There are some people who still believe that animals are just that, but the friendships we have gathered here show that they are capable of feeling love and compassion. Whatever the reason, these unusual friendships show how animals can be emotionally complex, so they are probably not so unusual after all.
Why these animals form their friendships? Some of them, such as lions, dogs and elephants, are known to form strong relationships, even in nature. In special circumstances, it makes sense that they seek relationships outside their own species.
Other more solitary animals can form parent-child relationships with the animals they spend time with or that helped them grow, especially if their own parents are gone.
1. Bubbles the African elephant and Bella, the black Labrador
Despite the extreme size difference, Bubbles and Bella have become great friends. Bubbles was taken to a reserve in the United States after it was rescued from ivory poachers in Africa, while Bella stayed there for a park contractor. The two are great friends and can be seen playing in the water, especially when Bella uses the Bubble trumpet as a springboard.
2. Bea the giraffe and Wilma the ostrich
Bea and Wilma have become great friends during their time together in Busch Gardens, in the United States. The two share a huge area of 65 hectares, so they are not required to spend time together, but they do it willingly.
3. Tinni the dog and Sniffer the wild fox
The two of them have been great friends since they met in the Norwegian forest. The owner of Tinni does what he can to photograph the couple when they play in the forest.
4. Torque the dog and Shrek the owl
Torque adopted Shrek the owl when he was only 6 months old. Shrek was removed from his mother because his protectors were afraid that she could eat it when she was stressed. Dog and owl are doing very well so far, and the two have become inseparable friends.
5. Fred the Labrador and Dennis the Duckling
Things looked bad for Dennis the duckling when his mother was mutilated by a fox. Fred the Labrador and his owner Jeremy, they found and rescued him. Since then they have been friends. It seems that Fred has a big heart, because it is not the first time he has helped take care of an orphan: once he adopted a baby deer.
6. Mabel the hen, and the cahorros
After saving herself from the pot due to an injury to her leg, Mabel found a new marvel when she jumped towards her owners house: puppies! For some reason this hen has perched on them to keep them warm while their mother prefers to be in the yard. Imagine!
7. Milo the dog and Bonedigger the lion
Milo, the little sausage, took Bonedigger as a puppy under his protection. It was discovered that the lion suffered from a bone disease that left him disabled. Five years later, the 227-kg lion is still the best friend of the 7-year-old dachshund.
8. The cat and the fox
This curious couple was seen playing on the shore of Lake Van, in Turkey. It is not known much more than the fact that they are very cute and playful.
9. Shere Khan, Baloo and Leo
The story of Shere Khan the Tiger, the Bear Baloo and Leo the Lion is truly moving.
All three were rescued from a drug dealer who mistreated them. Baloo even needed surgery to remove a harness that had become part of his skin.
Because of what they have suffered together, the three friends are now inseparable. They are under the care of Noah's Ark animal sanctuary in the United States.
10. Manni the little boar and Candy the dog
Manni the boar was found almost starved in a field in southwest Germany, and was taken to the house of the Dahlhaus family. When they presented it to Candy, the two immediately fell well. Since then Manni has recovered well and will stay with the family or go to a wildlife park.
11. Kasi the Cheetah and Mtani the Labrador
Kasi and Mtani were raised together in Bush Gardens in the United States. When they were young, their unusual friendship was something wonderful to see. As they grew up, Kasi started to leave Mtani, because she became more interested in other female cheetahs, but the two are still good friends and often visit schools and other places together.
12. Rabbit and Deer
Discovered by animal photographer Tanja Askani, this unusual duo of deer and rabbit look like the perfect pair taken from Disney's classic, Bambi.
13. Suryia the orangutan and Roscoe the blue hound
Surya and Roscoe live together in a reserve of exotic and endangered species in the United States.While orangutans are in danger, dogs certainly do not, but Roscoe has lived with Surya and her keepers since he followed them home. So they have been great friends since then.
14. Kate, the Great Dane, and Pippin the deer
Pippin is a deer that was adopted as a baby by Kate, a great Dane. They were great friends during their growth, until Pippin matured and moved into the forest to raise his own deer family. Pippin still visits Kate and her owner Isobel.
15. Anjana the chimpanzee and Cubs the tiger
This white tiger cub was separated from its mother when a hurricane flooded its enclosure. Fortunately, it has been adopted by Anjana and her caregiver in a reserve of animals from the United States. Anjana has helped raise many different orphaned animals, so we are confident that the little tiger will be in good hands.