There’s nothing more heartwarming than seeing animals of different species become best buddies. I don’t know why, maybe it’s just because it gives you hope that life finds a way, and that love, friendship and togetherness can triumph over some of our other base instincts.
Here are 11 unexpected friendships that transcended species and expectations:
1. Tinni and Sniffer
These real-life versions of The Fox and the Hound live in Norway, and have become best friends despite thousands of years of breeding in different directions. Tinni’s owner Torgeir Berge takes pictures and records videos of their friendship whenever they see each other.
2. Billie and Pixie
Billie the badger and Pixie the fox both live at the Secret World Wildlife Rescue Animal Sanctuary. Usually badgers and foxes don’t get along – but Billie and Pixie don’t seem too concerned with such ideas.
3. Torque and Shrek
The owl Shrek was relocated from her enclosure at the animal center because the keepers feared that her stressed-out mother would eat her. Luckily, head falconer John Picton had experience taking care of birds of prey, so he brought Shrek with him home.
At first John was worried that Shrek wouldn’t get along with his dog Torque, but he needn’t have worried. The dog and the owl instantly formed an incredibly unlikely friendship!
4. The sled dog and the polar bear
Wildlife photographer Norbert Rosling thought that his sled dogs were doomed when he saw a polar bear approaching, one of the most dangerous animals there is. However, what happened next was heartwarming – these natural predators put their instincts aside and started tenderly playing around.
5. Bonedigger and Milo
Bonedigger is a ferocious-looking 500 pound lion, but looks can be deceiving.
Bonedigger was born with a bone disease which disabled him from an early age, but park manager John Reinke at the Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma wouldn’t give up on the lion. When Bonedigger was still a cub, John introduced him to three dachshunds – Milo, Bullet and Angel. Since then, Milo – the leader dog – has taken Bonedigger under his wing, and they’re still best buddies five years later.
6. Dennis and Fred
In the beginning, things were looking bleak for Dennis the duckling. His mother was killed by a fox, and Dennis was too young to survive on his own. He would have met the same fate as his mother if he hadn’t been saved by Fred the dog and his owner Jeremy. They brought the duck home, and ever since then Fred and Dennis have been thick as thieves. And this is not the only time Fred was a hero – he previously saved and adopted a baby deer.
7. Jess and her lambs
Jess is a springer spaniel who lives on a farm, loves chewing on bones and chasing pigeons – and being a surrogate mother to orphaned lambs.
Three times a day, come rain or shine, Jess goes out feeding the lambs with milk. Jess’ owner Louise Moorhouse owns more than 270 sheep and says that she’d never manage without Jess.
8. Wilma and Bea
Bea is a 3 year old giraffe, and Wilma is a 10 year old ostrich. They’ve got a lot of things in common, for example their long necks and that live at the Busch Gardens’ Serengeti Plains. They share a massive area of 65 hectares, but they still choose to spend time with each other every day. Jason Green works in the park and says that Bea uses her tongue to explore her surroundings, and Wilma patiently puts up with these close encounters.
9. Anjana and the white tigers
Two white tiger cubs were separated from their mother after a hurricane. They found an unexpected surrogate mother in the chimpanzee Anjana, who’s now taking care of them at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, (“TIGERS” for short) in South Carolina.
10. Owen and Mzee
The turtle Mzee and the hippo Owen live in Haller Park in Kenya. After the tsunami in 2004, Owen was separated from his family but was saved when he was brought into the animal park. There were no other hippos there, but Owen found the turtle Mzee, and together they made an unexpected pair of friends.
11. Bubbles and Bella
The elephant Bubbles and the labrador Bella live together at the Myrtle Beach Safari Park. Bubbles was adopted by the park after both of her parents were killed by poachers. In 2007, the park hired a contractor to build a pool for Bubbles. When the contractor left, he abandoned Bella the labrador, so the park adopted her too.
Despite the extreme difference in size, the two quickly became best friends. They love playing together – Bubbles enjoys throwing balls for Bella to catch, and Bella likes using Bubbles as a diving board.
And last but not least: here’s an amazing video of Tinni the dog and Sniffer the fox playing together!
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