- “He's got a heart maybe as big as his belly.”
- ―Nate Torrence, about Clawhauser
Officer Benjamin Clawhauser is a supporting character in Disney's 2016 animated feature film, Zootopia. He is an overweight cheetah that works for the Zootopia Police Department as a receptionist and a radio dispatcher. Clawhauser is Judy's first friend at ZPD.
Clawhauser is the ZPD's resident cheetah and has been under their employment for a number of years, working at the front desk as a receptionist. Because his particular job on the force requires very little mobility, Clawhauser spends most of his time indulging himself in food and media which, after so many years, would result in his hefty size.
As a radio dispatcher, Clawhauser works closely with Chief Bogo, the head of the ZPD. Clawhauser's job demands that he be directly contacted by other officers and visitors to the headquarters; the information gathered is then directed to Bogo.
Quite notably, Clawhauser is obsessed with Zootopia's pop sensation, Gazelle. He owns merchandise of the singer, refers to her as an "angel with horns", and has shown a great fondness for an app that allows a user to tag an image of their face onto one of Gazelle's background dancers, simulating his apparent fantasy of meeting Gazelle, and subsequently joining her group. He humorously shares this fondness with Chief Bogo; although the latter was seemingly embarrassed by this at first, he and Clawhauser can be seen bonding over Gazelle during the film's end credits, embracing their mutual love for the singer.
- Clawhauser loves two things: pop star Gazelle and donuts. From his reception desk, he greets everyone with a warm smile and a helpful paw—covered in sprinkles.
In his first few stages of development, Clawhauser was friends with Nick, Finnick, and a badger character named Honey, rather than serving as one of Judy's first allies. Alongside Nick and Finnick, Clawhauser worked at two separate restaurants, including an establishment in Little Rodentia called Chez Cheese (where he worked as a "delivery cheetah"), and another called Bug-Burga.
In early versions of the film, predators were forced to wear electric shock collars to keep them under control at the hands of prey citizens. Concept art shows that Clawhauser was one of the many characters forced to endure this. In relation, he also played a part in Nick's ambition to open an illegal amusement park exclusively for predators, where they would be allowed to temporarily remove their tame collars and enjoy a taste of freedom.
When the story underwent a major revision that placed Judy Hopps as the lead, Clawhauser remained in the movie but was reworked to maintain his prominent role, now working at the Zootopia Police Department as Judy's co-worker and only friend. Additionally, choices were consciously made by the filmmakers and animators to ensure Clawhauser, midst the bigotry of his fellow officers, was established as a friend to Judy, rather than another oppressor.
Though he works for a department generally filled with rough animals, Clawhauser is incredibly innocent, cheerful, and accepting. He was the first (and for a while, the only) officer to show Judy any amount of kindness or respect. He found her to be adorable, but never underestimated her as a cop, showing that he was above bigotry. Also, he was quick to maintain his image of tolerance; when Judy informed him that other animals calling bunnies "cute" was considered offensive, he gasped and immediately apologized for stereotyping her. Not naïve, however, Clawhauser was more than aware of the prejudices within the system in which he works, and notes to himself, shortly after meeting her, that Judy was inevitably going to face extreme prejudice due to her species.
He is also very social; with outgoing charm, he greets all who enter the ZPD with a warm smile, going as far as to casually mingle with arrested perps that are escorted to the front desk. This can sometimes distract him from his work, even in the midst of a serious situation. While not dim-witted, he can occasionally be absent-minded and can miss the obvious (such as failing to notice a donut stuck in the fold of his neck, or his obnoxious drinking disturbing a working Judy). Clawhauser is nevertheless an efficient employee and a significant member of Bogo's menagerie.
Clawhauser is first seen having a bowl of cereal when he is greeted at the front desk by Judy Hopps, the department's latest recruit, who is notable for being the first bunny cop on the force. The appearance of Judy, and the significance of her role, both shocks and delights Clawhauser, who voices his fondness for Judy's "cuteness". Judy cringes at Clawhauser's comments, indirectly asking him to refrain from calling her "cute", as it can be seen as a slur to a bunny when it is given from a non-bunny mammal. Clawhauser, being as sweet as he is, immediately apologizes, claiming that he has no right to go around stereotyping other animals, as he is often subject of stereotype himself, being seen as a "flabby, donut-loving cop", although he apparently fits this perception, having a donut stuck within the fold of his neck, and immediately eating it with zeal after Judy points it out. Clawhauser then directs Judy to roll call and sympathetically comments that, due to prejudice, the bunny is moments away from receiving awful treatment amongst her peers.
Later on, Clawhauser is visited by the distraught Mrs. Otterton, who wishes to see Chief Bogo, though Clawhauser tries to explain that she must wait to be called, like everyone else. Despite this, Otterton manages to bypass Clawhauser, who tries to stop her, only to fail due to how slippery she is. It turns out she is searching for her husband, Mr. Otterton, who has been missing for a number of days. Judy volunteers to find him, despite Bogo's unwillingness to keep her on the force. Judy is then sent to Clawhauser to receive background information on Otterton's disappearance and unknowingly helps her uncover a key witness to the case, Nick Wilde, by using his drink bottle (which she removed from his straw after she heard him slurping, even after the bottle is already finished) as a magnifying glass on Otterton's profile image, spotting Nick in the background of the scene.
Judy's investigation leads her to the Rainforest District, where she is attacked by a jaguar that has gone savage due to unknown circumstances. She desperately radios Clawhauser to request backup, but the cheetah is too preoccupied with showing his Gazelle app to an inmate to notice the call, at first. When he does notice, however, he quickly alerts Bogo.
Clawhauser is contacted again the following night, in which Judy claims to have found all of the fourteen mammals that had been mysteriously missing for an extended period of time. Clawhauser hastily rushes into Bogo's office to inform him of the breakthrough, though he accidentally discovers that the chief is a close fan of Gazelle in during which, having caught Bogo using her app. Clawhauser squeals in excitement at the revelation, distracting him from the mission. When the embarrassed Bogo asks for privacy, claiming to be working on the missing mammals cases, Clawhauser snaps to reality and quickly informs the chief of Judy's success.
During a press conference, Judy explains that the animals that had gone missing were all of the predator family and had each fallen under a mysterious affliction that has turned them mindlessly aggressive, violent, and "savage". The reasons behind it unknown, but she predicts it may be due to their natural biology. The news causes an uproar, with prey mammals fearing for their lives over the possibility of their predatory neighbors randomly lashing out and going savage, as well. With such fear, and more savage cases occurring each day, predators face a heavy amount of discrimination throughout the city. The situation directly affects Clawhauser, who is demoted to records supervisor (a position that requires him to work in solitary within the department's boiler room) as the higher-ups believe a predator shouldn't be the first face that an animal sees when they walk into the ZPD. Deeply hurt, Clawhauser packs away his belongings, informs a curious (and guilty) Judy of the news, and heads down to his new workspace, where he is stationed for a number of months.
Eventually, Judy reaches a breakthrough in the case and discovers that the predators were not influenced by biology, rather they were darted with a mind-altering serum created from toxic flowers known as "night howlers". The conspiracy was headed by Mayor Bellwether in her plot to ostracize predator citizens so that prey animals could overtake Zootopia. Sometime after Bellwether is discovered and promptly arrested, Clawhauser regains his position as a receptionist at the front desk. While joyously settling himself back into form, Clawhauser receives visits from his prey co-workers, who surprise their peer with boxes of donuts as a token of apology for the previous mistreatment, much to Clawhauser's appreciative delight.
Clawhauser is last seen attending Gazelle's concert performance at the end credits, live, practically glowing with excitement. He is later joined by and shares a dance with the equally-enthusiastic Chief Bogo.
An emoticon version of Clawhauser appeared in the Zootopia entry of the As Told by Emoji short series. A running gag involved Clawhauser having a differing thought bubble from the other characters; while the others were focused on the plot, Clawhauser's concern was donuts.
- Clawhauser is based on Jerry Gergich from Parks and Recreation.
- On Clawhauser's right cheek are three spots forming a Hidden Mickey.
- In The Art of Zootopia, the concept art of a cheetah child with a Gazelle shirt shown strongly resembles Clawhauser, but whether this is Clawhauser is unconfirmed.
- Concept art shows that Clawhauser was initially going to wear glasses.
- While he is only seen wearing his police uniform in the film, Clawhauser's casual wear in concept art often consisted of a green shirt and blue jeans.
- In the Latin American Spanish version of the film, his last name is "Garraza", a play on the words "Garra" (Claw) and "Garza", a Spanish surname of Galician and Basque origin.
- The "Lucky Chomps" cereal Clawhauser is seen eating during his introduction is a play on the "Lucky Charms" cereal brand name.
- Clawhauser is easily worn out when running. This is not just a joking jab towards his obesity and is actually accurate, as cheetahs, despite being the fastest mammals alive, do not have much stamina and are easily exhausted.
- On May 12, 2016, Disney released a promotional poster of Zootopia's Missing Mammals case, with a functional phone number attached. If the number is called, callers can listen to an automated voice message left by Clawhauser.
- Zootopia: Crime Files, cutscene. Clawhauser: "Yep, that acorn is covered in saliva! It's like my face after my aunt kisses me."
- Disney Store Clawhauser figure description
- Byron Howard's Clawhauser concept via Twitter October 12th, 2015
- Zootopia Visual Development blogpost
- Imagining Zootopia. Documentary, 2016
- 5 Things We Want To See From Any Zootopia Sequel(s)
- The Art of Zootopia
- Zootopia Blu-ray and digital deleted scenes: "Detective Work" introduction
- Animator Michael Woodside on animating Judy and Clawhauser
- 3000 Facts about Animated Films
- Zootopia Concept Art gallery
- Zootopia Concept Art gallery
- Disney Movies Anywhere (May 12, 2016). "Help the citizens of Zootopia and call 1-844-MML-MSNG today!" (Blog post). Tumblr. Retrieved on May 12, 2016.