Baby tiger strikes up unlikely animal friendship with puppy

The unlikely animal friendship between puppy Chelsea and tiger cub Hunter, shown here playing together outside
(Image credit: YouTube)

Everybody needs a best friend in life to get them through the hard times and for baby Bengal tiger Hunter, forming an unlikely animal friendship with German Pointer puppy Chelsea has helped him to do just that. 

Separated from his mother after she began behaving aggressively toward him, Hunter was taken in by The Farm Inn Hotel and Wildlife Sanctuary in Pretoria, South Africa where he quickly bonded with keeper Anthea Michaletos’ puppy Chelsea.

“We currently have a baby tiger, he’s almost three months old now and his name is Hunter,” Michaletos says. “And I have a puppy, a German Shorthaired Pointer, she’s about four months nearly and her name is Chelsea. They seem to really enjoy one another.”

While the separation from his mother was difficult for Hunter, his friendship with Chelsea is not only providing him with love, affection, and companionship but is also helping him to learn the vital skills his mother would have taught him. 

“Well, there’s a lot of wrestling involved and a lot of stalking,” explains Michaletos. “So you can see from his natural instinct that if she runs away from him, he’s immediately crouching down and almost trying to surprise her. She’s a hunting dog, so it’s quite interesting to watch - she stalks him right back, which is quite a cool concept as you don’t really see that with dogs.”

As the only cub in his litter, Michaletos says it’s important that Hunter has someone around his age that he can play with. The two bonded immediately and have remained firm friends, with both finding it hard to be apart. While the friendship has been wonderful for both Hunter and Chelsea, Michaletos knows that someday soon the two will need to be separated for Chelsea’s protection.

“Hunter doesn’t take his claws out. He does bite but not really hard so you can see they care for each other. But I think on six months from Hunter’s side will be enough for them, that’s when they get quite boisterous and almost play a bit too hard.”

While the two will have a hard goodbye to endure, for now, this sweet duo is enjoying every minute of the precious time they have left together. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.