Weird Nature
441 voters

Surprising Animal Heroes Who Changed Human Lives

Updated September 23, 2021 2.2k votes 441 voters 60.3k views15 items

List RulesVote up the most surprising and inspiring stories of animal heroism.

When most people think of animal heroes, chances are they are envisioning a rescue dog like Lassie. Though there are doubtless scores of brave pooches and even cats out there who have proven their species' valor without a doubt time and time again, you may be surprised at how many heroic animals have stepped forth from more unexpected parts of the animal kingdom, as well. Here you’ll find a collection of heroic tales featuring unexpected animal heroes that range from potbellied pigs to gorillas to parrots.

Though dogs are proverbially considered man's best friend, the following stories may lead you to reconsider just how deep a bond it’s possible to form with less likely members of the animal kingdom. Here you’ll find the tale of a pigeon that proved to be a bigger badass than a whole human motorcycle gang combined. You’ll also get to know a rat who has figured out how to diagnose more life-threatening illnesses in 20 minutes than his human lab partners can in four days.

So come on in and prepare your heart for a little melting. Who knows? Sometimes maybe it takes an animal to restore your faith in humanity. 
  • 1. Binti Jua The Gorilla Acted Maternally

    Photo: Iwon Blum / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0
    Back in 1996, a little boy who was visiting the Brookfield Zoo near Chicago, Illinois, got a little too enthusiastic, climbed over a barrier, and ended up accidentally falling 20 feet into the gorilla habitat. That was when eight-year-old female gorilla Binti Jua, herself a new mother at the time, walked over and picked up the unconscious boy. She carried the boy away from the other gorillas and was even said by some witnesses to rock him like a baby, until zoo workers were able to retrieve and rush him to the hospital where he made a full recovery. 
    Is this inspiring?
  • 2. Lulu The Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pig Proved To Be The Ultimate Life Alert

    A Vietnamese pot-bellied pig may not be everybody's first choice for a pet, but one such creature named Lulu proved that they're definitely not a bad one. When Lulu's owner Jo Ann suffered a heart attack, Lulu ran to a nearby road and positioned herself in the middle of it until a driver stopped, let Lulu lead him to Jo Ann, and called 911.
    Is this inspiring?
  • 3. Ning Nong The Elephant Saved A Little Girl From Tsunami Tragedy

    When the tsunami of 2004 hit Phuket, Thailand, an eight-year-old named Amber Mason was on vacation with her family, enjoying an elephant ride. Luckily, her elephant Ning Nong sensed something wasn't right and took off away from the ocean with the girl still on his back. Even when the waves caught up to them, he continued to shield the child from the water with his body, keeping her from being swept away and quite possibly saving her life.

    Is this inspiring?
  • 4. Bhoori The Swimming Cow Came To A Grandmother's Rescue

    Photo: Eric Parker / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    During the massive floods that swept through her hometown in Pakistan, 70 year-old grandmother Zainab Bibi was swept away from her home. As she attempted to fight the floodwaters, Ms. Bibi suddenly looked over to find the family cow Bhoori, swimming through the currents beside her. Bhoori allowed the grandmother of 16 to cling to her neck as she navigated the flood and eventually led them both to safety. 

    Is this inspiring?