In the wild, you can see crazy stuff, like animals where the male is very different from the female, or animals pretending to be other animals. Very impressive. And here we are going to look at a subject that is at least as impressive: there are animals which do not belong to the same species and which nevertheless give each other a hand to improve their existence. We call it mutualism. Both species benefit from this cooperation, and everyone is happy.
1. The wombats who saved many animals from the flames in Australia by welcoming them into their burrows
Wombats are burrowing geniuses, they dig ultra elaborate tunnels with several entrances and connections all very well insulated from the outside. So inevitably, when other animals know the vein, it’s the ideal hideout in a blazing context like the one that’s raging in Australia at the moment (yes because contrary to what they say, wombats don’t have not welcomed other animals by offering them a cup of tea, it’s just that their habitat allowed a general squat). And in addition the wombats make all square poops which does not detract from their charm.
2. Koala rescue dogs
Yes, it still happens in Australia, where fires are an opportunity for great solidarity between animals. Good in this case, we direct them a tad the good dogs-dogs. And as the koalas were trapped in the flames, dogs trained by the firefighters were in charge of finding them and extracting them from the flames. So of course it’s their job as a fire dog, but it’s still really nice.
3. The Wolf and the Crow
Please note, this is not a new fable by La Fontaine. In Yellowstone Park, wolves and crows have already been observed hunting in pairs: the crow looks for prey and gives a signal to the wolf when it has found it, to guide it. It makes it easier for the wolf to find its meal of the day, and it allows the crow to eat prey that it could never have killed on its own. Prey still fresh, because he is not a fan of rotten meat from old carcasses, the crow.
4. The oxpecker bird and the rhinoceros, buffalo or giraffe
The oxpecker bird has a big love: feeding on parasites present on large mammals. The latter let him do it, because casually, it’s very practical to have a minion who takes care of turning the fleas that wander on your back. On top of that, in the case of the rhinoceros, which has really bad eyesight, the bird can possibly take care of alerting it when it sees a predator. But it’s especially useful for small rhinos who are still young, because the big ones are rarely attacked, or else by humans, and that’s another story. On the other hand, there is a problem with the oxpecker, it is that it also likes to feed on the blood of the wounds of large mammals, and that slows down healing, so it’s less cool.
5. Zebras, ostriches, gazelles and antelopes
Some of these species tend to unite their groups and wander together to help each other and take turns serving as sentinels. For example, the ostrich, on its own, is rather a victim, but it is a good sentinel, so by squatting the group of zebras, it helps them, and in addition it is less in danger. It is convenient.
6. The shark and the remoras
A great classic: in the ocean, remoras are those little fish that cling to the shark to eat all the parasites that wander around its body and that can infiltrate its gills. Thanks to the remoras, the shark is less bored. Thanks to the shark, the remoras eat by sight and are protected. Bright.
7. Shark and Striped Shrimp
A bit like the remora, the striped shrimp comes to clean the shark. But there, failing to cling to it with a suction cup, the shrimp can come and squat in the mouths of large sharks to clean it. It’s like a personal dentist. She can also clean the gills if you give her a small tip.
8. Honey Badger and Indicator
Indicators are related birds that love honey, beeswax and bee larvae. But since they can’t attack a hive on their own, they look for ratels (a sort of cousin of the badger with a hairy head) and they guide them to the hive they have spotted beforehand. Once the mammal has attacked the hive, the bird can eat its share tranquillou.
9. The Man and the Indicator
Because yes, man is an animal too. In Mozambique, men have understood the role of the indicator and are using it to locate beehives. For this they have a whistle that attracts the bird. When they follow it, they find a hive in 75% of cases, which is still quite reliable. And that has nothing to do with the relationship between a man and his hunting dog, which is a relationship of domestication and training.
10. Capybara and birds
The capybara is a large rodent that can be 1m30 long and weigh more than 60 kg. So we’re talking about a beautiful baby. In nature, we often see birds squatting on its back, for two reasons: already, the capybara is mega social and becomes friends with all the animals, and then the birds can rid it of its parasites, and that’s is also pretty cool. The capybara is the cutest animal in the animal kingdom.
11. The Cattle Egret and Large Mammals
Much like the oxpecker bird, the cattle egret feeds on ticks and other parasites present on large mammals, such as cattle and horses. Except he doesn’t lick their blood, because he’s nicer.
12. The Man and the Dolphin
In some fishing areas, especially off the coast of Brazil, dolphins tell fishermen where to cast their nets to catch more fish. And it works. Dolphins aren’t even domesticated, and in fact some of them aren’t cooperative and don’t help fishermen. There, we do not know if we can speak of mutualism, because we still have not found what advantage the dolphins derive from this relationship. We wonder if the nets don’t help them eventually catch disoriented fish, but it’s not sure at all.
13. Anemones and Clownfish
So I’ll stop you right away, those who are starting to say that anemones are not animals, well know that they are half-plants, half-animal. So technically, they have their place in this top. In short, anemones may look harmless, but they produce deadly venom for fish. EXCEPT, clownfish have a little protective mucus that protects them from venom. They can therefore squat pépouze in the legs of the anemone and can thus defend it from other poiscailles potentially interested in the anemone.
In another genus, the Lybia is a crab that is also called “boxer crab” or “cheerleader” because it holds an anemone on each of its two large claws, which allows it to protect itself while protecting the mini pom-pom anemones. So cute.
And to dispel any doubt, we are not talking about the actress Anemone.