Do other animals keep pets?
May 3, 2009 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Do any other animals keep pets?

It makes me smile to think about a baboon petting a kitten. Does this actually happen or no? Are humans the only animals with pets?

And furthermore does a symbiotic relationship count as pet ownership?

Does this occur naturally with any other animals?
posted by jay.eye.elle.elle. to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Koko the gorilla does, though she's not wild.
posted by Sova at 3:05 PM on May 3, 2009

Symbiotic relationships do (pretty commonly), but pets in the truer sense that you seem to be implying doesn't, as far as I am aware.
posted by Brockles at 3:07 PM on May 3, 2009

Ants keep aphids.
posted by spasm at 3:08 PM on May 3, 2009 [3 favorites]

Here is a video of Koko playing with All Ball, one of her previous cats.
posted by Sova at 3:08 PM on May 3, 2009 [3 favorites]

Ants keep aphids to milk them for honeydew, but that's more like farming than having a pet.
posted by teraspawn at 3:10 PM on May 3, 2009

There was a story that made the rounds on the internet recently (like last year or so), about a snake that wouldn't eat one particular hamster.

here it is (from 2006, I guess).

I have no idea what is going on there.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 3:41 PM on May 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Or are we the "animals" pets? Typical pets (cats & dogs) became so because of the deal we made in the caves. You take care of me & I will care for you.
posted by patnok at 4:02 PM on May 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

My wife got to work with chimps in grad skool, and she said the chimps in the outdoor pens had made a pet of a stray kitten.
posted by Rykey at 4:25 PM on May 3, 2009

It seems many animals will foster babies of other species. That seems like it might count.

My favorite bit :

"In 2001, at Kenya's Samburu National Park ,a young lioness spotted an Oryx antelope calf near its mother. The lioness frightened away the antelope mother, then picked up the calf in her mouth. She kept the Oryx calf by her side for naps, nuzzling it, but allowed it to return to its antelope Oryx mother for nursing. This went on for two weeks, until a lion from another pride killed the calf while the calf was playing away from the lioness, who was asleep. When the lioness awoke to find the dead Oryx, she was enraged and roared at the predatory lion, circling the predator 10 times, before she drove her away."
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:43 PM on May 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Horses often become extremely attached to goats, cats, and dogs--e.g., Native Dancer and his "pet," Black Cat.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:29 PM on May 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Here is an old youtube of a crow which took care of a stray kitten by bringing it food.
posted by some idealist at 6:33 PM on May 3, 2009 [3 favorites]

there's an elephant in Tennessee that has what is, to all appearances, a pet dog
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:45 PM on May 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

we are kept by seven kindly cats that take very good care of us. gives my wife and me a purpose in life
posted by Redhush at 7:20 PM on May 3, 2009 [4 favorites]

In the 1960s and 70s London Zoo had a gorilla named Guy who used to hold out his hand for birds to land on it, and would stroke them and look at them with gentle fascination.
posted by essexjan at 12:39 AM on May 4, 2009

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