Analysis of Swiper the Fox

My three-year-old daughter loves the TV show Dora. I find it mostly annoying but I do appreciate Swiper the Fox. In an effort to better understand the complex character's motivations, I consulted the Wikipedia. Tellingly, the section on Swiper totals 1,300 words compared to just 130 for Backpack or even the 300 words that Dora herself commands. From Wikipedia:

Swiper's motive for theft is patently childish; he never seems actually to want the object he takes, since he almost immediately throws it away to hide it from Dora, which prompts her to ask the audience to help her find it. Until recently, it was unclear if he swipes merely for the joy of swiping, or from a desire to annoy and frustrate Dora. Compounding the confusion is the fact that, given the right reason, for example, that the item in question is a present for Dora's puppy, he will return items he has taken, no matter how much effort he went through to get them. It is also shown that he rarely knows the full importance of what he has taken; for example, he had no idea the aforementioned gift was for Dora's puppy. In the episode Dora Saves the Mermaids, he revealed that he "liked swiping." He has some kind of New York accent, and lives in a burrow on top of Blueberry Hill.
Swiper the Fox


  1. You should ask a psychologist to weigh in on Swiper’s motivations.  Sounds like he might be a kleptomaniac?

  2. I find it interesting that of all the other parents I meet, Dora is found to be almost universally annoying, but surprisingly each parent gives a different reason.

    “Dora yells everything”
    “Why do they replace short english words with multi-syllable spanish words that are harder to say”
    “That annoying bug band”

    1. I just hate that it is drawn so poorly.  The show creators even brag about how they had to water down swipers character.  LAME!

    2. Right after I posted this, my friend and I were IM’ing about the show and he said he can’t stand how she is constantly yelling! I’m mostly bothered by the repetition of phrases, although I do like “Swiper, no swiping!” x 3. 

      1. Seen the episode where Doras kid sisters are born?

        “Babies! Babies!! BABIES!!!”

        repeated at every oppotunity…

      2. Full participation in the program has eliminated its annoyance factor(s) for me: My son and I thoroughly enjoy yelling Dora catchphrases back at the TV.

    3. It’s! More! Exciting! If! You! Emphasize! Every! Word!

      A while ago I was confused as to why my friend’s (normally very well-spoken) daughter took on this weird speech pattern when she was playing some adventure scenario.  My wife informed me that it was probably from Dora.

      I subsequently have heard a few episodes of Dora.  Eugh.

  3. All such analysis must be attributed to a reliable source, or else it counts as original research/synthesis by the editor. Wikipedia can only be kept reliable if all its claims are attributable to outside sources–preferably secondary/tertiary sources with an identifiable editor/author who can vouch for its accuracy.

  4. I wrote up the beginnings of a psychoanalytic analysis of Dino Dan (look up “hate Dino Dan and enjoy the catharsis), but it got deleted very quickly after I started. Wondering why this analysis of Swiper remains up at this point.

  5. There’s a whole cultural context here that’s not mentioned in the Wikipedia article, which is that Swiper is a manifestation of the Zorro/Zorra character in Mexican folklore. It’s pretty easy to find out a lot more on this once you add Zorro to your search query — without it “Mexican folklore fox” returns an overload of MundoFox and Presidente Fox. 

  6. Dora is much more enjoyable to watch with the kids if you mute the volume and make up your own intelligent non-yelling dialogue.

  7.  If you were a genetically engineered intelligent fox with no genitals who was forced to associate with a NO CONCEPT OF INDOOR VOICE TODDLER you, too, might take up petty theft as a hobby.

    1. So you’re saying we should speak more softly when indoors … ?  This explains a lot.

  8. Swiper has Reactive Attachment Disorder.  He craves things and attention, but once he gets it, he shuns it.  It is simply the act of getting something, not the thing itself which brings the most attention.  My guess is Swiper was not nurtured as a young kit, and therefore desires love and nurturing, but it is the thing that could make him vulnerable to having his heart broken.  Only when he truly is in trouble will he accept help.  And while you think progress is being made, it is simply reinforcing his bad choices.

    1.  As long as it’s the original voices – my sons were preschoolers when CN’s TickleU block was on, and they redubbed the voices for it. It was BAAAAAaaaddd. My daughter still has fits if it’s mentioned.

  9. Swiper defines villainy and effective responses to it for my 3-year old daughter. Whenever she encounters some foe in her imaginary adventures, it can be defeated simply by saying “Swiper, no swiping” three times.

    For example, this morning, Daddy Gargamel was going to seize her (playing a Smurf) and put her into his stewpot. She said, “Daddy Gargamel, no swiping!” This, she expected, would stop Daddy Gargamel in his tracks. To his credit, Daddy Gargamel decided to entertain the notion and backed off.

    Dora the Explorer presents an unrealistic depiction of evil and how to defeat it.

    1. To be fair, when you’re 3 years old, there aren’t many effective strategies for anything. Except shrieking. That always seems to work.

    2. My almost 3-year-old has recently been pretending to be Swiper. She will say “I’m Swiper, I swipe your shoes!” Then she will throw my shoes across the room. I tried a few different ways to stop this behavior before resorting to saying “Swiper, no swiping” to her.

  10. Swipers swiping is simply a cry for attention. He really wants to be friends with Dora and Boots but does not have appropriate social skills to effectively connect with them. I blame bad parenting. 

  11. My daughter’s babysitter had her iPhone stolen. When she mentioned it, my daughter suggested that perhaps it was Swiper who nicked it. She got a new iPhone and my daughter put a Swiper sticker on the back. Perhaps it will deter that sneaky fox.

  12. He’s just trying to grind Pickpocketing until he reaches 100. He’s been holding onto that unspent perk for half of forever.

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