Cheetah Cub and Puppy Become Fast Friends

We all know how important our BFFs are — and it turns out this is just as true for animals as it is for people. Even when the animals are completely different species.

Ruuxa, a 6-week-old cheetah cub, and Raina, a 7-week-old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, just met — and they’re already the best of friends. And we love seeing them together just as much as they love each other!

This dynamic duo is being raised together at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where Raina will be Ruuxa’s lifelong companion.

Ruuxa is being hand-reared by his keepers because he was rejected by his mom; when he's a little older, he will become a Safari Park ambassador. All of the park’s cheetah ambassadors are paired with a canine companion early in life. As they grow up together, the cheetah learns to take cues from the dog’s body language. When the cheetah sees that his doggy pal is relaxed in new or public surroundings, it puts the cheetah at ease.  

Check out how adorable they are together, and see more of the cutest zoo babies of the year in the gallery below.

Zoo Babies of 2014

San Francisco Zoo flamingo chick

Marianne Hale, San Francisco Zoo

Four fluffy white Chilean flamingo chicks hatched in late August and early September at the San Francisco Zoo.

baby pygmy hippo Parken Zoo

Parken Zoo

Olivia, who's been nicknamed "Michelin Man" by her keepers, is a baby pygmy hippo who was born on August 2 at Sweden's Parken Zoo.

Red Panda at Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo

Red panda twins — a boy and a girl — were born June 27 at the U.K.'s Chester Zoo to first-time mom Nima and dad Jung. Keepers first knew they'd arrived when they heard little squeaks coming from inside their nesting box.

OKC zoo gorilla baby

Oklahoma City Zoo

A western lowland gorilla was born August 16 at the Oklahoma City Zoo to mom Ndjole and dad Togo. She is being hand-reared by the animal care team there after her mom showed little interest in taking care of her.

Bristol Zoo lemurs

Bristol Zoo

Twin Alaotran gentle lemurs were born at the U.K.'s Bristol Zoo in July to dad Mr. Grey (named for Christian Grey of the book 50 Shades of Grey) and his partner Mrs. Grey. The species is critically endangered.

Cougar cub Zoo America

ZooAmerica

A mountain lion cub who was found orphaned in Washington State has a new home across the country at ZooAmerica in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

elephant Reid Park Zoo

Reid Park Zoo

An African elephant was born August 20 to mom Semba at Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona. The baby girl weighed 245 pounds at birth.

Clouded leopard cubs Houston zoo

Stephanie Adams / Houston Zoo

Two clouded leopard cubs were born at the Houston Zoo on June 6. They're the first offspring for mom Suksn and dad Tarak.

Panda triplets

AP

Officials at a Chinese zoo were cautiously optimistic about the birth of rare panda triplets in August.

Tapir at the Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo

Brazilian tapir Zathras, a boy, was born August 4 at the U.K.'s Chester Zoo to mom Jenny.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Masai Giraffe calf

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Gowan, a Masai giraffe calf, was 6 feet, 6 inches when he was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, officials announced in August.

tiger cub Indianapolis zoo

Indianapolis Zoo

An endangered Amur tiger cub was born at the Indianapolis Zoo on July 10. It's the first cub for mom Andrea, who's 6 years old. Both mom and cub are doing well.

Jackson the okapi calf

Tammy Sprat, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Jackson, a male okapi calf, was born to mom Ayana at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on July 6.

endangered rhino San Diego Zoo

Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

A critically endangered black rhino born on July 12 is the fifth calf for mom Lembe and dad Jambia at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

orangutan at Brookfield Zoo

Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society

Kecil, a 6-month-old Bornean orangutan, was born at the Toledo Zoo in January. He's now living at the Brookfield Zoo, where he was introduced to 53-year-old Maggie, an experienced surrogate mom who's bonding with him.

Lincoln Children's Zoo Wallaby

Lincoln Children's Zoo

Liv, a tammar wallaby, is being hand-raised by keepers at Lincoln Children's Zoo in Nebraska after she was found outside her mom's pouch.

Buffalo Zoo Rhino Calf

Kelly Brown, Buffalo Zoo

An endangered female Indian rhino calf was born to mom Tashi at the Buffalo Zoo on June 5. The calf is the first offspring of Jimmy, a rhino who died at the Cincinnati Zoo 10 years ago. The calf was conceived using Jimmy's frozen sperm.

Detroit Zoo Otter

Detroit Zoo

Two male river otter pups were born to mom Whisker and dad Lucius on April 2 at the Detroit Zoo.

San Diego Zoo giraffe

Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

A male Masai giraffe was born to a mother named Harriet at the San Diego Zoo on June 16. The 6-foot-2-inch, 146-pound baby is Harriet's second calf. His dad, Silver, is the herd's sire.

Endinburgh Zoo Pudu

Endinburgh Zoo

Scarlet, a pudu fawn at Scotland's Edinburgh Zoo, has been getting bottles around the clock after her mom died when the fawn was 2 weeks old. Scarlet, who was born in the spring, was reintroduced to her father when she was 4 weeks old and has bonded well with him.

Red Wolf Pups Beardsley Zoo

Beardsley Zoo

Four critically endangered red wolf pups were born at the Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut on May 9. Mom Sally and dad Moose are first-time parents and have been very attentive.

Philadelphia Zoo black footed cats

Philadelphia Zoo

Three black-footed kittens were born to mom Aza at the Philadelphia Zoo on April 8. The litter includes two males, Drogon and Viserion, and a female, Rhaegal.

A male white-faced saki monkey was born at Zoo Miami on May 30 and is being hand-reared by zoo staff.

Ron Magill, Zoo Miami

A male, white-faced saki monkey was born at Zoo Miami on May 30. The monkey, who was rejected by its mother, is being hand-reared by zoo staff.

Rothchild giraffe calf at the Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo

A male Rothschild's giraffe was born at the Dublin Zoo on May 7 to experienced parents Maeve and Robin. The Rothschild's giraffe is one of the more threatened of the nine giraffe subspecies.

Pi, Rhu and Saya

Denver Zoo

Pi, Rhu and Saya, the Denver Zoo's clouded leopard cubs, are getting to know each other. Saya, a female, was born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia in April and arrived in Denver in May. Pi, a male, and Rhu, a female, were born at the Denver Zoo in March. They're being hand-raised after their inexperienced mom was unable to care for them.

Wildlife Safari Oregon Cheetah cub

Wildlife Safari

Keepers at Oregon's Wildlife Safari stepped in to save the life of a cheetah cub who was born on May 3 and rejected by his first-time mother, Moyo. The staff had to clean the cub's airway and stimulate him so he could take his first breath. He's taking his bottle and putting on weight.

Baby tapir at the Denver Zoo

Denver Zoo

Baku, an endangered Malayan tapir calf was born to mom Rinny and dad Benny on April 29 at the Denver Zoo.

klipspringer at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo

Keepers at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago are hand-raising a female klipspringer who was born on March 30. When she's fully grown, the tiny dwarf antelope will stand about 20 inches tall.

Two endangered western snowy plovers were found on the beach and are being cared for at the Monterey Bay Aquarium until they can be released into the wild.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Two endangered western snowy plovers were found on the beach in April and are being cared for at the Monterey Bay Aquarium until they can be released into the wild.

This orphaned badger cub was found in March and is being cared for at the Secret World Wildlife Rescue in the U.K.

Secret World Wildlife Rescue

This orphaned badger cub was found in March and is being cared for at the Secret World Wildlife Rescue in the U.K.

Zoo Babies Gallery: Clouded leopards Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami

Two female clouded leopards were born to mom Serai and dad Rajasi at Zoo Miami on March 13.

Three new Humboldt penguin chicks hatched at the Oregon Zoo in March.

Oregon Zoo

Three new Humboldt penguin chicks hatched at the Oregon Zoo in March. They'll stay in their nesting boxes with their parents until they fledge. One is such a good eater that it's been dubbed "Porker."

Three Sumatran tiger cubs were born to mom Melati at the ZSL London Zoo on Feb. 3. They ventured outside for the first time when they were 7 weeks old.

ZSL London Zoo

Three Sumatran tiger cubs were born to mom Melati at the ZSL London Zoo in February. Two of them are pictured here with their mom as they ventured outside for the first time at 7 weeks old.

Woodland Park Zoo

Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo

Four Asian small-clawed otter pups were born at the Woodland Park Zoo in January to 4-year-old mom Teratai and 8-year-old dad Guntur. The pups got a clean bill of health in their first hands-on wellness exam.

Kapika, a rare Coquerel's sifaka lemur, was born at the St. Louis Zoo on Jan. 21.

Ray Meibaum / Saint Louis Zoo

Kapika, a rare Coquerel's sifaka lemur, was born at the St. Louis Zoo in January.

Oregon Zoo lion cub and dad

Oregon Zoo

Born at the Oregon Zoo in September 2013, three female lion cubs tried the patience of their dad, Zawadi, when they met him for the first time in March.

Dama gazelle calf

Dolores Reed, Smithsonian's National Zoo

During a week in February, three male Dama gazelle calves were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia. The animals are critically endangered, with only 500 remaining in the wild.

This Grevy's zebra was born at the Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo

An endangered Grevy's zebra foal was born at the U.K.'s Chester Zoo to mom Nadine and dad Mac in February.

Oregon Zoo cougar cub

Michael Durham, Oregon Zoo

Three cougar cubs orphaned in Oregon in January were nursed back to health at the Oregon Zoo. They'll make their permanent home at the North Carolina Zoo.

Amur Leopard cubs born at the Prague Zoo

Prague Zoo

Three critically endangered Amur leopard cubs, including one with rare dark fur, were born at the Prague Zoo in late November 2013. Their births were announced in February.

Rockhopper penguins at Omaha Zoo

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Five fuzzy gray rockhopper penguin chicks hatched at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium during the last week of December 2013. They made their media debut in January.

Lion cub at the National Zoo

Karen Abbott, National Zoo

Two African lion cubs were born to mom Naba at the National Zoo in January.

Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo Colobus Monkey

Lowry Park Zoo

Two baby Colobus monkeys were born at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo — one in January 22 to mom Whittney and the second to her sister, August, in February. Both are first-time mothers.

Baby Hippo Whipsnade Zoo

Whipsnade Zoo

A common hippo, born at London's Whipsnade Zoo in December 2013 to mom Lola and dad Hoover, made her first public swim in January.

Denver Zoo Amur Leopard Cub Sochi

Denver Zoo

Named for Russia's Olympic city, Sochi, a rare Amur leopard cub was born at the Denver Zoo in December 2013, but his birth was announced in January.

Adventure Aquarium penguin chick

Adventure Aquarium

Two fuzzy gray penguin chicks hatched the first week of the new year at New Jersey's Adventure Aquarium.

Brookfield Zoo Seal Pup

Brookfield Zoo

A fluffy white seal pup was born to mom Lily at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo on January 1.

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