Friendships come in all shapes and sizes. That is especially true in the animal kingdom! In the natural world, unlikely relationships blossom when animals realize they can work together. Read on to learn about 5 unlikely friends in the animal world!
1) Oxpeckers and Rhinos
As you can imagine, a Rhino is not a very flexible mammal. In fact, it's nearly impossible for these 12 ft, 4,000 LB animals to clean themselves. Enter: oxpeckers. These friendly birds are often seen cleaning the backs of Rhinos. Oxpeckers love removing harmful parasites, ticks and fleas from Rhinos back. After all, who doesn’t love a good meal!?
2) Remora Fish and Sharks
Fish are friends, not food. Well… that is at least true for this friendly duo! Aside from having a lot of courage, the Remora Fish utilizes a special organ that resembles a suction cup to attach to passing sharks. The Remora survive on scraps left by the sharks as well as cleaning parasites off the body of their larger, more aggressive friends.
3) Spider Crab and Algae
Over time, many animals have adapted to be camouflaged in their environments. This protects them from predators and allows them to feed more effectively. Although most camouflage is a part of the animal themselves, this is not true for the Spider Crab. This illusive invertebrate can be found in shallow water, allowing green and brown algae to grow on their exoskeleton. The algae now has a wonderful home while the Spider Crab remains extremely hidden from predators.
4) Warthogs and Mongooses
Warthogs are notorious for being one of the most aggressive fighters in Tanzania. However, they’re often found covered in mongoose. Although it would be very easy for the Warthog to attack the mongoose, he knows that wouldn’t be in his best interest. This is because the mongoose and warthogs have worked out a fantastic deal. The mongoose are more than happy to help clean off the warthogs hide in exchange for a delicious meal of parasites and insects.
5) Green Sea Turtles and Surgeonfish
For surgeonfish, cleaning is a family business. For generations, Green Sea Turtles have been loyal customers who visit their “cleaning stations” near coral reefs. At these stations, set up by surgeonfish, the fish work hard to remove algae off the shells of these magnificent sea creatures. With a clean shell, the turtles can swim with more ease, making their 10,000 mile migratory journey easier. With full stomachs, the surgeonfish can celebrate yet another satisfied customer.
If there is anything we should take away from the animal world, it’s that we can all support each other in different ways. Remember, even if a relationship seems unlikely or impossible, we should always work together and raise each other up to be the best we can be.
Which one of these relationships surprises you the most? Comment below to tell us!