OK, we'll admit it, animal friendships are the staple of every blog site from here to www.timbuktu.com, but animals are animals, so we had to get on the bandwagon sooner or later. Still, we've tried to keep things interesting and not just indulgent here, with an emphasis on the coolest as well as cutest match-ups, good photography, and interesting stories or explanation behind what's going on in the shot.
Monkey on my back
This first match made in heaven comes from photographer Roberto Saccon, who was watching out of his car window in São Luís, Brazil, when he couldn't believe the sight that met his eyes: a monkey riding on a dog's back. Luckily he was carrying his camera, so he jumped out of the car and followed the unusual couple. The dog's owners lived nearby and allowed Saccon to shoot some photos, telling him that only one of their two dogs had formed the special relationship with the cute little monkey.
This behaviour may be based on reciprocity derived from the monkey's habit of presenting its back to other monkeys who then pick out parasites. However, since the dog is unlikely to do the same for the monkey, we can but guess what the monkey hopes to gain from the situation. Protection or a free ride could be possible answers. Or maybe it is just pure altruism. It's a cynical world though, so we doubt it.
It's hard to tell what's guiding the behaviour of this next funny pair, though it looks like the frog
may be getting steered by the mouse's tiny paw. Is the mouse being rescued from highwater by the frog or is that just one opportunistic rodent hitching along for the ride? Either way, it's a shot that has become a bit of a classic on the old intertubes, scoring high in the cutesy stakes.
Take you under my wing
Another popular pic on the web, here we see what appears to be a baby rat or hamster nestled under the wing of a cockatiel. Needless to say, this snapshot of apparent domestic bliss involving two household pets has elicited many a sentimental "aww", though a surprising number of people have also cried fake, even accusing the bird of being straight off the taxidermist's table. We sincerely hope not.
Desert island paradise
Less a ferry ride than an a floating archipelago for these tortoises in this sweet black-and-white shot, taken in the African wilderness. This may be an example of symbiosis, a term that describes close and often long-term interactions between animals of different species. Hippos are more commonly known for their symbiotic relationships with certain birds, which are given free reign to pick parasites out of the hippo's skin while getting themselves a free meal in the bargain.
Got you on my shoulder
Is this another example of symbiosis in action? It's certainly a great shot and a welcome dive beneath the ocean's surface, which no article of this nature would be complete without. These two seem perfectly content sticking together, and it may be that a new relationship behaviour is developing between the species that's unique to the shores of Little Cayman in the Caribbean, where the photo was taken. Perhaps the ray is being cleaned, while its companion fish gets to scavenge food.
Nose to nose
This pic is another that comes courtesy of unusual animal match-ups site, Let's Be Friends. It seems more of a brief encounter than the beginnings of a beautiful friendship, but it's a really cool capture nevertheless. Amazing how tolerant moose and kitten are as they sniff each other out. They must both be pretty chilled animals.
These two definitely know where it's at in the chilling department, in this picture of the joys of home comfort. Apparently, feline friend Jasmine makes a great baby sitter, helped by the string the kids of the house tie around the turtle's shell, so that when the turtle trundles off, the cat pulls him back. The cat sleeps in the box and the turtle has become the bed mate.
I got you babe
This unusual friendship between a chimpanzee named Anjanaand and a white tiger cub blossomed quickly. No sooner had the cub been born than the aww-inspiring pair became inseparable. It seems the chimp's maternal instincts kicked in as she helped to raise the cub, much to the amazement of zoo keepers at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGER), in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Lean on me
This last image is definitely a domestic affair, as two pets of the lapin and canine variety get together for cuddles. Of course dogs and rabbits may not be too fond of one another in the wild, but tame them under our roofs and they become part of the same pack or colony, so that the mutual warmth they can offer overcomes the natural instincts of predator and prey. If only human adversaries could be as quick to bury the hatchet.
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