For some time now, outcries have been heard loudly all around the world on behalf of animals. From being poached for their bodies or being mistreated for entertainment, elephant rights activists are often on the frontline of this battle. And in the last few years, these efforts have seen more success than ever.
Elephants have been domesticated and/or hunted for their tusks for centuries or more around eastern continents, but it wasn’t so long ago that the western world was first introduced to them through the rising curtains of the new and increasingly popular circus. Circuses had been around for a long time in Europe and elsewhere, but elephants had yet to partake in the traditions. The first elephant was actually brought overseas to the new world to assist with manual farming labor, rather than participating in any kind of performance. But with their impressive size and talents, their appeal became clear, and they quickly became one of the biggest attractions there – skyrocketing the success and stature of the American circus.
However, the ride would be short-lived.
As trade and information made the world more and more connected, knowledge about our friends in the animal kingdom became more common – and it was realized that elephants in particular had uncanny levels of intelligence. It’s no wonder they had been trained to take part in such impressive feats. But getting an elephant to exhibit the tricks and trades of the circus involves the kind of training that’s widely deemed inhumane, and as such, it’s became clear that they don’t belong in a life of captivity, far away from their natural habitat and everyday lives.
One by one, various companies providing forms of elephant entertainment have been closing their doors for such services. Back in May, the UK government banned wild animals being used for circus performances. In Germany, a circus made headlines around the world this past summer after they became the first to trade in real animals for holographic ones in their show. Individual states in the U.S.A. have also issued legislation against the practice throughout the past year, with more in the works following suit.
And finally, Denmark has joined the fight – and set a whole new example of justice in the process. With a legal ban on its way, they decided something should be done right away. Rather than forcing its last majestic creatures to wait for the lengthy legal process of lawmaking, the government of Denmark bought all of the country’s remaining circus elephants so they can retire and live out the rest of their days in peace – for 11 million kroner (roughly $1.6 million USD).
They are now in the care of Animal Protection Denmark and will soon be moved to their new home to celebrate their long-awaited freedom.
There’s no denying it – baby animals are the cutest, and their appeal is universal. All baby animals are curious and naive, and their innate sweetness just makes adults melt into a puddle of “Awww!” Here are 25 animal species who create the cutest offspring!
Baby hedgehogs are called “hoglets”, and they are among the most squeal-worthy creatures in the animal kingdom. It must be the combination of their round bodies and little hands and feet sticking out, coupled with that sweet expression. Unlike porcupines, hedgehog quills don’t shoot out from their bodies and aren’t dangerous – so feel free to cuddle to your heart’s delight! The quills are there to fend off predators when they’re in danger as they curl up into a ball to protect themselves. Adora-ball!
Dolphins are fascinating creatures. They also happen to have extremely sweet-looking babies. Interestingly enough, dolphins actually develop hind limbs in the womb that retract and disappear before birth – indicating that they originally evolved from four-legged land mammals. And indeed, dolphins display traits unique among sea creatures, such as playing. They have been documented surfing and riding on waves, as well as creating bubble rings with their blowholes, spinning them with their beaks, and then biting them to break them apart.
Unlike the baby sloth, hamsters are born naked and blind, only beginning to open their eyes and develop a sense of sight when they are 14 to 17 days old. After a pregnancy of only three weeks, a mother hamster can have a breed of between six to 20 hamsters at a time! That’s a lot of cuteness to handle. But watch out! If you stress out a mother hamster during or after the birth, she might end up abandoning or even eating her own babies. Yikes!
Baby kangaroos are called joeys, and man, are they adorable! In addition to being super-sweet, baby kangaroos have a fascinating way of being born. An infant kangaroo is born into a pouch on the mother’s belly at an immature stage of development when it’s just an inch long and weighs less than a gram. The baby immediately starts to suckle and over a period of a few weeks, gradually spends more and more time outside the pouch until it’s ready to leave completely between seven and 10 months of age.
Kittens are, besides dogs, perhaps the most obvious in this list, and it’s easy to see why: just look at this tiny newborn Persian cat! What could be more adorable than those giant eyes, oversized head and tiny little paws? Kittens have long been rulers of the world of adorable animal pics on the internet. Our fluffy friends need very little introduction, as house cats are very much a part of our lives. So don’t waste any energy on interesting facts and just enjoy the cuteness!
Adult stingrays are not particularly cuddly animals, so it’s quite surprising to see how incredibly, oddly cute their babies are. These flat, odd sea creatures glide through the ocean by either flapping their fins like a bird or moving their entire bodies in a wavy motion. Since their eyes are on the bottom of their bodies, they search for their food using their sense of smell and electroreceptors. Sound (and look) like aliens? Yes, but cute aliens!
Squirrels are incredibly common animals, with representation on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. That’s great news because it increases the chance of getting to see a live baby squirrel in our lifetimes! Once baby squirrels are weaned after seven to eight weeks, they leave the nest; but they don’t usually go far, typically landing less than two miles from home. Squirrels also have something of a green thumb: gray squirrels often bury their acorns and forget where they put them, accidentally planting oak trees.
Check out the adorable little smile on this little piglet. Not only cute, pigs grow to become exceptionally intelligent creatures: baby pigs learn to run to their mothers’ voices, and begin to recognize their own names by the time they’re only two weeks old. If that’s not cute enough already, mother pigs have even been known to ‘sing’ to their young while they’re nursing! We would love the chance to sing a song to this happy piglet baby.
It’s rather fortunate that sloths move so slowly; it gives us more time to appreciate how cute they are! The sleepy, smiley sloth is a unique creature in many ways, and it starts at birth, when sloth babies come into the world fully furred, with their eyes wide open, and able to climb and cling to their mothers’ fur within the first few moments of birth. Sloths eat and move extremely slowly, and usually spend their entire life in one tree… or, at most, move to the tree next door to mom.
Now here’s a great example of a very dangerous predator starting out as an adorable baby! Crocodiles are one of the oldest species on the planet – they’ve been around since the dinosaur age! Crocodiles begin their lives inside eggs, and the temperature of the nest determines whether the baby is born a male or female. But once born, a crocodile’s infancy is extremely hazardous – 99% of crocodile babies are eaten in their first year of life by larger creatures. We’re happy that this little guy appears to be safe and sound!
Nobody can resist the heart-melting qualities of an adorable puppy. With an incredible variety of dogs from around the world, puppies can be adorable in a multitude of ways. This miniature Goldendoodle is on top of our cute puppy list.
Baby Fennec Fox
Fennec foxes, natives to the Sahara desert, are a unique species. Besides being the smallest species of fox, these adorable creatures are incredibly adapted to their harsh native desert environment. Their ears reach a length of six inches, and the foxes tilt their heads from side to side in order to use them to pinpoint the location of their prey in the sand. Their ears also help dissipate heat and keep cool in the desert, as well as help make them the cutest foxes around!
Watching this tiny baby tortoise attempt to go for a strawberry that’s almost equal to his size is, indeed, the definition of cuteness. Baby tortoises, or hatchlings, are much like their adult counterparts, the main difference being that they are much more sensitive to temperature changes. Other than that, tortoises are hardy creatures who like to spend their days lying in the sun and snack on a variety of vegetarian food sources… Which brings us back to this amazing strawberry moment.
Does this chimp baby give you an oddly familiar feeling? If so, it’s probably because chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than any animal on earth – humans and chimps share 98.5% of the same DNA! It’s easy to recognize a similar facial structure, and that giant toothless smile is just a few evolutionary steps away from our own offspring. Chimps also show similar behaviors to humans, like laughing when playing and hugging to show affection. Hugging is something we’d love to do with this baby!
Giraffes are some funny-looking creatures, that’s for sure. Upon birth, the baby giraffe will drop up to six feet to the ground and land on its head. But don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt, and it actually is the most important part of the birth process, as it makes the giraffe take its first gasp of air. Within one hour, the giraffe learns how to walk. Watching a baby giraffe taking its first wobbly steps after birth is definitely one of the cutest things ever.
Never seen this animal before? That’s probably because it’s an extremely rare exotic breed called a tapir, and there are as few as 3,000 left in the entire world. That may have to do with the fact that tapirs only have one baby in their lifetimes. They are born with this distinctive pattern on their bodies, which helps them stay camouflaged in the thick rainforest. It may look like a weird cross between a pig and an elephant, but we think this tapir baby is adorable!
We saved the tiniest for last: meet the baby chameleon. There are 171 species of chameleons, which come in many different sizes. Chameleons are unique among reptiles, for many reasons, one being that they give birth to live babies rather than eggs which hatch. Another thing that sets them apart is that their eyes can move completely independently of each other, letting them look in two directions at once. They can even zoom in like a camera! As far as we’re concerned, it’s plain to see how cute they are!
Can you even handle how adorable this baby alpaca is? We didn’t think so! These South America natives have been exported around the world and are prized for their amazingly soft, fuzzy and warm wool. But there’s even better news: alpacas are social, gentle, and curious creatures which can become great pets with the right training. That’s right, you could have a pet baby alpaca as a pet if you really wanted to! A cute friend who can also provide cozy sweaters sounds amazing!
Their round bodies, fluffy feathers, and eyes that seem too big for their bodies are just a couple of the reasons owlets are so lovable. And it seems that they love humans back; in fact, sometimes too much. When rehabilitating baby owls, caretakers must go to extra lengths to make sure that baby owls don’t get too attached to them, even camouflaging themselves and feeding the baby with tweezers held in the beak of an owl puppet. But honestly, we would probably let them get attached!
Baby Pygmy Hippo
This funny looking little dude is a baby pygmy hippo, and a very friendly one at that! Hippos have among the longest pregnancy times in the animal kingdom – eight months – and only give birth to one baby at a time. After a couple of weeks of mother-child bonding, mothers join a collective gang of other female hippos, who all band together to protect their offspring from predators. This orphan seems to have found an alternative mom, and it’s simply adorable!
Look at that cutie! For those of you who are less familiar with this kind of animal, this little guy here is what we call a platypus — sometimes referred to as the duck-billed platypus. And although he sort of looks like an imaginary animal that a kid might draw, he’s indeed very real! The platypus is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal native to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. The platypus happens to be the sole living representative of its family and genus.
This baby bison looks like he’s ready to take on the day! Just look at the way he’s trotting along to keep up with the rest of the herd. At birth, American bison calves weigh a whopping 30 to 70 pounds! A calf is not only protected by its mother, but by the whole herd as well. Considering that adult bison live around 14 to 24 years in the wild, we think it’s safe to say that this little man here is only just getting started!
We don’t know what it is about chimps, monkeys, and gorillas — we just seriously can’t get enough, especially after laying eyes on this bundle of cuteness! She’s so tiny, we could cry! Did you know that an infant gorilla is actually smaller than a human infant when they’re born? Who knew?! Weighing in at just under five pounds, this cutie was born on September 28th, 2018 at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Florida to 22-year-old Kumbuka.
Before today, we had no idea this type of animal even existed — but we’re glad it does. Pictured here is a baby okapi (calf), also known as the forest giraffe. It is an even-toed mammal native to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Surprisingly, although the okapi has striped markings reminiscent of zebras, the animal is most closely related to the giraffe. Anyway, we’ve come to the conclusion that okapis are pretty freakin’ adorable. Wouldn’t you say?
Now, this is what we call a nosedive. Of course, we’re only messing around. This little guy is just getting adjusting to using his feet, and he’s doing a great job — especially considering the fact that calves are able to walk within one to two hours of birth! And within two days, they’re strong enough to join the rest of the herd. What?! Meanwhile, on average, human infants only begin walking around the 12-month mark.
Whether or not you’re a fan of ducks, you can’t deny that this wide-eyed beauty is to die for. We mean, she can fit in the palm of your hand! And we almost forgot to mention the fluff! Look at all the fluff! Ugh, if we owned this sweet duckling, we would take her everywhere. In some ways, she probably has to be therapeutic. Hard day at work? No fear! Just hold this cutie for a few seconds and all your worries will immediately flutter away.
With a coat as white as snow and its wide, glistening eyes, this pup couldn’t be any more adorable. Something you might not have known is that baby seals are actually born on sea ice floating in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Although pups don’t have any blubber at birth, they quickly gain weight nursing on high-fat mother’s milk. When they reach about 80 pounds, their mothers stop nursing them. About six weeks after going without food, these baby seals dive in and begin to hunt for themselves.
Let’s be real — there are plenty of people out there that aren’t necessarily the biggest fans of amphibians. Still, those particular individuals can’t even deny that this baby frog is too cute for words. Just look at him resting his eyes, perched atop his owner’s hand. And while this is an incredibly adorable sight, we can’t help but wonder how this guy keeps an eye on his little friend. We mean, not only is he super tiny but also has the ability to hop away within seconds. Guess it’s not our problem…
Baby Pygmy Goats
While most people own a dog or cat — sometimes both — there are those that go a different route when it comes to choosing the perfect pet. Some individuals go for rabbits and others go for parakeets. And, of course, there are those that prefer to call pygmy goats their own. Why not? They’re incredibly adorable, plus it turns out that they make great pets. Not only are they friendly and easy to handle, but they also love to play and are easy to train!
We don’t know about you guys but we would love to give this little man a hug! He just looks so cuddly as he munches on his afternoon snack. Although this beaver looks fairly mature, he’s actually a baby. When a baby beaver — known as a kit — is born, it is well-developed physically. Because of this, it’s able to start swimming on the very day it’s born! Despite this, though, the kit stays in or around the lodge for the first month of its life. More cuddles for mom and dad!
There’s no denying that koalas are absolutely amazing. We mean, even as adults, they’re impossibly cute. With that, you can only imagine just how sweet they are as babies! Well, actually, you can see for yourselves just by looking at the picture below. Baby koalas, called joeys, weigh about a gram when they’re born. That’s tiny! Now, if you’re interested in actually spotting one in person, you’re going to have to take a trip to ‘the land Down Under,’ as koalas are native to Australia.
How picturesque is this moment between a mother and her calf? Then again, we guess that’s why someone actually took the photo. And we’re glad they did because we get to see this special bond for ourselves. And although this wide-eyed calf looks tiny, — especially in comparison to mommy — it turns out that it weighs between 60 and 100 pounds! Also, did you know that within an hour of being born, calves can stand, walk, and nurse? We definitely can’t say the same thing for human infants.
Baby Valais Blacknose Sheep
This sweet, little guy is a Valais Blacknose Sheep, a breed of domestic sheep originally found among the snow-clad Valais peaks of Switzerland. These cuties have black patches on their nose, eyes, ears, knees, and feet — not to mention a thick coat of fluffy wool to keep them warm during the harsh winters in the Swiss mountains. Extremely rare, the Valais Blacknose Sheep is only really found in Switzerland and a few parts of Germany. Still, due to their increased popularity, they’re now being bred in various parts of the world.
Baby Sugar Gliders
Okay, sugar gliders are tiny, to begin with. That being said, calling baby sugar gliders — known as joeys — tiny would be quite an understatement. In any case, whether we’re looking at an adult sugar glider or a joey, we can’t help but melt! They’re just so cute. If you’re wondering how they got their name, sugar gliders are known for their predilection for sugar foods such as sap and nectar. Plus, they have the ability to glide through the air, so…
Normally, we’d cringe at the sight of a raccoon — especially if we spotted one eating out of our trash bins in the middle of the night. But, come on, guys. You cannot ignore how cute this little one is. Much like pygmy goats, raccoons have become a somewhat popular pet to take home. Baby raccoons, called kits or cubs, can sound like human babies when they’re in distress. What’s even crazier is that because raccoons have dexterous paws, they can twist handles and open doors. Lock your doors tonight, people!
The Pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea) is the smallest monkey in the world. These little guys reside in the Amazon forests of South America and eat tree sap or gum. The baby monkey weighs about the size of a kitten which is around 124 grams (equivalent to an apple). We’ll give you a moment to stare at this adorable face – have you ever seen such cuteness? Don’t think they’re all innocent though, the pygmy marmoset has a serious bite.
Baby rabbits are, in a word, precious. Velvety soft, with giant eyes, floppy ears, and an adorable hop, any human with a beating heart would find it impossible not to love a sweet little bunny foo foo. Social, sensitive, and possessing unique personalities, rabbits are closer to dogs and cats than most people realize. They also get bored easily, and need lots of toys and companionship to be happy. It would definitely make us happier than anything to be a companion to this little one.
While you certainly don’t want to get involved with an adult skunk for fear of getting attacked with their smelly spray, this adorable baby skunk is a different story. Baby skunks, called kits, have their eyes sealed shut until they are three weeks old. After that, they develop pretty quickly, and they’re ready to have their own babies when they’re 10-12 months old. Although a skunk baby may be irresistibly cute, keeping one as a pet is not recommended!
Meet the cuddly fluffball that is the baby panda, who we imagine is belting out his best rendition of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” here! It’s a shame that pandas are a very endangered species, as they can only survive in the highly specialized – and increasingly vanishing – bamboo forests of China. Luckily, zoos around the world are doing good work in preserving the species. The future of pandas is unknown, but we are 100% sure that we want to give this baby a big fluffy hug!
Baby Prairie Dog
One animal that’s not very well-known is the prairie dog. Among the fascinating facts about prairie dogs are that their mating season is just one hour long, once a year. Digging complex tunnel systems underground, these cute creatures have the most advanced vocabulary of any animal language that’s been decoded. While their squeaks sound simple and repetitive to the human ear, their calls can convey incredibly descriptive details, like a tall human wearing the color blue is approaching. Cute and smart? We’re sold!
Isn’t this baby deer just the cutest? Specifically, this is a Chinese water deer, which are characterized by their unusual fangs that develop when they grow older – earning them the nickname ‘vampire deer’. These fangs, though frightening, are pretty much just for show. But while they are still tiny and adorable, these delicate creatures are fangless and extremely fragile, with up to 40% of the newborns dying out within their first month of life. We wish they could stay this tiny forever!