Alice is on a date with Bob. She tells him that she has an adopted son and that he's "different". Bob assures her that he loves kids and that he'd love to meet hers. Alice takes Bob to her home and introduces him to her son... who turns out to be a chimpanzee.
Essentially, this is an inversion of Raised by Wolves
. Only, instead of animals raising people, people raise animals. This is especially common in Funny Animal
shows, books, and movies. How well the animal intergrades into human society also varies as well. Sometimes, the animal still acts like an animal, but views the humans that raised it as family and will protect them. Other times, the animal may end up acting like a human and/or even believing they are
human until shown otherwise.
Most of the time, this is simply due to a human character adopting a non-human baby to care for. However, though rarer, some fictional stories actually have the non-human baby's biological parent(s) actually be human (It's best not to think about it too hard
See also Muggle Foster Parents
, where the adopted child is not an animal, but isn't a normal human either. Humans raising members of other demihuman
races, especially races that are usually hostile to humans, is an inversion of Raised by Orcs
Anime and Manga
- Son Goku, birth name Kakarot, is a Saiyan (a race of Human Alien warriors) who was sent away from his home planet as a baby shortly before it was destroyed, and upon landing on Earth was taken in by Son Gohan, a kindly human martial artist... until Goku transformed into an oozaru (a gigantic were-monkey, all Saiyans have this ability) and stomped on Gohan while going on a rampage. After that, Goku lived on his own out in the middle of nowhere until meeting Bulma.
Films — Animated
- Clark Kent, birth name Kal-El, is a Kryptonian (a race of Human Alien scientists) who was sent away from his home planet as a baby shortly before it was destroyed, and upon landing on Earth was taken in by the Kents, a kindly human couple. If you're feeling déjà vu, it's because Akira Toriyama was inspired by Superman.
Films - Live-Action
- Tod from The Fox and the Hound is raised by an old widow woman after his real mother had been killed by hunters.
- The Country Bears had a young bear cub that was raised by humans. He didn't even know he was a bear until his adopted brother pointed it out.
- Both Megamind and Metro Man are aliens who landed on earth as babies and were raised by humans.
- A variation comes from the movie Brother Bear. Kenai (after being turned into a bear) becomes something of a surrogate brother to an orphaned cub named Koda. Ironically Kenai is the very reason why Koda is orphaned since he killed Koda's mother as an act of vengence for killing Kenai's brother.
- In Watership Down, General Woundwort was orphaned as a baby when a weasel killed his mother, and was taken in by a kindly local man. It's likely his later hyper-aggressiveness stems from the trauma of watching his mother being eaten and the stress of growing up apart from other rabbits.
- Blu, the main character of Rio, is a blue macaw who was smuggled out of Brazil and found by a little girl in Minnesota, who raises him to adulthood. Because of his sheltered upbringing, he has a hard time coping in the wild, especially since he never learned to fly. Not to mention it puts him at odds with the only female other of his kind, Jewel.
- Caesar from Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a hyper-intelligent chimpanzee raised by humans.
- In the film version of Stuart Little, Stuart was an orphaned mouse adopted and raised by humans.
- The original novel, however, has him be an anthropromorphic mouse whose birth parents just happen to be human for some unexplained reason.
- "It's very unusual for an American family to have a mouse," says the doctor, as if it were more common in other nations.
- Charlie The Lonesome Cougar is about a cougar named Charlie who is raised by humans after his mother dies.
- Irys from Gamera 3: Incomplete Struggle is raised by a human girl named Ayana. It's later subverted in that Irys never saw Ayana as its mother and was instead manipulating her so it could become strong enough to absorb her and fight Gamera.
- In War Of The Gargantuas, Sanda (The Brown Gargantua) was raised by humans and developed a strong protective bond with them. So much so that he ends up fighting his brother, Gaira (The Green Gargantua) to the death to protect them.
- The titular character in Hellboy is a demon raised by humans.
- Godzilla Junior in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II. Had quite the effect too, turning into a protective Gentle Giant as we saw him grow up over the Heisei saga.
- In the Earth's Children series Ayla invents the concept: first she takes in a foal when she kills its mother for food, then she takes in lion cub which gets injured, then a wolf cub when she kills its mother.
- Hagrid attempts this with a baby dragon in the Harry Potter series. He ends up letting Norbert (Or, should I say "Norberta"?) go to live in a dragon preserve in Romania.
- Douglas Preston's novel, Jennie is about a chimpanzee who's raised as a human by an American family, and actually believes herself to be a human.
- In Turtledove's World War Series, two Lizards are raised by one of the human characters.
- In The Demon Trilogy, the demon Hnikarr possessed the body of an unborn infant. Taking possession of such an unformed mind provided a way for Hnikarr to keep the body from deteriorating (the original occupant being in no way equipped to resist), but it also caused Hnikarr to lose his memory and limited his mental development to that of his body (the reason that demons in the setting normally avoid possessing humans younger than sixteen). The mother of the possessed baby then ran off with him, with the end result that he was Raised by Humans as Nicholas Ryves.
- In Tales of Kolmar, an herbalist found a baby dragon mourning her mother and took her in for a year. The only other human she saw was his sister. He named her Salera, and she believed for a while that one day she'd lose her wings and stand on two legs, but figured things out on her own eventually.
- Children's book Elizabeth and Larry is about a Cool Old Lady and her alligator son/roommate.
- In the Babar books (and the cartoon based on it), the titular elephant was raised by an old lady simply referred to as Madame. When Babar returns to his kind, he builds a city teaches the elephants and other jungle animals how to live a civilized life.
- In John C. Wright's The Hermetic Millennia, Menelaus is asked why he can't do something with his superhuman intellectual abilities. Menelaus explains that he was raised by humans, and it puts him in a the position of a human raised by wolves.
- Subverting this trope's effects are the main goals of ape rehabilitators on Animal Planet's Escape to Chimp Eden and Orangutan Island, who train young apes orphaned or abused by humans how to set aside dependence on human caregivers and live free in the forest.
- In Pathfinder, elves who are raised by humans are known as "the Forlorn" because their long lifespans mean they will see all their friends and loved ones age and die while they remain young. Merisiel, the iconic Rogue, is such a one.
- Giegue/Giygas from EarthBound was an alien raised by humans.
- Discussed in Mass Effect 3, where if FemShep and Garrus are in a romance, they have a conversation about the possibility of settling down and adopting children after the war is over. They come to the conclusion that since Human-Turian Hybrids are biologically impossible, it'll likely be war-orphans or one of the many baby Krogan, should the Genophage have been cured.
- Thrall from the Warcraft franchise is an orc raised by humans as a slave. He eventually returns to his own kind and becomes their leader. The difference in upbringing makes itself known from time to time; such as in Warlords of Draenor when the orc Draka is surprised that Thrall didn't bring his mate with him to battle the Iron Horde. Thrall insisted she Stay in the Kitchen with their little ones, and admits he hadn't considered the more orcish idea that war is when it's most vital to have family close by.
- Dark Wings has Sleet the albino wyvern and Arra the Great Dragon. They were rescued as babies by a villager, and now defend the village against wolves and such.
- Godzilla, Jr. from Godzilla: The Series imprinted on Nick Tatapolous as his adopted father. Since then, Godzilla has loyally protected Nick from danger and Nick does all he can to make sure Godzilla is safe and others are safe from him.
- Subverted in an episode of Adventure Time where Finn The Human tries to raise a baby Jiggler. His heart's in the right place, but he doesn't know how to take care of the Jiggler and nearly kills it. He ends up bringing the baby back to its mother.
- Subverted with Brian from Family Guy. While he is treated like part of the family, he's only considered the family pet rather than a surrogate son to Lois and Peter.
- Played straight in the episode "Brain's Wallows and Peter's Swallows" in which a bird makes a nest in Peter's beard (It Makes Sense in Context) before being frightened away. The bird had laid eggs in said beard which hatch and Peter ends up taking care of them until they are old enough to take care of themselves and fly away.
- Cow and Chicken in which two humans (well, actually, two pairs of human lower bodies to be specific...but, eh, close enough) are the proud parents of a, well, cow and a chicken.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic features Spike, a "baby" dragon, who was raised by Ponies.
- This also passes into an inversion of Raised by Orcs. Spike is being raised by either the prey or the enemies of his species.
- On Gargoyles, Angela and her 35 rookery siblings (including three beasts, though we've only seen one) were raised on Avalon by three humans.
- Many people who have pets do see them as part of the family and view them as their own children. This is especially evident with families with "empty nest syndrome" who often get a pet as a sort of "surrogate child".
- An episode of Animal Planet's Fatal Attractions featured a man who raised a lion cub as if it were his own child. Said cub in question ended up mauling his actual human daughter. The lion in question had to be shot and killed by the very man who raised her in order to save his daughter.
- Another episode featured a couple who raised a chimpanzee, Moe, and treated him as if he was a surrogate son to them. Unfortunately different chimps ended up badly damaging the owner's face when he was returning Moe to a California wildlife sanctuary.
- A similar incident happened with the infamous "Travis The Chimp", who attacked a friend of his owner and was shot by police.
- Several chimpanzees were raised as humans by scientists, who were trying to teach them human language. Project Nim is a documentary about such an experiment. Nim was dressed in human clothes, diapered, and even breastfed by a woman.
- Averted as much as possible by conservation biologists, who don't want young or orphaned animals in their care to get used to humans because it will leave them vulnerable to hunters, getting hit by cars, etc. When rearing wild animal babies slated for eventual release, they often disguise their human features with sock-puppets and concealing scents, preventing the animal from ever realizing that this trope applies.