If you thought interspecies friendships were limited to Disney movies and the Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater, you'd be wrong. Because the animal kingdom is simply fraught with animals crossing species lines to help a brother out. Here are a few of the most seemingly incompatible animals who are actually homeys for life.
#6. Coyotes and Badgers Form Tag Teams
If there's one animal the ghost of Chuck Jones owes a serious apology to, it's the coyote. Because chances are when you hear the word "coyote" you think of this:
When you should really think of this:
It's fast, it's strong and it looks like it should be singing backup vocals for Danzig. But this guy has a problem: As lithe as he is, he can't go underground, but his prey can, and do. So what's a Canis latrans to do? We'll tell you what it does: It tags in a badger buddy to dig those vermin up out of the ground and kill them dead.
Taxadea taxus: Tell him he looks like a skunk to his face.
What the Huh?
Coyotes and badgers essentially want the same thing in life: Small mammals to eat. But prairie animals can elude the badger by running fast, and can elude the coyote by crawling into their burrows. So at some point in history the badger and the coyote gave each other a meaningful glance...
...and decided get their peanut butter all up in each other's chocolate.
When a coyote and a badger work together, the coyote chases the prey until it tires out and hides in its burrow. Then the badger takes over and digs it out. If he gets it, he wins dinner. But if the animal pops up out of another hole and the coyote snags it first, he wins. Either way, the prairie dog loses.
Teamwork's only awesome when it's not killing you.
Scientists claim coyotes are more likely to hunt alongside badgers than other coyotes, and are more likely to succeed in the hunt with their badger partner. They also say it's only a matter of time before the badger and the coyote are the stars of their own hilarious buddy cop movie.
Although it would probably be Joe Pesci and Adrien Brody.
#5. Ants Raise Aphids Like Farm Animals
We humans think we're pretty hot stuff with this whole "domestication" business: Chimpanzees have, what, 99 percent of the same DNA we do, and yet they wouldn't know how to milk a cow if you held a gun to their heads. Trust us, we learned that the hard way (we miss you every day, Dr. Jiggles). Indeed, very few other species have stumbled upon the secrets to agriculture. Among them are ants, who have figured out how to herd other smaller insects called aphids like cattle. Why? For the sweet nectar aphids secrete from their anuses.
What the Huh?
The bane of gardeners everywhere, aphids spend their entire lives eating so much that they almost continuously shit. Since virtually all they eat are the sugary fluids inside plants, that shit happens to be a juicy, candy-like goodness called honeydew.
Also known as "booty juice."
Various species of ants--which would normally tear most other insects into bite-sized chunks--have learned that you can get more food if you keep aphids alive. They've also evolved a way of gently stroking an aphid's ass to trigger the excretion of sugar-crusted bug crap, and even appoint "shepherds" to protect the aphids from predators. The helpers even carry them to new plants, demonstrating all the basic fundamentals of cultivation that one bullet-riddled chimpanzee failed to grasp.
Because chimps can tell when you're bluffing, that's why.
#4. Watchman Fish and Pistol Shrimp Are Roommates
The shrimp goby, or "watchman fish," is a cute little bug-eyed fish so named because it shares its sandy burrow with a species of smaller "pistol shrimp," a cute little crustacean so named for packing a sonic freaking rifle in its claws. The deadly shrimp hasn't just moved in with the bigger fish, but created the entire burrow itself, taking the extra time to build it just wide enough for its scaly friend to live. It's just like the classic TV series The Odd Couple if Tony Randall fired sound blasts from his fists.
What the Huh?
A speedy fish with large, sophisticated eyeballs is pretty well equipped to evade predators, but can do little to build and protect a permanent nest. A burrowing shrimp with an atomic cannon in its arm is pretty equipped for home security, but happens to be terribly nearsighted.
Put these guys together, and you cover all the bases needed to keep off the seafood menu. While the shrimp provides the boarding and protection, it uses its long antennae to keep in constant contact with its seeing-eye-fish, kind of like a blind guy with a shotgun. The shrimp will even build a pad large enough to accommodate the goby's girlfriend, who will move in to raise a family and probably break up the band just like his buddy the pistol shrimp told him she would, man.