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Cat and crow, rhino and goat, guinea pig and cavy, human and dog? Jessi talks about relationships among animals of different species.

Links to videos of interspecies relationships mentioned:
Deer and Sheep
Wolf and Dog
Cat and Crow
Dog and Elephant
Rhino and Goat

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Hi guys I'm Jessi and today, let's talk about friendships.


I like friends. I'm a social species and social species thrive when they form relationships with others. That holds true for other species of animals, too. Most social species benefit from some type of companionship. In the wild they most commonly find that companionship within their species, sometimes not.

Sometimes they find companionship in the most unlikely of places, like the wolf who befriended a dog, or the raven who plays with cats, or the deer who romps with sheep. These unlikely friendships are called interspecies relationships, and while rare in the wild, they're much more common in captivity.

Anytime an animal bonds to a human, that's also an interspecies relationship, but human/animal pairs aren't the only ones that happen in captivity. There's been an elephant and a dog, a tortoise and a pig, a rhino and a goat, a cavy and a guinea pig, and many, many more. 

Some people may think it's unnatural, but I think we should always leave room for an animal's individual personal preference when it comes to ideas about how an animal should behave. We're always looking for ways to make sure that our social species are given the opportunity to find a companion. So let's meet some of our interspecies relationships and see why they work so well.

Chili Pepper the Patagonian cavy and Pickles the guinea pig - obviously different species, but the reason that they work so well together is that their species are closely related. They're both rodents and in the family Caviidae. They communicate well enough but if they do have a disagreement, it's easily resolved and their size discrepancy isn't that big of a barrier.

Here's Ecuador the Jenday Conure and Loulou the half-moon Conure, they met, immediately bonded, and have been inseparable since. They work well together because they're both new world parakeets AKA conures so their behaviors are very similar. They do bicker over food sometimes, but because they can understand each others' communication, they do just fine together.

Let's check in with another interspecies relationship, Seraphina the red fox and Cas the arctic fox. Yes, they're both foxes, but in the wild the would be deadly enemies. A red fox will aggressively take over an arctic fox den and kill the adults and the kits if given the chance. The reason these two do well together is because they met when they were very young. Animals when they're young are much more accepting of interacting with other species, even those they may eat later in life. As they grew up together, we watched as they learned how to communicate with each other. Their body language and vocalizations are different, but they understand each other well enough that they've always been able to work out any dispute.

I'm going to end with an interspecies relationship that most of you are familiar with, human plus other species. For example, Ruby the domestic dog. She has a relationship with two of her own species and an even stronger relationship with Kiki the cat, but neither of those compare to the bond that her and I share. We rescued her when she was about four months old and we've been best buds since day one.

Social animals need to be social to fulfill their physical and mental well-being, however, forcing and animal that belongs to a social species to interact with another species may not be in their best interest. Sometimes personalities just don't mix and sometimes different species can't communicate well enough and one of the animals ends up getting hurt or being stressed out. Individuality must be taken into account and if an animal prefers the company of a species that's not their own, as long as it's safe, I'm all for it.

Thanks for joining us and if you'd like to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel Animal Wonders Montana. If you have any questions for me throughout the week, you can find me on Tumblr, twitter and Facebook. Thanks guys.