4 Animal Pairs Who Are All About Teamwork

Whether you’re a rhino, a human or a tiny fish, sometimes you just need a little teamwork to get by.

There are countless examples of different species helping each other out in the animal kingdom, achieving more than they ever could alone. This list, though, focuses on animals who have a longstanding agreement to cooperate for the greater benefit of both.

1. Sea anemones and hermit crabs

Hermit crabs and sea anemones have worked out a deal to help keep them both safe. The hermit crab will approach a sea anemone and give it a little pinch, making it release itself from wherever it previously called home. Then, the crab lifts up the sea anemone and allows it to attach to its shell. Once there, they roam the ocean together.

Why do such a strange thing? The sea anemone’s barbed tentacles ward off any incoming predators that might be interested in the crab, and in exchange, the crab scares away any predators that might be coming for the sea anemone.

And there’s an added bonus: the sea anemone eats the crab’s leftovers as they come by. After all, why let it go to waste?

2. African oxpeckers and grazing animals

African oxpecker

Photo credit: Paul Godard

Oxpeckers, once thought to be in a completely symbiotic relationship with large, grazing animals on the African plains — like zebras, rhinos and buffalo — have a bit of an edge to them. While they do eat the parasites, including ticks, off of these larger animals, it seems that the birds indulge in some blood as well.

Oxpeckers are widely tolerated, though — likely because they act as alarm systems, alerting larger animals of approaching danger.

3. Goby fish and snapping shrimp

Goby and shrimp

Photo credit: Steve Childs

These two animals have an amazing arrangement. The snapping shrimp is a great builder — it burrows into the sea floor and makes a welcoming home, removing barriers and taking care of any repairs. One drawback, however, is that the shrimp is nearly blind, so it’s limited in protecting itself while it works.

And this is where the goby fish offers its services. The fish keeps an eye out for danger while the shrimp works on the new home. Gobies alert the shrimp by maintaining constant contact with the creature’s antennae, and sometimes even hovering above them while they move rocks. In exchange, the fish gets to live in this nice little burrow with the shrimp.

4.Honeyguide birds and humans


Photo credit: Derek Keats

Now here’s a relationship that involves humans — but there’s no training, caging, breeding or any other human-based reason for this companionship. Instead, the honeyguides are happy to work together with the humans.

First, hunters in Mozambique call to the birds, who are drawn in by a distinctive trilling sound. The birds approach, leading the humans to the honey, who then crack open the beehive. Once that’s done, the hunters can access the honey, and the birds can eat the tasty grubs that they otherwise couldn’t reach.

While these mutualistic relationships are fairly rare in the animal kingdom, now might be a good time to examine how and why teamwork breeds success. Shouldn’t we try to emulate this behavior?

Photo Credit: Derek Keats/Flickr


Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla6 months ago

Animals are so smart: humans just take advantage of them....

Paola S
Paola S6 months ago

thanks for sharing

Margie F
Margie FOURIE6 months ago

Wonderful. The honey bees need to have a little left for them, otherwise it is said, that the next time they will lead you to a snake.

Maria P

Thanks for posting.

David C
David C6 months ago


Glennis W
Glennis W6 months ago

Really awesome and loving Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W6 months ago

All so adorable and cute Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W6 months ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing

LKoSl J6 months ago

thank you