Striped hyenas would make for unexpected guests in a wolf pack, but that's what researchers have documented in Israel's Negev desert.
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this week, one story was of the amazing friendship formed between atiger named Amur and a goat named Timur
. Timur was supposed to be a meal for the big cat, but the friendly goat had other ideas. Now, so far, they are best buds. They're not the only unusual animal friendships, though. Let's look at a few more.Tiger And Goat Forge Unlikely Friendship In Russian Zoo
Metro Richmond Zoo
Here's another pair of cute, fast friends. Meet Kumbali and Kago -- a puppy and a cheetah cub (Kumbali's the cheetah and the lab mix is Kago). They live at Virginia's Metro Richmond Zoo. It's not clear how long they will remain together, but they seem to love each other's company. (Check out thisvideo
, if you can handle all the cuteness.) Next we'll take a look at some unforgettable pictures fromRocky Ridge Refuge
, which knows a thing or two about unlikely animal friendships, as you will see.Cheetah Cub, Puppy Make Fast Friends At Va. Zoo
It's not every day you see a baby skunk and a kitten getting to know each other on your couch. But it was a typical day for Janice Wolf, her menagerie of dogs, sheep, donkeys, horses, emus, and countless cats, ducks, rabbits, turtles -- and whatever animal may need a home that day. Wolf runsRocky Ridge Refuge
in Gassville, Ark. The refuge is her personal labor of love for abandoned, abused and injured animals of every shape, size, species and ailment. Wolf's rescues generally enter the refuge with horrific tales of neglect and abuse. But through Wolf's perseverance many of the animals go on to live long, happy lives -- filled with some of the most amazing interspecies friendships. "The only rule we have here is 'we gotta get along,'" said Wolf. "And they do." Above, we see an abandoned kitten (part of a litter left for dead when the kittens were just a day old) that engaged Josh, the resident skunk. Josh was raised by humans and then abandoned and didn't have the necessary skills to survive in the wild.Cop Saves Baby Skunk From Yogurt Cup In Viral Video Gem
Shown is one of Rocky Ridge's great success stories, Tristan, a three-legged dog (top left), who came from a horribly abusive home and went on to make frequent visits to nursing homes, as a therapy dog. His friendship with Fiesta, an orphaned deer, was also legendary. "He just assigned himself the protector," recalls Wolf. "He came from such a terrible place but he was so loving and forgiving. That’s the great thing about animals -- they pay it forward." Meanwhile, Duncan, the dog at right, also came to Rocky Ridge Refuge "from a bad situation." But he never seemed to hold it against any person or animal. Here, he uses Nabisco the fawn as a pillow.
You'd never know it from Parfait's belly-up smile and her gentle demeanor with Mark, the emu chick, that she was once so abused her collar had become embedded in her neck. Parfait came to Rocky Ridge Refuge after living on the streets of St. Louis. Rescuers found her with a litter of puppies that had frozen to death. Parfait, too, was close to death, according to Wolf, who spent time nursing the pitbull back to health. Parfait broke the boundaries of pit bull prejudice, enjoying all things cute and fluffy, from chicks to bunnies.Famous Animals Of The Big And Small Screen: Photos
Here Rocky Ridge's capybara Cheesecake befriends dogs. Cornbread, a deaf bull terrier (bottom right) and Cheesecake were instant friends, according to Wolf.10 Oldest Dog Breeds: Photos
Ivan, the Catahoula mix, started going blind at about a year old, but it never stopped him from "nannying" Rocky Ridge's orphans, like Raoul the raccoon.Hibernators Stretch After Long Winter's Nap: Photos
Blade, the Irish wolfhound, came to Rocky Ridge Refuge as a puppy and then spent the next year of his life recovering from paralysis of all four limbs. With lots of physical therapy and love, Wolf was able to help Blade learn to walk on his own. Before he could walk, however, he was a favorite of the other baby refugees, who often kept him company inside while the other dogs were able to roam outside. Look closely and you can see that Blade is cuddling with a duckling.Funky Ducks Thrive At NYC's Central Park: Photos
This photo may be the true image of brotherly love. The orphaned lamb was adopted by the mother of the puppy he's sleeping atop. The mother dog gave birth to 10 puppies on Wolf's bed just a week after being brought to Rocky Ridge Refuge. She "insisted," on caring for the lamb as though it were one of her puppies, according to Wolf. The lamb nursed (and cuddled) along with the rest of the pups. The final (and largest) piece of this snuggle puzzle is Krispin, a St. Bernard puppy who came to the refuge with a broken leg.VIDEO: Why Do Puppies Yawn?
Lurch may have been Rocky Ridge Refuge's most famous resident of all time. The African Watusi steer holds the record for the largest circumference of horns -- ever. He was even recognized by Guinness World Records. Lurch was also the leader of Rocky Ridge's motley pack until his death in 2010, according to Wolf. His size never prevented him from befriending other refugees, including Isaiah the cat. Here, a young Lurch (with his horns yet to reach their 8-foot span) grazes while little Isaiah enjoys the ride.Cats Don't Actually Ignore Us
Finally, meet Janice Wolf herself. Here she is posing in 2012 for a photo with two of Rocky Ridge's refugees. The animal rescue organization was a life-long dream of hers. "I was born to do it," says Wolf, recalling that her first "rescue" was a pelican when she was just a toddler growing up in Florida. For more than 20 years she's used her experience as a veterinary technician and holistic medicine practitioner to help animals. You can follow the stories of her animals on theRocky Ridge Refuge website
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A harsh desert environment seems to have made strange bedfellows out of hyenas and wolves in southern Israel, researchers have observed.
In a study recently published in the journal Zoology in the Middle East, scientists from the United States and Israel report sightings of striped hyenas roaming amid packs of grey wolves in the Negev desert.
Neither hyenas nor wolves usually behave very well in their dealings with other carnivores. Hyenas will fight, usurp kills from, and make life miserable for animals from lions to leopards to cheetahs. Wolves, for their part, will make meals out of coyotes and dogs.
The study’s co-authors -- University of Tennessee, Knoxville researcher Vladimir Dinets and Israeli zoologist Beniamin Eligulashvili -- think the two species traveling together may be an example of animals bending their own rules and instincts a bit, in the name of survival in an extreme, arid landscape.
“Animal behavior is often more flexible than described in textbooks,” said Dinets in a statement. “When necessary, animals can abandon their usual strategies and learn something completely new and unexpected. It’s a very useful skill for people, too.”
Why would working together help the two species?
The researchers suspect the predatory animals are willing to put up with each other because each gets something out of the deal. Wolves can take down large prey themselves, while hyenas are super sniffers that can smell and find, from miles away, dead animals worth eating.
Hyenas, the scientists note, are also adept at ferreting food out of human refuse -- digging up buried garbage and opening cans and large boxes.
Dinets and Eligulashvili first noticed tracks on the ground that suggested hyenas and wolves might be wandering together, and then, four years later, they were eyewitnesses to the two species moving together through canyons in the Negev desert.
The scientists say they don’t know yet if the animals roaming together was an aberration or whether it was something that occurs regularly.