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20 Unusual Animal Friendships That Will Amaze You

20 Unusual Animal Friendships That Will Amaze You

As humans, we try to be careful about who and how we pick our friends. We learn this at an early age, and try our best to make sure we’re choosing friends with the same values and goals, as well as someone who lift us up. You try hard to make sure you show your friends the best of who you are, and hope they let their true colors shine bright too. Overall, picking and making friends can be a hard affair.

For animals, given the right scenario, they get to skip all the games we humans play. They see straight to the greatness of each other’s hearts. Granted, just like finding your own best friend, animals have to be given the right opportunity to get to know each other and bond. When this happens, it’s one of the most beautiful things we can see. It provides hope and inspiration that maybe one day we’ll be able to be just as blind to what the outside looks like and just see the beauty within.

Here are 20 animal friendships to help brighten your day.

Tiger Labs

    This South African Labrador, Lisha, is well known for her mothering skills at the Oudtshoorn’s Cango Wildlife Ranch. Over the years, she’s bridged the trust gap between cheetahs, pot-bellied pigs, a pygmy hippo, a barn owl, and (more recently) these two tiger cubs.

    Pondi

      Meet Indigo and Poldi, a friendship which warms your heart to no end. Indigo, the shepherd, and her little owl friend were captured in this photo series by photographer, Tanja Brandt.

      Tiger and Pup

        The little tiger cub, Zoya, befriended a zoo employee’s dog after she was rejected by her mother. The duo is exactly the same age at three months old, and play together in a special enclosure at the zoo.

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        CHeetah

          Brought together in Busch Gardens when they were both three months old, Kasi (Cheetah) and Mtani (Labrador) have no idea they wouldn’t normally be friends. Raised together in a special environment designed just for them, the two have been happy siblings into adulthood.

          LIttle Family

            On a farm in Texas, this odd little family shows the true meaning of family, and how it can consist of all types of creatures – great and small. The Siamese Cat plays mama to her little flock of chicks, while she snuggles up with the pit bull who play the father figure to the small family.

            Roo and Penny

              Being a part of the same species doesn’t matter, especially when you’re the best of friends like Penny and Roo, a two-legged Chihuahua. Penny is a Silkie Chicken who met Roo when he was brought to the animal shelter after being abandoned in a local park. Cold and wet, Penny took it upon herself to help warm him up. The two have been together ever since.

              Lion Tiger and bear

                Leo, Sher Kahn, and Baloo–a lion, tiger, and bear trio–were raised together as cubs and later rescued together from a drug baron’s home. When they were moved to Noah’s Ark Rescue Center in Locust Grove, GA the keepers decided to keep them together. Now the three live and play together, regardless of the their differences – and happy as ever.

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                Elephant and dog

                  Meet Bubbles and Bella, a happy pair despite their size differences. Bubbles was brought to the US after being rescued from ivory poachers.

                  Giraffe

                    Bea and Wilma share a 65-acre enclosure at Busch Gardens. With enough space provided to them, they are hardly forced to spend time together, but the two are closely connected and rarely apart.

                    fox and dog

                      Tinni met Sniffer, a wild fox, in a forest in Norway. Now Tinni’s owner, Torgeir Berge, does his best to keep up and let the two play together as often as possible, allowing him to catch their happy moments on film.

                      lion and dog

                        Milo, the Dachshund, adopted Bonedigger when the lion was just a cub. Now, 500lbs later, Bonedigger is still spending his time with the little dog. Apparently, this little puppy’s heart is bigger than the little cub he cares for.

                        Bambi

                          No one really knows the story behind this wild pairing, they were captured on film by a wildlife photographer. Regardless, the real life images of Bambi and Thumper will warm your heart.

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                          hedgehog

                            Love knows no bounds. This mama cat took in this little hedgehog (and about 3 of his siblings), alongside her own kittens, when they were orphaned. The little family bonded and can be seen snuggled together on various blogs.

                            Blue Tick

                              Suryia and Roscoe are two you might recognize from last year’s Super Bowl Android commercial. Roscoe, though not endangered like Suryia’s orangutan brethren, lives with his best friend at an endangered species reserve in the US. Roscoe followed Suryia and her handlers home and, seeing as it appeared he didn’t have anywhere to go, they adopted him into the little family. The orangutan and blue tick hound have been fast friends ever since.

                              Tiger Monkey

                                Anjana, the Chimp, has helped her caretaker, China York, with more than a few orphaned babies. These two white tiger cubs were separated from their mother when the enclosure flooded. Luckily for them, they’ve been adopted by a US Animal Reserve. Her generosity of heart just shows how love is a universal language between not only humans, but all creatures.

                                Froggy Friend

                                  Every year in India, monsoons flood parts of the country. Thanks to a froggy friendship, this little mouse managed to keep his head above water. The little guy’s friend kept him safe when the rains arrived early that year.

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                                  Polar Bear

                                    It was a total surprise to photographer Norbert Rosing, when this polar bear arrived on the scene. Usually, a polar bear would mean the end to the sled dogs tethered nearby, but not in this case. After a friendly greeting was exchanged, the two spent the afternoon playing, wrestling, and cuddling.

                                    Sheep

                                      This young elephant snuggles up to his pen mate, a sheep. Themba, the baby elephant, lost his mother when she fell down a cliff. He was later rescued and taken to a reserve, but after he refused to nurse from a foster mother he was hand-fed in order to remain healthy. His first meeting with Albert the sheep was a bit over-zealous, forcing the sheep to take shelter in a special enclosure. However, the baby elephant’s curiosity and gentle trunk touch soon coaxed his newest herd mate out, and they’ve been together since. Exploring most days with Themba’s trunk across Albert’s back.

                                      Black Swans

                                        It’s a regular scene at Shenzhen Safari Park, where these black swans line up everyday to feed their carp friends. It didn’t take long for the carp to figure out what was going on, and now they line up to receive not only from the swans, but also the caretakers. The swans have taken care of their watery friends for over ten years.

                                        kitty bear

                                          No one at the Berlin Zoo knows the story behind the little black stray who suddenly showed up in the bear enclosure, but one thing is for sure, the two are the best of friends. At one point Maeuschen was separated from her kitty friend–nicknamed Muschi–and pined for her so much that the cat had to be returned to the elderly bear. While the bear was missing her friend, the cat was missing her just as much, until zookeepers took heart on the two and reunited them in the bear’s internal enclosure while the external pen was enlarged.

                                          Conclusion

                                          Even the years couldn’t separate most of these friends. The above example of animal friendships set a beautiful example of how friendship and love is a universal language. The beauty of the heart and soul shines through, despite how nature would label them.

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                                          Jenna Anderson

                                          Jenna is passionate in helping people find their personal power through movement and healthy life style choices.

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                                          Last Updated on January 15, 2021

                                          7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                                          7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                                          The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

                                          Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

                                          Posture

                                          First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

                                          • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
                                          • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
                                          • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
                                          • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

                                          All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

                                          Facial Expressions

                                          Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

                                          • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
                                          • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
                                          • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

                                          If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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                                          1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

                                          A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

                                          The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

                                          This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

                                          2. Relax Your Face

                                          New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

                                          The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

                                          To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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                                          3. Improve Your Eye Contact

                                          Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

                                          The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

                                          To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

                                          3. Smile More

                                          There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

                                          Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

                                          4. Hand Gestures

                                          Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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                                          It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

                                          5. Enhance Your Handshake

                                          In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

                                          “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

                                          It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

                                          6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

                                          As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

                                          Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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                                          Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

                                          Final Takeaways

                                          Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

                                          If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

                                          More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

                                          Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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