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Predator Turned Protector

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Once in a while, a predator may refuse to harm their natural prey or enemy, instead choosing to protect it.

The reasons may vary widely: the two develop kinship to each other, the "prey" is an orphan/has Parental Abandonment, the predator being helpless and the prey comes to help them, etc. The protection may extend to only one individual, to a small group (such as a family), or to the entire species or group. Said protection likely will include protection against the predator's own kind (related to Hunter of Their Own Kind).

This trope is different than Morality Pet in that the decision to become a protector is irrevocable and is likely to invoke a Heel–Face Turn and/or Took a Level in Kindness on the part of the predator. Said protection may be permanent or temporary depending on whether the predator's intent is to return the Prey back to their family, group, or natural environment. (The intent is always what's best for the prey, yet another difference between this trope and Morality Pet.) Failure to protect the prey will cause anguish to the predator, especially if they have to watch. The younger/more helpless the prey, the more extreme, the more violent the predator will be in protecting them, up to full-on Papa Wolf or Mama Bear.

A predator is almost by definition badass, but a predator lacking fear and not even caring if they live or die is both unpredictable and scary. This trope seldom or never involves a sexual attraction/relationship between the two, and the predator may not even like the prey. Predators tend to be solitary hunters, but a Predator turned protector will both accept and solicit assistance in protecting the prey. The conclusive proof that the trope applies is change: the predator is unable to return to their former ways at the end.

More cynically, any Empire will do this for its new subjects when it is well established simply because they are now taxpayers instead of prey. In another case, a predator may simply try to protect their prey from other predators so that they can have the prey all by themselves.

A Super-Trope to Androcles' Lion and a Sister Trope to Friendly Neighborhood Vampire. Expect Hitman with a Heart to do this a lot. When applied to hostage situations, this becomes Lima Syndrome. Animal examples will frequently overlap with Carnivore Confusion. Compare Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work where the bad guys saved the good guys from having to Shoot the Dog, often without meaning to help in the first place. Compare also In Love with the Mark when the would-be killer falls in love with the target, Defends Against Their Own Kind where a member of group X protects a member of group Y from other members of group X, and Adopt the Food where they had planned on eating them first.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Animal Land has Dougen, a tiger who was banished from his fellow tigers for being such a ferocious hunter he almost wiped out the food source for the others, befriend and practically adopt a baby deer. Unfortunately, the deer was killed by another tiger. Dougen killed the other tiger in retaliation—only to realise too late that the latter was his own biological son.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Accelerator participated in a project that was intended to involve him killing 20,000 mind-linked clones of Misaka Mikoto; he killed 10,031 before Touma shut the project down by punching Accelerator in the face a few times. After this, Accelerator is approached by Misaka 20001, Last Order, the administrator of the Misaka Network. She explains that she came to him for help because they determined that Accelerator never wanted to kill them, and always tried give them an opportunity to express fear or hesitation, so that he would have an excuse to stop. Accelerator dismisses this as ridiculous. But he fights hard to save Last Order, suffering severe and permanent brain damage in the process, and spends the rest of the series primarily concerned with Last Order's safety. In fact, he becomes so obsessed with with safety of the remaining clones that one nearly successful assassination attempt did nothing but send a new Evil Twin Misaka clone after him; he finds himself utterly unable to fight back, and when he does fight back and almost kill her, he nearly goes insane in the process.
  • Hellsing: Alucard, a vampire, is forced to save humanity from evil Nazi vampires. It helps that he enjoys the work and has developed a deep respect for the human spirit — dating back to when he, the greatest vampire to ever live, was defeated by a team of ordinary people. Also, he thinks the Nazi vampires are a bunch of posers.
  • Naruto: The Nine Tailed Fox is originally a gigantic beast that is hostile to human society, but after he's sealed in Naruto's body, he's forced to protect Naruto from within and give him support in dire needs, because if Naruto dies so will he. Eventually Naruto's kindness towards the other tailed beasts, and a mutual hatred of Madara, earns the fox's friendship. He tells Naruto his real name, Kurama, and fights alongside him.
  • One Stormy Night: Gabu is a wolf and his best friend, Mei, is a goat. They form an Odd Friendship and end up running off together to avoid their families, and societies, disdain. For much of the series, they're being tracked by Gabu's pack and Gabu does protect Mei from them in his Big Damn Heroes moment
  • A Polar Bear in Love: Polar Bear falls in love with Seal and vows to protect him from harm.
  • Seraph of the End: Mikaela is constantly visibly fighting the urge to drink human blood (while all other vampires couldn't care less). Despite this instinct, he still avoids killing humans as much as possible and protects his (human) childhood friend Yuuichirou with his life. He's also seen aiding other humans at times, especially children.
  • Ushio and Tora: Tora is an extremely powerful youkai, but just about the only thing that prevents him from going on a murderous rampage is Ushio being able to wield the Beast Spear. But as time goes by, Tora finds increasingly implausible reasons to rescue Ushio when he doesn't have the spear at hand, such as The Only One Allowed to Defeat You (or eat you, rather) or the monster eating Ushio mocking Tora.
  • Heart the Tyrannosaurus rex, the protagonist of You Are Umasou, is saddled with this role after the titular baby Ankylosaurus imprints on him. He still considers eating Umasou even after this point but chooses to regard him as family rather than food in the end.

    Comic Books 
  • Preacher: Cassidy is a vampire, but he discovered any kind of blood will do and only drinks blood off people trying to kill him, and happily joins up with Jesse and Tulip, even killing a vampire who was waaaay too much into the gothic vampire thing (including killing a Vampire Vannabe). He is an extremely self-centered asshole behind the jovial exterior, and has nearly a century of backstabbing people through his own weakness or pursuit of hedonism.
  • Venom:
    • While Venom's characterization largely depends on who the host is, for much of its history the symbiote was characterized as a ravenous predator that couldn't care less about guilt or innocence and seeks to corrupt its host. However, in Brian Michael Bendis' Guardians of the Galaxy it's cleansed of its bloodlust and becomes fully heroic, and in Venom: Space Knight, Venom (Mike Costa), and Venom (Donny Cates) it struggles to suppress its recurring dark urges in order to protect the innocent.
    • Donny Cates' run reveals this to be the case for the Agents of the Cosmos introduced by Bendis in Guardians of the Galaxy, the symbiotes having originated as living weapons created by the dark god Knull only to turn on him and set out to atone by protecting the cosmos they once terrorized.

    Eastern Animation 
  • Soviet animated short "Wolf and calf". A wolf steals a baby calf but finds him too scrawny to eat and decides to first fatten him up. This soon evolves into becoming an adopted father for the calf, up to protecting him from his carnivorous neighbours eager to "share" the calf.

    Fan Works 
  • Not a case of prey to consume and more enemies to be destroyed, but that was the MO for the first two Godzillas in The Bridge canon until the third one, the grown-up Godzilla Junior. Partially due to being a Gentle Giant and being raised by an adoptive human mother, he becomes one of humanity's most dedicated protectors against aliens and other kaiju for years. By comparison, his predecessors destroyed multiple cities and were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
    • While not quite a predator, Monster X was this for the Dazzlings, hunting them down in order to steal their gems. But after being forced into an Enemy Mine to fight Enjin, X's relationship with Aria evolves into one of mutual respect, followed by love. Once Enjin is defeated, X and the Dazzlings become allies. He even brutally hunts down Princess Twilight when he believes he stole Sonata's gem.
    • Destroyah, when she originally encountered the Cutie Mark Crusaders, intended to kill them, only to instead kill the timberwolves they were hunting. This results in the fillies loving her. Eventually, she develops a genuine fondness for them and becomes their guardian.
  • A good description of the dynamic in the Jurassic Park fic "My Father's Sins", when Maisie Lockwood forms a bond with the Indoraptor when she's little because their shared origins cause the Indoraptor to perceive Maisie as 'Sister', with Maisie calling the Indoraptor 'Jack' in turn. At one point the Indoraptor attacks a black ops team that had infiltrated the Lockwood estate to try and steal Lockwood's information about genetic research, but after fighting off the soldiers trying to abduct Maisie it simply falls asleep beside her bed.
  • Not in the traditional sense, but in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fic "Unconquerable Souls" (set in a version of the Wishverse where Buffy and Angel survived the fight with the Master), Janna Kalderash comes to Sunnydale to ensure that Angelus is being punished, but despite her clan's vow of eternal vengeance, she soon shifts her focus to helping the White Hats ensure that Angel retains his soul to help him, as a 'diagnosis spell' she cast confirms that Angelus is just contained by Angel rather than the demon actually suffering in his current state.
  • One somewhat common plot in Zootopia fanfics is a savage Nick (a red fox) becoming very protective of Judy (a rabbit), for reasons ranging from previous scent markings to Heroic Willpower while his rational mind is not quite gone yet. Typically, this ensues when the pellet-for-blueberry swap plan doesn't work.

    Films — Animated 
  • An American Tail: Tiger (a cat) and Fievel Mousekewitz (a mouse) had become friends. In the sequel, An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Tiger chose the role of a Protector, directly opposing other cats (all more badass than Tiger) to save Fievel, his family, and the other mice in town. To do so, Tiger took a level by learning how to be a dog. In the film's climax, Tiger tried to stop the killing of all the town's mice, and what started out as a last stand turned into a curb-stomp battle as first the training kicked in, then Tiger entered unstoppable rage and became a one-cat army. This is a milder form of the trope since Tiger never sought to harm Fievel (or apparently any other mouse), but cats are predators of mice, and Tiger opposed other cats to protect mice, so the trope definitely applies.
  • Finding Nemo: Nigel the pelican is, of course, a fish-eater. However, he has regular conversations with the fish living in an aquarium in a dentist's office and is quite touched by Nemo's story. Upon learning that Marlin is Nemo's father searching for his son, Nigel rescues him and Dory first from the beak of a fellow pelican, then from a flock of seagulls.
    Nigel: [to Nemo] Sorry if I ever took a snap at you. Fish gotta swim; birds gotta eat.
  • How to Train Your Dragon (2010): Hiccup constructs a weighted-net launcher that successfully knocks a dreaded Night Fury dragon out of the sky during a dragon raid, and ventures into the hills to find the fallen dragon and slay it. Upon finding his objective, however, Hiccup takes mercy on the creature and actually works to hide it from his fellow Vikings.
  • Ice Age: Diego (a saber-toothed cat) helped Manny (a mammoth) and his 'herd' to return a human child to his father, despite having been ordered to deliver the child to Diego's pride to be eaten. Although Diego had no particular love for the child, he did act as a protector, though more out of loyalty to Manny's 'herd' than anything else.
  • The Iron Giant: When Hogarth encounters the titular robot, he finds out that it's docile and childlike; this is suggested to be the result of a dent in its head upon landing on Earth. However, once the robot goes into Papa Wolf mode, it deploys enough advanced weaponry to eradicate a battalion with frightening ease. The director's commentary mentions that the robot was meant to be a military strike probe, designed to eradicate or decimate resistance as a precursor to an Alien Invasion. Fortunately for everyone, The Power of Friendship restores the robot to its Gentle Giant mode, whereupon it makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save the townsfolk.
  • The Lion King (1994): Simba the lion fiercely protects his surrogate parents, Pumbaa the warthog and Timon the meerkat, from the hungry lioness Nala. In fact, Timon, initially reluctant to adopt the orphaned Simba due to him being a predator, changes his mind after he realizes he can exploit this trope.
  • Madagascar: Alex the lion's friendship with Marty the zebra is threatened when Alex's Horror Hunger kicks in after they arrive in the wild. However, when Marty is attacked by a group of fossa (Madagascar's native predators), Alex comes to his rescue in a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Monsters, Inc.: Sulley (a monster whose job is scaring children) chose to be a protector to Boo (a human child). His objective was to protect Boo and return her to her home and family. His reactions upon "seeing" Boo crushed was a Shout-Out to Feed the Kitty (listed in the "Western Animation" folder below). In the film's climax, Sulley went full Papa Wolf to protect Boo. He even said "Nothing else matters."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Daybreakers: The humans fleeing to safety quickly realize when the sympathetic vampire hematologist Edward hides them in his car from some other vampires who are hunting them that it's a good idea to enlist him as an ally. To this end, one of them goes so far as to donate some of her blood in a cup and insist that he drink it to keep his hunger at bay. They also are later shown to be running their human-smuggling (and vampire-cure-seeking) operation under the protection of a vampire Senator who's got a similar deal worked out with them.
  • The short film The Golden Fish has a cat enter an apartment, where it sees a goldfish flopping about on a counter after it leaped out of its bowl. The cat picks the fish up and puts it back in the goldfish bowl. What makes this amazing is that it was done with real animals; a real cat and a real goldfish.
  • While hunting the Indominus rex in Jurassic World, Hoskins forces Owen to use his pack of raised raptors (Blue, Charlie, Echo, and Delta) to track down the rampaging dinosaur alongside a team of InGen special ops. After finding it, the Indominus rex manages to persuade the raptors to turn on their human handlers (due to said Indominus rex being part-raptor), and all hell breaks loose. However, after Hoskins is killed by Delta, the raptors come to their senses and turn on the Indominus in order to protect Parental Substitute Owen from it.
  • In King Kong (1933), Ann Darrow is intended to be a Human Sacrifice to the eponymous giant ape. However, he is mesmerized by her beauty and becomes her protector, defending her from the dinosaurs and other monstrous beasts of Skull Island.
  • In Kong: Skull Island Kong is explicitly stated to protect the island's human inhabitants from the other predators, most notably the Skullcrawlers. And unlike prior incarnations, there's no mention of offering him the occasional human sacrifice.
  • Maleficent: The titular character plans on killing princess Aurora on her Dangerous 16th Birthday as revenge against her father, but by the end of the film, she becomes Aurora's guardian.
  • Saw II: Though Amanda was sent into the Nerve Gas House as a set of eyes and ears for Jigsaw, she develops a sense of responsibility for Daniel, him being just a teenager and really only being in the house because of his father's actions. She speaks openly with him and the two of them cling to each other as they run from Xavier. She's genuinely heartbroken when she thinks Daniel succumbed to the poison and died, and clings to him when he's crying after he kills Xavier.
  • Schindler's List: An extreme example heavily based on real events during WWII. Oskar Schindler started as a businessman and Nazi Party member who used Jewish laborers as virtual slaves to manufacture war materials. His original goal was to make money for himself and support the Nazi war machine. When he discovered that his Jewish employees were slated for death, he did everything in his power to save as many as he could. At the end of the movie, what should have been his moment of triumph for saving more than 1000 Jews instead saw him breaking down in sorrow and shame that he didn't save more, that he still had anything (money or possessions) to his name (by which he could have saved more).
    • This also gets inverted somewhat by his The Hunter Becomes the Hunted situation after the war; in gratitude for his saving their lives, the Jews help get him past the Allies who are out rounding up Nazis without his having to answer too many awkward questions. Though the film doesn't go into detail about this, historically, those Jews helped smuggle him all the way out of Europe to Argentina.
  • In Snowpiercer Curtis Everett plays this role for Basile, whose mother he killed so that he could eat him because of the dearth of food during the first month.
  • Demonstrated while being subverted in the first 3 Terminator films.
    • In the first film, the T-800 (the titular Terminator) was a cold, emotionless, killing machine whose sole existence was to kill Sarah Connor and thus prevent John Connor from being born and creating the resistance in the future.
    • In the second film however, the T-800, while still emotionless, was now a protector of the now-born John Connor and his sole purpose was to protect him from the more dangerous T-1000.
    • Fully Justified in the third film as the T-850 reveals that he killed John Connor in the year 2032. During that time, though, he had been reprogrammed by Kate Brewster (John Connor's wife) to prepare and protect John and Kate from the inevitable Judgement Day.

  • Animorphs: One story has Tobias struggle with his dual hawk/human nature, trying to attack a baby rabbit but crashing into the ground each time. In the end, he kills the mother (from the hawk's viewpoint this is beyond stupid, as she could have produced more food) but watches over the babies. In another, Cassie learns of the location of skunk kits (their mother was hit by a Yeerk weapon) when Tobias says he caught and ate one. He ends up helping to guard them until the mother comes out of the vet clinic.
  • In Arcia Chronicles, Roman summons a lynx from the woods and binds its being to Prince Stefan, turning it into his supernatural protector. When Stefan is killed, the lynx transfers its loyalty to Gerika, his beloved.
  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin's grandfather Alannon was kidnapped by enemy spies. This ensured his survival when the castle he had lived in was conquered. Since the enemy spies wanted a husband, they never turned him in to their superiors, but married him and did everything in their power to make him happy.
  • Alluded to in Children of the Night. One of the psivamps has been fighting his need to feed, and the others realize once he heads back to their base that he's given in. He tells them a folk tale about a lion cub adopted by a herd of sheep, who grew up thinking he was a sheep until the day a pack of wolves attacked the flock. The others figure he's gone over to their side, he doesn't bother telling them that the story ends with the lion killing all the wolves. (He'd chowed down on a couple rapists so he could act as The Mole.)
  • Chrysalis (RinoZ): The Lirian refugees who take a chance on the Colony are nearly eaten for their trouble at first, multiple times, but Anthony manages to divert the workers away from them, and eventually forges a firm alliance after the ants gain sapience. Once relations stabilise, the humans find that with the ants aggressively putting down all the other threats in the area, they're actually about as safe as they could hope to be anywhere.
  • A Dearth of Choice: When the dungeon is protecting Katrina from a pack of semi-intelligent wolves, it's a surreal experience for her to have zombies and skeletons and wraith-like beings simply step aside to allow her passage, and then, when there's nowhere to run, a cluster of rotting corpses closes ranks around her as a guard, before ripping the wolves apart.
  • Harry Potter: Snape, as a Death Eater, found to his horror that his own actions marked the woman he loved (Lily Evans Potter) for death, causing a Heel–Face Turn. His actions were not enough to save her, so despite hating her son, Harry Potter (whose father, James Potter, had made Snape miserable at Hogwarts), Snape acted throughout the entire series to save Harry from all harm. Note, however, that protecting Harry doesn't preclude Snape from treating him like crap the whole time.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Hogfather the Tooth Fairy protects children by making sure that bad wizards can't get their teeth, which would give them the power to control the children through magic. However, originally the Tooth Fairy was *The* Boogeyman, who came to care about the children he frightened.
  • Subverted in the Hurog series, Jakoven reminisces about how he comforted a boy who had been raped and whose parents had been killed by Jakoven's own armies. However, when this happens, it is pretty clear that he sexually abused the boy, and has been keeping the (now adult) man as his sex slave ever since.
  • In Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Mrs. Frisby the mouse saves her family using advice received from the Great Owl, whose usual diet includes mice. He's later revealed to be an ally of the rats, which he'd also normally be expected to eat.
  • The Twilight Saga: The Cullens, a coven of vampires, are 'vegetarians' (do not drink human blood) due to choice and a treaty with the local werewolves and even act to protect a human (Bella), thus fitting (if loosely) under this trope.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Angel is a vampire who is out to save humans from vampires and other nasties.
    • In later seasons of Buffy, Spike develops a crush on Buffy, who is the natural predator of his species. As a result, he stops rooting for her death and starts protecting her, oftentimes against her will. He also starts acting as something of an older brother to Buffy's sister, to the point where Buffy drops her off at Spike's when she needs a babysitter - because the evil monster that lives on human blood will protect her. Unlike Angel, Spike is hilariously conflicted about his role as the protector, going as far as to demand Dawn "take it back" when she says she feels safe with him.
  • In the Series 8 Doctor Who episode "Into the Dalek", the eponymous Dalek (nicknamed "Rusty") decides to protect the other sentient species in the universe and destroying its Dalek brethren after seeing true beauty. It's just a temporary glitch that the Doctor manages to fix, resulting in the death of most of the people on the ship.
  • Forever Knight. An 800-year-old vampire named Nick Knight is a police detective protecting the citizens of Toronto. He seeks redemption for all of the human beings he's killed over the years.
  • On True Blood, after much of the world's vampire population becomes infected with Hep-V, which causes them to become violent, Jessica Hamby vows to protect the Bellefleur family as her penance for previously killing three of Andy's daughters.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Grey Render is a magical predator native to the Forgotten Realms that looks like a gigantic bipedal bear-like creature with six eyes. Normally immensely territorial and very dangerous, Renders have a tendency to occasionally 'adopt' individuals of other species if they chance into its territory and aren't aggressive or threatening. A Render who adopts a charge will protect and follow it as long as they stay in the Render's territory, and even offer them food: Gameplay-wise this makes for an excuse to add a Grey Render to encounters, and third edition had optional rules for high-level druids and rangers to bond with a Grey Render in this way.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Attempted in the original Innistrad block: at the request of a village plagued by lycanthropy, the archangel Avacyn turned the werewolves into the still wolf-like wolfir, who now protect humanity and the forests. Unfortunately, subsequent returns to the plane have Avacyn turn cuckoo and then die, effectively destroying this spell and making werewolves rampaging beasts again. Only a few wolfir barely cling to life.

    Video Games 
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC Dawnguard, Serana is a Friendly Neighbourhood Vampire and a Dawnguard-aligned Dragonborn can easily persuade her to side against Clan Volkihar. This is particularly noticeable since at least two members of the Dawnguard want her dead. From the vanilla game, Paarthurnax is a dragon that had a Heel–Face Turn millennia ago and is very protective of the races of Tamriel. It's not acknowledged by those races though as especially the Blades want him dead no matter what since he IS a dragon.
  • Metroid Fusion: It's left ambiguous, but one reading of the SA-X, which had spent the entire game hunting Samus, showing up at the last second to fight an Omega Metroid is that it was defending her. Of course, another reading is that it was merely acting on instinct upon seeing its natural predator and judging it to be more of a threat than Samus.

  • Forest Hill: Benni starts as The Bully and a potential rapist who attacks Tanya and severely injures Kaleb. When it is discovered that he is being abused by his father, Kaleb's mother takes him as a foster son and he becomes an extremely protective brother to Kaleb and friend of Tanya.
  • Rudy Dewclaw from Bill Holbrook's Kevin & Kell is a young wolf, who'd usually prey upon herbivores. However, when Lindesfarne, a hedgehog adopted by his stepfather, is menaced by a trio of felines, Rudy leaps to her defense. It's a case of pack loyalty overriding the food chain.
  • Pixie and Brutus: An eagle who carries Pixie off decides to adopt her. However, she still has to scold one of her eaglets for attempting to peck a bite out of his new "sister."

     Web Original 
  • Alien Abduction Roleplay: Acktreal Domma clearly wants to eat the human test subjects under her care, but then develops an emotional attachment to both (especially the unnamed POV protagonist), and promises to protect both, even if they fail to get "full rights" according to the laws governing her society.
  • Hamster's Paradise: The highbrows are a mountain-dwelling subspecies of the sapient wolf-like southhounds that keeping moose-like ungulopes as livestock. It’s stated that their domestication started out like this, the highbrows would hunt and round up the ungulopes as they were the most abundant food in the area, but they would also protect them from other predators in the area, allowing them to be more successful than they otherwise would be. This caused the ungulopes to lose their fear of the highbrows (helped along by them deliberately culling the more skittish and aggressive members) and allowed themselves to be more actively herded by them.
  • Serina: The daydreamers are a sapient member of the dolfinch family, a group of fully marine birds, that farms other dolfinches species as livestock. However, one group of Daydreamers would come to believe that feeding on such intelligent and closely related species was immoral and come to view it as their moral duty to defend the smaller dolfinches who can't defend themselves while also switching to an entirely fish-based diet. A species of near-sapient, herbivorous dolfinch known as the luddy porplet would even learn to tell the difference between the fisher daydreamers and the other cultures and will stick by them for protection.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, during Azulon's purging of the dragons, he told his son Iroh to kill the last two. He doesn't really want to do it, so he pretends to have killed them while he actually hid them in the Sun Tribe's territory.
  • In Feed the Kitty (a classic Chuck Jones short), Marc Anthony (a bulldog) sought to protect Pussyfoot (a kitten). When it appeared Pussyfoot was killed, Marc Anthony suffered grievously. In Feline Frame-Up and Cat Feud (two additional shorts involving these characters), Marc Anthony went Papa Wolf to protect Pussyfoot from another cat, proving that his protection extended only to Pussyfoot. In these cases, tropers may reasonably argue whether Pussyfoot was a Morality Pet only instead.
  • The Animated Adaptation of Free Willy has the titular orca being accompanied by a dolphin and a sea lion.
  • In the Disney short Lambert the Sheepish Lion, Lambert the lion cub is raised by a ewe. At the end of the short, when the ewe is attacked by a wolf, Lambert gets dangerous and rescues his surrogate mother from the predator.
  • In Primal (2019), we see several tyrannosaurs that are perfectly happy to chow down on humans or even young of their own species. One of the protagonists is a female Tyrannosaurus named Fang who bonds with the caveman Spear to the point where she will fight tooth and nail to protect him. she also forms a friendship with the Cro magnon Mira. She is however perfectly willing to slaughter scores of humans if they threaten her or her friends.
  • Season 5 of Samurai Jack: Ashi was raised as a cold-blooded assassin to kill Jack, but instead ends up protecting him and keeping him alive throughout the season to the point where it even brings him back to his original confident self from the earlier seasons.
  • Played with in The Simpsons, in that the predator was a protector at first: Santa's Little Helper (the Simpson family dog) runs away from home and gets picked up by Mr. Burns & trained to be one of his new attack hounds. Later, Bart is on Burns' property looking for his missing dog and Burns releases the hounds, now led by SLH. SLH leaps at Bart, but as he's leaping in Slo Mo he remembers all the good things Bart did for him in the past. SLH drops, then turns to his fellow hounds and growls, protecting Bart from them.
  • Taz-Mania: A variation occurs between Taz and Wendell T. Wolf. After Taz eats and then spits out Wendell, Wendell decides that Taz should become his protector, only for Taz to want nothing to do with Wendell.
  • Frequently happens in many old chaser cartoons like Tom and Jerry and Tweety Bird, where they might help a dog that beats up the cat in return.
    • There are also plenty of episodes where Tom and Jerry, and sometimes even Tom, Jerry, and Spike decide a mutual truce, that usually won't last til the end of the episode.

    Real Life 
  • A lioness adopted at least six oryx calves.
  • Livestock guardian dogs are trained to be this to their herds.
  • There was a case in India where two puppies fell into a pit and were protected and cared for by a cobra for two days. Whether the third picture also qualifies is more debatable.
  • Technically, any person who takes care of a pet that belongs to a species consumed by humans (such as a pet rabbit, guinea pig, chicken, or duck) counts as this.
  • Here's a story of a cat who, rather than chow down on some vulnerable newly-hatched ducklings, took them in as her young. The cat had just given birth to kittens and was in maternal mode when she encountered the ducklings, so she considered them her young to protect as well rather than a snack. There was concern about what would happen as that narrow maternal-instinct window receded but a year on they still get along just fine.
  • Here's a video of a female tiger raising some piglets as her own cubs.
  • Orphaned litters of domestic mice or hamsters can be fostered to nursing mother rats in a pinch. Rats normally kill and eat smaller rodents, but will nurse and care for non-rat pups if introduced with care. Can become a subversion if the non-rat pups aren't separated from their foster mother as soon as weaning is possible, as mother rats also cull and eat pups that fail to grow as large as their siblings.
  • In a roundabout way, apex predators can play an important role in controlling and managing invasive species which otherwise could wreak havoc on an ecosystem. While the predator isn't consciously protecting its prey species, they do benefit from their presence in the ecosystem by controlling or fending off invasive intruders that could spread diseases to or directly prey on the prey species. An example would be in Southern Florida, American Alligators are one of the few predators capable of hunting and killing invasive Burmese Pythons that regularly prey on small mammals and birds ignorant of how to defend themselves. Areas with a high alligator population, and thus a very small python population, actually have far higher bird and mammal populations.
  • A Japanese zoo once fed a live hamster to one of their snakes before closing. In the morning, they find that the snake had befriended her dinner.
  • There are species of tarantulas and frogs that form a symbiotic relationship. The smaller frog cleans the spider's den and protects its eggs from parasites while the tarantula protects the frog from predators. Frogs and tarantulas normally eat each other depending on the size advantage.