When it comes to animals on the internet, cats and dogs rule with an iron paw. It is almost impossible to go online without seeing a kitten gif or a corgi butt. Sure, you may come across the occasional sneezing panda, but at the end of the day, it’s raining cats and dogs. But the thing is, there are millions of species in the animal kingdom, and plenty of those animals don’t get the love that they deserve! To change that, here are five strange but absolutely adorable animals that will make your day and make you smile!
Native to South America, chinchillas are like squirrels, but better.
Okay, that may sound a bit harsh, but you can’t deny the facts. Just look at one of these cuties:
Flawless curves, a soft coat, shaped like a friend… Try finding a squirrel nearly as perfect as a chinchilla. Chinchillas are as glamorous as they look- their dense fur is the softest in the world. This made them targets for the fur industry and threatened the species for centuries, but in recent years chinchilla numbers have increased due to conservation efforts and domestication.
Yes, you heard right. You can own one of these little guys as a pet, but make sure you’re ready for that responsibility! They’re fickle pets that are high maintenance with important needs- especially when it comes to dental care are bathing. Because chinchillas are so fluffy, they cannot bathe in water and require special dust baths.
Faith, trust, and chinchilla dust!
If you’re ready to take one of these little guys into your home, great! But if you don’t feel up to the task, you can always look at them online instead of working on that essay you’ve been putting off!
Huh… do you hear that?
It’s a pangolin!
The pangolin, also known as the scaled anteater, is the only scaled mammal on the planet! There are multiple different types, and across the species they have unique characteristics beyond their scales! Some can hang from branches by their tails, others roll into balls like armadillos, and they also have tongues as long as their bodies! They’re known for being shy animals, which makes these little guys and their iconic walk all the more adorable!
3. Pygmy Hippos
When you hear “hippo”, the first thing that comes to your mind probably is probably more scary than cute. A giant animal with gnashing teeth that can decimate something with a single chomp. But what if I told you there was a smaller variety of hippo?
The pygmy hippo is much smaller than the common hippo, only a bit over a three feet tall and five feet long, and less confrontational too! It wasn’t until the 1800s that people outside of Africa knew that they existed. Eventually, they would be introduced to zoos across the world, allowing for the species to thrive in captivity. One pygmy hippo named Billy was even gifted to President Coolidge and went on to become the common ancestor of most pygmy hippos raised in American zoos!
Also according to folktales, pygmy hippos were said to carry diamonds in their mouths to light their way through the forest at night. If the thought of this hippo doing that doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what to tell you.
Shine bright like a diamond
Yup- there are kangaroos that live in trees, and they’re adorable.
Found only in Australia and surrounding islands such as New Guinea, tree kangaroos live in the trees of rainforests and cloud forests. There are thirteen different species of tree kangaroos, one of which was discovered in the 1990s. Not much is known about these guys socially aside from the fact that they’re more solitary creatures. Like other kangaroos and marsupials, they are believed to have originally lived in trees before settling on the ground. However as you can guess, tree kangaroos ended up returning to the trees. (Guess they couldn’t make up their minds!)
Axolotls are certainly weird. Cute, but undeniably weird as well. For starters these types of salamanders never physically mature like other amphibians, causing them to retain their gills and juvenile traits. Just think of it like an eternal case of baby-face. These guys also have amazing properties- they can regenerate limbs without any issue which makes them one of the most scientifically studied species of salamanders out there! (Try saying that ten times!)
Aside from their weird biology, you just have to love the axolotl (pronounced like ax-el-ot-ull by the way), especially since they always look so happy!
Smile for the camera!
Whether cute or on the uglier side, every animal has the right to exist. With that, the animals on this list currently range from endangered to critically endangered due to factors like habitat loss, hunting, climate change, and other human-related causes. While some of these species may be thriving in captivity, their wild populations are decreasing and are at risk. If you want to support the conservation of these species and help keep their adorable presence in the world, please consider helping them through the following organizations:
- World Wildlife Foundation
- International Union for Conservation of Nature
- African Wildlife Foundation
- Pygmy Hippo Foundation