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Image: employee feeding piglets as Bulldog watches
Michael Sohn  /  AP
The piglets, adopted by Baby the bulldog, are currently being bottlefed and should be released to an animal sanctuary when they can feed themselves in about three months.
By
updated 2/15/2012 4:47:06 PM ET 2012-02-15T21:47:06

Forget the three little pigs hiding from the big bad wolf. These six little pigs have found a new friend in a maternal French bulldog named Baby.

The Lehnitz animal sanctuary outside Berlin said Baby took straight to the wild boar piglets when they were brought in Saturday, three days old and shivering from cold.

Sanctuary worker Norbert Damm said Wednesday that, as soon as the furry striped piglets were brought in, Baby ran over and started snuggling them and keeping them warm, even though they're almost her size.

Story: Special bond of a rescue dog and dying boy

The 8-year-old bulldog has stayed right by their side since then, making sure they're OK, Damm said.

"She thinks they're her own babies," Damm said.

It isn't the first time Baby's taken to new guests at the sanctuary — she's also raised raccoons, cats and many other animals, Damm said.

"She's an uber-mother," he said.

Slideshow: Unlikely animal friends (on this page)

The piglets' own mother was likely killed by a hunter and the litter of three males and three females was found abandoned in a forest.

At the time they were found they weighed in at under a kilogram (two pounds) each but are being bottle-fed at the sanctuary and are growing well, Damm said.

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He said they can't be released into the wild because they have no fear of humans, but it should be possible to set them free in a nature reserve in about three months, once they can feed themselves.

Slideshow: Friend with a foe: Uncommon animal pairings (on this page)

Wild boars are common in Germany, even in big cities, and herds have been growing as expanding commercial crops have provided them with more food.

Recent estimates have put the boar population at more than 10,000 in Berlin alone, where they live in extensive wooded areas and often venture into backyards and sports fields, tearing up turf to look for food.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Orphaned wild piglets get surrogate mom

Photos: Friend with a foe: Uncommon animal pairings

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  1. Lose a lover, gain a friend?

    The book “Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom” by Jennifer Holland, a science writer for National Geographic, depicts shared affections between disparate creatures in sometimes quite odd (a golden retriever and a goldfish?) pairings.

    Do their instincts drive them together? The author explores the science behind the 47 interspecies bonds, and tells the tales, of say, how a lion, tiger and bear (oh my!) became buds – and what do they do for fun anyway?

    Seen here on the book cover, an orphaned rhesus monkey and white dove that seemed to have lost its mate forged a special bond at the Neilingding Island-Futian National Nature Reserve in China. The monkey was born on the island but had strayed from its mother. Luckily, it was taken in by work staff in the protection center and became friends with the pigeon that had lingered there after possibly losing its mate. (CNImaging/Photoshot) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Cat lady

    It’s not clear why or when this stray black cat turned up in the bear enclosure at the Berlin Zoo. But something is clear: She’s been coming back for 10 years to see her friend, the oldest known female Asiatic bear. (EPA/Alexander Ruesche) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Friend with a foe

    Anatolian shepherds keep cheetahs away from livestock in Africa. But at the San Diego Zoo, the former foes are paired because the calm dog makes a good friend to the nervous cat. (Ken Bohn / Zoological Society of San Diego) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Modern family

    Chicks perch on a Siamese-snowshoe cat, who keeps the little ones in a line with her nose, and a pit bull, who is a loving father figure to many animals on their Texas farm. (Helen J. Arnold) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Make new friends…and the other’s gold

    A big goldfish, or koi, named Falstaff swims over to the pond’s edge for another meeting with a golden retriever named Chino in a backyard pond in Oregon. (Bob Pennell/Mail Tribune) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Birds of a (different) feather…

    An orphaned Madagascar teal duckling snuggles under orphaned kookaburra (a predator to the former). (Solentnew.co.uk) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A friend in need…

    A young elephant, who lost his mama, cozies up to his comforting sheep pal at the Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in South Africa. (Rex USA) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Oh my!

    A lion and tiger and bear hang out at their “clubhouse” at Noah’s Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center in Locust Grove, Georgia. (Barcroft via Fame Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Got your back

    A cockatoo named Coco throws her whole body into a backrub for cohabiting friend, house tabby Lucky, in Savannah, Georgia. (CNImaging/Photoshot) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Growing up together

    It’s naptime for an orangutan baby and a tiger cub, hand-reared as siblings at the Taman Safari Zoo in Indonesia. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. The author

    Jennifer Holland is a senior writer for National Geographic magazine, specializing in science and natural history. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband, two dogs, and dozens of snakes and geckos; none of whom, to her dismay, have crossed the species barrier to befriend the others. () Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Monkey Love
    CNImaging/Photoshot
    Above: Slideshow (11) Friend with a foe: Uncommon animal pairings
  2. Wolf and Goat become inseperable, Nanyuanzi village, Xinjiang, China - 17 Jun 2010
    Rex USA
    Slideshow (36) Unlikely friends

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