When it comes to domesticated animals, it’s easy to think that they only form strong bonds with their owners. After all, a dog is a man’s best friend, not a cat’s best friend! But in reality, animals can be buddies with just about anyone.
In fact, animals have proven pretty indiscriminate when it comes to making friends, whether they’re covered in scales, feathers, or fur. And that’s great for us because it’s incredibly adorable! Here are 14 unlikely animal friendships that will make you say “aww…”
1. Rupert the fennec fox and William the cat: Rupert arrived at South Africa’s International Primate Rescue (IPR)—yes, primate rescue—when he was four weeks old. He was one of two fennec foxes among hundreds of gorillas. Still, he looked elsewhere when it came to finding a BFF…
So who did Rupert bond with at the IPR facility? There was a little domesticated cat on the premises who went by the name of William, and when he and Rupert met, they became fast friends, despite their obvious differences.
In a video that later went viral online, Rupert and William were filmed enthusiastically playing with one another as if they were siblings. Typically, wild foxes will attack kitties if they come across them. But any time these two got together, there was nothing but love between them!
IPRescue / YouTube
2. A cat and fox: Rupert and William aren’t the only cat and fox that became the best of buds. A photographer caught this house cat having the time of his life playing with a young fox. (Or maybe the fox was just a really bad hunter!)
3. Tinni the dog and Sniffer the wild fox: Foxes sure make a lot of friends! Tinni spent most of her days paling around with her owner, a Norwegian photographer named Torgeir Berge. Then, while trekking through the woods one day, Sniffer joined them—and Torgeir has been permanently relegated to third wheel ever since!
Apparently, no one ever taught Tinni and Sniffer the rules of soccer, because judging by this picture, they had it all wrong. These two clearly had developed a close bond. Torgeir definitely had enough material for the next family Christmas card!
4. A baby chimpanzee and a lynx: When this baby chimp tired of swinging from trees and peeling bananas, he took the time to make a rare friend in this sweet lynx. These two certainly knew how to pose for a heartwarming portrait!
5. Bubbles the African elephant and Bella the black Labrador: Bubbles’s parents were killed in Africa by ivory-hunting poachers; Bella was abandoned at the rescue park by the contractor who built Bubbles’s swimming pool. That’s when they found each other…
Bubbles and Bella have such an amazing friendship that it’s almost comical to see! This photo captured a typical playtime routine for the two, where Bubbles threw a ball with her trunk and Bella dove off her back into the water to fetch it.
6. A marmoset and an iguana: Have you ever wondered who–or what—marmosets hang out with on weekends? Well, here’s your answer. It seems like this iguana couldn’t help but laugh at the marmoset’s great knock-knock joke.
In Cherl Kim / Flickr
7. Peggy the wombat and Anzac the joey: Australian rescue workers found a baby kangaroo named Anzac when she was just over five months old. She wasn’t ready to be on her own just yet, so rescuers paired her with Peggy. The two slept together, comforted by each other’s heartbeats.
8. Baloo the black bear and Shere Khan the tiger: This odd couple came from a broken-home situation as young bucks, but were then rescued together and placed in Noah’s Ark Sanctuary in Georgia. They’ve grown up together and stayed friends.
These fellas knew how to kick back and relax with a third unlikely friend, Leo the lion. Strangely, in the wild, the three animals would have lived on entirely different continents. Yet today, that doesn’t matter one bit!
9. Anjana the chimpanzee and tiger cubs: A caretaker named China York raised this chimpanzee with love and affection, so the chimp just mimicked what she knew when she met two tiger cubs known as Mitra and Shiva at the Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species in South Carolina.
10. A macaque and a white dove: When this little primate was abandoned in Goangdong Province, China, rescuers took him to a local animal hospital. There, he made friends with a white dove, a bird seen as a symbol of hope in many cultures.
11. Bonedigger the lion and Milo the dachshund: Despite his tough name, Bonedigger the lion was just a big softy—literally—thanks to a disease that left him almost unable to walk. Rescuers took him to G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, where he met Milo.
Love Nature / YouTube
Milo took Bonedigger under his tutelage, and together, they formed a dynamic duo you couldn’t find anywhere else. The were so close that the 11-pound wiener dog often licked the 500-pound lion’s teeth after dinner!
Love Nature / YouTube
12. Mani the wild boar and Candy the dog: When a German firefighter found this abandoned piglet in the ashes of a fire, he took her home. There, she met the firefighter’s Jack Russell, Candy, and the two have been best friends ever since.
13. Mabel the chicken and her puppies: Alright, so maybe these puppies didn’t hatch from Mabel’s eggs, but it’s a cute image nonetheless. When a mothering instinct is that strong—and a litter of puppies needs someone to snuggle—the natural order of things doesn’t stand a chance!
14. A duck and dog: Both seemingly homeless, many photographers have snapped photos of this unusual pair snuggling together all over the city. Friendships that endure even the toughest of times are rare—but inspiring nonetheless.
Talk about some unlikely—and adorable—animal friendships! It looks like no matter their differences, animals can get along with anyone.
Share these adorable buddies with your friends below!