Everyone in life should be lucky enough to have a best friend. Whether you call them an amigo, compadre. or BFF, a good friend sticks around through thick and thin. These inter-species besties are no exception.
Orangutan babysits tiger cubs
Remember how you always idolized your older oh-so-cool babysitter? They’d let you do basically whatever you wanted just as long as you didn’t tell your parents at the end of the night. This orangutan playfully cares for his unlikely charges — three adopted tiger cubs — like a total babysitting pro. Watch him feed and play with them like they were his own!
Watch out for the slash zone
Any cat person can tell you that, though they don’t like getting wet, cats are fascinated by water. Arthur the cat wasn’t able to pick the dolphins up and carry them around the house like the bath plug, but he did spend a fair amount of time at a marine park in Florida getting to know these two aquatic mammals. Arthur is now a strong supporter of the dolphin-friendly tuna movement.
Many friendships are lopsided. Often, one individual loves the other much more than the other way around and they dig their nails in. Here’s hoping those nails aren’t too sharp.
When you just need a friend
When three-and-a-half-month old cheetah cub Ruuxa needed a friend, the San Diego Zoo’s matchmaker was called in. To the rescue: Raina, a frisky female companion who knows how to keep this lil’ cub on his toes.
Mother Goose, er… deer
A Canada Goose nesting in Buffalo, NY had some unexpected help bringing her goslings into the world. A deer sat for weeks, watching over the nesting fowl and even chasing off pesky critters. The deer has been granted visiting rights to the goslings for Wednesdays and every other weekend.
An owl’s best friend
Each of us woos in different ways. Some buy chocolates and flowers for their suitors, some write and sing songs inspired by their suitors and some run their talons through their suitor’s hair. This might be the weirdest-looking couple on the list, but hey, creepy creatures need loving too.
Elephant gets adopted by sheep
Themba the elephant ended up in rehabilitation centre after her mother slipped off of a cliff (a la Mufasa) and died. Luckily, Albert the sheep was there to play the Timon to her Simba, and a great companionship was born. Just wait until Disney gets ahold of this one.
Friends of a feather (sort of)
Tall creatures stick together. This unlikely couple came together at the Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay. Their shared activities include going for strolls, long necking during card games and looking down on other animals.
Let me be your rock to lean on
When Owen, a recently orphaned African hippo, arrived at his new home, he found sanctuary with a friend who would turn out to be his rock, a hard-shelled tortoise named Mzee. At 130 years old, Mzee wasn’t too tough a shell to crack, and she soon warmed to the frightened hippo.
The Lion Whisperer
When conservationist and lion whisperer Kevin Richardson strapped on a GoPro and headed out on the savannah to greet his pride, he showed millions of people around the world the rarely seen, softer side of one of Africa’s deadliest predators. Feel free to try this at home…with your house cat.
Pets are dirty. Here’s one solution — though it’s not entirely clear why the shark suit was necessary. I guess they must like it… the owners, not the pets.
The tail of the tortoise and the dog
A long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, two inter-species pets decided to re-enact their favourite film. Although they couldn’t agree which one of them would be better suited to play the role of Han Solo, we think they each nailed their respective characters perfectly.