BERLIN - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.