by Ellen Lambeth
Animals of different kinds don't usually become friends. But here are a few that have.
Bubbles the elephant had a rough start in life. When she was just a baby in Africa, her parents were killed by poachers, who wanted their tusks to sell as ivory.
The good news is, Bubbles was rescued and brought to the United States, where she could grow and live in peace. Swimming became a favorite activity—but she had no other elephants to play with.
Then along came Bella, an abandoned Labrador retriever. Labs love water, of course, and before long the lonely pair became fast friends. Here, you can see how Bella climbs up on Bubbles, waits for her to chuck a ball, and then dives off to fetch it. What a team!
Giraffes live in Africa, and so do ostriches. Both species also may live in the same wildlife exhibit, as Bea the giraffe and Wilma the ostrich do. These animals mostly just hang out with their own kind. So what was it that attracted these two to each other? They’re not talking, but apparently Wilma is tickled that Bea has such good taste in friends!
Pippin the deer was born near the house where Kate the Great Dane lives. But one day Pippin’s mom left and didn’t return. Kate decided the fawn “belonged” to her, and the pair would spend hours romping and playing—or just relaxing and cuddling—together. Even after Pippin grew up and spent more and more time with other deer, she’d return for play dates with her favorite dog. Once a friend, always a friend!
You’d never see different predators hanging out together in the wild—even if they all lived in the same place. But these three—Baloo the bear, Leo the lion, and Shere Khan the tiger—have been together since they were cubs. They were discovered in poor health in someone’s basement, where all they had was each other. So their rescuers let them stay together, and that’s the only way it will be for these three buddies.
Sometimes homeless cats get rescued and adopted—but usually by people. Bet you never heard of a monkey adopting a stray cat!
This wild monkey—called a macaque (muh-KAK)—lives on an island in Indonesia. For some reason, the macaque decided to adopt this particular kitten—cradling it, grooming it, and protecting it from other monkeys. As you can see, Little Kitty feels just fine about the whole arrangement!
"Best Buddies" originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Ranger Rick magazine. Click here for a close-up view of the photos.