Animals provide us with a unique companionship, filled with comfort, freedom, and self-determination. The following photos capture a myriad of unique moments of lighthearted antics, intensity, struggle, and even mortality.
Chimpanzee feeds a leopard cub ? Southam Park Zoo (United Kingdom, 1971)
A Chimpanzee feeding a leopard cub: a seemingly odd, contradicting, yet adorable scene. No, this photo wasn’t taken from the film, Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971). Photographed in 1971 at Southham Park Zoo in the UK, a nurturing, adult chimpanzee is pictured feeding a newborn leopard cub with a baby bottle. And what makes the picture even more unusual is that the primate is sitting on a human chair!
While typically, Leopard cubs are fed by their mothers, who they stay with for approximately two years—during which time they learn to hunt—this chimp proves that leopards aren’t the only animals with maternal instincts.
The Lion Selfie
This selfie is hands down one of the cutest, yet most dangerous selfies of the animal kingdom. This picture, captured by Kevin Richardson, most famously known as “The Lion Whisperer”, while overwhelmingly adorable, is also met by much scrutiny, considered highly irresponsible to many of those within the animal expert community. Richardson is also widely known for his wildlife conservation efforts, in particular, for the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary. Its mission is to provide a self-sustaining African carnivore sanctuary for the purposes of wild species preservation.
Here, Richardson is known for his unorthodox, friendly relationship with the African lion, a close bond illustrated through a myriad of widely viewed, captivating YouTube videos featuring Richardson and his lions. Despite Richardson’s unusual relationship, it is important to remember that these big cats, while pictured as deceivingly warm and cuddly in Richardson’s numerous selfies, are still wild, dangerous animals.
The Great Ardennes Draft Horse Trots Along a Field
Widely known as one of the oldest breeds of draft horse, the below photo displays the majestic Ardennes draft horse as it trots along a green field. This horse's pedigree dates all the way back to the pre-historic horses of Solutré— a Paleolithic site just outside the city of Maçon, near the southern area of Burgundy, France. This draft breed is truly a beast from another era.
Believe it or not, these exuberant animals have been present throughout much of human history, pulling heavy loads all the way back since the times of Julius Caesar, as seen in his descriptions of this grandiose horse in this great Roman Leader’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War), published around 50 BC. Named after the Ardennes regions of France, Belgium and Luxembourg—the region this horse was first bred in—the Ardennes draft horse is known for its participation in some of mankind’s biggest recorded struggles.
Ptthh! A Baby Hippo Sticks its Tongue Out and Blows Raspberry to Onlookers
Up next in the list of the cutest and most adorable creatures of the animal world is the below cheeky baby hippopotamus. One of the top attractions at the Higashiyama Zoo in Japan, while Hippopotami are not usually among those animals considered cute and cuddly, since adult hippos are widely known to be one of the most aggressive and dangerous animals on of the African Sahara, the below photo proves these animals can be just as cute as any other creature in the wild.
But this cute baby Hippo’s small size won’t last long. In time, this small hippo calf will eventually grow to weight as much as two tons (if a male), or a ton and a half (if a female). Contrary to the cute demeanor of baby hippos, adult hippos are actually extremely aggressive, known as one of the more dangerous of animals on the African savannah. Additionally, these animals are also known to be highly territorial and are even known to fling their feces, in order to mark their rightful territory.
Woman Sits With Pet Cheetah by Her Side While Having Tea at a Café in Paris, 1932
Photographed by famed German-born American photographer and photojournalist, Alfred Eisenstadt, back in 1932, this unusual image was taken at a cafe in Bois de Boulogne, a large public park in Paris. We see an unidentified woman sitting alongside her pet cheetah, who she keeps close to her on a leash. Unusual as it may be, there is actually a longstanding history of Parisians owning exotic animals as pets.
Notable American-born dancer, Josephine Baker, who lived much of her life in Paris, was also known to follow this unusual trend, keeping a cheetah by the name of Chiquita as her pet. Among other Parisians owning exotic animals as pets include actress and journalist Marguerite Durand, who owned a Lion, whom she comically named, “Tiger.” But of all the exotic pets housed by Parisians throughout the city’s history, perhaps the oddest pet of them all was lobster companion Thibault, owned by poet Gerard de Nerval, who was often seen walking his fellow animal friend around the streets of Paris.
Afternoon Tea for Two: Alfred Hitchcock Serves Tea to MGM Studios Mascot, Leo the Lion, 1957
Taken around 1957, the below photo displays a regal looking Alfred Hitchcock, famed Hollywood director, posing nonchalantly across from famed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) movie studio mascot, Leo the Lion, as the two sit down for a standard British cup of tea. Over the years, this iconic mascot has been played by a number of lions—five in total.
Ever since MGM’s founding in 1924, the lion has been the most regular star of this motion picture company, its sound most often associated with the studio and its work. Though there is not much information about the scenario of this photo, it was most likely taken for publicity purposes, for Hitchcock’s 1959 film, North by Northwest—the only film Hitchcock ever produced for MGM Studios.
The Transparent, Glass-winged Butterfly
Below sits the Greta Oto butterfly, more commonly known as the glass winged butterfly. Though native to Central and South America, most present in areas of Mexico, Panama, and Colombia, the glass-winged butterfly has been known to migrate as far north as Texas and Florida. As seen in this image, the glass-winged butterfly is most known for its uniquely transparent wings, a phenomenon caused by the glassy-looking tissue between the insects’ veins, which is the result of its lack of the colored scales found in most other species of butterfly. It is because of these see-through wings it nearly impossible for its predators—majorly birds—to track this butterfly when in flight.
Amazingly, the glass winged butterfly’s camouflage is activated upon flight, during which time its flapping, transparent wings essentially become invisible. Though this evolutionary disappearing tactic is not always successful, thankfully this butterfly has a backup strategy up its wing. This secondary act to dissuade predators—majorly birds—involves capturing toxins found in certain flowers, which ultimately give the butterfly a largely unpleasant taste to those predators attempting to make the Greta Oto its next meal.
A Rare Shot of the Secluded Clouded Leopard
Take it in while you can—the clouded leopard is notoriously known to keep to itself, preferring to live deep within the wild and rainy forest habitats of Southeast Asia (including parts of China and the Himalayan foothills), and very much out of sight from the rest of the world. This animal's unique and prized pelt has led to the widespread poaching of its skin, teeth, bones, and meat—which is commonly used in several traditional medicines as a substitution for tiger. Despite its name, it is not actually closely related to the leopard.
In actuality, this species is the smallest of the species of “big cats.” It is the clouded leopard that bridges the evolutionary gap that links the ‘big cats’ (includes jaguars, lions, snow leopards, tigers and snow leopards) to the “small cats,” or the group of cats that includes the cheetah, ocelot, lynx, cougar, along with the domestic house cat. First officially recorded by scientists as a species back in 1921, today the clouded leopard exists just as mysteriously as it did nearly 200 years ago.
Terrifying Bear Ambush, or Great Photoshop Editing?
If you’ve seen this photo before, you’ve no doubt heard of the ridiculously false story attached to it. Originally created in Photoshop for submission into the website Worth1000’s “final-photo hoax image” contest, this photo was claimed to be the “last picture” taken by famed bear photographer Michio Hoshino, right before he was mauled to death by none other than the photo subject he was so known for capturing.
While Hoshino — an award-winning Japanese born wildlife photographer — was tragically killed by a brown bear on August 6th, 1996, at the age of 44, while on a photography trip along the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia, the above infamous “last” shot of Hoshino was not actually his last photograph. In reality, this image turned out to be nothing more than really good Photoshop editing.
A Truly Unbelievable Scene: a Bear Chases a Cyclist
As if taken right out of a children’s book, the below photo captures a photograph of a biker being chased by a brown bear. Published repeatedly across the internet with the hilarious caption, “Canadian meals on wheels,” the caption “Canadian learning Photoshop" would probably be more accurate. Indeed, in this photo, this short-sleeved, shorts-wearing man is not actually riding down the frigid, snowy-tree lined road pictured below.
In real life, the amazing grizzly bear can run approximately 40 miles per hour over short distances. Consequently, if ever encountering a bear like these, wildlife experts advice us not to run away, claiming that this action will most likely make the bear chase after you. As for any cyclists who may find themselves “cut-and-pasted into a bear picture,” the advice for this unrealistic scenario remains unknown.
Cats Catching Squirting Milk During Cow Milking at a Dairy Farm in California, 1954
Titled, “Cats Blackie & Brownie Catching Squirts of Milk During Milking at Arch Badertscher’s Dairy Farm,” before the invention of the internet, this comical photo was widely considered of the most popular images of its time. Shot by famed photographer Nat Farbman back in the early 1950s, this photograph was first introduced to the public after its publication in Life magazine.
With subjects including livestock, a smiling farmer, nutritious and fresh, warm milk, and — of course — a cute little cat, this photo is the epitome of life of the farm in the U.S. Despite the sobering fact that cats are actually lactose intolerant, all facts aside, all facts aside, it comes as no surprise that the image is considered a classic photograph of American farm life.
What’s Cuter Than a Mini Horse? A baby Mini Horse, of Course
What could possibly be cuter than a miniature horse? A baby miniature horse, of course! The lifespan of a mini horse ranges from 25 to 35 years, outliving the full-grown horse by an average of five years. As pictured below, this baby Appaloosa miniature horse won’t grow any taller than 38 inches.
Any taller and this miniature horse ceases to be a mini horse and is instead classified as a Shetland pony. And while this height cut-off is seemingly simple, still there is no unanimous consensus as to when exactly a miniature horse is no longer a miniature horse.
Look Deep Into My Eyes…The absolutely Mesmerizing Eyes of the Ghost Glass Frog
Captivating us in the below photo is the amazing Limon ghost glass frog of Central America. The largest of the glass frogs in Central America, this type of glass frog has a uniquely translucent body, with a mostly opaque, bright emerald green back, and an extremely pale underside. Believe it or not, the inner organs of this frog species can actually be seen through its translucent skin. But what sets this glass frog apart from all other frogs of its kind? Its bulbous, forward-facing eyes, defined by their horizontally slit-like pupils and blue-streaked sclera.
Found in humid foothill forests anywhere from southern Nicaragua, all the way down to northern west Colombia, as well as a small area in northern Ecuador, this species of frog, while presently listed as a “Least Concern” species, similar to a number of other amphibians, faces an extreme threat from habitat loss.
The Tantrum of a Visibly Cranky Baby Elephant
For any parent who has the extreme displeasure of dealing with the tantrums of his or her baby, this photo of an elephant parent standing next to its clearly upset baby elephant is especially relatable. The largest of all land animals on planet Earth, similar to humans, Elephants are also highly intelligent mammals. In fact, like man’s tendency to be right or left-handed, elephants too can actually be either right-tusked or left-tusked!
Of all the similarities between us and these gentle giants, perhaps the most relatable of these is the often erratic behaviors seen in both young elephants and humans. Indeed, as seen in the above photograph, like human children, young elephants also often have irrational fits of rage, in order to get attention from members of their family.
The Pink-necked Green Pigeon of Asia: Not Your Everyday ‘Flying Rat’
The rainbow-colored bird in the photo below is none other than the Pink-necked Green Pigeon. This animal shares lineage with both the pigeon and the dove. A bird of many colors, this bird can be found throughout much of Southeast Asia, especially in forested and terrestrial regions of countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
While the male bird of this species is known for its beautifully bold, pink neck and bright orange breast, in contrast, the coloring of the female is far less bright. Unlike their counterparts, the females of this species do not obtain the pinkish and orange coloring seen on the male bird.
The Late Sudan: the Last Male Northern White Rhino of Its Kind
Here we see a touching photo of a male northern white rhinoceros by the name of Sudan. At the time this photo was taken, Sudan was widely believed to be the very last of all northern white rhinos in existence. Following his passing in March of 2018, his death left his species on the dangerous brink of extinction.
Named after the Greek words, ‘rhino’ (meaning nose), and ‘ceros’ (meaning horn), according to scientists there are only five rhino species still in existence today: the white and black rhino, found in Africa, the Indian rhino, the Javan rhino and finally, the Sumatran rhino, found in southern Asia. Today, the only hope for the white rhino species lies with the modern day technological science of in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
A Mother Giraffe Kisses Her Baby’s Head
The below photograph, commonly known as “The Kiss,” is widely considered one of the most famous giraffe pictures ever captured. Taken back in 1995, the photograph displays a mother giraffe named Misha as she leaned down over a high wall in Australia’s Perth Zoo, in order to kiss her newborn calf, Makulu, on the top of his head. Printed in newspapers all over the world, this photograph was later made into a popular poster, which was used to raise awareness of Rothschild’s Giraffe, the endangered species of the two giraffes in the photograph.
Sadly, as is the way of wildlife held in captivity at zoos, mother Misha and son Makulu did not have much time together as a family. Approximately a year after this photograph was captured, Makulu was moved to the Melbourne Zoo, located in Melbourne Australia.
A Giant Walrus Takes a Nap Atop a Russian Submarine
Think your sleeping habits are weird? Think again. In this hilarious photograph, an exhausted walrus is spotted choosing a particularly unusual bed: the deck of a Russian submarine. Truth be told, this is actually not the strangest place a walrus has ever been known to sleep. Indeed, of all the animals in the animal kingdom, walruses are notoriously some of the strangest, most unusual sleepers. According to sleep experts, walruses can actually go a shocking amount of time without sleep, and are able to swim almost continuously for up to a staggering 84 hours.
"The discovery that walruses remain active for periods lasting up to 84 hours without showing behavioral signs of sleep is unprecedented," said sleep specialist Niels Rattenborg. With such high amounts of constant, non-stop exercise, it makes sense that afterward, these enormous marine animals clock-in a startling amount of sleep: up to 19 hours, to be exact. Rattenborg claims that this animal's "unusual ecological niche” of part-land, part-sea could potentially explain the walruses’ shockingly unusual sleep patterns.
A Short-eared Owl Soars High in the Sky
With the exception of Australia and Antarctica, this species of owl is found on nearly every continent. Unique to most other species of owls, the short-eared owl species does not “hoot” or “screech.” Instead, it claps. Indeed, the short-eared owl (and some other birds as well) produce a clapping noise—a sound which results when the bird’s wings clap together while in flight.
According to experts, this noise has a few functions, one of which is a behavior pertaining to this owl’s mating behaviors, in which this owl emits this noise in an attempt to attract the attention of any nearby females. Additionally, the clapping noise can also be used to ward off intruders. In yet another attempt to fend off any unwanted guests, when caring for its young, the short-eared owl will also perform an “injured bird” act, in order to fend off any potential intruders.
A Very Tiny Dog Sits On a Very, Very Big Dog - 1950
Taken back in 1950, next on the list is the above, adorable photograph of a small dog hilariously sitting on top of a massive Great Dane. For many, the Great Dane dog breed is a perfect dog breed. Not only do these huge, gentle giants act as extremely loving and nurturing parents to its own pups — and, as exhibited in the above photo, other dog pups as well — the Great Dane is also known to get along particularly well with human children.
First developed in Germany as a dog bred specifically to be large and strong enough to hunt boars — an animal known for its notoriously dangerous aggression and power — the Great Dane was formally recognized as an official dog breed in 1998. Since then, the Great Dane is highly regarded as one of the most popular in the U.S. In the 2017 registration study, this dog breed was ranked the 15th most popular breed!
An Australian Green Tree Frog Piggy Backs Atop an African Spurred Tortoise
When this photograph began appearing on an increasing number of ‘photo-of-the-day’ and ‘weird news’ sites, immediately journalists began to claim it was false. And, as it turns out, they were completely correct. While the frog is identified as an Australian green tree frog, the tortoise, an African Sulcata, is from the hot, arid regions of Sub-Sahara Africa, and do not do well in the damp, wet, or cold conditions often enjoyed by the Green Tree Frog, who reside primarily in forests, woodlands, and wetlands.
Taken by a photographer in Indonesia, after his photo was called out and tracked down, he eventually admitted to buying his photography wildlife subjects at a nearby, local pet shop. It is with these purchased animals that he poses them for his photos, which he then sells to wire services. Sadly, in reality, while this completely falsified, manufactured photograph is adorable, we must remember that one should not always believe everything you see or read on the internet.
A Newborn Nile Crocodile Prepares to Depart Its Egg
The below photo displays a truly beautiful, rare moment. Here, a newborn crocodile prepares itself as it leaves its shell and enters the world for the very first time. And while this baby croc has successfully made it to this final stage of incubation, many other crocodile infants are not so lucky. Sadly, of the average 10 to 60 eggs laid at a time by the mother crocodile, few reach the hatching stage. The combination of predators, flooding, and a number of other circumstances often lead to the destruction of up to half of all eggs laid by the crocodile mother.
Of all crocodile hatchlings, it is estimated only one percent of these babies survive to full maturity. However, on the bright side, for those lucky crocs that do survive, the tables of fate for these animals quickly turn, and the adult crocodile ultimately emerges as a reptile with virtually no predators. While the length of a crocodile’s life varies by species, the average lifespan of a fully matured adult crocodile ranges from 30 to 75 years.
Catching This Giant Rock? We’re Most Definitely Going to Need a Bigger Boat
Residing near Palolem Beach, in Goa, India, this realistic looking shark never leaves this spot. No, it doesn’t even move a single inch. Why? Because it is a rock. Created by Street artist Jimmy Swift, who painted the figure in 2015, this rock shark has been a favorite spot for tourists to flock to for selfies ever since. According to Swift, he knew upon first laying eyes on this rock, that is was surely fate for it to become a shark.
Inspired by the classic shark horror film, Jaws, this is the second of Swift’s pieces painted for all to see at Palolem Beach. It was his desire to challenge himself that this artist chose to paint the shark head on this unique, three-dimensional surface. “This was the hardest thing I’ve ever painted. I was literally beat up by the waves and rising tide and forced to stop before it was finished,” said Swift in a post on his Instagram page.
A Very Dinosaur-looking Baby Blue Heron
In the below photo is a particularly dinosaur-looking blue heron, mouth open as it perches upon one man’s hand. For any doubters of the evolutionary connection between birds and their dinosaur ancestors, the baby blue heron stands as a perfect example of this prehistoric connection. If not for its tiny size, one look at this terrifying bird and one would think it was taken right out of a Jurassic Park film!
Most commonly found near the shores and wetlands of much of North and Central America, as well as the Caribbean and the Galápagos Islands, in its prime years as an adult, standing as tall as 4 and a half feet tall (1.37m), with a wingspan often exceeding six feet wide, the blue heron is actually known as the largest of all North American herons!
The Ultimate Stare-down: a Babe Ocelot vs. a Camera
No, the below photo isn’t of an angry house cat. It’s actually a wild ocelot! When compared to your average kitty, ocelots appear far bigger, and far superior, to its domestic, potty-trained counterpart. Approximately double the size of a domestic cat, Ocelots are characterized by their distinctive coat, which ranges in color from light yellow to reddish gray, and is decorated with a wide variety of unique markings and patterns of dark spots and stripes. No two coats are the same!
Because of these unique markings, these wild cats are oftentimes also called painted leopards, as well as dwarf leopards. Despite their coats’ striking similarity to big cats like leopards, in reality, ocelots are only distantly related to these kings of the jungle. While Leopards and tigers belong to the Pantherinae, (aka the roaring cats) subfamily, ocelots identify as a part of the Felinae (or small cats) subfamily.
The Narwhal: the ‘Unicorn of the Ocean’
The image below shows the seemingly mythological sea creature, the Narwhal. Known by its nickname, “unicorn of the sea,” the narwhal is famously known for the distinct, long helical horn (or tusk) protruding from its face. But despite its appearance, this appendage isn’t a horn at all, but a tooth. More specifically, it's an upper left canine tooth, which, as a result of natural selection, grows straight to an almost unbelievable length. Contrary to filter-feeding whales, the narwhal falls under the evolutionary family of the toothed whales.
Though throughout much of history, the reason behind the narwhal’s tusk was largely a mystery, today scientists believe it is used by the animal to measure water salinity. In some cases, experts have also reported narwhal’s using this over-sized tooth to stun their prey. Throughout history, the horn of the narwhal was often thought to be from the elusive, magical healing horn of the mystical unicorn. Over the ages, explorers, hunters, and sailors returned home with the prized, mysterious horn, as stories of the horns’ mystical healing powers led merchants to sell the rare specimens for small fortunes.
Armadillo Girdled Lizard, or Miniature Dragon?
Nope, it’s not a mini dragon! In the palm of the hand in the below photograph lays an adorably little, terrified dragon-esque looking creature given the named of an Armadillo Girdled Lizard. How do we know this animal is in distress? The signs of this animal's distress are given off through this lizard’s “signature defense mechanism”: putting its entire tail into its mouth, displaying only its spiky armor, thus protecting its incredibly soft underbelly from would-be predators.
Despite its misleading name, this little lizard gets its name from its distinct “curling-up behavior,” which reminded zoologists of the South American three-banded armadillo, who displays a similar defensive behavior. These spiky lizards are found along the west coast of South Africa, particularly from the northern region surrounding the Orange River of Northern Cape Province, to the Piketberg Mountains in the south.
A Silly Little Penguin Makes a Little Girl Smile
With their cute faces, their silly, waddling gaits, and their awkward wings, it comes as no surprise that this small penguin, known as Rocky the Penguin, is easily able to bring a smile to two-year-old Nicola McNally’s beaming face. A moment of pure joy captured back in 1980, at the Cotswold Wildlife Park in Oxfordshire, UK, Rocky is a Humboldt penguin, a species of penguin particularly known for its friendly demeanor towards humans.
Interestingly enough, both these penguins and the current are named after 18th-century explorer Alexander von Humboldt. Specifically hailing from the coastal regions of the South American countries of Peru and Chile, here this penguin is surrounded by a natural habitat of open ocean and rocky shorelines.
The Amazing Walking Abilities of the Epaulette Shark
The below photograph displays the amazing Epaulette shark: a species able to walk between coral heads at low tide, as well as along the seafloor, and even on land! Named after the the word “epaulet,” which refers to an ornamental shoulder piece found on many uniforms—used as a means of denoting rank, originating from the French word, “epaule,” translating to “shoulder” - this species of shark was named the Epaulette shark after the animals’ large spots, located behind each of its pectoral fins.
For example, if this shark species is running low on oxygen whilst stuck in anoxic water—or water that has been depleted of all oxygen—the incredible Epaulette shark is able to shut down a few of its neural functions, so that it can simply chill along the water, until a wave containing oxygen-rich water comes along to save the day! Additionally, this kind of shark is unique in that it is actually known to walk on its fins more often than it actually swims. The Epaulette shark does this so that it may crawl over the exposed reef contained between rock pools, areas that contain the shark’s favorite prey.
Orangutan Tells Us How He Really Feels
In the below photo, this primate seems to tell us how he really feels. Indeed, give a “primate four fingers and a thumb, and eventually, he’ll flip you off.” All jokes aside, the orangutan is a truly amazing creature. Named after the Malay word for “person of the forest,” these orange-colored, long-haired primates are found only in regions of Sumatra and Borneo. Considered highly intellectual creatures, the Orangutan is known as a close relative of man.
But is this particular orangutan actually mad at the photographer taking the picture? Is he actually telling him or her to “buzz off”? Is he trying to send a message to humans on behalf of the animal kingdom, indicating to us that these animals have had enough of our mindless cruelty in wastefulness? Are they planning to pull a planet of the apes, taking the planet back for the good of their babies and all of the primates’ future generations? The world may never know.
Baby Otters: Very Much Blind, Very Much Toothless
Unable to see upon first entering the world, for newborn otters—born both blind and toothless—life, at first glance, is actually not seen at all. While popularly known for their rambunctiously cheeky, playful nature, as well as for their immense swimming capabilities—an adaptation the otters owe to their webbed feet—following their exit from their mother’s womb, at first, they are not able to witness any of the curiosity and fun had by the baby’s fellow furry, water-loving family members.
As reflected in the above photograph, which captures the first moments of this litter of newborn otters, these adorable little creatures are basically helpless, balls of fur. Following their birth, these baby otters will remain in their mother’s nest for the next few weeks, where they will be carefully guarded under the watchful eye of their mother and relatives.
One of the World’s Most Venomous Creatures: the Blue-ringed Octopus
The photograph below captures the unique beauty of the venomous blue-ringed octopus. Considered one of the world’s most venomous creatures, the blue-ringed octopus is found in coral reefs all across the Pacific and Indian oceans. Though a beautiful, seemingly harmless specimen, don’t be fooled by its misleading appearance. While tiny, within minutes, the blue-ringed octopus has enough venom in its body capable of killing a whopping 26 adult humans. Indeed, in reality, this minuscule, golf-ball-sized creature is widely known as one of the most toxic creatures on the planet.
This creature's deadly toxins are packed tight into its venom, which contains the powerful neurotoxin tetrodotoxin, a toxin also infamously carried by the pufferfish. According to experts, the consequences of tetrodotoxin include severe paralysis, an effect which eventually leads to a number of other unpleasant secondary impacts, including slow body shut down, and eventual death from lung failure. So what does one do when encountering this blue and yellow sea creature, one may ask? Do not pet, and quickly back away.
A Llama in Times Square, 1957
This outgoing llama proves that shows business is not just for people. Llamas want to make it in the big apple too! And that’s just what Linda, the llama below, set out to do. In this photo, taken in 1957, photographer Inge Morah shot this iconic image of Linda casually cruising through Times Square in the backseat of her trainer’s car, on her way home from a gig she had just completed.
A member of the Camelid, more commonly known as the camel family, the ancestors of the llama first migrated to South America approximately 3 million years ago. It wasn’t until 4,000 to 5,000 years ago that the first evidence of llama domestication appeared in the Peruvian highlands. Here, they were used as pack animals. Today, many of the descendants of these ancient Incan peoples still use the llamas for similar purposes.
Whatchu’ Looking at, Blue Footed Booby?
Named after their blue-footed feet, the blue-footed booby bird, known by the scientific name of Sula nebouxii, was named after this bird’s silly, boob-like, foolish and goofy demeanor. This carnivorous bird’s clown-like notoriety is reflected in its clumsiness on land, similar to the awkward movement of many other seabirds on land. Additionally, these odd birds are also known to be unusually trusting of humans.
Of the many weird facts pertaining to the blue-footed booby bird, perhaps the strangest of them all is the birds’ unique mating ritual. Taking great pride in their name, and (more likely) their blue feet, during Blue-footed mating rituals, the males will flaunt their blue feet, displaying them to prospective female mates with a pompous, high-stepping strut movement. The key to finding a successful mate? Blue feet. The bluer the feet, the more attractive the mate.
The Flight of the Gulls and the Eagle
Shot in the skies of Alaska, in July of 2015, this incredible photo captures the rare, violent moment between a bald eagle and two seagulls. Similar to raptor birds, eagles are a carnivores species of hunting bird, one whose diet is majorly composed of small mammals and yes, believe it or not, even birds. Unique to North America, this bird has a distinct brown body and contrasting white head.
According to the story retold by the photographer responsible for the above picture, this image was shot after the eagle flew into the gulls’ nest, snatched one of the birds up with his sharp talons and then flew away, the bird still in hand. Consequently, the second gull in the nest began to chase after the eagle, plucking the feathers from the eagle’s neck. However, despite his efforts, this strategy was largely unsuccessful, and the second gull, tired and defeated, eventually gave up and flew away.
Three Beavers Sit Along the Water
Beavers gonna beav. In the below photo sit three happy beavers, obeying their natural animal instincts, appearing adorably proud of themselves as they relax after a long day’s work of cutting down trees. While most view these animals as cute, fuzzy little creatures, for those who have had a beaver bite down a tree on their property, these creatures are seen as a large, annoying nuisance. However, scientists have proved the benefits of these animals on their surrounding habitats.
Believe it or not, similar to humans, beavers also use goggles to swim! However, unlike the man-made, artificial goggles humans use to better see under water, beavers actually posses a set of transparent eyelids. This adaptation allows beavers to see underwater.
Looking Straight Into the Soul of the Emperor Tamarin
Staring directly into the lens of the camera responsible for the below photo is the primate known as the emperor tamarin. The size of a squirrel, this primate lives deep within the Amazon basin of South America. Despite its regal name, in reality, this species of primate is not particularly high up in the species hierarchy—it just has a very, very large mustache. Given its name by a Swiss zoologist, the tamarin was given its royal name as a comical tribute to Emperor Wilhelm II, who was widely known in his country as a man with an extremely powerful mustache.
These animals are diurnal primates, meaning the majority of their activities take place during the day. The emperor tamarin lives in trees, leaping from branch to branch to move around and find food. As such, they are extremely small and impressively agile creatures. It is interesting to note that two-thirds of female emperor tamarins only see three colors: an adaptation which makes it easier for these females to detect and find ripe fruit in the trees. In contrast, other females and males of these species only see two colors, which ables them to better detect camouflaged predators.
The World’s Most Expensive Aquarium Fish: the Asian Arowana
Below is a photo of the Asian Arowana, the most expensive aquarium fish in the world. Sold with an average price tag of around $150,000 (or more, depending on the seller), because this fish is illegal to import into the US, many of them are sold at an even higher rate on the black market. A beautiful fish rarely spotted in the wild, the Asian Arowana, also known as the dragon fish, hails from the waters of Southeast Asia.
In the wild, this fish can grow up to three feet long—roughly the size of a single snowshoe. A predator fish traced all the way back to the prehistoric age of the dinosaurs, this fish is distinguished by its red color, the whiskers on its chin and its coin-like, metallic scales. Combined, these distinct features are said to resemble the Chinese dragon. It is this striking similarity that eventually led to the belief associated with the Arowana's good luck and prosperity.
Night of the Living…Raccoons?
For one woman with a particularly bad case of the raccoons (see the below photo for reference), enough was enough. To catch the creature that was repeatedly mooching off her dog’s kibble, she devised an ingenious plan: set up a camera atop a motion detector, and attempt to catch the thieving culprit in the act. After checking her camera’s pictures the next morning, the woman’s suspicions were correct: the thief was in fact a raccoon. But it was not just one thief, it was a few dozen, hungry raccoons.
Thankfully, the seemingly terrifying looking, brain-hungry, undead looking zombie raccoons captured in the photo were, in reality, normal raccoons, whose eyes were simply eerily lit up by the flash of the camera. And while appearing to walk in a zombie-like fashion, this stance is actually common among these nocturnal animals, who often stand upright when feeling startled or treated. Thus, it makes sense that the multiple, unexpected flashes set off by the camera throughout the night would freak these little guys out.
Black Panthers and Jaguars Unite…Wakanda Forever!
While the below animal is indeed a black panther, it is not of African. In the animal world, experts use the term “black panther” to describe “melanistic big cats,” wherever they may live in the world. On the continents of Africa and Asia, “black panthers” are known as leopards characterized by an abundance of the melanin pigment.
In the above photo, this American black panther is known as a Jaguar. Whether black panthers are technically black leopards or black jaguars, all-in-all, this species is relatively common. In total, approximately 6% of all Jaguars are known to be melanistic.
A Rare Brown Panda Sits in Distress, Abandoned by His Mother
Below, the emotions of a devastated young giant panda, all alone in the snow. Later given the name Qizai, meaning ‘seventh son’, this panda was discovered in the wild as a cub after found abandoned by his mother at just two years of age. Soon after, he was taken in under the care of rescuers.
Today, at nine-years-old, Qizai is the only known brown panda held in captivity in the entire world. Found in China’s Shaanxi Province, this male panda’s uniquely colored coat of white and brown has left experts in awe, leading many researchers on an ardent mission to find the reasons behind Qizai’s unique features.
A Trotting Baby Musk Ox
In case you haven’t witnessed it before, below is a photo of a baby musk ox trotting happily along its surrounding rocky terrain. Residing primarily in Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, over time, these furry creatures have adapted amazingly to their frigid surroundings. In addition to their long shaggy hair, which protects them from the extreme cold, the musk oxen also have outer hairs, called guard hairs, which cover the animals’ shorter undercoat, one which provides them with even more insulation during the Arctic’s harsh winters.
Thankfully, as the winter nears its end, spring approaches, and temperatures begin to rise, this thick fur undercoat is shed until the next winter. And while the above baby musk ox may be cute, it is extremely vulnerable to its predators, most commonly the arctic wolf.
The Many Eggs of a Female Octopus
In the below photo sit a few of the many eggs a female octopus may lay. Experts estimate that an octopus can lay up to 100,000. This incredible number of eggs is likely due to the fact that Octopi mate just once in their entire lifetime, in addition to the fact that, soon after mating, the father will die. In contrast to human reproduction, upon being fertilized by the male octopus, the female is able to emit tens of thousands of eggs, which are held together by strings, which hang in sea caves and between rocks, during the eggs’ 5 to 10 month incubation period.
Throughout the incubation period, the female constantly wafts currents over her eggs, in order to ensure the constant supply of freshly oxygenated water to her unborn babies, and does so continuously, never leaving the eggs’ side. In fact, according to scientists, during this time the octopi mother is so focused on these eggs, that she goes without food during their incubation period.
A Rare, Seemingly Albino Moose Crosses the Road - Gunnarskog, Varmland, Swede
Meet Ferdinand, the albino moose: a celebrity in the southwest-central region of Varmland, Sweden. And it is no secret why. With his head-to-toe white coloring, making him appear as an alabaster sculpture, this rare creature is a majestic sight for all. According to National Geographic, the reason for the moose’s abnormally rare white color is the result of a genetic mutation.
However, unlike this white moose, in most cases of albinism, those impacted have characteristically light or pinkish colored eyes. However, like Ferdinand, for moose with bright, white fur coats, more common than not this feature is actually obtained from a recessive gene which causes this animal to grow white with specs of brown, a condition otherwise known as piebald.
The Echidna, or Spiny Anteater: Earth’s Tiny Egg-laying Mammal
Below is a photograph of the adorably tiny, spiky, egg-laying echidna. Also known as a spiny anteater, this mammal is one of just a few egg-laying mammals on Earth. Of the seemingly endless mammals in existence on this planet, in addition to four species of echidna, the Platypus is the only other known egg-laying mammal species. Found in the southern hemisphere, on the continent and country of Australia (including Tasmania), as well as on the Pacific island of New Guinea, these small Oceania creatures earned the name “spiny anteater” due to the tendency for some species of echidnas to eat ants.
Despite this name, it is important to note that this animal is not, in any way, related to any member of the anteater species—nor does it have any relation whatsoever to the porcupine, despite its quill-like spines.
The Colorful Chameleon: More Than Meets the Eye
In the below photograph sits a colorfully camouflaged chameleon. Its camouflaging mechanism is much more complex than you might think. Most color changing done by the chameleon is related to both the animal’s behavior, as well as its state of mind at the time of its color transitioning. In the animal kingdom, the chameleon has a wide range of hues and shades for various occurrences. For instance, when preparing itself to fight other chameleons, this animal will adopt a brighter hue. In contrast, when accepting defeat or surrendering, it will begin to display darker shades.
Additionally, chameleons are also known to change their color as a means of communication. This form of color-changing is exhibited in the females’ attempt to signal to the male, in order to let him know she is in the mood for love. Chameleons also have the ability to move their eyes able independently from each other. Doing so allows the chameleon to look in two different directions at the same time, thus not only abling this animal to have a complete 360-degree view but also provides them with the ability to rapidly focus their eyes, enlarging their field of view, much like a camera lens.
Roland, a 4000-lb Elephant Seal, Gets a Bath in the Snow
Taken back in 1930, in this photograph we see a 4000-lb elephant seal receiving its snowy bath from his zookeeper handler at the Berlin Zoo in Berlin, Germany. At the time this photo was taken, this massive elephant seal—known famously as Roland the two-ton elephant seal— was widely known as a local celebrity, who charmed Berliners with his gigantic body and an enormous appetite. Known by the scientific name, Mirounga, this carnivorous mammal can grow up to 20 feet, and weight up to 4.5 tons.
According to National Geographic, while once aggressively hunted for its oil, a cruelty which nearly led to the elephant seal’s extinction, fortunately, since becoming legally protected, this sea mammal’s populations have since rebounded. Though in the year this image was shot Roland was the only one of his kind in the area, by 1935—just five years later—Roland would soon meet his match. His competition? A 4-ton mass of blubber by the name of Goliath.
A Young Martha Stewart Poses Alongside a Cow, 1964
While today, legendary cook Martha Stewart is known by many as television’s most famous home cooking icon, back in the early 1960s, a young Stewart was not a professional chef, but a professional model. This unlikely career began at age 15, during which time she modeled for distinguished modeling agency clients such as Chanel and Tareyton cigarettes.
In 2013, Stewart first shared the above photo, revealing that the image was not the result of a professional photo shoot, but in actuality a shot taken by former husband, Andrew Stewart. It is through this very picture that Stewart is able to glamorously depict Northeastern American farm living, an idea which inspired much of her homemaking astuteness.
Baby Elephant Goes Out for a Drink (of Water)
Of all the impressive features of an elephant, its trunk is perhaps the most incredible. Basically an extremely long nose, the elephant’s trunk does far more than simply smell. The impressive nubs at the end of the elephant trunk allow the animal to pick up grass and many other kinds of vegetation. Incredibly, the trunk alone can also weigh up to 100 pounds. Additionally, elephants are able to use their trunks as a snorkel when submerging underwater.
Elephants also drink through their trunks, thus serving as an adaptive straw, which allows the elephant to drink water from ponds far below, or, as the young elephant in the above image adorably demonstrates, from a man-made fountain. To tell the difference between the African elephant and the Asian elephant, one can even use the trunk as a means of comparing the two elephant species. Indeed, while the tip of an African elephant’s trunk contains two fingers or ‘lips’, the trunk of the Asian elephant only possesses one.
The Elusive Ili Pika: the Ultimate Hide and Seek Champion
The below photograph captures perhaps the best hide-and-seeker of all time: the elusive Ili pika. An adorably small mammal with the appearance of a teddy-bear faced rabbit, this animal was first discovered in 1983, hidden among the Tian Shan mountains of northwestern China. Sadly, in the early ‘90s, this mysterious creature seemed to disappear completely off the face of the Earth.
Just when all hope was lost, in the summer of 2014, researchers finally rediscovered the pika (the very Ili pika in this picture, to be exact)! Found by none other than Weidong Li—the species' original discoverer - and his group of research volunteers, the very pika seen in the above photo was discovered after much pika searching in the Tianshan Mountains.
Identify That Marsupial! White Kangaroo Albino?
The below photo displays a rare encounter with a white kangaroo, shot by one woman in South Australia, who spotted this uniquely colored marsupial whilst driving along the Big Bend on the Murray River. But is the above white kangaroo an albino kangaroo, or simply a white one? According to the Bordertown Wildlife Park, it is extremely difficult to know just how rare albino kangaroos really are.
Because white kangaroos do in fact exist—a result of a genetic strain of the grey kangaroo—this white kangaroo could indeed be just another white-colored kangaroo. However, according to experts, it is from a detailed examination of the animal’s eyes that one will ultimately be able to conclude whether or not the animal is albino.
Behind the Scenes and Into the Mouth of Jaws
No, that’s not a real shark about to take a bite of its next human meal—It’s only Bruce the animatronic shark! Chilling out next to Jaws' Robert Shaw, this shot was taken during the filming of the iconic 1975 horror movie, Jaws. Interestingly enough, this film’s infamous 25-foot great white shark was not just played by one, but three full-scale mechanical shark models.
In order to realistically create the terrifying shark’s movements, these models were towed along the water by either “sleds” submerged beneath the water, or by hidden scuba divers underneath the mechanical shark. These animatronic sharks earned the named “Bruce” in honor of Spielberg's lawyer, Bruce Ramer. However, because of Spielberg’s constant frustration in regards to the shark’s constant malfunctions, the film’s director gave this robot shark a far funnier name: "the great white turd."
The Last Captured Moments of an Elderly Lion
In the below photo stands a weak elderly lion in his final hours. If anything, this sad photograph proves the ways of life in the jungle are often unkind, and absolute. Known as Skybed Scar, this lion made quite a name for himself in South Africa’s Kruger Park. Once the ruler over all — the ultimate king of the jungle — as this recent picture show, those days are now long gone.
Allegedly kicked out of his lion pride, unable to fend for himself in his weakened state, without the protection and food once provided to him by his family, Scar grew increasingly gaunt and thin.
A Mother Bat Flies Her Baby High in the Sky
This photo captures a truly rare, touching moment of a mother bat and her baby, as they fly across the sky. While Halloween and vampire movies have made bats out to be truly evil, sinister creatures, the notoriously bad reputation of bats is one they really do not deserve. In reality, bats are actually extremely peaceful, incredible creatures. Bat moms, in particular, are widely known as some of the most heroic of mothers in the entire animal kingdom.
In the photo, this grey-headed flying fox is seen working hard to carry her rather large bat pup. While this mother seems to move forward by the “force of motherly love,” in contrast, bat dads are far less doting and are known to leave their female mates and children. For these species, it is the single mother who raises the bat pups as they grow from baby to adult.
Smile for the Camera! A Grinning Crocodile Bears its Teeth as It Jumps Mid-air
This action-packed photograph captures a young crocodile jumping straight up into the sky, in order to catch its next meal. Amazingly, these reptiles are able to do so by generating large amounts of momentum combined with powerful undulations of the reptile’s tail. It is then able to push off from the bottom of the river, so long as it is shallow enough.
From here, the crocodile is able to launch itself unbelievably high into the air. Believe it or not, of the 13 types of crocodiles, species like that of the Cuban crocodile, as well as a few others, are even able to become experts in this unusual tactic, ultimately adapting to habitually hunt for their prey as they perch high up onto tree branches, which extend outward from the land, lingering over the water’s surface.
A Child Investigates a Massive Whale Shark Washed Up on the Shore of Australia’s Botany Bay, 1965
Taken in 1965, this image captures the curiosity of a small, young boy as he approaches a most likely deceased, enormous whale shark, washed up on the coastal shore of Botany Bay, in Australia. In the ultimate meeting of opposites, the small, timid child cautiously touches the contrasting sea animal known as the largest species of fish on the entire planet: the whale shark. Despite this creature's enormous size, in reality, these animals are completely harmless to people.
Similar to the baleen whale, the whale shark is a filter feeder or an animal that, in zoology terms, is described as “a form of food procurement in which food particles or small organisms are randomly strained from water.” In the case of the whale shark, this massive fish catches its food by swimming along the ocean, keeping its huge mouth open so that it may strain any tiny living things in the water, an act which is carried out through the whale shark’s filter pads.
Don’t Believe Every Shark Picture You See
The below photo—a still taken during Jaws: The Revenge—was one widely believed to be a real-life photo of a shark attack. It was largely considered an enormous flop of a movie—one that many argued should never have been made at all. Despite being the product of a major Hollywood studio, the film is still seen to this day as an enormous failure.
As a result of the film’s publicly horrible reputation, few ventured out to buy tickets to see the movie following the release in theaters. Consequently, few were familiar with the scenes pictured in this movie. Ultimately, the film’s big lack of popularity led to much controversy surrounding the above still, taken during filming. Indeed, most of the people who looked at this picture believed it was an actual real-life shark attack!
Forget cats and dogs! The below picture depicts a scene right out of fairy tales. But what is the story behind this seemingly fictional photo? According to sources, the truck below was carrying a litter of pigs, on the way to the slaughterhouse near Guangxi, China, when suddenly, one of these little porker passengers climbed up onto another pig in the litter and made a run for it — or rather, a jump for it.
Sadly, while this daring little fellow did survive the fall, attempting to then make a break for his freedom, in the end, the driver of the truck chased after the pig and eventually caught it. Indeed, there was no happy ending for this daredevil pig.
Fashion’s Next Biggest Trend: A Butterfly-adorned Crocodile
Shot by photographer Mark Cowan during his visit to the Amazon, while this butterfly crown may look like nothing more than a stylish fashion statement, in reality, this seemingly unusual relationship actually serves a very important purpose for insects like butterflies and bees. Captured on Los Amigos river in southeastern Peru, this picture captures a shot of a grinning caiman as he sits casually on a log, surrounded by a myriad of colorful butterflies, sitting upon his head like a crown.
But what is the story behind this intriguing photo? The answer lies in these two animals' symbiotic relationship. A common occurrence for the caiman, scientists discovered that these butterflies actually sit on reptiles like these in order to harness nutrients from the salt which gathers on the caimans’ skin, and most importantly, the reptiles’ tears.