Scuttle lives off the coast of Prince Eric's kingdom. He was born as Scuttlebutt, but, as Scuttle puts it, "it was changed for obvious reasons." He has had numerous (accidental and nearly fatal) encounters with humans throughout his life, which leads him to believe himself to be an expert on human culture, specifically human objects. Ariel, a princess from Atlantica who's fascinated with humans, regularly consults Scuttle about items she salvages, though his identifications consist of nonsense. He wrongly names a fork a "dinglehopper" and says that it is used as a comb and a smoking pipe as a "snarfblatt" while claiming it works like a trumpet. Upon their first meeting, Ariel wasn't too fond of Scuttle—as his manic personality can be grating to some—but after Scuttle proved himself by saving Sebastian from a band of pirates, he and Ariel developed a strong friendship.
Scuttle is the only one of Ariel's friends capable of flight and as such is very useful in times of crisis. He is also implied to have the ability to communicate with humans.
Scuttle is possibly the most eccentric of Ariel's circle of friends. Like Ariel, he has a love for human objects and collects a number of them. To himself and Ariel, he is an expert on humans, though he knows very little. In spite of this, Scuttle has shown to have some knowledge of humans that most of the sea creatures don't.
Scuttle is first seen on his island humming after Ariel and Flounder escaped from Glut the Shark and visit to show their new human things. Scuttle describes Ariel's discovered fork to be a "dinglehopper" used by humans to straighten their hair out. He then explains that a smoke pipe is a "snarfblatt" used by humans to make music This reminds Ariel that she must participate in a concert, she then swims off.
Later on, Scuttle finds Ariel watching humans on a ship. He joins her but is blown away by the wind caused by the hurricane yelling. While Scuttle was gone, Ariel rescues a human prince named Eric who rescued his dog Max who is still trapped aboard the burning ship and takes him to shore. She ask Scuttle if Eric survived (with Scuttle pulling Eric's eyelids to check his vision) but Scuttle believes him dead because he couldn't hear his heartbeat (Scuttle was actually trying to listen through his foot). As Eric awakens, Scuttle and Ariel flee the scene.
Later on, when Ariel becomes human, she goes to shore and introduces Scuttle to her human form, though he does not notice that she has changed until Sebastian points it out to him. He also learns that Ariel must get Eric to fall in love and kiss her in three days to stay human. He first helps Ariel dress up before Eric finds. While Ariel is human she tries to brush her hair with a fork and play music by blowing on a pipe. Scuttle tries to help Ariel get Eric to kiss her as best he can. During Sebastian's "Kiss the Girl" scene, Scuttle attempts to help the chorus but isn't much help.
On the morning of the third day, Scuttle flies into Ariel's bedroom to wish her good luck for the wedding. While flying past the wedding ship, Scuttle overhears Vanessa (Ursula in disguise) singing in Ariel's voice, he watches in horror as she goes up to the mirror, laughing evilly, and the mirror reveals her true identity. Realizing what Ursula is planning, Scuttle goes to inform Ariel and Sebastian what he saw. Ariel and Flounder swim after the boat on a barrel that Sebastian cuts loose, while Sebastian goes to alert King Triton and instructs Scuttle to stall the wedding in any way he can. Scuttle enlists several birds, flamingoes, lobsters, starfish, dolphins, and seals to help him. Hurrying to the boat, they all attack Vanessa to stop the wedding while Ariel reaches the boat. In the attack, Scuttle loudly squawks in Vanessa's face to which she grabs his neck and yells "Oh why you little!" then he grabs her necklace in his beak trying to pull it off her. He struggles to get it as Vanessa pulls him away from her, but when Max breaks off his leash and violently bites her bottom in revenge, she loses hold of Scuttle, allowing him to pull even harder on the necklace, successfully breaking it off her neck, the shell flies through the air and breaks on the floor in front of Ariel, freeing her voice which then returns to her as well as freeing Eric from Ursula's hypnosis.
In the end, Scuttle holds Flounder in the air for Ariel to bid farewell to him during the wedding of Ariel and Eric.
Scuttle appears in two episodes of the final season of the prequel television series. The episodes he appears in are "Scuttle", in which Ariel, Flounder, and Sebastian meet him for the first time (and all four almost meet Prince Eric), and "Island of Fear". In these episodes, Scuttle's explanation of human things is a mixture of correct and erroneous. In "Scuttle", Scuttle assists Ariel and Flounder in their mission to rescue Sebastian from pirates. In "Island of Fear", Scuttle joins Ariel, Flounder, and Sebastian to find what's been making the fishes sick. They find a castle where Sebastian is taken by the young boy who resides there. Scuttle then goes inside to rescue Sebastian, while Ariel and Flounder find a way to stop the pollution.
Scuttle appears in a small role in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea. He is first seen attending the baby shower of Ariel's newborn daughter Melody. 12 years later, he is seen as one of Melody's "babysitters", alongside Sebastian, and regularly joins the two as the princess takes time out of her day to explore the depths of the sea. Even so, because Ursula's sister Morgana (who is bent on overthrowing King Triton and unleashing wrath upon Ariel and her family), Melody is forbidden from leaving the perimeter of Prince Eric's kingdom.
Later on, when Melody goes missing, Scuttle joins in the search, eventually running into Ariel and Flounder near the fortress of the evil Morgana. Scuttle is told to rally Eric and his friends to battle the sea witch and does so immediately. At the battle, Scuttle takes on Morgana, personally, but is quickly defeated (though it gave Ariel enough time to escape Morgana's tentacles). After the sea witch's defeat, however, Scuttle returns and joins in the celebration of peace and harmony between land and sea.
In The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, when Marina is on a rock at the surface (animated the same way with Ariel when she sings a reprise for "Part of Your World" in the first film), she pushes herself up but the wave splashes onto her. Scuttle then appears briefly (without a speaking role since his voice actor Buddy Hackett didn't reprise his role having passed away in 2003, but accompanied instead by realistic seagull sound effects) to whom Marina says "don't touch me", referring to his actions in the first two films - tormenting the villain.
Scuttle made a brief cameo appearance in the Quack Pack episode "Phoniest Home Video" where he was briefly seen on Donald's surfboard and then got scared off by the shark that was about to eat the steak off of Donald's behind.
Scuttle makes numerous cameo appearances in House of Mouse, usually with Ariel and Sebastian. In the episode "Donald Wants to Fly" Scuttle tries to teach Donald by telling him to flap his arms. He ends up falling on the trident having Scuttle say "Right on the dinglehopper!" He and Ariel were excited to see Timon using a "dinglehopper" for his magic trick in the episode "Timon and Pumbaa".
A female version of Scuttle will appear in the 2023 live-action adaptation of the film voiced by Awkwafina. This version will be portrayed as a diving bird, so the character could be featured in scenes set underwater. As confirmed by Alan Menken in a live-stream, this version of Scuttle will have her own song, similar to the Broadway production. However, the character's songs from that version will not be used in the remake in favor of a new song.
Scuttle appears in the stage adaptation of the original film, where he sings two songs: "Human Stuff", where he explains the human things Ariel has brought to him, and "Positoovity", where he encourages a now-human Ariel to be positive in achieving her goal of winning Eric. The role was originated by Eddie Korbich. In the stage musical, Scuttle is seen as having a small group of seagull friends that he dances within "Positoovity".
Scuttle's role was musically reduced when the show was revised for later productions. "Human Stuff" was cut from its accompanying scene when it was moved towards the beginning of the show, with dialogue added in its place. Additionally, a verse from "Positoovity" that featured his seagull friends was removed, most likely to put greater focus on Scuttle and Ariel. "Human Stuff" now replaces "Positoovity" in the JR. and KIDS versions of the show, as the latter song, is usually presented as a tap number that may be too difficult for a younger cast.
Scuttle is the narrator of The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure. At the Magic Kingdom's version, he hosts an interactive scavenger hunt game in the ride's queue area, where guests help sort out Ariel's human collection by pointing at objects that don't belong for crabs to collect and take away.
- Scuttle did not originate from the original The Little Mermaid fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. In the original story, the Mermaid frequently speaks to her grandmother on what she wants to know about humans. It's possible that Scuttle is the closest counterpart to the Mermaid's grandmother from the original Hans Christian Andersen story, except that unlike the birdbrained Scuttle the Mermaid's grandmother on the other hand is very wise.
- It is heavily implied that Scuttle is tone-deaf, as in the original film he is proven to be a terrible singer when he provided "vocal romantic stimulation" while Eric and Ariel are out on the lagoon, and when he briefly barges in into Sebastian's musical number "Kiss the Girl". Despite this, Scuttle has proven to be able to sing well, as evident in the musical number "Just Give Me a Chance" in The Little Mermaid TV series episode "Scuttle", as well as in his self-titled musical number "The Scuttle Strut" from the album The Little Mermaid: Songs from the Sea and even in the Broadway musical adaptation.
- In the first film, when Scuttle is providing "vocal romantic stimulation" while Eric and Ariel are out on the lagoon, he is actually squawking his own version of Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet".