Two liger cubs – a cross between a male lion and a female tiger – are being nursed by a dog at a zoo in Weihai, eastern China.
Four cubs were born at the Xixiakou Wildlife Zoo earlier this month but only two survived.
The mother stopped feeding the cubs after a few days so the dog, which had recently had its own puppies, was enlisted to help.
Ligers are extremely rare and are thought to only be born in captivity.
Zoo spokesman Cong Wen said it was not clear why the tiger had stopped feeding her cubs, the Associated Press reports.
But she said that after some initial problems, the pair were feeding well from their canine stepmother.
Although they are a different species, tigers and lions are able to breed together.
Ligers are the largest known cat, usually growing much larger than either parent.
The liger is a hybrid cross between a male lion (Panthera leo) and a tigress (Panthera tigris). Thus, it has parents with the same genus but of different species. It is the largest of all known cats and extant felines.
Ligers enjoy swimming, which is a characteristic of tigers, and are very sociable like lions.
Ligers exist only in captivity because the habitats of the parental species do not overlap in the wild.
Historically, when the Asiatic Lion was prolific the territories of lions and tigers did overlap and there are legends of ligers existing in the wild.
Notably, ligers typically grow larger than either parent species, unlike tiglons which tend to be about as large a female tiger.
A tiglon , tigon or tion is a hybrid cross between a male tiger (Panthera tigris) and a lioness (Panthera leo).