12 Unusual Animal Friends, Including the Capybara and Crocodile
Some wildlife pairings are stranger (and cuter!) than others. These unusual animal friends prove that nature is all about organized chaos.
You're not alone—animals have weird friends, too! Animals play an essential role in our ecosystem and do so while forming social networks and long-lasting friendships within their own. Sometimes, though, these relationships occur outside of the expected wildlife realm, making for some hilariously unusual animal friends.
While many inter-species friendships are limited due to habitat, predator-prey relations, and other wildlife realities, some animals (particularly those in rescues) have found their way around the rules, forming bonds bizarre enough to make anyone's heart melt.
With so many animals facing the threat of extinction due to the effects of climate change (think soaring temperatures, habitat loss, and deforestation), it’s important that we do our part to protect them where and when we can—the better to leave room for these beautiful and inspiring connections.
From a long-necked duo, to a BLT, here are 12 truly unlikely animal friends.
12 Unusual Animal Friends
1. The Dog and the Elephant
After her rescue from ivory poachers in Africa, Bubbles the elephant was brought to a U.S. safari reserve. There she met Bella the labrador, the pet of a park contractor. The two immediately became fast friends and love to swim together.
Bella has been known to make use of Bubbles' size, using the elephant as a natural diving board.
2. The Otters and Orangutans
Photo: Pascale Jones/Pairi Daiza
In one Belgium zoo, legend has it that otters and orangutans live in harmony. The two species were originally brought together as a form of enrichment and entertainment, an experiment that resulted in an unlikely friendship between the otters and primates Uijan and Sari.
3. The Chicken and the Puppies
Photo: Anita Maric
After Mable the chicken was moved into her owner’s home due to a foot injury, she took a liking to the homeowner’s puppies. Mable showed her motherly affection for the pups by covering them to keep them warm, just as she would her own chicks.
4. The Giraffe and the Ostrich
Photo: Attractions Magazine
Long necks, unite! Bea the Giraffe and Wilma the ostrich met at the Busch Gardens, where they were raised in the same enclosure. Their natural curiosity soon bloomed into a full-on friendship: even with over 65 acres of land, the two choose to spend time together.
5. The Goat and the Saint Bernards
Hans the goat was adopted by Isolde Mattart after the goat’s mother died and his original owners were unable to properly care for him. Mattart's Saint Bernards, Julie and Basiel, took on their parental roles with relish, and the trio has since become inseparable.
Hans' favorite thing to do with his canine parents? Snuggle up for a cuddly nap.
6. Capybaras and Crocodiles
Capybaras are incredibly social creatures and love to socialize with other animals, even those as fierce as crocodiles.
Capybaras and crocodiles can be spotted hanging out in the same waters. This unusual animal friendship works out nicely, as capybaras are too large for crocodiles to swallow, eliminating the risk of, well, bad blood.
Capybaras have even been seen riding on the backs of crocodiles, in case you needed a visual pick-me-up:
7. The Lion and the Daschund
Bonedigger the lion and Milo the dachshund enjoy an unlikely kinship. Bonedigger was born with a metabolic bone disease, leaving him disabled and ultimately with a home at an Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, where he met Milo.
The two have been bonded since Bonedigger was a cub, and their love shows no signs of stopping.
8. The Lion, the Tiger, and the Bear
Photo: Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Shere Khan the tiger, Baloo the bear, and Leo the lion are best friends known collectively as the BLT. All three suffered abuse, and after their rescue by Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary formed an adorable relationship.
Though the friendship started early on, it has continued into the BLT's adulthood.
9. The Chimpanzee and Tiger Cubs
Two tiger cubs born in a hurricane may sound like the premise of an obscure folk song, but this was the reality for Mitra and Shiva.
After being placed in the Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species in South Carolina, the cubs found love and security in Anjana the chimp, who took on a role of surrogate mother to the cat couple.
10. The Hippo and the Tortoise
Photo: The Age
Owen the baby hippopotamus' and Mzee the tortoise's friendship proves that it's what's on the inside that counts—at the end of the day, it's all about who provides you with comfort.
Owen was rescued from a reef and brought to the Lafarge Ecosystems sanctuary in Kenya, where the pair first met. Frightened, Owen ran and hid behind Mzee. The two have been inseparable ever since.
11. The Great Dane and the Deer
Photo: Kate & Pippin
When Pippin was abandoned by her mother as a baby fawn, on Isobel Springett decided to raise her. Ever since, Pippin and Springett’s great dane, Kate, have been the best of friends.
Kate cared for Pippin as a baby, and even after moving back into the forest and starting her own family, Pippin still stops by to visit the giant pup.
12. The Greyhound and the Owl
Torque the dog adopted Shrek the owlet after the winged creature was rescued. Torque is the ultimate dog dad, guarding Shrek while enjoying evenings spent watching television on the couch.
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