gonna be shown eating insects and catching them with a long sticky tongue. This raises quite a few problems, since the only known lizards to have a long sticky tongue are Chameleons and Green Iguanas are often used....who just happen to be VEGETARIANS.
    • not necessarily. Sure green iguanas can and usually do subsist on plants only. But they will actually eat meat if it's easily available and doesn't require too much biting. Moreover, pet iguanas go gaga for chafer grubs. Also, the iguana can make the tip of its tongue slightly sticky - simply by flexing the tongue the right way.
    • A variation on this is that frogs - amphibians, not lizards, but regardless - will always be seen eating houseflies exclusively, when in reality they're much less picky about the insects they do eat.
      • Not just insects; most species of frogs and toads will basically eat anything that is smaller than themselves, and in some cases they will even take on larger prey.
  • A few lesser known examples: Alligators love chicken, Crocodiles enjoy rats, and Caimans primarily subsist on fish.
    • A fairly obscure extension for alligators is that they absolutely adore marshmallows.
  • Porcupines are salt addicts, due to the lack of sodium in their normal diet (tree bark and leaves). This is why you should never leave wood- or leather-handled tools or unwashed socks outdoors overnight in porcupine country, as they'll gnaw on sweaty grips or eat fabric for the sweat that permeates it.
    • Avi did his research - having Poppy's Grumpy Bear Deadpan Snarker porcupine friend, Ereth, have an addiction to salt (especially salt lick, which Poppy and her mouse family got him for his birthday in the novel, "Ereth's Birthday").
  • Dogs will go apeshit for pancakes. And bacon.
    • Hence the Beggin' Strips commercials. "IT'S BACON!!"
    • Dogs will go crazy for certain veggies like squash, sweet potatoes, and green beans.
  • Songbirds and worms. Occasionally they will eat insects. Or breadcrumbs, if the focus is on the friendly Bird Woman.
  • Truth in Television: Polar Bears really love to eat toothpaste.
  • Although they don't encounter it in nature, elephants LOVE chocolate. One episode of "Inside Nature's Giants" had a team of biologists determining the inner contents of an enclosure elephant's digestive system by feeding it a recording device with a chocolate outer coating.
  • If you have a pet rabbit, they will eat all sorts of things, including human food. However, none of it is good for their delicate digestive systems, except romaine lettuce.
  • Averted in Real Life with this youtube video of a squirrel eating a BIRD! 03 dc 5 Pgms
  • Asian palm civets, known as luwak, eats exclusively coffee fruit. After passing through the animal's digestive system, the beans are then turned into the most expensive brand of coffee in the world... TMI?
  • Cats love ham, though it's terrible for them. They also adore cheese, even if they aren't interested in regular milk. Some like to lick (or even eat) watermelon or cucumbers.
  • Rats eat virtually anything people do, which is why they thrive in our cities, but they're especially fond of scrambled eggs.
  • This troper was unfortunate to witness a pelican eating a pigeon. And there was me thinking they only ate small fish...
  • People usually think of monnkeys and apes as vegetarians, but chimps and baboons will readily kill and eat small animals, including small monkeys. Chimps also love termites, using spit-moistened twigs or blades of grass to get them.
  1. As with humans, though, feline lactose intolerance doesn't mean that it can't still be a highly desired foodstuff. One just does not want to be a bystander when it hits the other end.