Meet Honey the dog and Kwanza the white lion cub, the Internet’s two newest sensations. Despite what these pictures seem to show, they are the best of friends. They’re just engaging in some major-league roughhousing, wrestling, and harmless mayhem. The bites from the lion are soft — to hardy Honey, at least. To you it would probably feel like someone stapling duct tape to your arm and then ripping it off.
These two friends live at the Darling Downs Zoo in New Zealand, who filmed the pair playing and posted a must-see video (see below). Kwanza’s mother reared the cub, but she stopped producing milk, so the zoo stepped in and began hand-feeding him.
Honey wandered up shortly thereafter, and the two have become inseparable. The cub has developed a “special bond” with Honey as “they spend time exploring, wrestling and otherwise playing together.” Kwanza is around four months old in the video, and is “a very robust and energetic young lion,” according to the zoo.
According to the Darling Downs Zoo, the white lion is not a separate species of lion nor is it an albino (there is pigment in their eyes, paw pads, and lips). “The color is due to a recessive gene, called a chinchilla gene, which is a color inhibitor,” the zoo writes on the video page. “This can result in ‘white’ lions being blonde, near white, or even red!”
Watch the two friends hard at work: