Unlikely Friendships That Defy Nature

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friendships that defy nature

I know how intimidating it can be to try to make new friends.

I also know that as adults we dare not admit the fact that we feel like preschoolers when starting at a university, desperately trying to find a buddy to share your lunch with.

However, February 11th is international Make a Friend Day, for everyone everywhere! It’s also the perfect time to say hi to your classmate.

You can bond over the crazy amount of work the professors have assigned to you. How few sleeps you have left until the next holiday. Your favourite SuperBowl moment. That one time the professor strolled into class dressed as Darth Vader.

You can also tell them about your secret essay-writing weapon – RefME for iOS & Android.

Select your local site to start creating citations with RefME: UK | US | Worldwide

Or, you could tell them about these adorable animals and their unlikely friendships that defy nature!

Let this post blow your excuses out of the water and inspire you to go up to someone you find interesting and…surprise, surprise…strike up a conversation!

Christian the Lion

Did you know you could buy a lion at Harrods? Well, apparently, you could back in ‘69! That’s exactly what Ace Bourke and John Rendall did.

In what is probably the most well-known story of an unlikely friendship, these two fellas purchased a lion cub thinking that hey, isn’t London the perfect place to raise a lion? Which they did rather splendidly, raising Christian the lion until realizing he was far too big to live in a city. With the help of George Adamson Christian was reintroduced into the wild.

Alas, he never forgot his childhood pals – check out the video from their first reunion, where you can see just how affectionate Christian was with his best buds.

Zion the Lion

Way out there, in Namibia somewhere, lives Frikkie Von Solms – the real life Lion King. A caregiver with the Harnas Wildlife Foundation, Frikkie has raised many a lion in his life, but none like Zion. Another friendship that caught the eyes of thousands across the globe, Zion and Frikkie form an unusual duet that is pretty inseparable.

Frikkie refers to Zion as a ‘gentle giant’, proving every day that unlikely friendships are not only possible – they’re invaluable. According to him ‘People talk about lions like they are just lions but they have personalities, they have humor and laugh. Zion is a gentle giant. He has never attacked humans and I trust him completely.’

A lion and a wiener (dog)

There’s a saying: ‘bark worse than the bite’, and in the case of this laws of nature-defying friendship it’s very true.

Milo the sausage dog, or dachshund if you prefer things scientific, is BFFs with a 500-pound lion named Bonedigger. The slightly-disabled giant and the little wiener have been friends for over 5 years, rarely leaving each-other’s side after being introduced by the zookeeper John Renke.

According to Mr. Renke ‘Milo does his best to copy Bonedigger’s puffing when trying to communicate with other lions in the park’ (puffing doesn’t mean that breathless noise we make when running up five flights of stairs after a good burger, it’s referring to a kind of growl that lions use to communicate). Now that’s a power couple!

Inseparable BLT buddies

World’s only BLT where the B stands for bear, L for lion and T for tiger.

Baloo the bear, Leo the lion and Shere Khan the tiger have been together since they were cubs at a drug dealer’s apartment 14 years ago. After suffering horrible conditions together, they have been inseparable ever since.

Mortal enemies in the wild, the BLT trio can teach humans a thing or two about friendships and looking past one’s differences.

Bubbles and Bella

Do you remember the hilarious scene in ‘Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls’ where the elephant demolishes a car by sitting down on it? Well, that elephant is Bubbles – a truly fearsome and majestic creature who is total BFFs with a black labrador named Bella.

Living in South Carolina, at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species – T.I.G.E.R.S – preserve for endangered animals, the two unlikely friends go for walks, or long swimming sessions, or just hang out together. Bubbles even plays fetch with Bella!

Suryia and Roscoe

Another pair from the South Carolina T.I.G.E.R.S preserve for endangered animals. Suryia the orangutan and Roscoe the Blue Tick hound have been friends for a few years now, ever since a lonely Roscoe came to the preserve in search of a home.

Suryia and Roscoe laze around, play together, and Suryia takes Roscoe on walks around the preserve. Apparently, the two even share monkey snacks…Talk about a strong bond!


If a bear, a lion and a tiger can be friends…don’t you think it’s silly not to at least try and make friends with another human?

Spread this amongst your friends so they can share in the aww.

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A Lion Called Christian (no date) Available at: http://www.alioncalledchristian.com.au/the-book/christians-story/ (Accessed: 11 February 2016).
Dovas (no date) 11 years of friendship between A lion and the human that saved him. Available at: http://www.boredpanda.com/tame-pet-lion-zion-frikkie-von-solms/ (Accessed: 11 February 2016).
Harnas Wilflife foundation Namibia (2015) Available at: http://harnas.org/ (Accessed: 5 February 2016).
Lion and tiger and bear, oh my! (2015) Available at: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/wild/unlikely-animal-friends/videos/lion-and-tiger-and-bear-oh-my/ (Accessed: 11 February 2016).
Nsubuga, J. (2014) You wouldn’t expect these two to be best friends. Available at: http://metro.co.uk/2014/08/15/crippled-big-cat-small-sausage-dog-and-double-amputee-become-unlikely-best-friends-4833606/ (Accessed: 11 February 2016).
TIGERS (no date) Available at: https://www.myrtlebeachsafari.com/ (Accessed: 11 February 2016).
Their story – Suryia and Roscoe – the incredible friendship between an orangutan and a hound! (no date) Available at: http://www.suryiaroscoe.com/their_story.php (Accessed: 11 February 2016).
Zaslow, A. (2013) How an abused lion, tiger and bear became an unlikely family. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/03/lion-tiger-bear-negligence_n_4374091.html (Accessed: 11 February 2016).
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