Why and how do animals adopt from other species?

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Do their bonds persist during the adulthood of the adopted animals? Do the adopted animals display the same behaviors as their non-orphan cousins? I’m curious and some search didn’t clarify enough for me.

Thanks in advance!

In: Biology

Animals adopt from other species usually when a female has recently given birth and her body is producing “mommy hormones”. These basically compell her to care for the hungry, helpless, delicious newborn predator magnets hanging around her — otherwise she would identify them as a burden and/or beacon for trouble, and gtf out of there (or eat them if she is a carnivore). Then the species would die out.

A side effect is that it compells her to care for many *other* newborn predator magnets she comes across immediately after giving birth. (The closer she is to having given birth, the more likely it is she’ll adopt whatever newborns she comes across.) It’s also more likely if the newborns in question are about the same size and shape as her own likely offspring, and if the mother is of a species that typically spends a lot of time rearing their young. You more often hear of mammals and birds adopting vs lizards and fish, for example.

There’s not a lot of research about the bond in adult animals, as most information comes from media sources that have every incentive to play up the “aww” factor. Ditto on behaviours.


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