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In folklore, many different kinds of monsters kill and eat children and infants. Others merely make children seriously ill or cause them to vanish (replacing them with fairy changelings). These stories were explanations for the high infant mortality rates seen in primitive cultures.

Naturally, various media use these tales as source material for their own monsters. Some media monsters target children to use them as a slave work-force. Some drain their life energy to stay alive.

It is taken as a given that specifically targeting children, especially if you are planning on eating them, is a sure sign that you are a monster in the truest sense of the word. Differs from Eats Babies as this trope deals specifically with creatures who go after babies because they specifically target children, while Eats Babies is about villains so evil they would target babies but don't go out of their way to do so. By definition, though, most (but surprisingly not all) Child Eaters qualify for Eats Babies status.

Given how long some of these stories have been around, this trope is Older Than Dirt. Related to Would Hurt a Child.

Examples of Child Eater include:

Anime and Manga

  • Grand Fisher in the Bleach manga. In the anime version, he preyed on women.
  • The Orb of Bask from Yu Yu Hakusho took the souls of children, which the wielder could use as food.
  • In Darker Than Black, one Contractor is required to eat babies drink the blood of small children in order to use her powers of Explosive Decompression. And the crazy part? She's The Woobie. Yes, really.
    • Of course, she's The Woobie because she lost her powers (and with them, her emotionlessness) and is now horribly haunted by what she did. She never harms any children during the actual series, since she dies shortly after regaining her powers.

Comic Books

  • The Walkers from the graphic novel Midnight Nation will kill, torture, and eat adults and children alike... but they prefer children.
  • Lawbringer Qztr (and later on, Charon) attempts to kill baby Memi in Negation. They fail, because Memi has cosmic-level superpowers.
  • One really squicky villain in Hellblazer, who was the demonic embodiment of rape trapped in the body of a dead child, sustained itself by drinking babies. While investigating the monster's house, Constantine accidentally discovered what was left of them when he opened a closet and a pile of dozens of dead bloodless babies collapsed on him.
  • The Corinthian in The Sandman is already a repulsive Picky People Eater, but he seems to strongly favor the eyes of young barely-pubescent boys.
    • A taste he shares with Tojiro XIV, the Asian vampire from Grendel.
  • In Countdown to Final Crisis, Mary Marvel, after her Face Heel Turn, briefly encounters a demon whose name illudes me so I'll call him Glashmorftigan. He claims to be the harvester of souls of stillborn children, and after introducing himself as such threatens to disembowel her and eat the digested food from her intestines. In other words, he's the dead baby monster that eats poop.

Fairy Tales

  • The witch in Hansel and Gretel planned to eat them. She even used a Gingerbread House as bait.



 The Nostalgia Chick: Please don't refer to the child as an hors d'oeuvre, I'm pretty sure that's illegal in most states.

  • After his plan to become mayor of Gotham City is foiled by the Batman, The Penguin of Batman Returns goes after Gotham's first-born sons, planning to drown them in the sewer. He kills the one clown who objects to the plan ("Killing sleeping children? Isn't that a little..." *BLAM!* "No! It's a LOT!"), but Batman stops the plan before it can get too far.
  • Fat Bastard of Austin Powers fame.

 "Behbies!! It's tha OTHA Otha White Meat!!"


Folk Lore

  • According to folk legend, cats steal the breath from sleeping babies. This is an explanation of Sudden Infant Death syndrome.
  • Ogres are depicted as child-eaters in many stories. One variant from German folklore is even named Kinderfresser, which literally translates as Child Eater.


  • When Dracula made Lucy Westenra into a vampire, her preferred victims were children. He also fed at least one baby to his wives.
  • The Witches in Roahl Dahl's book of the same name want to kill children because they smell horrible. They eventually decide to turn them all into mice. I guess that would get rid of the smell for some reason....
    • Because the parents would then poison, trap or otherwise dispatch the newly arrived rodent infestation, not realizing it was their children. The witches get sick satisfaction from tricking the parents into offing their own kids.
  • The opening Little Bad of the third book from The Dresden Files was a ghost who was stuck in the same pattern of actions: trying to make her baby be quiet by singing and covering his mouth, so that her husband wouldn't lose his temper. She was haunting a hospital nursery and suffocating children.
    • In the first short story of the series (eventually published in the Side Jobs compilation), Harry has to save a runaway child from a Bridge Troll that eats children. It specifically mentions that under The Unseelie Accords, 'naughty' children who have run away are its (apparently only) legitimate prey.
  • In the book Demon Keeper, a demon known as the Beast ate lost children. However, they didn't have to still be children by the time he ate them - a teenage runaway grown-up was still a prime meal.
  • Harry Potter has Fenrir Greyback, a werewolf who tries to bite as many people as possible, particularly young children, even when he's not transformed.
    • And he gets as close to children as he can before transforming. Pedophile stand-in, anyone?
      • He does this to create werewolves from young children, when they are less attached to society. They basically become ferals.
  • Jenny Green-Teeth in The Wee Free Men. And the headless horseman. And dromes. And elves.
  • Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King's IT is "the Eater of Worlds, and of children!"
    • For certain values of "jaywalking".
  • The Nyar lath-Hotep cultists in The Fuller Memorandum by Charles Stross hold their Cosmic Horror summoning ritual next door to a primary school so that they can grab a bite to eat after church. Later on, after capturing Bob and performing a spell to turn him to their side (among other things), they offer him some "refreshments."
  • One of the Mole-Men listed in More Information Than You Require is "Ms. Edna Humanchildstealer".
  • The alien overlords in S.P. Somtow's Mallworld series not only eat their own children, they've been known to serve them up as the main course at diplomatic dinners. Of course, their children are non-sentient and considered vermin until they reach a certain age.

Live Action TV

  • In the Star Trek the Original Series TOS episode "And the Children Shall Lead", the Gorgon orphans all of the children living on one planet because orphaned children are more easily influenced by parental figures... such as the "friendly angel", as the kids call the Gorgon.
  • The Supernatural episode "Something Wicked" features a Shtriga, which sucks life force from children, leaving them in comas.
    • The demon Lilith likes to drink the blood of newborn babies. She even has a personal chef.
  • Also, the Angel fifth season episode "Smile Time." Demonic puppets are sucking brain power from the children that watch their TV show.
    • There was also a season 2 ep with a demon in Lorne's karaoke bar who was announced as Durthok the Child-Eater. Another child-eating species popped up in early season 5. Angel killed it but later learned he was supposed to be meeting with it.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has several:
    • According to Anya Santa Claus is real, but instead of leaving presents, he comes down chimneys to disembowel children on Christmas.
    • Olaf the Troll demanded he be brought babies to eat. Spike at first suggested they check the hospital, and then suggested onion flowers as an alternative.
    • Der Kindestod (literally 'The Death of Children') from the second season episode "Killed By Death," who preys on sick children and kills them horribly. His appearance is clearly an homage to Freddy Krueger.
    • In the third season episode "Band Candy," the demon Larconis requires a tribute in the form of a ritual feeding every thirty years. What does it feed on? Newborn babies.
    • In "I Only Have Eyes For You" Angelus is so disturbed by being forced by feel love (he and Buffy were possessed by the ghosts of dead lovers) that he insists on going out and killing a child to bring back a sense of evil in himself.
  • In the Torchwood miniseries Children of Earth, an alien being called the 456 comes to Earth and demands 10% of the child population of the planet. It doesn't want the children to eat them, it wants them because the children release chemicals which to it are like a drug. It's essentially getting high off of kids. Very, very squicky.
  • In the first episode/movie of Lexx, the Cluster Lizards prove to be this. However, the kids they're eating happen to be the cream of the crop chosen by His Divine Shadow, so arguably this isn't such a bad thing in this case.
  • In the second season of Blackadder the title character owes a large sum of money to which he can't possibly repay to the Bank of the Black Monks. They send the 'Baby-Eating' Bishop of Bath and Welles to collect or if Blackadder doesn't pay up, he gets to have his 'fun'. He seems to live up to his name when on first confronting Blackadder he asks if he has any children. When he gets a 'no', he says he'll skip breakfast and move on to business then.


  • Lamia in Greek mythology stole other women's children as vengeance for the theft of her own.
  • Lilith in Hebrew tradition is supposed to feed on babies, as well as being a succubus. It's only relatively recently (Older Than Print) that she's been known as the first wife of Adam who wouldn't stay in the metaphorical kitchen.
  • In Mesopotamian mythology, the she-demons Lamashtu and Akhkhazu (Dimme and Dimme-kur in Sumerian) liked to harm, kidnap, kill, maim and/or eat children and babies, just For the Evulz.
  • Gello and Abyzou of Mediterranean myth and folklore, out of jealousy.
  • The Buddhist goddess Hariti or Kishimojin, who grieves over her own lost child and becomes a child-eating demoness. Buddha makes her see the error of her ways (or, in some versions, has her lost child restored to her, or converts her), and she makes a Heel Face Turn and is now a protector of childbirth. She eats pomegranates instead.
  • Atavaka was originally a baby eating demon until Buddha converted him. He then became an attendant to Bishamonten and protector of the south-west.
  • The Leyaks, and their queen Rangda, from Balinese mythology.
  • In Danish mythology, they have the Valravn, a raven that has eaten the corpse of a man who died in battle and gained his intelligence, but they are only able to fly at night. To break this curse, the Valravn has to eat the heart of a child, so they regularly tried to kidnap children or make deals with mothers for their firstborn. If they succeeded, then they would be turned into either a knight or a wolf/raven hybrid.

Real Life

  • There's a type of caterpillar whose armor is so thick that it can walk right into an ant colony, eat its fill of larvae, and walk out—and there's nothing the ants can do about it. To ants, this beast is a horrific baby-eating tank.
    • Many predators will target the young first, just because they are easier to catch and kill.
  • Ovivores such as humans and certain dinosaurs eat the eggs of other creatures, in essence, eating their babies.
    • To be fair, though, the eggs at grocery stores aren't fertilized, so they aren't actually baby chickens.
      • This is true. When eating eggs, one eats chicken menstruation.
      • Well, I'm never eating eggs again.
      • There is also Balut, which really is a foetus.
  • Many humans eat lamb and sometimes veal and duckling.
  • Unfortunately, there have been people who were human child-eaters. Albert Fish is a famous example.

Tabletop Games

  • In Exalted, the ancient and mad sorceress Raksi is known for feasting on babies.

Web Comics

  • No Rest for The Wicked: Saying anything would spoil the fuel.
  • One storyline of And Shine Heaven Now features an Adze, a vampire that feeds on children and can take the form of a firefly.
  • Harvestman of Daddy Long Legs is, amazingly, a heroic example. (Partly justified since neither he nor the children in question are human.)

Web Original

  • Black Annis, a villain from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, is a fey creasture who specifically targeted children to kidnap, terrorize, and eventually devour whole.

Western Animation

  • In Teen Titans, Cardiac only targeted children, because, according to Word of God, he was supposed to be more of an anime-style villain.
  • The Salem Witch trial parody in a Simpsons Halloween episode had Marge and her sisters, being witches for the act, take up the Flanders idea that they would eat children. They even ate a bunch of kids off-screen before they reached the Flanders.
  • In the animated version of Doctor Strange, Dormammu uses children to try to enter the human world.
  • Monsters, Inc. features an entire world powered by the screams of children frightened by professional "scarers" who believe that what they are doing is good and just. Since screams aren't providing enough energy to sustain their world in the long run, the Big Bad decides to kidnap children and drain them dry.

Video Games

  • The Dark Dragon God, Loputousu, and its current host in Fire Emblem 4 demand sacrifices of children ages 7 to 13. LARGE Sacrifices.
  • Kusaregedo from Samurai Shodown is a rather monstrous version of this.
  • In Icewind Dale 2 the witch Limda is a particular sadistic variant. To preserve her youth, she drains lifeforce from the children of a nearby group of fur-traders and turns them into minks as a side effect. Minks that are hunted and skinned by their own unwitting parents. She gets sick kicks from watching the traders murder and skin their own missing children.
  • Arioch from Drakengard is a psychotic Serial Killer who eats children, and only children. While she'll kill adults, children are the only ones she cannibalizes due to psychosis from having lost her family to The Empire and rendered infertile by a Deal with the Devil.