Resources

Did you enjoy the Animal’s protecting Animals activity? Use this page to explore how different animals can protect other animals, and learn more about the pairs you may have seen during the game.

Listen to Lucy King talk about how animals sometimes help other animals.

Animals that work together

In the matching activity there were lots of pairs of animals that work together for protection. Was there a pair that surprised you? Learn more below.

Meat ants and caterpillars

Meat ants will often protect other creatures such as caterpillars, but the protection is beneficial to both. The caterpillars make a sugary liquid that the ants love, so by protecting these caterpillars they get a constant supply of sweet treats!

https://australian.museum/learn/animals/insects/meat-ant/

Hornbill and mongoose

The hornbill and the mongoose work together to warn each other of predators. They will eat together and are able to understand each others warning calls. Often hornbill’s will be seen in the morning waiting near the mongoose nests to go hunting with them – almost like a lunch date!

https://www.sabisabi.com/wildfacts/dwarf-mongoose/

Yellow nosed gobi and pistol shrimp

Pistol shrimp and yellow-nosed gobies will often pair up to protect one another. The pistol shrimp are good at making burrows, however have poor eyesight. The gobies have better eyesight, however are not good at building a burrow. These creatures work together to protect each other, the gobi by keeping watch and the shrimp by building them a home. They communicate using their tails and antennae. This pair are truly a match made in heaven. 

https://absolutelyfish.com/a-strange-pairing/

Clown fish and anemone

Clownfish will often make anemones their home. Clownfish attract their predators into the anemone, which have poison which will paralyse the predators. The anemone will get a meal, and the clownfish a safe home that they will keep clean.

https://www.fordivers.com/en/fauna/especie/clownfish/

Zebra and ostrich

If you don’t have the best senses, team up with someone who does! Zebras have poor eyesight, however their hearing and sense of smell is excellent. Ostriches have amazing vision, but poor hearing and smell. Together these animals make the perfect match, and move together for the best protection they can get.

https://animalsymbiosis.weebly.com/zebra-and-ostrich.html

Llamas and sheep

Llamas can be very ferocious creatures. They are loud, and aggressive towards dangerous creatures such as foxes. Llamas will bond with a flock of sheep effectively and protect that flock whilst in the paddocks. However don’t add more then one llama per flock of sheep – the llamas will bond with each other and ignore the sheep!

https://www.alpacamagic.com.au/livestock-guardians/

Remora and shark

Remora’s are an interesting fish. They have a suction cup like organ on their head that allows hem to stick onto passing sharks. They then use the shark as protection from predators and help to transport them around the ocean. These fish definitely have a scary protector on their side.

https://sharktourshawaii.com/blog/shark-remora-fish-unique-relationship/

Tarantula and humming frog

In the most unlikely of pairings, tarantula’s will protect humming frogs. The humming frogs taste bad to the spiders, but instead of simply ignoring these frogs they allow them into their nests. This gives the frogs protection from predators and a comfortable place to call home.

https://www.biographic.com/enemy-of-my-enemy/

Symbiotic relationships

Many of these relationships are symbiotic. A symbiotic relationship is a relationship between two different species where one or both will benefit from their interactions. Look at the links below to see some more examples of animals protecting animals and symbiotic relationships.

https://www.animalssavinganimals.org/puppy-to-protector

https://www.thedodo.com/archive/examples-animals-working-together