Keeping a pet is the kind of asshole move that only humans could think up. Taking an otherwise wild creature, slapping a collar on it or sticking it in a cage, and making it dance for our pleasure? That shit would never work in the animal kingdom, where every creature that isn't your own species is either predator or prey.
Yet, looking around this giant waterlogged space-boulder we call Earth, we find several clear cases of domestication among animals that shouldn't even grasp the concept. Fortunately for us, the photos of these creatures together are almost always hilarious.
5 Giant Tarantulas Employ Tiny Frogs as Housekeepers
It takes a moment for the eye to adjust to that image, because it makes no goddamned sense. That there is a huge, furry spider hanging out with his tiny little frog pal, ready to go on adventures together like they're in some awful direct-to-video Disney movie. But that shit is happening out in nature, right this moment.
"Uh ... It's not what it looks like."
As an aggressive, venomous, and trouser-ruiningly huge tarantula, Xenesthis immanis has no trouble murdering just about anything it wants. Small, furry mammals are nothing more than fast food, and it can even kill and eat venomous snakes simply by biting first. It's pretty much the last animal you'd expect to keep a loving, loyal pet. And yet, Xenesthis immanis has made itself a best friend in the form of a tiny, adorable, dopey-looking frog named Chiasmocleis ventrimaculata.
This frog is so teeny and vulnerable, even Kermit could slap it around. They're aware of this, too, doing just about anything to survive, from living under massive mounds of elephant shit to living under the figurative thumb of an eight-legged murderer.
Keep in mind, they eat other frogs.
The latter is actually the perfect setup, for both frog and spider. As the spider feasts on prey, discarded remains begin to pile up. This (along with the spider's appetizing eggs) attracts ants and other hungry pests, which the tiny amphibian eats up before any damage can be done to the nest. In exchange, the spider does not kill and eat the frog. That's ... pretty much it. These two radically different species have come to an unspoken understanding.
Or maybe a spoken one. We don't speak spider-frog.
Of course, this is a giant, angry, hungry spider, and sometimes they forget themselves. Should Xenesthis ever lose its shit like Oscar Madison on bath salts and start picturing its pet Felix roasted on a plate with an apple in its mouth, the suddenly-not-so-harmless froggy will unveil its secret weapon: toxic skin. Biting into it isn't enough to kill the spider, but will certainly persuade it to cancel its dinner plans and go back to chewing on something safer. Like a cobra.
4 Emperor Shrimps Ride Other Creatures Like They're Horses
Despite sharing a title with Palpatine, emperor shrimps are actually about as powerful as that little frog thing Jabba was friends with. Tiny, slow, weak, and defenseless, these guys are all but predestined to wind up the main course on some bigger fish's barbie. How do they survive, then? By turning every larger creature they see into their majestic stallion, to carry them along the ocean floor like the freaking Lone Ranger.
Emperor shrimps are natural hitchhikers, and they'll ride just about anything in a pinch (they might even choose you, which is certainly a better fate than if a shark decided to do so) -- but their ideal whip is some venomous creature, like a sea cucumber, medusa worm, or nudibranch. Those animals are usually brightly colored, a striking visual that can easily convince potential predators to stay the fuck away or risk a very painful death indeed.
Unlike most other creatures that travel from place to place via living, breathing taxi, these shrimps are not parasites. They don't harm their trusty steeds in any way, and might even help them by nibbling on actual parasites that stupidly try to take root. More often, though, they simply hitch a ride to wherever it is shrimps go when they're not slathered in butter on somebody's plate, feasting on any waste or debris that the steed kicks up during the ride.
"I'm going to call you Falcor."
Emperor shrimps are so dependent on their free rides, in fact, that if they can't get one, they'll just sit around and mope until something sittable comes along. But when one does, the scene's more magical than a hundred "soldiers on leave surprising their children" videos put together. Such as in the video below: If worm whispering isn't your thing, just skip to 5:20 and enjoy the new couple's beautiful first dance together.