You Wouldn’t Believe These Animals are Best Friends
Competition between animals drives evolution, and will never be removed from life. But, even though some of them look like dangerous beasts, have their soft side that would warm your heart. Many animals are sociable – at least with their own kind. But, every now and then, however, miracles happen between animals of different species, against all the laws of nature. These little and big fellows are actually inseparable buddies.
1 Cat and gorilla
Koko the gorilla is one of the most studied primates in history. Her handlers have been examining her remarkable ability to understand language, which she turned out that she could, at least some simpler words. Koko communicates in American Sign Language, and has been known to create her own terms for new items and ideas using signs she already knows (calling a ring a ‘finger-bracelet’ for instance). In 1984, Koko asked her trainers whether she might be allowed to keep a pet cat. She chose a grey kitten and called it All Ball. Koko nurtured All Ball as if it were a baby gorilla, and would appear distressed when parted from it. When All Ball was knocked down and killed by a car, Koko was seen to mourn the cat’s death, and use signs for ‘sad’ and ‘frown’ to describe her feelings. She has since had several more pets.
2 Elephant and sheep
When Themba the elephant was a calf, he lost his mother. The orphan elephant was found and rescued by rangers at the Shamwari reserve in South Africa. At the reserve Themba was placed in a pen to protect him from other animals. It’s well known fact that elephants are social animals, so the people who took care of him, placed a sheep called Albert in the pen to offer Themba companionship. At first the elephant made a game of chasing the sheep but the two eventually bonded and could be seen sleeping together at night. When it was time to begin preparing Themba for release, Albert was removed from the pen and Themba was introduced to more typical animals from South Africa. Before Themba could be released he succumbed to a disease of the intestine. Albert has remained at the reserve.
3 Hippo and tortoise
Owen the Hippo was separated from his parents when a tsunami wave washed him out to sea. After being found by wildlife rangers, he was taken to an animal sanctuary in Mombassa, Kenya. Owen’s handlers decided that he would share a habitat with an ancient 100-year-old tortoise called Mzee. It was reported that Owen behaved towards Mzee, a male, as if the tortoise was his mother. The hippo and tortoise would bathe and sleep together, and Owen would lick Mzee’s face and become protective if anyone approached the tortoise. Hippos generally remain with their mothers for four years, and Owen stayed with Mzee until 2007 when he was introduced to other hippos.
4 Dog and otter
When a sea otter pup was found abandoned on a building site in Wales, it was taken to a wildlife reserve to be fed and treated and returned to full health. The aim was to heal the otter and set him free again. After a few months at the reserve, the pup’s handlers decided he needed a playmate to use up some of his boisterous energy. Since otters have a nasty nip and are very inquisitive, the rescuers decided that the perfect playmate for the pup would be a puppy. An eight month old Labrador called Molly was brought in and the two played together while the otter was taught to swim.
5 Kitty and crow
One day in Massachusetts, the USA, a small kitten in a state of some distress walked onto the property of the Collito family. At first they were concerned that the kitten might not survive but, it wasn’t too long before they noticed that the cat had a strange nurse. A crow was seen bring the starving kitten worms to feed on, and ushering the kitten away from harm. The crow, given the name Moses, and the cat, called Cassie, became internet sensations when the Collitos put videos of them together on youtube. Crows are notoriously intelligent birds and enjoy social interaction. Quite why Moses chose Cassie will never be known, but the friendship has since been turned into a children’s book.