By Ian Garland
..It reads like the plot of a Disney movie - three unlikely animal playmates overcoming their differences to forge an adorable friendship.
But this is a real-life story, about a lion cub called Simba, a rabbit called Thumper and a dog called Monty, all being raised together at the Glasgow home of two zookeepers.
Archive footage has emerged of the trio spending their days play-fighting and cuddling - and their antics have now become a belated smash online more than 20 years after they were filmed.
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Unlikely friends: Simba the lion nuzzles up to his playmate Thumper the rabbit in archive footage recorded in Glasgow during the 1980s that has now become a hit online
Upper hand: Monty makes the most of his temporary size advantage in a playfight with Simba
Thirteen-week-old Simba was taken away from his mother at Glasgow Zoo, which closed in 2000, after falling ill over the winter.
While sharing a home with two zookeepers in the 1980s, Simba found willing playmates in the couple's pet dog and rabbit.
Despite their obvious differences, the three became firm friends, showing genuine and heart-warming affection for each other as they scamper around the home they share.
Sadly the friendship was destined to come to an end - having shaken off the illness that kept him away from his real family, he soon had to return to the zoo.
He also quickly grew too big to be trusted around his already fully-grown playmates - as well as his human housemates.
His keeper reveals on the YouTube video, which has been viewed by thousands of people: 'As he gets older he gets more boisterous. In the morning you wake up and go to the toilet and there's a lion cub clinging on to the back of your leg.'
Simba pounces on Thumper, playfully. The cub was to quickly outgrow his playmates
Once he catches his little friend, they nuzzle and cuddle up and Simba nibbles affectionately on Thumper's fur
Simba had to be fed from a bottle while he was raised away from his pride
The lion cub grew quickly and was then returned to Glasgow Zoo, which closed in 2000
Monday, June 25, 2012
Puppy love: The lion cub called Simba who has forged an adorable friendship with Monty the dog and Thumper the rabbit
By Ian Garland