The “Happy Families” exhibits at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Thailand feature animal families of mixed species, including the odd combination of eight-year-old tiger Sai Mai and her adopted baby pigs. Other exhibits include families of tiger cubs adopted by mother pigs.
(Photo: Sukree Suplang/Reuters)
Smaigel the Cat / Puppies
It’s not a scene most people expect: an animal of one species adopting or parenting that of another. Yet there have been a number of publicized interspecies pairings, from tigers mothering baby pigs to turtles becoming friends with hippos. In particular, domestic cats and dogs co-existing happily or even becoming fast friends seems like a rare feat. But in February 2009, when the mother of four puppies died in a car accident, a cat named Smaigel accepted the pups as her own. Above, Smaigel the cat nursed her kittens and the puppies at her owner Mohammad Al-Hamoury’s house in Amman, Jordan.
(Photo: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters)
Tita The Cat / Baby Squirrel
Ruben Gaviria, a resident of Envigado, Colombia, rescued a squirrel after it was found injured in a park in February 2010. Gaviria’s cat Tita breastfed the squirrel (above) a few days later.
(Photo: Albeiro Lopera/Reuters)
Dog / Cora the baby tiger
A four-year-old dog (above) adopted Cora, a two-month-old baby tiger, in Villeneuve-d’Asq, northern France in July 2004. Cora, who was born into a circus, was accepted by the dog after the baby tiger was rejected by her mother.
(Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)
Uri-bo The Boar / Miwa The Monkey
Both found without their mothers in June 2010, baby monkey Miwa and baby boar Uri-bo were brought together at the Fukuchiyama City Zoo in the Kyoto Prefecture of Japan and became quite the popular pair. Japanese monkeys generally ride on their mothers’ backs, and Miwa took to Uri-bo as a replacement.
(Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)
Giant Tortoise / Owen The Hippopotamus
Owen, a baby hippopotamus that survived the Indian Ocean tsunami, adopted a giant male Aldabran tortoise as its “mother” in 2005. Wildlife rangers rescued the hippopotamus after he was swept into the Indian Ocean and then forced back to shore when tsunami waves hit the Kenyan coast. Separated from his mother, Owen and the tortoise have been together for at least a year at the Mombasa Haller Park in Mombasa, Kenya.
(Photo: Peter Greste/AFP/Getty Images)
Dog / Lion Cubs
A mother dog at the Safari Park in Hefei, China, parented three lion cubs when their mother abandoned them after birth in July 2009. It is common in Chinese zoos to use female dogs as surrogate mothers for new cubs, including tigers and bears.