Animals taking care of other animals

With my boyfriend we found stranded egg cases of a coastal skate species, and after a discusion on these egg cases, we decided to taking them to the house, where, with seawater, an air bomb, some algaes and bivalves, we keep these eggcases till they decide to hatch (!) to release them as soon they hatch (which is not happening yet).

This kind of compassionate act is common in humans, we often take care of the offspring of other species, with no other purpose than to help these young.
But is not only found in humans, is usually seen in internet video, when dogs cares of other new borns cats, and even ducks, this is another example of a inter-species relation ship when a mother care of offspring. What we are doing with these egg cases is something like this. (we joke we are their fathers haha skate fathers…)

My question is, or my point is, yes, we are taking care of another kind of life, young ones, we do not farm them, we do not want to eat them, just we save them from disication. And is so lovely see them developing step by step when seen at overlight. Do this kind of behavior have a proper name? it is formally reported as a behaviour, it is under a ethology field? please, share your histories here.

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It’s empathy, most likely to be seen in social animals which already have it in them to support their social systems.

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Some of this could be described as “altruism” depending on your definition.

I have seen some of these behaviors referred to as “cross-species fostering” or “cross-species adopting” so those terms themselves even refer to/project human behaviors.

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I’d probably call it heterospecific alloparenting


Pretty common in birds, as the incubating/brooding/feeding drives are very strong. I’ve personally seen chickadees feeding Red-Breasted Sapsucker young, but there’s loads of other examples in the literature:

I remember seeing a recent example of Bald Eagles raising a Red-tailed Hawk. It was speculated that the eagles raided the hawk nest, brought hawk nestlings back for the developing eagles to eat, but then this particular hawk managed to survive and become one of the cared-for brood, even though it was so much smaller


I know there have been cases of cetacean-interspecies adoption, examples being: adopting and caring for young of another species, or sometimes allowing other ‘outcast’ species to join pods/familial groups.

One of my favorite interspecies interactions however, is that of American Badgers and Coyotes. They have been known to cooperate and even work together to hunt and obtain a meal (usually burrowing rodents), most probably involving badger flushing the prey animal into and out of a burrow with coyote waiting at the burrow exit efficiently closing all possible escape routes for the prey.

A popular video spread around last year showing the two animals interacting with one another under an overpass following eachother down a wildlife passage tunnel in CA.

The video is in this article further discussing the interaction below


Well I know the word mutualism in which 2 species take care of each other, you know caterpillars have its personal security guard called ants from parasitic wasps, ants protect caterpillar because it produces sweet substance which ants eat. here 2 species are benefiting each other.And I also see the cats taking care of dogs etc.

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Once, in a Dominican village, I saw a hen with a brood of guinea fowl chicks, following her just as if she was their original mother.


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