Aww! 18 Unlikely Animal Friendships That Will Melt Your Heart

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Cartoons and The Discovery Channel are quick to remind us that certain types of animals simply don’t like each other: cats and dogs, cats and birds, cats and mice, pretty much cats and every other animal species in the world. Unless you’re Snow White, it can be hard to bring animals together and make them play nice, let alone become lifelong friends.

Every now and again there are times when animals forget that they aren’t supposed to like other species, and they put aside their differences to be absolutely adorable; if there’s anything cuter than a dog sleeping on top of a bigger dog, it’s a dog that’s sleeping on a deer. Now that we live in a digital age, adorable cross-species animal moments can be caught on film and shared worldwide: so everyone can enjoy the rare sight.

Are you ready to see some cute animals palling around with their natural predators? Good, because we have 18 of them that will challenge everything you thought you knew about the animal kingdom! Here are the top 18 most unlikely animal friendships that have been caught on camera.

#18 – Fox and Hound

Fox-and-Hound
Our first unlikely friendship is between a German Shepherd named Tinni and a fox named Sniffer. This real life version of Disney’s “Fox and the Hound” has made for some interesting moments; the two found each other in the woods when Tinni’s owner, Torgeir Berge, was taking Tinni for a walk in the Norway cold when they found Sniffer abandoned as a baby. After nursing the fox back to health, they formed an unlikely bond with it and immediately became great friends; now whenever Berge and Tinni go for a walk in the woods, they usually meet up with Sniffer so the two can play for a while before heading home. Tinni is a heck of a dog, because had she been any other canine, Sniffer would have likely become a quick lunch rather than an old friend.

#17 – Dog and Owl

Dog-and-Owl
When Torque the Greyhound was just six months old, he adopted a young Long Eared Owl by the name of Shrek. Shrek was taken away from her mother when there were concerns she would eat the Owlet (she just had those baby eating eyes I suppose). Cannibal owls aren’t a concern any more, since Torque carefully watches over Shrek as they watch TV and snuggle on the couch; they also run around together outside at the Ringwood Raptor and Reptile Centre, and Torque even locates food for his little pal. “Hoo” could possibly deny the cuteness of this friendship?

#16 – Lab and Elephant

Lab-and-Elephant
Due to an enormous size difference, the combination of Bubbles the Elephant and Bella the Labrador creates an incredibly unlikely pair; the two live at the Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina, and are basically inseparable. Bubbles arrived at the safari back in 1983, and they found Bella abandoned in 2007 when they were building a swimming pool for the elephant. Bubbles and Bella often go for walks together, swim around, and just lounge around and relax in each other’s company. It may seem unlikely, but there is always a “Bella” that is finding love across all boundaries.

#15 – Lab and Duck

Lab-and-Duck
Labradors must be some of the friendliest dogs in the world, since Fred (a seven-year-old lab) has adopted a small duck named Dennis as his own. Dennis’s mother was killed by a fox and was abandoned in the wild, but Fred made it clear that Dennis was accepted into their home by cleaning him off and protecting him. If someone told you of Fred and Dennis’s friendship you might call them a quack, but these two can often be found swimming together, and Dennis even uses his bud as a pillow. When it comes to befriending a duck you wouldn’t think that a dog would fit the bill, but these two have really created one seriously Daffy couple.

#14 – Chicken and Puppies

Chicken-and-Puppies
Chickens can occasionally be quite the bird brain when it comes to their offspring, which may be the reason why Mabel the hen thinks that a litter of puppies is actually her children; the Rottweiler puppies haven’t lost their mother, but whenever she has to go outside Mabel takes over the Matriarchal duties; she sits on top of the puppies to keep them warm, and nuzzles up to them to make them feel safe. Mabel was saved after she was due to be sent to a slaughterhouse, so maybe she is trying to repay the favor for some uneggspected kindness.

#13 – Dog and Lion

Dog-and-Lion
This is one of the most heartwarming stories on the list: a zookeeper who is a double amputee helped to take care of a disabled lion named Bonedigger (names can be deceiving) who weighs an astonishing 500 pounds. Also living at the Oklahoma zoo is a Dachshund named Milo, who Bonedigger took a real shine to. The two never leave each other’s side, and they eat raw meat together and lay around the zoo. Mr. Bonedigger could sweep Milo up in a second, but I guess food is a lot easier to get than a friend; even though he is 489 pounds his superior, inside that big coat is cuddly kitty: who’s a good Bonedigger, that’s right you are.

#12 – Cat and Fox

Cat-and-Fox
Cats and foxes are known to be mortal enemies, but that might be only in most parts of the world; in Turkey, it appears that they get along just fine. This pair of animal pals was spotted by a fisherman on the shores of Lake Van. The two play together, cuddle up to each other, and search for food as they take on the wild as a pair. Most cats would be frightened to death of a fox, but this little guy is no scaredy-cat: he has nine lives after all.

#11 – Boar and Dog

Boar-and-Dog
Manni was a baby boar that was abandoned by his mother, and was found starving and near death at a field in Germany; a family found him and brought him into their home, where a Jack Russell Terrier named Candy immediately became her friend. According to Manni and Candy’s owners, the two spend time together every day, and play games like hide and seek. Candy has even taught Manni how to bark so the two can communicate in their own special way, and Manni returned the favor by teaching Candy how to pig out at dinner time.

#10 – Deer and Rabbit

Deer-and-Rabbit
A wildlife photographer named Tanja Askani was walking around the woods, when he spotted the real life version of Bambi and Thumper; This rabbit and deer duo have been spotted together for several different seasons. Deer and rabbits aren’t exactly mortal enemies, but it’s still unlikely to see the two roaming around and cuddling together when they share the same predators. Having a friend that can keep up with you is a pretty cool thing to have, but the rabbit probably get’s a bit frustrated when his deer friend hogs all the greens.

#9 – Giraffe and Ostrich

Giraffe-and-Ostrich
In a scene that is like something out of “The Lion King,” a giraffe and ostrich have found each other’s friendship in Florida (of all places); the two African animals have an enormous exhibit that they can roam around in at the Busch Gardens in Tampa, but choose to spend all of their time together instead. The three year old Giraffe named Bea and 10 year old Ostrich named Wilma were described by zookeepers as being very curious, and apparently found something interesting in each other: it’s always great to have a friend that would stick their neck out for you.

#8 – Tiger, Bear and Lion

Tiger-Bear-and-Lion
Lions, Tigers, and Bears, oh my! Get ready to see a love triangle in action that could turn into a brawl at any minute. These three (with two of them named after “Jungle Book” characters) were found in Atlanta, Georgia, during a drug raid, just sitting in the basement and hanging around (a bit suspicious if you ask me); they were all babies at the time and were taken to a rescue preserve in order to be treated. This wild trio has been through some bad times together, but now they are enjoying life as healthy and happy adults that never stray away from one another: there truly is no place like home!

#7 – Lab and Cheetah

Lab-and-Cheetah
The Cheetah is the fastest animal on land, but Kasi the Cheetah slows down to spend time with her Labrador friend, Mtandi; the two were both abandoned, but were brought into the Busch Gardens preserve and introduced to each other when they were just babies. Mtani and Kasi have Swahili names that mean ‘close friend’ and ‘one with speed,’ respectively (but we’re having a hard time which one is which). Growing up together, the cheetah and doggie duo have become special friends, and even in their adulthood you can “spot” them hanging out.

#6 – Orangutan and Hound

Orangutan-and-Hound
Suryia is an Orangutan that likes to travel along with his keeper and Elephant friend for adventures (an already odd bunch); when they walked up to a pool so the Elephant could cool off, they spotted a Blue Tick Hound named Rosco. Suryia got off of the Elephant and immediately started hugging and playing around with Rosco, and the two immediately became best buds; Even after the animal companions were separated, Rosco kept breaking back into the home to play with Suryia, and almost every day now the two are getting up to some serious monkey business.

#5 – Great Dane and Deer

Great-Dane-and-Deer
A baby fawn named Pippin was abandoned by her mother and was left alone and scared in the wild; just a few days after Pippin’s birth, Kate the Great Dane found her and took her in as her own to help nurture the poor fawn to health. Kate doesn’t let anything bad happen to Pippin, and now they get to play and run around together since they are all grown up. Kate and Pippin even have their own special greeting, which Kate’s owner has described as being unlike anything he has seen before. Love certainly loves no boundaries and it probably won’t be too long before these two get hitched: my deerly beloved, we are gathered here today…

#4 – Chimp and Tiger Cubs

Chimp-and-Tiger-Cubs
Chimpanzees are so much like humans that it can be a bit scary at times, and they even show a love for small cats (wait until they get a hold of the internet). When two White Tiger cubs were separated from their mother during a hurricane, they had no idea just how different there life would become; the rare Tiger cubs were brought to a preserve in South Carolina where they met Anjana (a chimp), who adopted the cats as her own. Anjana feeds the cats, comforts them, and takes pictures with them that certainly makes her seem like a proud mom (just wait until she breaks out the photo albums).

#3 – Elephant and Sheep

Elephant-and-Sheep
Themba was an Elephant who fell on hard times when his mother passed away, and none of the other Elephants would adopt him as their own, which left him too stressed to eat; in a last ditch effort, zookeepers introduced Themba to Albert, a sheep that was living at a farm nearby, in a hopes that making a new friend would cheer Themba up. The inter-species friendship didn’t get off to a good start, as the two were eerily tense around each other, but they eventually warmed up to the point where Themba was comfortable and eating again, and have been buds ever since: no more sheepish behavior for them.

#2 – Mouse and Frog

Mouse-and-Frog
While people don’t normally think of mice and frogs as the cutest animals out there, they definitely created a heart melting moment when a pair came together in 2006. After a monsoon created landslides in India, a mouse wasn’t faring so well in the difficult terrain; fortunately frogs fare a bit better, and this particular frog was willing to lend his new friend a ride. Frogs rescued several small animals during this tumultuous time, and were seen as good luck after the storms: if he can help it, a friend never let’s another friend croak.

#1 – Polar Bear and Dog

Polar-Bear-and-Dog
The famous animal photographer Norbert Rosing was riding through the wilderness of Northern Canada with a friend of his own, Brian Ladoon. One of Ladoon’s sled dogs approached a wild Polar Bear, which understandably made Rosing nervous until he saw how they were acting together: instead of getting into a brawl, the dog and bear end up playing around. The bear and dog rolled around and began nuzzling, creating the most unexpectedly cute play-date between two predatory animals: the climate may have been cold as ice, but seeing such a jolly time between animals is enough to warm all of our hearts.