By: Hannah Rosenhoff

We’ve seen unlikely friendships among animals across the globe. Relationships like a gorilla and kitten friendship, and the elephant and dog duo have gone viral. Animals continue to wow us with their cross-species interactions.

In this case, a pod of sperm whales has taken a physically deformed bottlenose in as a member of the squad. This is particularly surprising as sperm whales are not usually a species known to forge bonds with other animals.

The pod was spotted off the coast of Portugal in 2013 and monitored for eight days. During this time, they showed repetitive positive gestures. The dolphin rubs its body against the whales and even gets the same behavior in return.

The initial interaction may have been simply playful, or it could have had something to do with bow riding. This is when dolphins use the pressure waves caused by boats or in this situation, whales, to hitch a ride.

Despite however they met, these creatures are clearly enjoying each others company!

Dolphins are sociable beings, but this one was likely unable to keep up with its original pod. There are a couple theories on why the whales took in the loner as one of their own. Some scientists think that the behavior of the dolphin was considered non-threatening, so the whales accepted its presence like they would a calf.

This sperm whale and dolphin interaction is pretty rare as there are no other documented cases. The dolphin is lucky to have found whales with calves of their own as this may have eased the acceptance.

Another theory was that the dolphin sought out company for protection. Being a lone dolphin out in the ocean is not an ideal safety situation because predators can easily approach a single prey. On top being alone, its abnormal shape would have certainly been a disadvantage.

Nobody actually knows the real reason why this unlikely family formed. But whatever the reason, seeing friendships and acceptance of others in the animal kingdom is something we can learn from and apply to our lives.

Check out the dolphin being nuzzled by its new pod on Youtube: Sperm Whales Adopt Deformed Dolphin

Reposted from Awesome Ocean