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Raised by Humans

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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 integrates into human society also varies. 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; and Orc Raised by Elves, in which the adopted parents aren't necessarily humans, but the result is the same. Humans raising members of other demihuman races, especially races that are usually hostile to humans, is an inversion of Raised by Orcs.

A Sub-Trope of Interspecies Adoption.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Blood+: Saya, a Chiropteran raised by humans and thus firmly on their side.
  • Dragon Ball: Son Goku, birth name Kakarot, is a Saiyan (a Human Alien Proud Warrior Race) 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 who trained him in martial arts. However, Gohan raised Goku far from the rest of society, and was eventually killed when Goku transformed into an Ozaru (a giant were-ape form that all Saiyans have). It was only when Goku was twelve that he met Bulma and joined her on her quest to collect the Dragon Balls, and thus started interacting with other humans on a regular basis. By his early-to-mid twenties, he's already integrated into society, married and had a child of his own, and fully considers himself a human like everyone else. He's initially disgusted to learn that he comes from a race of contract-killing Blood Knights, but following the Saiyan invasion and his battles on Namek against Frieza, Goku eventually accepts his place as being a "Saiyan raised on Earth".
  • Subverted in Lyrical Nanoha. Nanoha adopts Vivio, but since Nanoha had already chosen to Stay with the Aliens several years earlier, Vivio is culturally Mid-childan rather than Japanese (though her name is in Japanese order).

    Comic Books 
  • Superman:
    • 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.
    • This is nearly always reused no matter what the setting is, even Elseworld stories. In Superman: Red Son, Kal-El's ship crashes in the Ukraine sometime in the 1920s, he is raised in a commune with socialist values and becomes the USSR's greatest champion; Superman: Mastermen has him raised as an Ubermensch by the Nazi party; Speeding Bullets has him become the adoptive son of the Wayne family and so on.
    • Action Comics #1: Of note is that the earliest version of Superman was only mentioned as having been found by a "passing motorist" and left at an orphanage. The Kents weren't introduced until a year later.
    • Superman Unchained: Wraith is an alien who was raised on Earth by humans, so he is more beholden to his adopted home than his original people.
    • In The Unknown Supergirl, Kryptonian teenager Kara Zor-El is adopted and raised by Fred and Edna Danvers, one human couple.
    • In Supergirl: Being Super, Kara arrives in Earth when she is a little child, and she is found and raised by Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers, one couple from a Midwestern town called Midvale.

    Fan Works 
  • AAML: Diamond and Pearl Version: Played with. Ash's Riolu (due primarily to the bond they share through Ash's Aura) and Misty's Azuril each see Ash and Misty as their parents, to the point that Riolu was surprised to meet his biological father; after Riolu learns to talk, he freely refers to Ash and Misty as 'Daddy' and 'Mommy', only amending it to 'Dad' and 'Mom' after he evolves.
  • All-American Girl: Daisy-Jo was stranded on Earth at a young age and raised by human parents, to the point where returning to Equestria is jarring and strange, and she chooses to continue life on Earth instead.
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: Weiss adopted Whisper, her Ralts, soon after she hatched. Both of them consider themselves sisters.
  • The Godzilla starring in The Bridge is the grown up Godzilla Junior from the Heisei Era, the Mother's Day special highlighting his upbringing under a Motherly Scientist named Azusa Gojo. This is cited as his reason for becoming his world's Big Good and protecting humanity rather than becoming a destructive monster or neutral like his predecessors. Junior even expresses apathy at finding out who his biological mother was, Azusa is the one that counts.
  • The Jurassic Park fic "A Dangerous Curiosity" sees Maisie Lockwood inadvertently become a mother figure for the Indoraptor (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) when the dinosaur imprints on her after she finds it in the lab and is the only being the still-infant creature has encountered who isn't afraid of it. With the indoraptor's mind still in a crucial developmental state, the dinosaur essentially imprints on Maisie and comes to see her as his mother, even while acknowledging that the two are physically completely different.
    • Somewhat downplayed when it is revealed that Maisie and 'Indy' (as she comes to refer to the Indoraptor) share some genetic traits, with the result that a part of Maisie Lockwood's DNA originates from a dinosaur and she thus has some biological ties to the indoraptor.

    Films — Animation 
  • 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 vengeance for killing Kenai's brother.
  • Tod from The Fox and the Hound is raised by an old widow woman after his real mother had been killed by hunters.
  • Megamind: Both Megamind and Metro Man are aliens who landed on earth as babies and were raised by humans. Metro Mans ship landed near the mansion of a rich couple and was mostly raised by his loving adoptive mother. Megamind however, ended up crashing into a nearby prison (his pod was originally on the way to the mansion but Metro Mans knocked his off course), and was raised by the inmates. They were nice enough parents but unfortunately taught him THEIR values, turning him into a criminal.
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Charlie The Lonesome Cougar is about a cougar named Charlie who is raised by humans after his mother dies.
  • The Country Bears has a young bear cub that was raised by humans. He doesn't even know he is a bear until his adopted brother points it out.
  • Fly Away Home, loosely based on a true story, tells of a girl who raised orphaned geese which imprinted on her after they hatched, then learned to fly an ultralight so she could guide them to a wildlife sanctuary.
  • Irys from Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys 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.
  • 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.
  • The titular character in Hellboy is a demon raised by humans.
  • In The Muppets (2011), Gary is flesh and blood. Walter is felt. They are biologically brothers, both being born to the same flesh and blood parents.
  • Caesar from Rise of the Planet of the Apes — and, in the original series, Conquest 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 anthropomorphic 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.
  • 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.

  • 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 and teaches the elephants and other jungle animals how to live a civilized life.
  • 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 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.
  • Children's book Elizabeth and Larry is about a Cool Old Lady and her alligator son/roommate.
  • Hagrid attempts this with a baby dragon in the Harry Potter series. He ends up letting Norbert (or should we say "Norberta"?) go to live in a dragon preserve in Romania.
  • 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, which puts him in the position of a human raised by wolves.
  • 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.
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities: Sophie Foster grew up believing she was human, before discovering she was an elf at the age of 12. Her human parents were having fertility troubles, and the doctor who treated them was an undercover agent of La Résistance who implanted Sophie's mother with her embryo.
  • Paddington Bear, partially. Although he was raised by his bear aunt into late childhood, she was forced to give him up, and he ended up being raised from there on out by a family of humans in Britain.
  • In Strata, Marco the kung was left with an adoptive human family by his parents, who were alien ambassadors to Earth. Kung believe in reincarnation, so when their return to their homeworld was delayed and their son was born on Earth instead, Marco's folks assumed he must've received a human soul rather than kung, and they wanted him to grow up among "his own kind".
  • 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.
  • In Watership Down, General Woundwort (a rabbit) was orphaned as a baby when a weasel killed his mother, and was taken in by a kindly schoolteacher. 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. The teacher ultimately had to drive Woundwort away after he nearly killed the man's cat.
  • In Turtledove's Worldwar series, two Lizards are raised by one of the human characters.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation was adopted by human parents on a Federation colony when they found him amongst the rubble in the aftermath of a Romulan attack on a Klingon outpost. Worf is Happily Adopted and treats his human parents with tenderness and love despite being avidly devoted to Klingon values as a Proud Warrior Race Guy. His son, Alexander Rozhenko, even takes his adoptive grandparents' surname.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Pathfinder, elves who are raised by, or even around, 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.

    Video Games 
  • The Wyvern, Rock Drake, Reaper, Deinonychus, Magmasaur, and Rhyniognatha from ARK: Survival Evolved cannot be tamed as adults. Instead, the survivor must steal their eggs (or get impregnated, in the case of Reapers and Rhynios) and raise the child on a (mostly) specialized diet in order to obtain those creatures.
  • Giegue/Giygas from EarthBound (1994) was an alien raised by humans.
  • Robert Smith from FTL: Faster Than Light is a Mantis who was raised by humans and believes himself to be human. He can be easily recruited by a human crewmember, but, like any human, will completely freak out at the sight of a Mantis.
  • Trick the wolf from the Lonely Wolf Treat series was raised by a human whom they called Master because their parents abandoned them at a young age.
  • 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.
  • Teddie from Persona 4 was originally a mindless Shadow. After becoming self-aware he lived all on his own and isolated, until the Investigation Team, especially Yosuke and Yu, started to pretty much raise him. He's been acting as somewhat of a little brother figure to Yosuke (thus mirroring Nanako and her relationship to Yu) ever since.
  • Thrall from the Warcraft franchise is an orc raised by humans as a slave and whose adoptive human sister was especially kind to him. 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.
  • Freefall has the Bowman's Wolves, a genetically modified Uplifted Animal in early development. The first generation were placed with human families to ensure they had other sapients to learn from. Florence mentions going to the zoo with her human family to see her birth mother (an ordinary red wolf).
  • Runaway to the Stars: Talita is an alien centaur who grew up in the foster care system of a human habitat. As a result she has trouble relating to her own species
  • Rusty and Co. has Roxanne, an Elf bard who was adopted into a human family. Her adoptive brother is Robespierre.
  • Wilde Life: In the first few pages, Barbara Yaga snaps at her dogs that she "raised you better than that." This turns out to be true — she regularly turns them into human boys and treats them like her children.

    Web Animation 
  • Horse in Hunter: The Parenting is Big-D's favorite child, despite being a horse (or so he appears). Everyone in the family except for Kitten (an in-law) treats him like an actual family member who can't talk rather than a pet; Marckus and Door call him a brother, and Boy calls him Uncle Horse.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, most likely because Brian was already well into middle-age when he met the Griffins and was never "raised" by them per se.
    • 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.
  • On Gargoyles, Angela and her 35 rookery siblings (including three beasts, though we've only seen one) were raised on Avalon by three humans.
  • 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.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic features Spike, a "baby" dragon, who was raised by Ponies. This also passes into a case of Orc Raised by Elves. Spike is being raised by either the prey or the enemies of his species.

    Real Life 
  • 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".
  • Animal Planet's Fatal Attractions (2010):
    • An episode featured a man who raised a lion cub as if it were his own child. Said cub ended up mauling his actual human daughter. The lion 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. Suffice to say, this is very common with non-domesticated animals raised by humans, as they have certain adult behavior and instincts that aren't compatible with their human "parent".
  • 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. Obviously, this never works, as a chimp is a chimp no matter how much you treat it as a human.
  • 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.
  • As human society has moved away from treating domesticated animals solely as foodstock or tools, many species that were formerly just farm animals are now often raised as pets, most notably dogs and cats, who are also the ones that best adapt to human families. Dogs adapt the best and often view their owner very loyally, but cats also become very friendly to humans if raised properly.