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Daring Duos: Unlikely Animal Friends

Elephant and sheep

(Image credit: National Geographic Channel.)

So an elephant and a sheep walk into a bar ...

The setup is actually not so far-fetched, as the photo above reveals (OK, maybe the bar part.) You can see this strange and adorable duo in action, along with many others, in the second installment of the National Geographic Channel's kid-oriented "Unlikely Animal Friends."

Whether you find these dubious pairings heartwarming or just plain strange, it does make one wonder why can't we all just get along?

Pond play

(Image credit: National Geographic Channel.)

Themnba the elephant and Albert the sheep were brought together through tragedy. The elephant was orphaned as a small calf, and keepers at the Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa couldn't get baby Themnba to eat.

Enter Albert the sheep. Keepers thought that if the little elephant had a companion, he might relax a little. The introduction was cause for a few hilarious chase scenes have you ever seen an elephant meet a sheep? But within 24 hours the two were getting along famously, and have remained friends.

Hippo and human

(Image credit: National Geographic Channel.)

Aw! Is that hippo smiling? Is it because he loves the human? Or because he is planning to kill the human? Since this show is all about friendship, we think it's probably the former.

Hippos are the third largest land mammal on the planet, also some of the most dangerous. Just ask this guy. Semi-aquatic animals, the largest of the males can weigh in at more than 7,000 pounds (3,200 kilograms), with massive canines up to 28 inches (70 cm) long.

Bear and tigers

(Image credit: National Geographic Channel.)

Not what you usually expect to find in a drug raid: lions and tigers and bears. Police in Atlanta discovered the twelve-week-old cats and the black bear, which was a bit older, in the possession of a local drug kingpin, who apparently bought the exotic animals to show off his money.

Bunting heads

(Image credit: National Geographic Channel.)

Now living in a wildlife rehabilitation center just south of Atlanta, Shere Khan the tiger, Baloo the black bear and Leo the lion still play together now that they're all grown up. They get along well with humans, too. The 700-pound bear literally eats out of the hand of the woman who runs the center.

Dog and leopard

(Image credit: National Geographic Channel.)

Cats and dogs can, indeed, be friends. Salati, a 14-month old leopard, plays with her golden retriever buddy Tommy in a field near Pretoria, South Africa.

Best buddies

(Image credit: National Geographic Channel.)

The Brooker family, professional animal wranglers, adopted the leopard when they learned she was the only survivor of a captive-born litter. Salati lives in a 1,500 acre habitat the Brookers adapted to suit the leopard lifestyle which, in this case, includes a dog.

Polar bear and wolf

(Image credit: National Geographic Channel.)

This unlikely twosome looks positively blissful. But when it's this snowy outside, maybe it's nice to snuggle though polar bears and huskies are admirably suited to face the cold. Both are both well adapted to life in Arctic conditions.

Polar bears have a thick layer of fat to keep them warm. It's so effective, the massive animals have to move slowly just to make sure they don't overheat.

Huskies, used as sled dogs for centuries, have large feet with hair between their toes, allowing them to walk on top of thick snow, and their rich coats can withstand temperatures down to -76 degrees Fahrenheit (-60 C).

Live Science Staff
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