11 Aww-Inspiring Animal Surrogates

From dogs nursing lions to a hen raising puppies, meet the mega moms who've stepped in to help life's littlest creatures

01 of 11

RARE FIND

RARE FIND
Splash News Online

Four rare snow tiger cubs became even more rarefied last October when they were abandoned by their mother. They were adopted by a dog named Hei Niu, who already had two puppies of her own.

02 of 11

LOVE IN LOSS

Image
Ilya Naymushin/Landov

At Siberia’s Royev Ruchey Zoo, a 2-day-old lion cub was adopted by a mutt after its mom died during delivery. The surrogate sniffed the cub, licked its head and generously fed the baby before putting it to bed with its two tiny new puppy siblings.

03 of 11

SURLY STEPMOM

SURLY STEPMOM
Adam Harnett/Zuma

When an injury forced Mabel the hen inside her British home for the winter, she took to raising four Jack Russell terrier puppies – even though their mom was right there. “She climbed on top of them,” the animals’ owner told PEOPLEPets.com. “She went all broody.”

04 of 11

HAPPY TO HELP

Image
AP

After giving birth in China’s Taiyuan Zoo by surprise, a red panda was so spooked that she instantly rejected her cubs. Luckily, zookeepers recruited an enthusiastic new mommy: A lactating mixed-breed dog from a local farm.

05 of 11

SO SQUIRRELY

SO SQUIRRELY
Ashley Steven Ayscue/AP

Three baby squirrels found themselves homeless in North Carolina after the tree they were living in was trimmed. But thanks to Gail Latta and her motherly pooch Pixie, they grew strong, opened their eyes and moved to a wildlife rehabilitation center.

06 of 11

HOGS & HUGS

Image
Fame

Call it motherly instinct: A dog named Laska in Hamburg, Germany, made it her mission to clean and warm two tiny wild boar babies, both of whom were found abandoned by hikers walking in nearby forests.

07 of 11

MEGA MAMA

Image
Fame

A resident of the Cango Wildlife Reserve in Oudsthoorn, South Africa, yellow Lab Lisha has been a surrogate to more than 30 orphaned animals over the years, ranging from a porcupine to a pygmy hippo. Her latest charges? Three orphaned tiger cubs, rejected by their mother.

08 of 11

PERFECT HARMONY

PERFECT HARMONY
Dan Bates/AP

When mama cat Velvet was killed by a car near her home in Washington, her owners didn’t know who would raise her newborn kittens. But their daughter’s Australian shepherd, Lakota, stepped up to the plate, cleaning and caring for them until they were adopted.

09 of 11

SIZING HIM UP

SIZING HIM UP
Fame

Rhodesian ridgeback Katjinga was more than happy to help this 2-week-old piglet, who was found close to death in Germany. The two bonded right away, so much, in fact, that Katjinga even began lactating again, and fed her hungry charge.

10 of 11

CUTE COEXISTENCE

Image
Rex

While she never had puppies of her own, German shepherd Luka gladly stepped up as surrogate mom to six 5-week-old kittens in Australia, after their mom was killed tragically in a brushfire.

11 of 11

SAVING GRACE

SAVING GRACE
Leigh Winburn/Rex

Pup Tinkerbell was at an animal hospital giving birth via C-section when a man walked in with three orphaned kittens. To save them from euthanization, Tinkerbell’s owner took the newborn cats on the off chance that her dog would warm to them – and luckily for everyone involved, she did.

Related Articles