ENVIRONMENT

On Valentine's Day, These Adorably Odd Animal Friends Show There's Someone For Everyone

Few things are sweeter than overcoming long odds in the name of friendship. So for Valentine's Day -- or should we say Pal-entine's Day, nope, we shouldn't -- we've rounded up a bunch of mismatched furry, feathery and scaly best-friend duos. Ever seen a giraffe and an ostrich hanging out? Now you will.

These guys aren't just cute -- although, rest assured, they are definitely cute. Studying their interactions might help scientists understand more about how animals communicate and form bonds. We may think animals' ability to make friends is completely obvious (just watch how much fun this cheetah and dog have together) but only a few decades ago using the word "friendship" to describe two baboons was somewhat shocking to the animal research community.

Knowing more about how these guys interact across species lines can aid our efforts to communicate with other species. That's in addition to fostering new respect for other intelligent beings. Take a look at some of our favorites below.

  • Bella, a stray dog, is best friends with Tarra, the elephant, at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, on March 30,
    Melanie Stetson Freeman / Christian Science Monitor / Getty Images
    Bella, a stray dog, is best friends with Tarra, the elephant, at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, on March 30, 2006. Bella passed away in 2011.
  • Bea, a three-year-old giraffe, and Wilma, an ostrich, have become the best of friends at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's 65-acre Se
    Press Association / Busch Gardens Tampa
    Bea, a three-year-old giraffe, and Wilma, an ostrich, have become the best of friends at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's 65-acre Serengeti Plain.
  • Tinni the dog and Sniffer the fox hang out in Norway in 2014. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/04/fox-and-hound
    Torgeir Berge
    Tinni the dog and Sniffer the fox hang out in Norway in 2014. Read more about the pair here.
  • Shere Khan the tiger, Leo, the lion and Baloo, at the <a href="http://www.noahs-ark.org/" target="_blank">Noah's Ark</a> anim
    Barcroft / Getty Images
    Shere Khan the tiger, Leo, the lion and Baloo, at the Noah's Ark animal sanctuary in Locust Grove, Georgia.
  • A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsumani waves on the Kenyan coast snuggles up to its new best friend, a giant century-o
    AFP / Getty Images
    A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsumani waves on the Kenyan coast snuggles up to its new best friend, a giant century-old tortoise in an animal facility in Mombasa, on January 6, 2005. The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean, then forced back to shore when tsumani waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, 2004, before wildlife rangers rescued him.
  • Lion Cameron and white tiger Zabu pictured at the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida.
    Big Cat Rescue Florida / Barcroft / Getty Images
    Lion Cameron and white tiger Zabu pictured at the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida.
  • Beth, the dog, plays with her lion friends at Horseback Africa Animal Farm in Cullinan, Cape Town, South Africa.
    Matthew Tabaccos / Barcroft / Getty Images
    Beth, the dog, plays with her lion friends at Horseback Africa Animal Farm in Cullinan, Cape Town, South Africa.
  •  A rat and a cat drinking milk from the same bowl on February 12, 2015 in Patiala, India.
    Hindustan Times / Getty Images
    A rat and a cat drinking milk from the same bowl on February 12, 2015 in Patiala, India.
  • A leopard named Salati snuggles up beside Tommy the golden retriever in the back of a 4x4 at the <a href="http://www.glenafri
    Barcroft / Getty Images
    A leopard named Salati snuggles up beside Tommy the golden retriever in the back of a 4x4 at the Glen Afric Country Lodge on May 4, 2010 in Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Macaque monkey Jaeda, 1, cuddling two 2 week old kitten Lilly in Pekin, Illinois.
    Laurentiu Garofeanu / Barcroft / Getty Images
    Macaque monkey Jaeda, 1, cuddling two 2 week old kitten Lilly in Pekin, Illinois.
  • Australiah Shepherd, Kalula pictured with her friend, a macaw called Cuervo who loves to perch on Kalula's back on June 30, 2
    Barcroft / Getty Images
    Australiah Shepherd, Kalula pictured with her friend, a macaw called Cuervo who loves to perch on Kalula's back on June 30, 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • A seal and a goose have formed a close friendship at Edinburgh Park and are frequently seen perched on the rocks together in
    Austrian Archives / Getty Images
    A seal and a goose have formed a close friendship at Edinburgh Park and are frequently seen perched on the rocks together in 1936.
  • Charlie the cockatiel finds Fluffy the cat's head makes a perfect perch. The pets were owned by Fred and Mary Scholl and were
    Getty Images
    Charlie the cockatiel finds Fluffy the cat's head makes a perfect perch. The pets were owned by Fred and Mary Scholl and were inseparable. Circa 1982.
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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Animals Tricking Each Other
CONVERSATIONS