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Animal Odd Couples

 by zack on 27 Jul 2013 |
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The animal kingdom is a funny place. It’s usually a dog eat dog world, but occasionally some very odd couples will end up forming, seemingly out of the blue. Strange bedfellows such as dolphins and dogs, goats and horses, dogs and lions, among many more allow humans to gain interesting insights into the inner workings of animal emotions and relationships. Today, the Petbucket blog will be examining some specific examples of Animal odd couples.

Cheetah and Dog
 

Our first odd animal pairing is one of the most preposterously precious you’re ever likely to lay eyes on. The Labrador retriever, Mtani, has been raised since puppyhood alongside a superior alpha predator, Kasi the cheetah. Not only is Mtani never on the lunch menu, but they are nearly inseparable best buds. Busch Gardens’ animal trainers credit the similar styles of communications between dogs and cheetahs for this successful odd animal couple.

Dogs bark and cheetahs chirp, they both growl, and each enjoys a good run around their shared enclosure. Zoologists and optimistic humanists alike point to this pairing as proof that as long as people focus on their commonalities we can overcome our differences. It’s a beautiful thought, but how does this kind of thought play out with two animals on opposite ends of the predator prey spectrum?

Lioness and Oryx calf
 

In 2001, a Kenyan lioness decided it wanted to care for a lost Oryx calf. This is undoubtedly one of the strangest and saddest stories in all of animal kingdom history. The lioness adopted the calf and protected it for the better part of 5 weeks. She cared for the calf as if it was her own, but that wouldn’t quite cut it. The calf quickly deteriorated in health because it could not nurse from the lioness, nor was it allowed to graze out in the open, because the lioness wouldn’t let it out of her sight. Eventually the calf was killed and eaten by a large male lion. The heartbroken lioness looked on, refusing to engage the large male, but clearly distressed by the encounter.

She went on to adopt 5 more calves after the first, but all of these relationships ended in a similar fashion. This story is often used to describe the severe effects that loneliness can have on an animal’s psyche, and the extremes that it can drive it to.

Tortoise and Goose
 

Another animal odd couple coming out of Busch Gardens, a female Galapagos tortoise seems to have acquired a long term suitor in the form of a male Brant goose. This variety of goose mates for life, and refuses to leave the shell-bearing reptile’s side. Furthermore, it won’t let anyone else get too close. That means a permanent protector waddling about, warning of any potential danger, and warding off any other competition for the tortoise’s affections.

If you’d like to know more about these and other strange animal odd couples, I’d suggest clicking the links in the headings. These are just three examples of the many surprises the animal kingdom has up its sleeves. 

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