Animals, much like humans, love making new friends, and the best part about forming a friendship with a new buddy is that it can happen when it’s least expected. Sometimes, animals don’t care who or what they bond with, either; they just want someone special to spend time with!
Animals have proven time and again they don’t discriminate when it comes to making friends, and it almost always results in an incredibly adorable partnership! These 20 pairs of animal buddies are equal parts heartwarming and surprising. You won’t believe some of these unlikely best friendships.
1. Bubbles the elephant and Bella the Labrador: Bubbles was rescued from ivory poachers and brought to a safari reserve in the United States where she met Bella, a friendly dog who was left at the reserve by one of the park’s contractors. Despite the size difference, the two became best buds!
2. Suryia the orangutan and Roscoe the blue tick hound: These two live together at an endangered species reserve. Roscoe followed Suryia and her handlers home one afternoon, and since he didn’t have a family of his own, the two became inseparable!
3. Kago the puppy and Kumbali the cheetah: After this poor cheetah was abandoned by his family, workers at the Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia introduced him to Kago, a rescue dog from a local shelter. It didn’t take long before these two guys became completely smitten with each other!
4. Mzee the tortoise and Owen the hippo: Owen was found stranded after a tsunami struck Kenya in 2004. He was moved to an animal sanctuary where he met Mzee, a 130-year-old tortoise! Owen uses Mzee as a sort of emotional support system, cuddling up with him for comfort. At first, the tortoise seemed a bit confused, but he soon welcomed Owen’s company.
5. Bea the giraffe and Wilma the ostrich: Busch Gardens, an amusement park located in Virginia, houses plenty of animals, and one 65-acre enclosure is home to a giraffe names Bea and her unlikely best friend: an ostrich named Wilma!
6. Leo the Lion, Baloo the bear, and Shere Khan the tiger: These three animals were rescued from an abusive human owner and they were inseparable because of what they went through. They now live in Georgia at the Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary.
7. Emperor shrimp and sea slugs: Although emperor shrimp normally live inside sea cucumbers, they will occasionally hop a ride on the back of sea slugs for a scenic little trip around the ocean floor while they feast on the debris the slugs kick up.
8. Anjana the chimpanzee and a tiger cub: After a hurricane separated this white tiger from his mother, he was adopted by an animal reserve and immediately became smitten with Anjana, a chimpanzee who also lived there. The two quickly became the best of buddies!
9. Macaque monkey and kitten: While walking through the Monkey Forest Park in Bali, Indonesia, a tourist captured amazing footage of a macaque monkey who had taken a kitten under is care! Macaque monkeys are highly social animals, and they frequently interact with species other than their own.
10. Lammie the goat and Gertjie the rhino: Gertjie and Lammie were both abandoned by their families as babies, and they were brought to a South African animal sanctuary where they formed a special bond. What’s their favorite activity? Running around and bumping heads with each other!
11. Fred the Labrador and Dennis the duckling: Dennis the duckling was left motherless after a fox attacked his mother, but when Fred and his owner found Dennis, they adopted him! The two animals became friends immediately.
12. Mabel the chicken and her puppies: After Mabel suffered an injury to her leg, she was nursed back to health and brought in to live with her owner briefly. That’s when she fell in love with the family puppies! She roosts on the pooches while their canine mother spends most of her time outside.
13. Manni the wild boar piglet and Candy the dog: A family from Germany found Manni alone starving in a field by their home. While Manni recovered, he struck up a great friendship with the family’s Jack Russell terrier.
14. Amy the deer and Ransom the dog: A sitka deer named Amy who lived at the Wild Heart Ranch in Oklahoma took a blind dog named Ransom under her care when he moved in. She helped groom him, and she kept him company for years!
15. Kate the Great Dane and Pippin the deer: When Kate came across abandoned baby deer Pippin, the loving canine adopted her! As Pippin matured, she eventually moved back into the forest, but she still visits Kate and Kate’s owner, Isobel.
16. Bottlenose dolphin and a pod of sperm whales: Researchers in the North Atlantic Ocean were shocked when they came across a dolphin who was born with a serious spinal deformity swimming with a pod of sperm whales. The researchers couldn’t believe that the empathetic pod welcomed him in!
17. Moses the crow and Cassie the cat: In 1999, a Massachusetts couple adopted Cassie, an infant kitten they found abandoned on their property. Amazingly, they also discovered a crow, who they nicknamed Moses, who had been feeding and caring for the kitten. Even after Cassie was rescued, she spent her days outside, playing with Moses!
18. Koko the gorilla and Ms. Gray the kitten: Gorillas have actually been known to adopt cats, and the famous, beloved gorilla Koko was no different. She fell in love with a kitten named Ms. Gray as soon as she saw her. Can’t you just see the love in their eyes?
19. Bonedigger the lion and Milo the dog: It might seem like this lion would be the one who took little Milo the dachshund under his care, but it was actually the other way around! Bonedigger was disabled due to a metabolic bone disease, so Milo would keep him company and bathe him.
20. Tarantulas and microhylid frogs: Although tarantulas can be vicious killers, they don’t hurt tiny microhylid frogs. Instead, they keep them around as “pets” because the frogs help protect the spiders’ eggs from ants. Scientists suspect the toxins in the frogs’ skin makes them taste bad, so the spiders use them to their advantage instead of consuming them.
Even though it seems like animals usually only befriend members of their own species, these awesome partnerships prove otherwise!
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