Many of us have been led to believe that things are pretty cut and dry in the animal world. Unlike the human world where people of different cultures, countries, sexes, interests, religions, and opinions happily coincide and enjoy successful collaboration (for the most part) and sometimes even forge friendships, animal collaboration is segmented and brutal at times. A lot like business, actually.

Sometimes there are instances, however rare, that make us reconsider everything we thought we knew about the animal kingdom. These bizarre scenarios in which the hunters and the hunted share an unlikely collaboration, or when an animal from the winged world befriends something tiny and furry, may be able to teach us something about working together…Hey, there’s a lesson to be had wherever you look! Here then are 10 unlikely collaborations in the animal kingdom that somehow work…

The Pigeon and the Macaque

Macaques constitute a genus of Old World monkeys that span the globe from Japan to Afghanistan and according to The Daily Mail, this baby macaque was rescued from China after his mother abandoned him and left him for dead. The monkey was slow to recover and it didn’t look like he was going to make it- until he made friends with this pigeon. According to The Daily Mail, the two now rarely spend a day apart.

Coyotes and Badgers

If you thought the partnership between coyotes and badgers was just a myth relayed by various Native American legends in which the two animals often act as neighbors, friends and competitors- think again. These stories are actually steeped in truth; Native Americans just happened to be the first to recognize the interesting collaboration between coyotes and badgers: They help each other find and trap food. As a matter of fact, you’re more likely to witness coyotes hunting for food alongside badgers than with other coyotes. The pairs track down small, burrowing animals and if they’re above ground, the coyote will chase them down and the badger takes over the hunt if they go underground.

The Sheep and the Elephant

Honestly this has to be the most unlikely animal collaboration. If there was ever a more unlikely pairing than a sheep and an elephant, I don’t know what it is. According to The Daily Mail, Themba the baby elephant was orphaned at just six months old when his mother fell down a cliff . When Themba first spotted Albert the sheep at the Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in South Africa, he chased Albert until the sheep hid in a shelter for 12 hours. The animals must have become friends shortly after because ever since, the two have been inseparable. They walk together, nap together, and Themba has even taught Albert how to eat thorny bushes by avoiding the spikes.

The Watchmen Fish and Pistol Shrimp

There are no cute and cuddly babies in this animal collaboration. Actually, the relationship between the watchmen fish and the pistol shrimp is strictly business: The business of not being eaten.

The watchmen fish shares its sandy burrow with the pistol shrimp, which packs a sonic punch with its sharp and powerful claws. The shrimp is actually the one responsible for building their home. It doesn’t just dig a hole; however, it specifically burrows a space wide enough for his friend the watchmen fish. Why does it do this? The watchmen fish has large eyes that make it well equipped to evade predators, but it’s not capable of building a permanent nest for protection. The shrimp, on the other hand, is more than capable of providing security, but it’s nearsighted and has trouble spotting predators. Together they make the perfect pair!

The Cat and the Chicken

It’s no surprise that cats and birds hate each other; they are mortal enemies, so we don’t know what to make of the odd relationship between Gladys the chicken and Snowy the cat. Gladys was just a two-day-old chick when she became the only chicken to survive a vicious fox attack on the farm. When the farm owners brought her inside the house, she developed an unlikely bond with Snowy. The cat washed the chick and snuggled her and to this day, the two sill play together.

The Deer and the Dogs

When Mi-Lu, a Pere David deer, was born a twin at Knowsley Safari Park, he and his brother became the first pair of twins born in captivity. However, their mother didn’t know how to care for both of them and she ended up rejecting Mi-Lu. Geoffrey and Kipper, the resident dogs at the park, decided to step in and help care for Mi-Lu by snuggling as a group and going on walks together. This unlikely bond continued until the day came that Mi-Lu was reintroduced to his herd.

The Cat and the Chihuahua

If cats dislike anything more than birds, it’s dogs, which is why this next story is so amazing and heartwarming. The staff of Arizona’s Halo Animal Rescue was put in a very difficult position when a baby Chihuahua they were caring for lost its mother and the staff didn’t have another dog available to nurse the pup. There was; however, a cat. The cat was already nursing a litter of her own, with each of her four kittens being about the same size as the Chihuahua pup. The staff was apprehensive at first, but the cat nursed the pup without any problems and before long, the puppy was gaining weight, looking healthy, and getting ready for adoption.

The Hippo and the Tortoise

When the baby hippo Owen lost his mother during the Asian Tsunami, things seemed bleak for the little guy, but then he made friends with a giant tortoise at the Mombassa Haller Park in Kenya. The tortoise took on the role of Owen’s mom and the two could often be spotting napping together, eating together, and generally just enjoying each other’s company.

The Giraffe and the Ostrich

The folks at Busch Gardens didn’t know what to make of it when Bea, a three-year-old giraffe, began paling around with Wilma, an ostrich. Frankly, we don’t know what to make of it either, but it’s amusing nonetheless. According to zoo employees, the odd couple seems to prefer each other’s company over that of their own species.

The Porcine and the Antelope

You may not have know this, but a porcine is a type of pig and when Willy, a 10-year-old Red River porcine at the Los Angeles Zoo, became depressed after losing his mate in 2005, he soon perked up after meeting Nicole, a 16-year-old bongo antelope. This unlikely duo have learned to work together, so maybe you can begin working better alongside that annoying guy in the sales department who never stops talking all day long…maybe not.

Have you found an animal collaboration worthy of this list?


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