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Interspecies Adoption

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Even in settings where talking, civilized, or funny animals exist, adoptions will still happen between parents and children. Some parents are caring enough to take in a child, regardless of their species. They may be animals raising a human child, humans raising an animal child, animals raising animals of a different species, or any combination of the three. It doesn't matter, as adoption is still adoption, and parents will always be parents. The subject of the adoption may or may not even be an issue among society.

Supertrope to:

It may also overlap with Moses in the Bulrushes and (especially in comic settings) Oblivious Adoption. Contrast Random Species Offspring when the child isn't just adopted - it's biological. In works where both the species are sapient, such adoptions are frequently allegories for real life interracial adoption, as in both situations the adopted characters will have to deal with the physical and often cultural differences between them and the rest of their family.


There are numerous cases of this happening in real life among different animal species, even among animals that would normally eat one another. There are also many accounts, though few if any verified, of children while lost in the wilderness being protected or even raised by animals. Also given that humans are technically animals as well, raising pets also counts.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Son Goku from Dragon Ball is an extraterrestrial Saiyan adopted by the human Son Gohan. It was also Oblivious Adoption until Goku's evil Saiyan brother Raditz showed up.
  • Though not directly mentioned in Delicious in Dungeon, Ryoko Kui's artbook reveals that the human twins Kiki and Kaka are this. The elderly gnome couple, Mr. and Mrs. Tansu, aren't their employers— they're the twins' parents, who raised them from infancy after they were abandoned by their birth family.
  • Episode 28 of Jewelpet Kira Deco! is about Rald, a panda, having adopted Luna, a rabbit. note 
  • In Transformers Victory, Star Saber, the new leader of the Autobots, adopts a human boy named Jean, who lost his parents to a Decepticon attack.
  • Lyrical Nanoha has quite a bit of this with the sheer number of adoptions, although it can be hard to tell due to most of the cast being Human Aliens:
    • Vivio (Belka) was adopted by Nanoha (Earth) and Fate (Mid-Childa).
    • Fate was adopted by Lindy (Firstraum in the Movie continuity).
    • Erio (Unnamed homeworld) and Caro (Alzus) were both adopted by Fate (though Lindy's name is on the paperwork due to Fate's age).
  • Pokémon
    • In the Sun and Moon anime, Litten has a parental figure in a very old Stoutland. The Stoutland later passes away, leading to Litten to choose Ash as its trainer.
    • Ash's Rowlet was hatched and raised in a flock of Pikipek, Trumbeak and Toucannon.
    • In the first episode of Journeys, it's shown through a flashback that Ash's Pikachu himself was adopted by a Kangaskhan when he was a very young Pichu, and stayed with her until shortly before he evolved into Pikachu.
  • In Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms, Maquia, who's from a race of immortals, adopts Ariel, a human boy.
  • Uma Musume: Horse girl Special Week's biological mother died after she was born, so she was raised by her -human- friend.
  • In Black Clover, Licita, a human woman, took in and raised Liebe, a devil, because as a devil with no magic he was impervious to her body's condition that absorbed the magic and life of living things.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Natsu Dragneel was raised by a Fire Dragon named Igneel, who taught him how to read and write as well as to use Fire Dragon Slayer Magic. Five other Dragon Slayers, Gajeel, Wendy, Sting, and Rogue were also raised by Dragon Parents.
    • Happy and other Exceeds sent to Earthland were taken in and raised by human caretakers.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe Legacy series, all three of Nat Skywalker's children count. First of all, his wife is a Kiffar, and Nat adopted her daughter Ahnah; secondly, said wife adopted Skeeto, a human child, along with Nat; and finally, the pair adopted Micah, a Cathar.
  • Hellboy is a demon who was adopted by a human parent named Dr. Bruttenholm and raised under the watch of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. He was raised to appreciate humanity, even if he constantly has to deal with the fact that he's frighteningly different from them anyway.
  • Superman:
    • Superman is probably the most famous example. He's an alien sent to Earth as a baby, and he grew up on a farm by the Kent family.
    • His cousin Supergirl is adopted by humans, too. Usually the Danvers or Lana Lang.
    • And in Last Son, Lois Lane and Clark would become the foster parents of Chris, another Kryptonian child.
  • Many Superman Substitutes:
    • Icon, with the twist that he looks like a black man, crashed in the antebellum period and was raised as a slave.
    • Hyperion in Supreme Power was found by a nice farm couple...and then taken in by the U.S. government, who raised him to be blindly obedient. It went badly.
    • In Irredeemable, the Plutonian was sent by aliens trying to study humans, and transformed to look like a human child. Unfortunately, he wound up bouncing around foster care for years and scared everybody with his powers.
    • PS238 has a very standard "raised by a farmer" story for Atlas, though there is a twist as to why.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: four adorable baby turtles fall into a sewer and are adopted by an ordinary rat (other than the whole "knows ninjutsu" thing). Only later do the five mutate and become intelligent.
  • Red Tornado, an android, has an adopted human daughter named Traya.
  • In the old print furry comic Havoc Inc Chester (ringtail cat) and Deck (canid) adopted a mouse girl.
  • The Mighty Thor: Asgardians Volstagg and his wife Hildegund adopt two Midgardian (Human) sons after their mother is killed by Zaniac (their Disappeared Dad either already died or left the family).
  • Beasts of Burden has Ace and his dog pack adopt a human boy.

    Comic Strips 
  • This Bad Habits strip, which is also an Oblivious Adoption, as human parents deciding to tell their dog son he's adopted.
  • U.S. Acres featured Orson (a pig) adopting chicks Booker and Sheldon as his sons.

    Fan Works 
  • It's very common in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics to have Celestia adopt Sunset Shimmer or at least be her primary parental figure
  • In Chickenzilla, Naruto is adopted by a 5 foot tall, fire breathing chicken (It Makes Sense in Context, sort of).
  • In Diaries of a Madman, Navarone (a human) ends up adopting Taya (a unicorn) as his daughter.
  • This is recurrent in the Gensokyo 20XX series, with Reimu, Renko, and Maribel (formerly human) being adopted by Yukari (a reality warping yokai) and Chen (Nekomata) and Marisa (formerly human) being adopted by Ran and, later on, Ren (Kitsune). In that vein, we have Ran being adopted by Yukari.
    • This is actually used to an advantage in Foundling. Chen, disgruntled by Reimu at the festival, is given something of a dressing down by Yukari, reminding her that she is adopted and that, no matter what species, someone loved her, regardless if anyone wanted her. Said dressing down made her shut up.
  • It's not the Raptor DNA: Rexy the Tyrannosaurus Rex has adopted Elise (an Indominus Rex) and Tim (a human, and the same one she terrorized during the events of the first film) as her children.
  • Imprint sees Claire Dearing present when the Indominus Rex hatches, resulting in the infant dinosaur imprinting on her as its parent.
  • The Rise of Darth Vulcan: During the raid on Cirrus and Hilltop, one of Vulcan's Diamond Dog mooks decides to adopt an Earth pony foal as her own. Vulcan isn't happy about this, but caves when both dog and foal give him Puppy-Dog Eyes, caving to their combined cuteness.
  • The Equestrian Wind Mage: A key point of the story is Vaati (a Hylian/Minish/Demon thing) adopting Scootaloo (a pony). Both are incredibly happy with this setup.
  • The many, many fics about Fluttershy adopting a non-pony child, usually a baby Changeling or orphaned human.
  • Many other My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics, including The Nuptialverse, have Twilight (a unicorn) adopting Spike (a dragon), whom she had hatched when she was younger.
  • Seven Days in Sunny June: Discussed in 7SDJ: A Mother's Duty by Celestia and Twilight Velvet, and explicitly identified as being against the law in Equestria, barring "mitigating and emergent circumstances", which "shall only be considered on a need by need basis". Celestia herself admits that she didn't write the law and should have checked more closely before it was made official; the only reason she hasn't changed it since is because it would be seen as a "gross abuse of the law" and a conflict of interest, since it would have cleared the way for her to adopt Sunset Shimmer, or Twilight Velvet and Night Light (as the parents of her personal student) to adopt Spike.
  • In First Meetings Universe — a Mass Effect-MLP:FiM crossover — Mass Effect: Shepard and the Rainbows starts with a pegasus soldier saving a human girl from pirates and then adopting her. Thus Riley Shepard, Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo end up being sisters.
  • In the Transformers: Prime fanfic, Suddenly, Shattered Glass versions of Arachnid and Breakdown adopt a preschool June when she becomes the Sole Survivor of an Autobot attack in Jasper, Nevada.
  • Actually subverted in A Hollow in Equestria where Princess Luna proposes invoking this trope for Ulquiorra Cifer's benefit. It's eventually revealed that he turns down the offer, explaining that it would create more problems than it would be worth.
  • The Pokémon fic Pokemon: Shadow of Time invokes this, as it is noted that those Pokemon Ash hatched from eggs- Phanphy/Donphan, Scraggy and Noibat/Noivern- all think of Ash as ‘Dad’ rather than as a trainer (also applies to Togepi, but only in the sense that Togepi saw Ash as Misty’s partner rather than seeing him as ‘Daddy’ on his own). Even aside from this, Ash's Pokémon are described as seeing each other as family, such as Noctowl and Pidgeotto briefly fighting because Noctowl sees Pidgeotto as having 'betrayed the parliament' before it's explained exactly why Pidgeot never came back, Snivy referring to Ash as her 'idiot brother', and Heracross thinking of Phanphy as a brother after retrieving his egg.
    • Interestingly turns out to be defied by Rowlett; the Toucannon and Pikipek nest Rowlett lived with before Ash caught him actually was Rowlett's family, as his mother was a Dartrix who left his egg in the nest after spending time with a Trumbeak.
  • In The Lion, the Cat and the Turtles, Splinter and Aslan each acknowledge that Susan is Aslan's daughter just as the Turtles are Splinter’s sons despite the species difference.
  • Happens at least twice in The Bridge and its expanded universe.
    • The first was Azusa Aoki adopting and raising Junior.
    • In the expanded "Amalgam-Verse", Tori Wylder, a Glaistig, winds up adopting a Puca named Haley Comet, a Jorogumo named Kumiko Murakumo, and her lone human son, Theodore Wylder.
    • The albino hyper gyaos, later named Irys, adopts the "Dark Hunters" group she joins note  as her new family after the loss of her flock and they don't object.
    • Subverted as Starswirl the Bearded and the founders effectively adopted Celestia and Luna one thousand years ago, as while they are equines, they're alicorns and artifical creations of Harmony.
  • In the Zootopia fanfic Judy's New Life, foxes and bunnies can't interbreed, so Nick and Judy adopt a pair of skunk kits.
  • In the fan video Bite-Sized Minecraft 2, the short clip at 0:44 shows a flock of sheep grazing. Among them is a Creeper, which bleats.
  • In The Negotiationsverse, a spin-off of The Conversion Bureau, Fluttershy (a pony) married a human doctor after the war and together they adopted two human children and one pony foal.
  • Single Parents Night is a Sonic the Hedgehog AU that contains a lot of this. Sonic (hedgehog) adopted Tails (fox), Blaze (cat) adopted Marine (raccoon), Amy (hedgehog) adopted Cream (rabbit), Knuckles (echidna) adopted Silver (hedgehog), and Rouge (bat) adopted Omega (robot). The exception is Shadow, whose daughter Maria is both a hedgehog like him and is biologically his.
  • In the setting of Triptych Continuum, it's noted that Griffon culture dictates that no child, regardless of race, will be left behind. In the wake of a war between the griffons and the ponies, the griffons ended up adopting many of the foals they orphaned and brought them back to their homeland. Generations later, the griffon country of Protocera now has a sizable population that are biologically ponies but whom identify as griffons due to having been born and raised in griffon culture.
  • In Mario & Luigi, the two human heroes were adopted by Toads.
  • If Wishes Were Ponies:
    • Ever since Harry (a human) stumbled onto Equestria 15 months before his first year at Hogwarts Twilight (a pony) has been taking care of him at the suggestion of Princess Celestia and once formal diplomatic relations between Equestria and Muggle Great Britain begin even asked to formally adopt the boy.
    • Spike also sees Twilight as his mother and occasionally refers to her as such.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl is adopted by Fred and Edna Danvers, a human couple.
  • Lost Boys Saga has human girl Kairi, who after the destruction of Radiant Garden, ended up in Disney Town and was adopted by Mickey Mouse and Minnie.
  • In Worm fanfic The Last Daughter, Taylor is a Kryptonian baby who was adopted by two human parents.
  • Echoing Silence: Diadem, a unicorn, is the adoptive daughter of Nereus, a Ki'rin.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, the Danvers, a human couple, not only adopt an alien teen girl but also her clone.
  • In Friendship is Optimal: The Law Offices of Artemis, Stella & Beat it's actively being sought by human couple Jeremy and Renee, who can't have biological kids of their own and want to adopt an Equestrian pony.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: Slice 'n Dice Apple, a pony, was adopted into one of the wolf packs after her birth family were given faulty information by biased ponies and disowned her.
  • The Great Alicorn Hunt: One of the Nobody's Fools is Bowser, an Earth pony colt who was raised by Diamond Dogs. They had adoption papers and everything.
  • In the backstory for Sonic Comics Rewrite One Change Can Mean A New Chance, Snively (or Colin, as he is called in the story) was abandoned by his family when he was two, then adopted and raised by Sir Charles Hedgehog.
  • Believe in the Weird and Wild: Steven, a half-Gem Half-Human Hybrid, was adopted by the Mewman Butterfly family.
  • Broken By Humanity, Healed By a Dragon: Zarc, a Spirit, is the adoptive father of Yuya, Yuri, Yugo, and Yuto (four human boys).

    Films — Animation 
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • Po is a giant panda raised by a goose; this goes unmentioned in the first movie, but becomes a major plot point in the sequel. His biological family was seemingly massacred by Lord Shen during his attempt at wiping out the Pandas, but Po's father is still alive and living in a hidden panda enclave
    • Master Shifu, a red panda, also adopted Tai Lung the snow leopard and Tigress the tigress. The rest of the Furious Five might qualify as well.
  • Aladar from Dinosaur is an Iguanodon raised by lemurs.
  • Most of Leafie, a Hen into the Wild revolves around a chicken hen and her Happily Adopted son (a duck).
  • Frozen (2013) has Kristoff (a human) and Sven (a reindeer) adopted by the trolls (who are essentially living rocks with magical abilities).
  • Eggs from The Boxtrolls is a Cheesebridge orphan raised since infancy by the eponymous Boxtrolls, to the point that for a long time he thinks he is one.
  • In You Are Umasou, a Maiasaura raises a Tyrannosaurus from birth, who in turn, after running away from home, adopts a baby Ankylosaurus after being mistaken for its father.
  • Ellie from Ice Age 2: The Meltdown is a mammoth who was adopted by a possum. She even thinks that she's a possum until Manny can convince her that she's a mammoth.
  • In Megamind, both the title character and his nemesis, Metro Man, came here a la Superman. Metro Man was adopted by a rich family; Megamind...crashed into a prison and was raised by the inmates. Why did nobody call Social Services?
  • The Lion King: After his father's death, Simba (lion) is taken in by Heterosexual Life-Partners Timon (a meerkat) and Pumbaa (warthog). This isn't really played as an adoption in the original film, though The Lion King 1½ plays it closer to this trope.
  • In Epic the two human children get adopted by a couple of dingoes who raise them as their own.
  • Like it's source material the film Mr. Peabody & Sherman has Mr. Peabody (a dog) adopting Sherman (a human boy). Unlike it's source material, the relationship is explicitly portrayed as a father/son relationship, rather than a comedic inversion of "A Boy And His Dog".
  • The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales has a fox steal three chicken eggs with the intent of eating them, only for them to hatch and imprint on him, and for him to decide to raise them as his own.
  • The Land Before Time has Spike, a Stegosaurus, get adopted by Ducky's family, who are hadrosaurs.
  • In Mommy for a Little Mammoth, a baby mammoth frozen in the ice wakes up in modern times and desperately tries to find his mother, until a walrus tells him he has heard of similar-looking animals living in Africa. The baby mammoth goes all the way south on an ice floe and gets Happily Adopted by an elephant.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Terran Peter Quill was adopted by Centaurian Yondu Udonta. It's revealed that Yondu was actually hired to take Peter to his dad, but decided Peter would be better off with the Ravagers than Peter's Jerkass real father.
  • The Stuart Little movie did this to remove the Fridge Logic from the original book (where the titular mouse character just had human parents for no apparent reason). This verges on Ascended Fanon, as E. B. White received letters from adoptive children for years talking about how Stuart was a wonderful allegory for the way they felt... despite White having no such intentions, and Stuart explicitly being Mr. and Mrs. Little's biological son in the book.
  • Disney's The Ugly Dachshund. A Great Dane thinks he's a dachshund because he was raised by a dachshund mother.
  • In Thor, Loki turns out to be a Frost Giant adopted by Odin and raised as his own under a glamour. This is actually based on the original myth, in which he was found in a giant stronghold as an infant and brought home by Odin to foster.
  • Elf: Buddy is a human adopted by one of Santa Claus' elves.
  • In Babe, Babe the pig is adopted by Fly who is a dog.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog, before coming to earth, the titular hedgehog's primary caretaker and parental figure was an owl named Longclaw. By the end of the movie, he gets adopted by his human friends, Tom and Maddie.
  • In The Dark Crystal, Jen and Kira, who are Gelflings, were adopted and raised by the Mystics and Podlings respectively.

  • There is a famous joke about a turtle which constantly climbs up a tree and jumps down with its legs spread. After a few attempts (and the turtle getting quite a few traumas), a bird watching it from nearby asks its mate, "Should we tell our son he's adopted?"

  • In the Discworld novel Guards! Guards!, Carrot is a human adopted by dwarves. He is completely oblivious to this, even when his adoptive father tries to explain that there's a reason he was always too tall to fit in dwarf passages correctly. Notable in that even after it's been explained to him and he's accepted that he is biologically a human, Carrot still considers himself a dwarf, albeit a very tall one. Though, in Discworld being 'a dwarf' is as much a matter of cultural identity than it is a fact of one's species.
  • "The Ugly Duckling" is a classic example of this trope. A swan raised by a duck.
  • RuneScape: Betrayal at Falador, Kara was adopted and raised by dwarfs.
  • The children's book Tyranosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson is about a duckbill dinosaur "adopted" by tyrannosaurs. (Mother Tyranosaur can't count, and doesn't realise there's one more egg than there should be.)
  • Dick King-Smith has a few of these;
    • The Sheep-Pig, in which a piglet is raised by a sheep-dog.
    • The Cuckoo Child, in which an ostrich is raised by a pair of geese (although for some time the ostrich was assumed by his parents to just be a strange goose, even if the farm that owned them knew what had happened).
    • Dragon Boy, in which an orphaned boy is taken in by a pair of dragons, uses the trope in a more fantastic way.
    • Magnus Powermouse has a lesser version of this; Magnus is permitted to consider Roland the rabbit his uncle, although his parents are both alive, as Roland expresses a fondness for children and imagines himself to have nieces and nephews from his long-absent siblings.
    • Felicity the duck is either this or Intergenerational Friendship with Daggie Dogfoot the pig in Pigs Might Fly as Daggie's mother is still around but Felicity is the one who teaches Daggie how to swim.
  • In Team Human, Kit is a teenager raised by a family of vampires; he's spent very little time around non-vampire humans.
  • Star Wars Legends
    • Galaxy of Fear has Hoole, a Shi'ido Shapeshifter, adopt the human kids Tash and Zak. He's actually their uncle, since his brother married one of their aunts, and Shi'ido culture encourages him to take them in despite barely knowing them.
    • The X-wing series gives us Viull "Skut" Gorsat, a Yuuzhan Vong abandoned by his biological parents and adopted by a human family. His human dad is the reason he joins Wraith Squadron, because as a child he was told stories of how they rescued his father.
    • There is also Tahiri Veila, who was adopted by the Sand People.
    • Han Solo himself also falls into this category. He had been orphaned at a very young age, and while working for a rather nasty thief, he gets taken in and cared for by a kindly, elderly female Wookie. Han even comments in a later novel that due to the love she gave him, and the fact that Chewie and other Wookies have saved his skin on countless occasions, he feels he owes the Wookie's a life debt, not the other way around.
  • This comes up in The Demon's Lexicon when Nick is revealed to be a demon, raised mostly by his brother Alan.
  • In Spectrum by Sergey Lukyanenko the human heronote  ends up adopting a teenage alien bird-girl as a "reward" for saving her life. His Love Interest cracks jokes about an "interplanetary paedophile", but demonstrates that she can be a capable mother, despite being in her late teens herself. The adopted girl turns out to be the Chosen One prophecised to wake her planet from its millennia-long Diesel Punk stasis where rigid laws allow the population not to think. She ends up becoming the queen equivalent and legally adult and staying home.
  • In the 1920s Winnie-the-Pooh books, Tigger (a Tiger toy) lives with Kanga and Roo (Kangaroo toys) and is considered part of the family.
  • In the Warrior Cats novella Hollyleaf's Story, Hollyleaf attempts this for a day or so with a fox cub lost in the tunnel, finding it and caring for it before later bringing it back outside. She encounters it a year later and happily greets it, only to find that it does not remember her and it attacks her.
  • In Brimstone Angels, heroine Farideh and her twin sister Havilar are tieflingsnote  who were adopted and raised by a dragonborn named Mehen.
  • Horton Hatches the Egg twists this trope due to the story's Anvilicious theme of nurture overcoming nature. Since Horton took responsibility for the egg that Mayzie abandoned, the chick finally hatches as an elephant-bird hybrid, and identifies Horton as its parent, rejecting Mayzie.
  • James and the Giant Peach: Less so in the original novel, but in the movie and the musical adaptations, we have the human child James, an orphan, who is adopted by his humanized insect companions. They turn out to be very loving, adoring parent-figures to James, unlike his abusive guardian aunts who he was living with after his mother and father died.
  • One Doctor Who short story said that the Doctor's granddaughter, Susan, and her husband, David, adopted three orphaned human children, whom they named Ian, Barbara and David Junior. (David Senior may be human, but he sure as hell didn't marry one.)
  • Bravelands: After his father is killed by a rogue lion, Fearless the lion cub ends up being adopted by a troop of baboons. He bonds with several baboons like Mud and fellow protagonist Thorn, but he also faces prejudice from other baboons for being a larger predator. He ends up kicked out of the troop at one year old because the new leader doesn't like him.
  • The children's picture book Wolfie the Bunny is about a baby wolf left as a Doorstop Baby for a rabbit family. The older rabbit sister is insistent that Wolfie is going to eat them all someday, especially when Wolfie grows to be much bigger than her, but an incident with a hungry bear manages to awaken her Big Sister Instinct.
  • A Dog's Way Home:
    • Bella's mother and siblings were taken by humans when she was a month or two old. Bella was raised by a feral, nursing cat she calls "Mother Cat". When Bella refers to her mother, she's always talking about her adopted mother. Even after Bella leaves Mother Cat and grows into an adult, Mother Cat still recognizes her.
    • While Bella is trying to get back to her owner, she sees poachers kill a cougar mother. The cub starts following Bella around. Bella dubs her "Big Kitten". Big Kitten ends up vital to Bella's survival as she has better hunting instincts than Bella. The two end up separated when Bella gets taken in by humans but reunite again months later. Bella comes to the realization that Big Kitten can't live with her and her owner, but Bella wants too badly to be with her human that she can't stay with Big Kitten in the wilderness either. The two have to part ways in the end.
  • In The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, Gorgo, an eagle was raised by Akka, a goose.
  • Dinosaur from Dinosaur Vs is a young dinosaur adopted by a human couple.
  • Child of the Wolves is about a husky puppy named Granite who is adopted by wolves after he escapes his new owner.
  • In The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse, the titular kitten is abandoned by his family before he even opens his eyes, and is taken in by a family of mice, growing up to believe that he is a mouse himself. Eventually, he discovers his true species, but remains in contact with his mouse family.
  • The eponymous fruit bat of Stellaluna gets separated from her mother by an owl. She gets taken in by a family of birds, where the mother makes her eat and sleep like them instead of like a fruit bat. Stellaluna eventually reunites with her birth mother and learns proper fruit bat habits but still considers the bird siblings to be her family.
  • The picture book A Child Is a Child by Brigitte Weninger is about two orphaned frogs. They are discovered by a mole, a blackbird and a hedgehog who all agree that they don't have what it takes to take care of them. Then Mama Mouse comes along with her children and decides to adopt the frogs. Mr. Hedgehog tells her that it's not that easy, but she replies "That's ridiculous! It's simple. A child is a child. All children need a place to live and play, good food to eat and someone who loves them!" She then enlists of all their help in raising the frogs.
  • The Call of the Swamp by Davide Cali and Marco Soma tells the story of an anthropomorphic axolotl found on the shore of a swamp and taken in by a human husband and wife who are infertile. He has a fairly normal humanlike childhood, with some accommodations for his amphibian biology like sleeping in a bathtub rather than on a bed. But one day he catches a faint scent of his old swamp home and decides to go back there to figure out more about his heritage. He gets along with the other swamp inhabitants and is happy to be able to explore an environment where his axolotl biology thrives, but he ultimately decides that he'll be happier with his human parents.
  • DFZ: Legally, Opal is the adopted human daughter of Yong, Great Dragon of Korea. This is complicated a bit because she is actually the daughter of Yong's human consort, genetically engineered under Yong's orders and always intended to be his daughter. While they are not actually biologically related (since Half Human Hybrids aren't a thing), magically is another story. Between the dragon ability to take unrelated dragons into their clan, and the human ability to subconsciously shove magic at anything they consider important, they are father and daughter in every way that matters. Much of the plot of the third book revolves around them taking advantage of this connection to combine human and dragon magic in ways that would normally be impossible.
  • The Last Human: The titular last human is known as Sarya the Daughter, adopted by Shenya the Widow. It should be noted that Widows are a Proud Warrior Race who practice The Spartan Way on their own hatchlings, much less adopted children. "The Daughter" is not a description or an honorific, it is a title that Sarya earned through an eight-day trial that, statistically, would most likely have resulted in her death.
  • Cradle Series: Lindon briefly meets a black dragon who is outspoken against the way dragons treat humans, and has even adopted a number of humans himself. Of course, Lindon only finds this out after he's nearly killed the poor bastard and used his Cannibalism Superpower to drain most of his power (and some of his memories, which is how he found out). Lindon quickly assures himself that he'll recover.
  • The Japanese children's book The Kindly Lion/The Gentle Lion (Yasashii Lion) by Takashi Yanase. Stars a lion cub named Buru-Buru, that gets adopted and raised by a female dog named Muku-Muku. Due to Buru-Buru's actual mother passing away after giving birth to him early in the story and Muku-Muku losing her own child moments after birth. The story would get adapted into an animated short in 1970 by Mushi Productions with Osamu Tezuka as the executive producer.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Mandalorian: The titular Mandalorian, a human, and The Child, whose species is unknown save that he's from the same one as Yoda. The Mando develops such a paternal connection with the child that he refuses to leave it with the Imperial remnant that hired him to find the kid. At the end of the first season The Armorer, the head of their tribe, declares The Child an official Mandalorian Foundling under Mando's care. On hearing this the Child happily coos at his new father.
    Armorer: A Foundling is in your care. By Creed, until it is of age or reunited with its own kind - you are as its father. This is the way.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Worf was adopted by the Rozhenkos, a human couple from Russia. In turn, Worf's son Alexander Rozhenko was also raised by Worf's adoptive parents after the mother died.
    • The episode "Suddenly Human" has a human boy whose birth parents were killed in a skirmish with the Talarians, who adopted the boy. While Picard initially believed he would be better back with the Federation, he eventually realizes that the boy wants to stay with his adoptive father.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has "Cardassians," which is very similar to the above except that it's about a Cardassian child raised by Bajorans. In this case, however, his still-living Cardassian father got custody, since the boy had actually been illegally given up by an enemy with a grudge.
  • Star Trek: Voyager has an odd example with a species that can resurrect the dead, and did so to a Voyager crew member who got a burial in space. She had lived for years with a "father" from that species, but eventually her memories of being on the ship came back and she tracked them down. However, she ultimately decided to return with the aliens.
    • Later in the series, the crew found a Borg ship with all the drones dead except for a few children, for whom Seven became a Parental Substitute; while all of them were former Borg drones, none of the kids were human. Three of the kids eventually left when Voyager for another ship they ran into; the oldest, Icheb, decided to stay on Voyager after learning that his birth parents genetically engineered him as a weapon against the Borg and purposely got him assimilated.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Pajanimals are a dog, a horse, a cow and a duck, but there is only one mother and father, albeit as off-screen voices. It's not even clear if the mother and father are the same species.

    Video Games 

  • Cloudscratcher: Felix (a cat) was adopted by the Captain (a dog).
  • Lindesfarne in Kevin & Kell, a hedgehog adopted by a rabbit.
    • And more recently, sheep couple Bruno and Corrie have adopted an infant chameleon named Carla.
  • The trolls in Homestuck. It's societal norm for them to be raised by another species. However, these guardians may or may not be totally sentient, and not all of them are good parents, so it also delves a bit into Raised by Wolves.
  • Selkie is about an amphibious young girl, and the man who adopts her.
  • Buwaro, Sakido and Iratu, all demons, are adopted by the angel Darius in Slightly Damned.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! — Molly the Peanut Butter Monster was raised by Bob. She's currently staying with Jean, who considers herself Molly's mother because they share a little bit of genetic material.
  • In Sheldon, Flaco the lizard became the adopted son of Arthur, a duck, after a mistaken egg-hatching.
  • In Ozy and Millie, Ozy (a fox) is the adopted son of Llewellyn (a dragon).
  • Furthia High has Cale, the last known human on earth adopted by an anthropomorphic cat and a tigress.
  • In Urban Jungle sole human character Zack was quite literally Raised by Wolves, and his brother Chuck is a sheep.
  • Tessa (fox) of S.S.D.D was adopted by a family of rats. Which might be one of the reasons she always felt like an outcast.
  • King Jahad from Tower of God adopts his daughters purely based on looks and ability, so there are some of his daughters who aren't Human.
  • Neo Kosmos is about human kids raised from infancy by aliens in solitary confinement in a space station After the End.
  • In this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip, a young man gets relationship advice from his dad. This is made complicated because his adoptive father is a giant talking wasp who is convinced that women only want to paralyze caterpillars and lay eggs in their moist bodies. Though the votee button reveals that he's actually right about his son's girlfriend.
    Interspecies adoption is always difficult.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, the inhabitants of Betel's Forest all believe that they are Betel's children, despite Betel being a manticore and the rest being a wide variety of different species.
  • Tamberlane: Belfry, a bat who might be part squirrel, was adopted by a badger and a deer, then she herself adopted that strange furless kit.

    Web Original 
  • Quite a few characters from Cerberus Daily News. Thus includes (but is not limited to) a turian who was adopted by a human couple (Gahars Patnus), a human who was adopted by an asari couple (Some_Random_Merc/Johnny), a drell who adopted a human infant (Rohim), a human whose legal guardian and father-figure is a turian (Wildflower/Flower and Davril, respectively), a human who was raised by a quarian (Human Quarian/Kolya), and an elcor who adopted a human (Xuumo/"Slow and Steady").
  • From Fat, French and Fabulous, co-host Jessica, possibly. Whether she was Raised by Wolves or by humans à la superman is ambiguous.
  • In Yandere High School, Taurtis adopts PufferFishPete's children because Pete thinks his children are weak.
  • The Weather: Played for Laughs; A recurring plot in "Tornado" features a married couple finding an adopting... a speaking tornado. He gets his own room, goes to school, gets grounded...all while being a tornado that inadvertently trashes his room and gets in trouble for tossing other students in the air, with his parents struggling to discipline him. They eventually release him, realizing a tornado can't live a human life.
  • The tiular character of The Last Human has been Happily Adopted by an insectoid alien known only as "Mother"

    Western Animation 
  • Rocko's Modern Life: Heffer (a steer) is part of the Wolfe family. They originally took him for food but grew to love him and raised him as their own. The "birthmark" on his rump is where the wolves were going to divide him up. Amusingly, he evidently had no idea he wasn't a biological Wolfe until Rocko off-handedly mentioned it.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob and Patrick adopted a baby scallop in one episode. It left other citizens quite confused when they thought about the biology involved.
  • Dinosaur Train: Buddy the T-Rex is adopted by a pteranodon family.
  • CatDog continually brought up one particular issue over the course of the series: Where did CatDog actually come from? For as long as they can remember, they'd always lived on their own. The series ended with CatDog going on a long journey to find their parents. It was never revealed how CatDog came to be, but for a brief time after they were born, they had been raised by a frog for a father and a sasquatch for a mother. They were all separated in a storm.
  • Darwin from The Amazing World of Gumball used to just be the Watterson family's pet fish, but he developed intelligence, grew legs, became Gumball's best friend, and the family adopted him as one of their own. The parallel to real life interracial adoption is made especially obvious by how all four of Darwin's voice actors in English are black, but the ones for the rest of the family are white.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle (a unicorn) had to induce a dragon egg to hatch as part of her entrance exam in magic school. She ends up being a Cool Big Sis/Parental Substitute to the dragon, who serves as her underling and assistant. While Word of God previously said that it was actually Princess Celestia who raised Spike after he hatched, the episode "Sparkle's Seven" shows that Spike was raised by Twilight's family. Both fit the trope.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command probably topped this concept beyond most other examples by having a human girl being adopted by two robots.
  • On Adventure Time, Finn is possibly the last real human in Ooo. He was found in a forest by a pair of talking dogs, who raised him until their deaths (when Finn's adopted brother, Jake, was apparently Promoted to Parent).
  • Young Justice has M'gann, a Martian, become Blood Sister to Garfield, only to get Promoted to Parent when his mother is killed by Queen Bee.
  • Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat: One episode featured a dog adopted by a couple of cats.
  • In Rocky and Bullwinkle Peabody (a dog) adopts Sherman (a human boy) from an Orphanage of Fear.
  • ToddWorld:
    • In "Platyroo", Todd and his friends try to help a lost platypus named Pedro find his mother. They all think that Pedro's mother is a platypus like him, but at the end, they find out that she's actually a kangaroo. We also learn that Pedro has a pig for a little brother. In the same episode, Todd sees a frog in a family of ducks.
    • There's also a cat named Mitzi that adopts a group of puppies.
  • This trope pops up from time to time in Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends:
    • We learn from a flashback that Miss. Spider was separated from her mother when she was just a child and she got adopted by Betty Beetle.
    • In the pilot film, Miss. Spider adopted three children, each from a different bug species; Dragon (a dragonfly), Shimmer (a jewel beetle), and Bounce (a bedbug).
    • The two episodes "Little Ladybug Lost" and "A Beetle-ful Family" center around a young Asian ladybug named Grace who was separated from her family due to her oversleeping during her winter nap, and she winds up being adopted by Stinky the stinkbug and his sister Whiffy.
  • In Polish animated series Między Nami Bocianami (Between Us Storks) main characters are a family of storks that adopted a cuckoo. In a sense all cuckoos are adopted (although not by storks) so it's not so weird.
  • Lambert the Sheepish Lion is a short where the Delivery Stork accidentally gives a sheep a lion cub for a child. When the stork tries to take him back the sheep refuses and she ends up raising the lion as her own. They're a happy family but Lambert is bullied by the lambs for being seen as a weird looking sheep, until as an adult he saves his mother from a wolf and becomes seen as a hero.
  • Neither of Elyon's parents in W.I.T.C.H. are human, however they pass themselves as human. She didn't know that she was adopted until the Big Bad revealed her parents' true forms.
  • The Wildman from Samurai Jack was adopted by Tribe, a tribe of apes with white fur. Originally he was part of a tribe of humans enslaved by Aku, but was accidently left behind as a young child when he got loose from the Wheel of Pain machine the other humans were forced to operate and was taken in and raised by the apes. He doesnt remember his original family, but knows he's a human, and not an ape. Tribe has also trained him in the ability to "Jump Good" as they do, giving him the superhuman ability to jump miles in one stretch.
  • Harvey Beaks: Technobear's parents are turtles. In fact, Technobear wasn't even aware that he was adopted and once asked if his shell would ever grow in.
  • An episode of Camp Lazlo showed that Samson (a guinea pig) has jellyfish for parents.
  • Wakfu:
    • At the start of the series, we see how Yugo, an Eliatrope, was adopted as a baby by Alibert, an Enutrof. In later seasons, we see that he has also adopted Yugo's Dragon brother Adamai, as well as another couple of Eliatrope-Dragon siblings: Grugal and Chibi.
    • The cheapest ship Ruel could find in the second season is crewed by Black Ink and Elaine, a talking squid and his adopted human daughter.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: The episode "Find Her, Keep Her" has Rabbit adopting a baby bird named Kessie after saving her during a storm. He grows attached to Kessie and has a hard time letting her go once it's time for her to fly south for the winter.
  • BoJack Horseman:
    • This is the premise of the Show Within a Show Horsin' Around (which BoJack starred in during The '90s), which is about three human children being raised by a horse. Its rival show Mister Peanutbutter's House also involved this, with a dog raising three human children.
    • Diane and her family are mostly human, except for Diane's adoptive brother Gary, who's a sheep.
    • Hollyhock was adopted and raised by eight gay men in a polygamous marriage, and none of them are horses like her (specifically they're five humans, a bear, a lizard and a duck).
    • In "The Stopped Show", Princess Carolyn, after trying all season to adopt a kid so she could have the family she'd always wanted, finally succeeds in adopting an adorable porcupine baby girl she eventually names Ruthie.
  • In The Jungle Bunch, Maurice is a penguin who was raised by a tiger and now thinks he is one. Maurice himself has adopted a fish who now believes he also is a tiger.
  • In The Jack Rabbit Story: Easter Fever, the titular Jack Rabbit was raised by chicken parents.
  • In Final Space, Gary is forced to take on a Parental Sustitute role to Little Cato after Avocato is killed. Though Little Cato starts off abrasive towards Gary due to mourning his dead dad, he quickly warms up to him, especially after learning that Gary lost his own dad too and they are "members of the same club" as he puts it. After suffering a long string of bad incidents in season two, including losing Avocato again shortly after getting him back via time travel, Gary offers to officially adopt Little Cato to help show him he isn't alone. Little Cato responds by happily hugging Gary. Little Cato still refers to Gary as his dad even after they save Avocato again, happy to have both his dads together.
  • DuckTales (2017) has Lena following her adoption into the Sabrewing family. Even putting aside the whole Living Shadow thing, she's a duck and they're all hummingbirds.
  • In Amphibia, Anne Boonchuy is a 13 year old human who finds herself trapped in a world where humanoid amphibians are the dominant lifeform... sort of. Although initially mistaken for a large, hideous, and terrifying monster, she soon builds an inseparable bond with the native Plantar family and becomes fully regarded as one of them. In this case it is technically interspecies fostering since she still has a human family she means to return to.

    Real Life 
  • Real Life examples involving animals like dogs, cats, and rabbits are a mainstay of websites like Cute Overload.
  • It is especially prevalent with birds. When they hatch, they imprint upon the first live creature they see, and consider it to be their mother.
  • As domesticated chicken retain their mother instinct much better than domesticated ducks, it was common (before artificial incubators became common) for farmers to place duck eggs under a brooding hen to be raised by her.
  • This Irish cat and her yellow ducklings.
  • One of the strangest incidents of this kind occurred in Samburu, Kenya: a lioness adopted an oryx. The story really isn't as cute as it initially seems: it didn't live long, and the lioness, overcome with grief, decided to separate another oryx from its herd and adopt that one. It promptly died too. This went on almost a half-dozen times, with the lioness consistently preventing the baby oryxes from reuniting with their own kind.
  • A crow adopts a cat
  • In real life, baboons will kidnap puppies from mother dogs and raise them as guard dogs. The baboons even treat them like humans do!
  • Many people view their pets as adopted family members, especially animals such as dogs or cats. Some go as far as using babytalk and other baby-associated behavior with them.
  • There's a woman called Marina Chapman, now living in England, who claims she was kidnapped as a young child in Colombia, abandoned in the jungle, and taken in by a troop of colobus monkeys with whom she lived for five years.
  • A fairly common tactic for wildlife rescue organizations and zoos is to "foster" orphaned or abandoned wild animal babies to domesticated "parents". Numerous fox kits have been raised by dogs or cats for instance.
  • Spunky the Hawk, a red-tailed hawk from Vancouver who was raised by a family of bald eagles. No one knows how he got there, but most records make it clear that he's been there since he was a baby and his surrogate family ultimately ended up raising him as their own. A second red-tail was in the nest earlier, but it vanished later on, which has led people to speculate that the eagles originally ate the other hawk and were planning on doing so to Spunky until he begged for food. Basically, Spunky is an avian version of Heffer Wolfe.
  • Different human species must have done this on occasion at least between tribes. The most popular is between Homo neanderthalensis (sometimes considered a subspecies however), and Homo sapiens. We have DNA evidence as well to back up this claim, even though these are humans, so it's less interesting than the other examples.


Video Example(s):


Dinosaur Train - Buddy

In the theme song of "Dinosaur Train," Buddy hatches from an egg in the Pteranodon nest and wonders what he's doing there. But Mrs. Pteranodon assures him that even though all dinosaurs have different features, this is still his family and she's still his mom.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / InterspeciesAdoption

Media sources:

Main / InterspeciesAdoption