A recent National Geographic book, Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom, by Jennifer Holland, reveals 47 unlikely animal bonds that will leave you gobsmacked.
The top photo features Mausschen (the oldest living female Asiatic bear) and Muschi, a black cat who started showing up at the bear enclosure of the Berlin Zoo sometime in 2000, and befriended the old female bear. They share meals and enjoy sunning themselves together. Ten years later they’re still unlikely BFFs.
Sobe the iguana and Johann the cat struck up a very special friendship. In fact, the iguana enjoys spending time with several of Johann’s housemates, including Monte the cat and Buster the bunny.
After his morning nap under heat lamps, Sobe is ready for his social life. “He clambers down the tree branch and makes the rounds, visiting every animal resident in the house: dog, twelve cats, and two parrots! Sometimes he naps with one or another of the cats; occasionally Cato the parrot perches on Sobe’s long tail, grooming him.”
This young leopard, probably motherless, sought maternal comfort with this calf in India. The leopard came in night after night to nuzzle with and be cleaned by a domestic cow. It affected how villagers perceived the big cat, a predator that sometimes preyed on their livestock. Now it was preying on the small mammals that ate their crops, so it was a good thing to have around. They were awed by the odd relationship. It was like a secret affair because the leopard always left at dawn. One day the cat didn’t came back — it was a sad break-up for the whole town.
Dema, a 26-day-old Sumatran tiger cub, cuddles up to 5-month-old orangutan Irma at an animal hospital in Indonesia. Both babies were rejected by their mothers at birth.
Anatolian shepherd dogs are commonly used to guard flocks from cheetahs, but this pair has struck up an unlikely friendship.
This cockatoo and cat are BFFs.
Sharkey the pit bull and Max the Cat enjoy playing with baby chicks.
How to buy Unlikely Friendships
For these and 40 other unlikely animal friendships, check out Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom, available at Amazon and other booksellers.
A preview of the book is available online at Google books.