There are some people out there that still believe that animals are just dumb beasts, but the unlikely animal friendships we’ve gathered here will prove that they are capable of feeling love and compassion just like we are.
Naturally, all of these pictures are heart-breakingly adorable, but there’s more to it than that. Why did these animals form their friendships? Some of them, like the lions, dogs and elephants, are known for forming strong social relationships or even networks in the wild. In the absence of their prides or packs, it makes sense that they would seek social relationships outside of their own species. Other more solitary animals may form parent-child relationship with animals that they spend time with or that helped raise them, especially if their own parents are gone.
Whatever the reason may be, unusual friendships like these show that animals may be far more emotionally complex than many of us believe. Maybe these friendships aren’t so unusual after all!
1. Bubbles the African Elephant and Bella the Black Labrador
Despite the extreme difference in size, Bubbles the elephant and Bella the black lab have become great friends. Bubbles was brought to a safari reserve in the U.S. after she was rescued from ivory poachers in Africa, while Bella was left there by a contractor for the park. The two are great to see together, especially when Bella uses Bubbles as a diving board!
2. Bea the Giraffe and Wilma the Ostrich
Bea and Wilma have become great friends during their time together at Busch Gardens in the U.S. The two share a huge 65-acre enclosure, so they aren’t forced to spend time together – they do so willingly.
3. Tinni the Dog and Sniffer the Wild Fox
4. Torque the Dog and Shrek the Owl
Torque adopted Shrek the owl chick when he was just 6 months old himself. Shrek was removed from his mother’s care because handlers were afraid that she might eat him when stressed. He’s doing great now, and the two have become inseparable pals.
5. Fred the Labrador and Dennis the Duckling
Things were looking grim for Dennis the duckling when his mother had been mauled by a fox. Fred the Labrador and his owner Jeremy, however, found and rescued Dennis. Dennis and Fred have been buddies ever since. Fred apparently has a big heart, because it’s not the first time he’s helped take care of an orphan – he once adopted a baby deer as well.
6. Mabel the Chicken and the Puppies
After being saved from the pot due to a foot injury, Mable found a new wonder when she was moved into her owners’ home – puppies! For some reason, the year-old hen has taken to roosting on the puppies and keeping them warm while their mother prefers the yard. Go figure!
7. Milo the Dog and Bonedigger the Lion
Milo the tiny dachshund took Bonedigger the lion cub under his wing when it was discovered that the lion was suffering from a metabolic bone disease that left him disabled. Five years later, the 500 pound lion is still the best of buddies with the 11-pound dachshund and his two compatriots, Bullet and Angel.