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A person is smart; people are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it.
Agent K, Men in Black

When it becomes clear that a major threat to people's lives exist, you would expect them to drop everything else and deal with it, right? Well, not necessarily. After all, if the huddled masses were capable of saving themselves, then what would they need heroes for? People are Dying Like Animals when they're actively working against their own best interest — sometimes even their literal survival — during a crisis situation. Instead of an asset, helping out the heroes to counter the threat, they're a liability at best and a hindrance at worst.

They may refuse to accept that anything is wrong in the first place, or else believe that it's Somebody Else's Problem and nothing that they have to worry about. On the other hand, they may believe that the threat is being blown out of proportion, and go out to end it themselves — getting themselves slaughtered in the process. Maybe they think that the threat is too powerful to resist, giving up even when they could help. The more devious version of this are those that seek to profit from the threat, either by joining it or by using it as an excuse to pick fights with the people they should be teaming up with.

Depending on the tone of the work, these people may be dealt with in a few different ways. More optimistic works will have the hero convince them to get over their problems and start Fighting for Survival. Otherwise, they'll be forced to save the people in spite of themselves — only the most cynical Anti-Hero will declare the masses Too Dumb to Live and leave them to their fate.

Go to the Analysis page to see examples of different archetypes of behaviour.

See also: Apathetic Citizens. Opposite of Fighting for Survival.

Examples of Dying Like Animals include:


Anime

  • The farmer and villagers of Samurai Seven are the mousiest people in all of anime, even after the samurai trained them to fight and land a victory. Naturally, there was at least one Weasel.
  • A rather literal example of suicidal Boars: the magical boars in Princess Mononoke know they'll die if they make a headlong rush against the human settlement, but do so anyway.
  • The citizens and Navy of the World Government in One Piece are a veritable zoo, mainly Sheep and Lemmings. Early in the series we encounter a Boar (Mayor Boodle, an ordinary old man who has the guts to confront Buggy the Clown and his gang, but is subdued by Luffy before he can get himself killed).
  • The refugees from the Albion arc in Berserk are lemmings, doing whatever the brutal inquisitor Mozgus tells them to so that they don't get devoured by demons. The priest from the village being attacked by trolls later on is both a mouse and a reindeer, believing that the troll attack is a trial sent by God and that all the villagers need to do is pray to survive, and when witch Schierke tries to cast a spell around the church to protect everyone, the priest actually tries to stop her since she's, well, a witch.
  • In the fourth season of Sailor Moon, the villain openly exclaims that people in Tokyo are Bats.
  • In Twentieth Century Boys, virtually the whole world is turned into sheep, except who they rally around is not the true heroes of the story but Friend, who was behind the world-shattering events he pretended to stop in the first place.
  • Oh various random extras from Violinist of Hameln, can you ever stop being Reindeers, if only because of finally realizing that pissing off a Person of Mass Destruction who is known (in at least one case, seen just a day before) to go on unstoppable, devastating rampages, when sufficiently provoked is not very conductive to your health?
  • One word: Inuyasha. I mean, the villagers (and any of the one time stock characters the author/animators choose to mess with) are basically one of the above every single day of the week. Not to mention Kikyo and Sango start off as chimeras of lemmings and hero hostile boars, Miroku is a not-so-scared weasel, and Kagome is such a lamb I wonder if Inuyasha really prefers it that way. But then again, this is the work of Rumiko Takahashi, whose works I love for this.
  • The humans in Melody of Oblivion are either ignorant of the fact that Monsters have invaded -- and defeated -- humanity, or are complicit in offering children as sacrifices. Children and most adults fall into the former category, with only the leaders of a given area knowing the truth. The existence of the heroes, the Melos Warriors, is completely denied by nearly everyone.


Comic Books


Film

  • The majority of people trapped in the grocery store in The Mist start off as Bats, refusing to believe there are any monsters in the mist. Their refusal results in the first death in the film, and even in the face of this evidence, several people still refuse to admit that there are creatures prowling around outside. Once these Bats leave and the monsters start besieging the store, however, the remaining survivors quickly become Lemmings, listening to the religious zealot's rantings about the apocalypse and try to offer up the few sane people in the store as sacrifices to the creatures outside the store. How was that going to solve anything? By their leader's admission, they were all doomed anyways. As one character points out, as a species we are "inherently insane."
  • In Jaws, the mayor and the selectmen are bat/ostrich chimeras, both refusing to believe that the shark threat is real and refusing to allow Brody to close the beaches for fear of losing the tourist crowd.
  • Men in Black: Humans are "dumb, panicky, dangerous animals," or Bats, for the purpose of our little list. Those that do actually see are either reindeered or neuralyzed back into Bathood, or are themselves MIBs.
  • Councilman and Smug Snake Theron in Three Hundred was a Snake. He collaborated with Xerxes and the Persians to delay and inhibit the deployment of the Spartan army in exchange for gold.
  • The human police and guards in The Matrix can be considered Lemmings, and who can blame them? After all, the human Resistance kills them with impunity and dress like leather-loving terrorists.
  • Captain Korso, in Titan A.E., is a mouse-turned-mole, though he eventually realizes what a prick he's being and tries to redeem himself with a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Zombie Apocalypse movies pretty much always have one Rat, such as Barbara from Shaun of the Dead.
  • Probably the most grating example of a Rat is L.J. from Resident Evil Extinction, who despite having lived through a Zombie Apocalypse decides to hide his injury from the other survivors, even as he gets increasingly sicker and sicker.
  • The regular citizens in The Incredibles are Reindeer who are Too Dumb to Live... but not to sue. (Although if you don't think that's Truth in Television, you obviously don't get out enough...or you take your internet Glurge with a grain of salt.) They gleefully start filing negligence lawsuits against the Supers for minor injuries sustained in the course of having their lives saved! Talk about biting the hand that saves your life.
  • Most of the cast of Twenty Eight Days Later, being by definition survivor types, manage to avoid these (well, mostly). Selena begins (before taking a step up to badassitude in her own right) as a Wolf of sorts. The first male survivor we meet, Mark, would have been a Rat if the infection hadn't been checked by Selena butchering him with a machete and Jim was at first a bit of an Ostrich. Most of those offed in the titular 28 days of strife seem to have been unlucky Bats or all too aware and simply too late.
  • In V for Vendetta, the fascist government of future Britain relies heavily on the essential Sheep/Ostrich nature of humanity in order to keep the population under tight martial control. Slightly subverted as V's actions succeed in inspiring some Boar behavior.
    • Donovan's mother is a chimera, combining Sheep, Bat, Mole, Snake and Jackal.
  • I Robot has half a city's worth of Boars.
  • In the film version of Horton Hears a Who, the people of Whoville become Bats. Even as several signs that something very wrong is happening pile up, they simply adjust to whatever change and continue their routine accordingly. Day turning into night suddenly? Take off your sunglasses! It's snowing in the summer? Go sledding!
  • In the classic Western High Noon, marshal Gary Cooper has to face the bad guys virtually single-handedly when the whole town refuses to help him out. They're mostly Ostriches or Mice - they think if they let the bad guys kill the marshal, they won't come after the rest of them, or are simply scared. In a similar scenario at the beginning of High Plains Drifter, the townsfolk allow the marshal to be brutally murdered.
  • In Blindness, a crowd of scared people with contagious blindness, and a group of very nervous armed guards. A very bad combination.
  • In The Dark Knight, The Joker is all about turning many of the people of Gotham into wolves, jackals, and weasels, and the rest into lemmings while laughing as they march straight over a cliff in their panic.


Literature

  • Literary example: in Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, the main character attempts to blow the whistle on dangerous contamination of the town baths... and meets with the scorn of everyone from the mayor on down.
  • The Harry Potter series uses off this one pretty heavily:
    • While most Muggles don't really count (they're kept in the dark on purpose), Harry's relatives count as excellent Reindeer.
    • The Order of the Phoenix features the Ostriches in the Ministry of Magic turning the wizarding community into Sheep and Reindeer.
    • The Deathly Hallows sees The End of the World as We Know It as Wizarding England (a democracy) basically transforms from one much like current England into a Nazi-like police state pretty much openly run by Death Eaters, with Ostriches, Weasels, Mice, and Bats running rampant for weeks after the coup. Slytherin House becomes a bunch of Chimeras (Snakes, Jackals, Mice, and Lemmings), while the other houses are boars. You see, a Death Eater placed a mind-control jinx on some of the elected leaders, and most people, for no apparent reason, continue to trust the Daily Prophet. Mousehood becomes the overriding force in society for the next seventeen or so chapters, to the point where encouraging graffiti glows with phoenix fire by comparison. (Aberforth has convinced himself that he's a Mouse, but this runs totally counter to his actual actions. A real Rick Blaine type, that one.) Dolores Umbridge and caretaker Filch both become Jackals -- Umbridge when the Ministry is taken over by Death Eaters, and Filch when Umbridge takes over discipline in Hogwarts.
    • Additionally, a huge bunch of Weasels spring up in the Half-Blood Prince, selling things like cheap talismans and fake protection kits. Mr. Weasley's job on duty is to track down and arrest these Weasels.
  • Left Behind: Mostly the Sheep and Reindeer variety.
  • Mundane people on the Discworld are usually either Sheep (especially in the City Watch and Witches books, where the public always relies on the overworked and underappreciated main characters to save the day, and never have any serious doubt that they can't handle it) or Bats (especially in the Death books, where people just ignore what their brains can't handle, like The Grim Reaper walking around in public). The Sheep metaphor is especially prevalent in the books starring Tiffany Aching, who is both a shepherd's daughter and a witch in training. On the other hand, CMOT Dibbler is a Weasel all the way (not completely; he too wears the Lilac).
    • In Guards Guards pretty much every single one of the above animal-types makes an appearance.
    • The Sheep nature of Discworld citizens was lampshaded in GURPS Discworld Also, where if ordinary citizens are asked why they haven't investigated large animal corpses floating down the river, they respond "What do we look like? Daft 'eroes? No offense, o'course!"
    • Lampshaded and semi-subverted in Small Gods: The Great and Powerful Om has a rather skewed view of humanity because his first contact with humanity was a shepherd rather than the goatherd in the next valley. As the book says, "Sheep are stupid, and have to be driven. But goats are intelligent, and need to be led."
  • It is stated in the second book of Abarat that everyone actually felt something was going on, but the commoners prefer to ostrich themselves. This is somewhat justified by the fact that those who were capable enough to do something had been "put to sleep with the Requiax".
    • Then, Candy's father refuses to be rescued by the Abaratians because they are, in his words, freaks. He refuses to get out of a sinking boat just because they told him to. Reindeer much?
  • In Jim Butcher's Small Favor, Harry Dresden explicitly compares the bulk of humanity to ostriches.
    • However, the supernatural community in the Dresden Files considers alerting mortal authorities to supernatural threats to be roughly equivalent to a nuclear strike; they're quite aware that frightened people tend to turn into boars and, well, these days Torches and Pitchforks are replaced by Molotov cocktails and high-caliber rifles at a minimum. If the military gets involved, you can expect tanks and missiles, and actual nuclear weapons become an option.
  • The Stephen King novella The Mist contains examples of several of these types. In fact, it could almost be argued that every character in the book embodies one of these.
  • Older Than Feudalism: Cassandra was the daughter of Priam and Hecuba, the last king and queen of Troy. She was so beautiful Apollo fell in love with her and gifted her with prophetic sight. However, she spurned him, and being the Greek god he was, he cursed her so no one would believe anything she said. So she foretold the whole deal, the problem with Helen and Paris, the siege and fall of Troy, but no one listened. Oops.
  • Although The Chronicles of Narnia are the Trope Namer for many of the animals in Fighting for Survival, the final book presents the creatures falling into the habits of Dying Like Animals. Most of the creatures act like Sheep who are easily herded into the plans of the Calormenes. The Ape Shift is a classic Snake: he tricks the gullible donkey Puzzle into helping him trick the Narnian masses, and the Dwarves deserve a special mention, since they play the role of both Reindeer and Bats at various points in the story.
  • World War Z practically has a catalogue of these:
    • Bats: Widespread denial allows the zombie plague to grow to epidemic proportions.
    • Sheep: Even when it's clear that there's something going on, most people take their Phalanx and wait for someone else to solve the problem.
    • Chickens: The freeway full of stopped cars, in addition to other mass evacuations.
    • Boars: Yonkers. Military strategy included equipping soldiers with flashbangs.
    • Rats: The other major cause of the plague: people constantly deny that they have the plague, and fleeing refugees will often carry around a zombified family member in a box until it breaks out and kills them all.
    • Wolves: The LaMOEs (Last Man On Earth). Given the wide variety of Wolves, they actually develop nicknames for the two basic categories: Robinson Crusoe's (RC's) are people who managed to survive in their own little forts, but still behaved (more or less) like moral human beings, and actually welcomed contact with the US army when they liberated the area from zombies. The actual hardcore "LaMOEs" were the real Wolves, hardcore survivors who were so used to being kings of their own little fiefdoms that they weren't about to give them up.
    • Weasels: The manufacturer of Phalanx, still justifying his actions from his hidden base in Antarctica after he practically caused the apocalypse.
    • Jackals: The quislings.
    • Poodles: The celebrities on Long Island that flaunt all of the supplies that they have and are promptly invaded by a horde of desperate people.
    • Turtles: everyone who holed up in their own little fort safe from the zombies, but who without adequate supplies died of starvation. In the early days this included the desperate people hiding on their rooftops or in closets, but later on included empty forts filled with gnawed human bones...these are the forts that didn't fall to zombies. Arguably more people died from starvation than the actual zombies. This category also probably includes the millions of people who fled to the "safety" of the Canadian sub-arctic. The few survivors up there had to resort to cannibalism.
  • Animal Farm uses this literally as part of its allegorical message. While the list isn't identical on all points to that listed here, readers get no prizes for guessing who the sheep are supposed to be...
  • In Hosts, Repairman Jack accuses the surviving subway passengers of being Sheep to their faces, disgusted that he was the only one armed and able to fight back against the spree-killing psycho. Jack fears that they'll turn into Reindeer if the truth about his "profession" comes out.
  • The comedy book Apocalypse How gives you pointers on how to be the best Vulture you can be in the post-apocalyptic world.
  • In Robert Asprin's Myth Directions, after his apprentice Skeeve almost causes a war between Ta-Hoe and Veygus, the demon Pervert Aazh's first thought is making bets on which side will win. For propaganda's sake, both city/states' bookies were betting three to one that their own army would win, and Aahz, a typical fox, figured with bets on both sides, he couldn't help but make a profit.


Live-Action TV

  • The townsfolk of Sunnydale in Buffy the Vampire Slayer would seem to be a combination of both Ostriches and Bats: it's implied throughout the series that they're aware of the supernatural oddities (and extremely high mortality rate) of their town, but prefer to live in blissful ignorance of the truth of the situation. This attitude has come to be known as Sunnydale Syndrome.
    • Likewise, Principal Snyder is a Jackal.
    • Mayor Richard Wilkins III's Backstory has him as a Snake who ascended into Big Bad Bad Boss territory, and from there hopes to ascend into even bigger Snake territory.
  • A particularly bad example is Doctor Who, where humans took about a year or so to stop being Bats despite the Earth being visibly invaded by aliens several times in that time. The first contact with a space pig was declared a hoax (which, in a roundabout way, it was), and the battle between Daleks and Cybermen were assumed to be hallucinations by a Torchwood character. Over time the Bats gained sight: for example a man who openly believes in aliens (being a hostile alien himself that's visited Earth decades earlier) was elected as Prime Minister and people backed this belief on radio.
    • The episode "Turn Left" had fun with removing the blinders. Because of an alien that feeds off of changes in the timeline and picking the wrong food source, the Doctor dies in "The Runaway Bride." Without the Doctor to end certain threats before they escalated (or at least providing a plausible denial,) things become much more obvious. It is easier to be a Bat when you thought you saw a giant replica of the Titanic falling from the sky (but ignored it because the notion seemed ridiculous) than when it actually explodes (forcing evacuation of the southern portion of Great Britain in the process.)
    • Another episode "Midnight" sees the Doctor on a tour of a planet made of diamonds and bathed in deadly radiation. He's inside a sandcrawler/tour-bus with a group of unassuming people until a disembodied alien gets inside and possesses one of them, threatening the rest. The Doctor tries the standard Bavarian Fire Drill technique to get everyone on side with him but for once, it doesn't work and everyone turns into lemmings, trying to sacrifice him to appease the creature.
  • In Torchwood, which takes place in the same continuity, the ongoing Bats joke seems to wobble in and out of favor; "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" has a fishheaded alien being chased by MIBs, and an elderly woman just rolls her eyes at it as a typical scene. And yet, one episode later, a character patently insists there are no aliens until she's shown one up close. Of course, she was an alien sleeper agent, so her programming might've turned her into a Bat despite the in-continuity establishment of visible aliens.
  • In Torchwood: Children of Earth, The government were mice, making sure they'd be poodles as well. They tried to turn the public into bats. Fortunately, not everyone was a sheep.
  • In the Stargate Atlantis episode "The Hot Zone," a scientist infected by a virus tries to get away, despite quarantine.
  • Lost: At the beginning of the series, Rousseau is very much a Lone Wolf, though she can eventually be convinced to ally with the survivors (but not join their community). The survivors themselves often degenerate into Boar-ishness. Sawyer is a quintessential Vulture -- until he becomes nicer and there are no more corpses to rob.
    • That is, the major characters are Boars. The background characters are Lambs who look to Jack or Locke. Sawyer actually replied to Locke's query about what the rest of their group were saying, "Baaaaa. That's the nice thing about Sheep. They're predictable."
  • In Babylon 5, the entire Markab race dies for being a bunch of Ostriches: "Since the plague only kills sinful hedonists, we good and upstanding citizens are perfectly safe." Well, not quite so.
  • Supernatural uses a lot of these. Mole? (Ruby) Check. Fox? Check. Termites all over the floor. Bloodhound FBI agent. Roosters? (The Ghost Facers) Check! And many more. Somewhat justified with the Apocalypse coming and all, although some of the examples are from before.
  • Sliders has a whole episode related to butterflies, when a comet is thought to hit an alternate Earth from which the Sliders can't leave in time. Rembrandt, being the Only Sane Man (that is, not A scientist), gives up all hope and goes to "end of the world raves". Eventually, they manage to reinvent the A Bomb there and blow the comet/asteroid, with Rembrandt only finding out about this around the end of the episode.
    • More generally and more appearing throughout the show, "mice" are an important part of many worlds where tyranny rules. Most people will be afraid to join a resistance of some sort, although there will be exceptions who will
  • Power Rangers RPM has Colonel Mason, a Turtle who believes that the city's forcefield will keep out the bulk of the Killer Robots and his own security forces and the Rangers will take down any that make it through. (Compare with the Rangers' Mission Control, who is very concerned about the humans' ability to keep pace in an Exponentially Escalating Arms Race.) He only reluctantly goes along with any of the Rangers' more proactive plans that risk lowering defenses even the slightest amount. This backfires once when an evil plan hinges on having everyone trapped in the city; and he eventually admits he's wrong at the end, once Big Bad Venjix activates a bunch of Manchurian Agents under his nose.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus had a skit about scientists who went to Antarctica to live as penguins, and consequently died like penguins (only a lot quicker).


Tabletop Games


Theatre

  • Cabaret: Schultz, who thinks the Nazis aren't a serious threat, is a Bat. Schneider, who thinks she's seen it all, is an Ostrich. The Emcee, who shamelessly panders to the Nazis in his audience, is perhaps a Snake (though he was implied to have ended up in a concentration camp in the Sam Mendes revival). Sally is a Butterfly. Of course, there would be no hero to stop the rise of Nazi Germany even if Cabaret weren't Based on a True Story.


Video Games

  • Dead Rising is an obvious example, as it takes place in a zombie-infested shopping mall. The few humans still alive run the gamut of animal types from the turtle survivalists in the gun shop, to the lamb in the Entrance Plaza being pinned down by snipers ("I was waiting for someone strong like you to come sort things out. Lead the way!"), to Doctor Barnaby the mule.
  • The citizens of Alfard in Baten Kaitos are Snakes to a man, as The Empire has trained them in extreme civil pride. They couldn't give a damn about Geldoblame's conquest ambitions, since they themselves are all so well off.
  • The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past includes a few Lemmings in Kakariko Village, when Agahnim takes over Hyrule Castle and blames Zelda's kidnapping on Link. Whenever Link comes within sight of these characters they'll run into their house, lock the door, and call in the soldiers to attack Link. Obviously you can't attack these people even to shut them up. In order to get into their houses and indulge your Kleptomaniac Hero nature, you have to sneak around them.
  • The mayor of Iselia in Tales of Symphonia is a chimera of mouse and reindeer, though there are a lot of the latter in the game.
    • Also, for most of the game, Zelos is a fox character.
  • The Funny Animal video game Tai Fu: Wrath of the Tiger actually has some of the above categories as literal versions of this trope, specifically the Boars, Snakes, and Rats.
  • Advance Wars: Days of Ruin has a lot of these, with the Mayor being a Reindeer, and Waylon being the biggest goddamn Snake in recent memory.
  • Most of the When They Cry series uses this as one of its big points, showing how everyone Dies Like Animals, until they finally manage to put their strong points to use and Fight For Survival. Both have pretty apparent boars, but Higurashi no Naku Koro ni definitely has more wolves. At least in the first arc of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, chickens factored pretty heavily in the outcome.
    • Granted, considering they're unknowingly infected with Hinamizawa Syndrome, which makes people paranoid and hallucinating and stuck in a time loop, the victims in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni are at least somewhat justified.
  • The town of Toha in Fire Emblem 9 is full of reindeer-lemming chimeras. They turn in the remnants of their country's resistance to the invading nation of Daein to the Daein army because they were working with laguz, or, as the citizens call them, subhumans.
  • In World of Warcraft the Scarlet Crusade in its various incarnations are all wolves... if you're not one of them, you are the scourge. Or if you're not a zombie right now, you will be soon; better to kill you now to prevent it.
    • obvious Boar: Leeeroyyyy Jenkiiiiinsss!!!!
    • Gilneans on the other hand, are turtles. Their wall DO stop the scourge and forsaken forces from attacking while also denying access to refugees. However, unfortunately for them, it is incapable of stopping Arugal's Worgen curse. After a while, Body Horror ensues from within the walls. The wall eventually crumbles as of Cataclysm, allowing some Forsaken to attack them.
  • Mass Effect: The Citadel Council are a charming mixture of Bats, Ostriches, Reindeer and even Lemmings at one point. Udina never actually works for the villains, but is otherwise a classic Snake, while Saren turns out to be a Mouse.
  • Arl Howe in Dragon Age is a Fox using the Blight for his own advancement (acquiring the Terynir of Highever and the Arling of Denerim in addition to his own Arling of Amaranthine over the course of the game). King Cailan is a Boar, believing the Grey Wardens' legend makes him invincible.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind, most of Vvardenfell's inhabitants are some combination of Sheep and Reindeer, while certain members of the Temple and House Redoran turn into Lemmings at one point in the main quest. On the other hand, they're also the only ones actively trying to fight the Sixth House, while the other Houses (particularly the Telvanni) are largely Ostriches. The corprus stalkers are Rats, while the Tribunal -- who helped create the problem in the first place -- are the resident Mules.
  • In Mega Man Star Force 2, Electopia's whole population is basically turned into Mice. At the climax of the story, the lost continent of Mu appears and the Big Bad makes a submit-or-die speech; from that point on, almost every NPC you talk to is scrambling to prove him/herself worthy of membership in the "Neo Mu Empire". There's a plot reason for this, but it's still annoying -- who wants to save a bunch of quislings?
    • They were acting as such because the Big Bad's Mooks brainwashed the victims they caught.
  • The Gallente Federation in the world of Eve Online use bird names to refer to their political blocs (not unlike the elephant and the donkey in America, which rose out of political cartoons). Hawks favor military superiority and can be slightly xenophobic, doves prefer peace and diversity (but don't shy from cultural imperialism), vultures are opportunists and exploiters, ostriches bury their head in the sand, etc.
  • In Half-Life 2, the good Dr. Wallace Breen is apparently a Chimera consisting of a Mole or maybe a Snake, and a Mouse. The ranks of Civil Protection seem to be constituted by Jackals, too.
    • Father Grigori would be a textbook Wolf, if he wasn't on your side. The Combine in general are perfect Jackals.
    • In the first game, the Black Mesa scientists are likely mules. In the Portal side-story, Aperture Science is Mule Central.
  • The various Fallout games have endless examples of almost every single archetype, with a negative karma player character actually falling into some of them.
    • Bats ignoring the horrors of the world and pretending everything is just fine? Check, though typically only the most delusional of characters, such as a lady in Fallout 3 thats convinced she lives in suburban pre-war America. Made even funnier in that her husband knows she's completely bonkers and advises you to ignore it.
    • Lambs unable to solve their own problems without player character intervention, pretty much nine out of ten settlements, and a similar percentage of quests.
    • Mice and chickens hiding or fleeing from any and all threats, plenty. Though in their defense, most are poorly equipped and have no real training in combat, making their cowardice a lot more reasonable then the suicide rushes attempted by many others. A player confronted with a problem beyond their level and choosing to flee also counts.
    • The various drug addicts throughout the wastes are a combination of butterfly and ostrich.
    • Vault dwellers are classic turtles, living in their massive self sufficient underground bunkers, usually sealed off from the outside world.
    • Plenty of settlements are reindeer by being initially quite hostile to the player trying to help them. Vault City in particular stands out, due to all the hoops you have to jump through to gain their trust. Though most settlements do get over it after enough quests.
    • Enclave sellouts are either sheep, jackal, mole or snake, as well as the occasional lemming. The player can also become a jackal in some of the games, such as siding with the Master for a none canonical ending involving storming the player's home vault.
    • Any scientific experiment which resulted in some fairly nasty critters in a dungeon is a mule, with most of the vaults descending into this (though they were just a massive social experiment designed to toy with their inhabitants, so this is to be expected). The player's salvage of such research may also count, though it can be arguably be used to avoid making the same error in the future.
    • Boars are found aplenty, usually in corpse form by the time the player finds them. By late game, early game critters attacking the player with suicidal bravery may also count. The reverse is also true with a low level character suicide rushing a late game critter.
    • Theres no shortage of vultures, many of them willing to come to blows (and gunfire) over scavenge worthy materials. A player shooting his competition in a salvage quest also counts.
    • As for wolves, there is no shortage of human predators out in the wastes. An early encounter with gun wielding foes is more likely to do a player in then anything else. The player can also become one of these to other wastelanders with terrifying efficiency. It particular, shooting a merchant you'll never see again for his stuff is more profitable then trading with him.
    • Various merchants tend to be foxes due to a habit of trading with both sides. At least they're also willing to do business with the player.
    • Weasels can be found as the various scammers throughout the wastes, with the most prominent example being drug dealers who profit off of a world half empty that makes escaping reality a fetching proposition, at least in theory.
  • Ben from Barrow Hill is a Turtle who would probably turn Chicken in a heartbeat, if any means of escaping the hill existed. He lapses into Bat or Mouse behavior when his fears overwhelm him.


Web Original

  • Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog actually calls people in Captain Hammer's statue-unveiling ceremony "sheep" and "lemmings": Look at these people, amazing how sheep / 'll show up for the slaughter. / No one condemning you, lined up like lemmings, / you led to the water.
    • Somewhat subverted in that Horrible has no intention of killing them. Killing Captain Hammer, on the other hand…
      • He may also or alternatively been referring to how they just sat through (and sang back-up for) Captain Hammer's The Reason You Suck Song about them.
  • Survival of the Fittest can easily fall into this trope, though usually what category a character falls into depends on the character themselves. Many characters who decide to play fall into the "wolf" or "boar" category, however this is Justified Trope due to the point of the game. However, many other assortments can show up in a given version.


Western Animation

  • Invader Zim makes a running gag out of how humans are all Bats and Sheep, to the point where the (competent) Invader Tak muses:

 Tak: "The great thing about your people, Dib, is that most of them don't notice. All they see is another faceless corporate venture, not a plan for world conquest.

Dib: "Wait, is there really a difference?"

    • If that isn't enough, all of Dib and Zim's classmates, who have firsthand evidence of Zim's alien-ness, are all far more interested in being Reindeer about Dib's giant head and obsessive alien/paranormal fixations than Zim's own freakishness (which is far less obnoxious by comparison).
  • The citizens of Townsville in The Powerpuff Girls are so accustomed to them that they've all become Lambs. They even have an episode where the girls get so fed up with everyone needing constant babying, that they set out to prove they aren't helpless idiots by taking a break and walking them through defeating the Monster of the Week. The moral? "We don't need the Powerpuff Girls at all!"
  • Everyone in The Simpsons turns into Vultures as soon as the lights go out. Not one window remains unbroken. Tip: If moving to Springfield, become a glazier.
    • According to the DVD commentary, the writers loved to incite riots in Springfield, often over relatively small events, like a soccer game or a museum opening. The insert for The Simpsons Movie DVD proclaims "Springfield's largest riot ever!"
    • Occasionally they'll all go Boar instead, depending on plot requirements. Usually involves literal torches and pitchforks. "It's bringing love! Don't let it get away." "Break its legs!"
  • Due to a combination of the machinations of the Dai Li and the fact that it is the most fortified city in the world, Ba Sing Se of Avatar: The Last Airbender has Ostriches (Ba Sing Se officials), Sheep (its citizenry), Turtles (its military), and eventually, Jackals (the Dai Li themselves).
    • One episode had a whole town of Lambs to a fortune teller; she'd tell them everything would work out okay, so they'd do nothing to save themselves from danger. The heroes are only able to convince them to actually cooperate in successfully saving themselves and their town from an obviously erupting volcano by tricking the fortune-teller into predicting disaster. The revelation of this deceit reverts the townspeople back into Lambs, because the fortune-teller was right about everything working out okay before the heroes tricked her into predicting doom
  • In Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated, the townsfolk of Crystal Cove as a whole are Weasels. Most of the town's income comes from tourist trade based on the monster sightings, and they don't want any meddling kids mucking things up.


Real Life

  • Vultures abound at Wal-Marts during Black Friday in America. In some of the most extreme cases, people have died. One famous case had the doors cave in from the sheer weight of the crowd. Said crowd then stampeded in, proceeding to trample one temp worker and pick the store clean.
  • Most buildings are required to have their access doors open outward. This is important because in the event of a fire, explosion or other mass-panic inducing event, people will rush toward the exit, press on the doors and prevent anyone from opening them. This had led to many people dying crushed or from smoke inhalations during fires before this was implemented. See the Cocoanut Grove fire.
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