Saturday, November 30, 2013
Can Animals Be Friends with Species Other than their Own?
Although many of us have been indoctrinated that some animals, particularly cats dogs, or cats and mice, cannot live in peace together, there are far too many examples of animals forging bonds with other animal species. Animals are capable of overriding their normal biological drives and bonding with other species, especially if social contact is started early. For instance, cats don’t know that they’re cats when raised at an early age with dogs.
Animal Odd Couples, which shows a dog and cheetah seemingly hanging out together as best buds. The documentary explains how the two animals were raised together at Busch Gardens, turning into a special attraction at the theme park. The unlikely companions often surprise guests by racing out of the fence at 20 mph—much like kids do when playing tag.
According to Busch Gardens curator of behavioral husbandry, Tim Smith, the cheetah and dog were raised together as infants after being born in 2011. Kasi, a male cheetah, was the only survivor of a surprise birth from what had been thought to be a post-reproductive female. Since no cheetahs were available after Kasi’s birth, the cub was paired with Mtani, a female Labrador mix.
As with any sibling relationship between animals, there have been growing pains, as Smith notes. For instance, if Mtani wants time away from Kasi, she will bare her teeth or make a low growl. The curator points out that it’s all part of the learning process of what to do and what not do between these animals.
Read the full story at Slate.