Awwwww: 10 Adorable Baby Animals

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They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but some baby animals aren’t conventionally cute. At any Hallmark gift shop there are hundreds of cards with images of cute puppies, but not many with wrinkly aardvarks. All baby creatures have a certain charm though. Some, like the hippo perhaps, lose a little of it as they grow to full-size, but others, like the panda, can look forward to a whole lifetime of cuteness. Of course this is all just in the eyes of us humans, who tend to anthropomorphize all baby animals and think of them in terms of human babies. But its hard to resist.These guys are just so darn cute!

Baby Aardvarks

001 - aardvark

(image via: zooborns)

Well he may not be conventionally handsome but this wrinkly baby aardvark is seriously sweet. The aardvark’s name derives from the Afrikaans word “earth pig.” In Africa magicians make a charm from the heart, skin, forehead, and nails of the aardvark, which they then pound together with the root of a certain tree. Wrapped in a piece of skin and worn on the chest the charm is said to give the owner the ability to pass through walls or roofs at night. It is used by burglars and those seeking to visit young girls without their parents’ permission. Very handy unless you happen to be an aardvark.

Baby Francois Langur

002 - francois langur

(image via: boston)

Look at those lovely big eyes. That’s a characteristic we seem to like in baby animals, perhaps because it reminds us of human babies. This little fellow is quite rare and one of the lutung species of monkey from China and Vietnam. There are believed to be less than 500 left in Vietnam and 1,400-1,650 in China, with only about 60 langurs in captivity in North American zoos. This particular 5 day old charmer is called Elke, from Taronga Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital in Sydney, where her keepers have decided to hand-raise the monkey after she was rejected by her mother.

Baby Gorillas

003 - gorilla

(image via: boston)

One of the things humans warm to in animals is evidence of the mother-child bond and this can be seen very strongly with gorillas. Not surprising since their DNS is 98-99% identical to humans and they are our next closest relative after two chimpanzee species. They are the largest of the living primates and, despite their fearsome appearance, predominantly herbivorous . They live in the forests of Central Africa. The baby gorilla in the picture is Kiburi from Duisburg zoo in Germany and, like all adorable babies, she needs lots of sleep.

Baby Hedgehogs

004 - hedgehog

(image via: darkroastedblend)

The little guy looks like an upside-down hairbrush and he will only get more prickly as he grows older. Hedgehogs are native to Europe, Asia and Africa but not North America or Australia. The species hasn’t changed much for the last 15 million years but the name ‘hedgehog’ came into use more recently , around 1450. It was derived from the English ‘hegge’ (hedge) and ‘hogge’ (pig) because I suppose of their pig-like snout and the fact they were often found in hedgerows. Makes sense. Hedgehogs feature in many children’s stories and perhaps for that reason are generally regarded with affection as benign creatures.

Baby Pandas

005 - pandas

(image via: zooborns)

Pandas are born cute and stay cute all their lives. They’re the clowns of the animal world, delighting people in zoos with their antics and appearing like great big funny stuffed toys. This just shows that looks can be deceptive. It was recently reported that a zoo-goer who decided to give one of these cuddly creatures a hug had their arm ripped off in the process. Pandas are very definitely wild animals, however sweet they may look. They are extremely valuable wild animals too, since they are an endangered species and are highly prized by the worlds zoos.

Domestic Cats

006 - cats

(image via: thundafunda)

Although they’re not rare or exotic, kittens are common favorites amongst the ‘adorable baby animals’ . The huge eyes, oversized pointy ears and playful nature all combine to put them near the top of every child’s wish list when it comes to pets. People have had a love affair going on with cats for at least the last 9,500 years. They were revered as gods in ancient Egypt and a study in 2007 found that the lines of descent of all house cats probably run back to as few as five self-domesticating African wildcats around 8,000BC. So it looks like cats originally just decided to move in with us because they felt like it and they’ve been our house-guests ever since. Typical of cats.

Baby Hippopotamus

007 - hippo

(image via: photographyfineart)

I suppose a hippo isn’t the first thing you think of in connection with ‘adorable babies’ but they are irresistibly cute. They look so precious trotting along beside their huge mothers and when you see them in the water, where buoyancy counteracts their weight, they’re like chubby little ballet dancers. Baby hippos grow up into the third-largest land mammal by weight (1.5–3.5 tons), behind the white rhino and the elephant, but despite their bulk and short legs they can easily outrun a human. Hippos have been clocked at 18 mph (29 km/h) over short distances, which is pretty impressive. They have a combination of speed and bulk that seems not unlike sumo-wrestlers. They are also one of the most aggressive creatures in the world, often regarded as the most ferocious animal in Africa so if you’re ever tempted to pet a baby hippo, watch out for mom.

Baby Meerkats

008 - meerkats

(image via: zooborns)

A meerkat is a small mammal, a bit like a mongoose, from the Kalahari desert of South Africa. They live in groups called a ‘mob’ or a ‘clan’ with about 20 members. Meerkats forage in these groups with one “sentry” on guard watching for predators while the others search for food. Sentry duty is usually about an hour long. Baby meerkats do not start foraging for food until they are about 1 month old, and do so by following an older member of the group who acts as the pup’s tutor. If you watch video of meercats one of their most striking characteristics is their habit of standing up on their hind legs so they can see further over the desert.

Baby Rhinoceros

009 - rhino

(image via: zooborns)

Cute as baby rhinos undoubtedly are, you wouldn’t want to take one home because when they grow up they weigh well over a ton. They look like creatures from the prehistoric past, with their thick hides and huge horns, but generally they are peaceful herbivores. Unfortunately they are often killed for their horn which some mistakenly think is an aphrodisiac. The collective name for a group of rhinos is a ‘crash’ which, given their lumbering bulk and generally poor eye-sight, seems particularly apt.

Human Babies

010 - human

(image via: theonion)

Its not really possible to leave the subject of ‘adorable baby animals’ without including a mention of human babies. People jokingly say that nature makes them appealing so their parents don’t murder them when the sleepless nights and smelly diapers become too much. Certainly babies have the facial proportions that studies say we humans find attractive and its probably not an accident from an evolutionary perspective because even after a lengthy nine months of pregnancy, and unlike many species who can look after themselves fairly quickly, human offspring require care and attention for a long time. Ask the mother of any teenager and she’ll tell you it can be a very long time indeed. However there’s no denying, babies are adorable. Its just as well.

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