From an elephant–Labrador duo to a Spaniel that takes care of lambs, we count 15 unusual animal friendships!
15 – Tinni the Dog and Sniffer the Wild Fox,
- It’s a real-life version of Disney’s The Fox and the Hound! Despite thousands of years of breeding and the social circumstances between them, Tinni, the domestic dog, and Sniffer, a wild fox, have became the best of friends, and will regularly meet and play together in a Norwegian Forest.
- Tinni lives with his owner, Torgeir Berge, who encourages the play dates and documents them with his camera. The experience caused Berge to rethink his stance on Norway’s fox-fur trade; he now wishes to ban the hunting of foxes for their fur, and has published a book about the duo’s adventures called The Fox and the Dog.
- The way these animals play together reminds us that perhaps wild and domestic animals aren’t that different after all.
14 – Fox and Badger,
- In the wild, badgers are a fox’s natural prey, but it seems Billie the badger and Pixie the fox didn’t get the memo, as they’re as close as two teenagers in a backseat.
- Billie, an abandoned badger found mauled in the wild, was placed in a fox enclosure at the Secret World Wildlife Rescue Animal Sanctuary to toughen up and learn crucial social skills. There she met Pixie, a spritely fox, who became her closest friend and frolicking buddy.
- Eventually, Billie was deemed rehabilitated and reintroduced into the badger enclosure where she belonged. Billie still has regular play dates with Pixie and her surrogate fox family, though.
13 – Torque the Dog and Shrek the Owl,
- A greyhound and owl have formed a bizarre friendship at an animal centre.
- Shrek – an owl chick as well as a swamp ogre – was relocated from her enclosure shortly after birth after keepers feared her stressed-out mother could eat her. Head falconer John Picton decided to bring Shrek home with him. Only problem was: John already owned a six-month-old greyhound pup named Torque.
- Fortunately, Torque happily adopted Shrek as his own daughter and the two have become inseparable. He is extremely protective of her. Together they roam John’s home and often spend evenings curled up on the couch watching British soaps like East Enders and Coronation Street.
12 – The Sled Dog and the Polar Bear,
- Given the scarcity of prey in their frozen homelands, polar bears will typically eat anything and everything they can get their paws on. Sled dogs, when they’re around, are one such tasty treat.
- German wildlife photographer Norbert Rosing was travelling the western coast of Canada’s Hudson Bay when he spotted a polar bear on the scene within distance of his sled dogs.
- He was sure this would be the end of his dogs, but, to his astonishment, the bear began to nuzzle one of the dogs and the dog returned the affectionate gesture by licking the bear’s face.
- It was a remarkable, heart-warming display between two natural predators.
11 – Milo the Dog and Bonedigger the Lion,
- Bonedigger is a 500-pound lion who looks ferocious, but is really just a cuddly little kitty cat. The regal jungle animal was born with a metabolic bone disease, which disabled him from an early age.
- Fortunately, thanks to the GW Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, this lion was given the chance to live a worthwhile life. The park has also helped him make some great, and rather unlikely friends.
- John Reinke is the park manager at GW and it’s through his intervention that Bonedigger met his three tiny dachshunds: Milo, Bullet and Angel. Milo is the ringleader and took Bonedigger under his wing when he was still just a lion cub. Five years on and the pair are still best buddies.