Although Disney raised us to believe that lions can be best friends with meerkats and warthogs, we know how predatory relationships work in the real world. And the reality is hardly as kid-friendly as the cartoon version, but hey, that’s the circle of life.

There are some animals, however, who do give us hope that unusual animal friendships can exist off of the big screen. Just take this tiger and fawn, for example.

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Onlookers at the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, India, expected the worst when an adult tigress approached an unassuming baby deer.

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But as the tiger got closer to the deer, her demeanor changed; she didn’t seem interested in eating the fawn at all. Instead, the tiger started to gently play with the fawn.

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“The tigress seemed to be in a playful mood, jumping around in excitement,” said photographer Souvik Kundu. Of course, the little deer wasn’t quite so sure about this kind gesture but played along.

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Next, the tigress picked the fawn up by the scruff of its neck and carried it around like a tiger cub. While it’s unlikely that the tigress confused the deer for a cub, Kundu asserts that she might be in mating season and “motherhood temporarily overcame her predatory instinct”

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Either way, we are glad to see that this little fawn will live to prance another day. Although we would advise the deer to stay far away from the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve from now on!

All image source: Souvik Kundu/Mirror UK