Grin & Bear It: 12 Sweetly Smiling Animals


From wolfish grins to just another manic monkey, most animals have been caught flashing a smile from time to time. Whether they’re smiling on the inside is another matter, of course, but one thing’s for certain – their smiles are compelling and often, contagious. Take these 12 smirking critters; they really know how to turn a frown upside down!

Otis the Smiling Hippopotamus

(images via: Telegraph UK and Daily Mail UK)

If Otis the hippo was hungry for fame, he sure seems to have found it. The three-ton native of darkest Africa resides at the San Diego Zoo these days, where he spends his time photobombing tourist pics – with their consent, of course.

(image via: Digit50d)

Jay & Lauren Parker just happened to be in the right place at the right time: just outside the hippo tank after Otis had a tussle with his female exhibit-mate, Funani. The rest is history, as Otis’ beaming countenance now gazes out from countless Pinterest boards, Tumblr pages and screensavers worldwide.

Smirking Sharks

(images via: The Future Buzz and Holy Taco)

Smiling sharks aren’t really grinning, they just look that way all that time due to their not having lips. Don’t take it personally, though. If you should encounter some sharks and they appear to be smiling, it’s because they’re excited to meet you… and the “m” is silent.

Yangtze River Finless Porpoises

(images via: China Daily and Straits Times)

Pandas may be the poster kids for Chinese endangered species but other large mammals are having a much tougher time. Take the now-rare Yangtze River Finless Porpoise, for instance. Closely related to dolphins and whales, these sweetly smiling creatures are having a tough time of it, being as they inhabit some of the most polluted water in China – and that’s saying something.

(images via: F-Paper)

Yangtze River Finless Porpoises naturally wear a small and sweet smile, a feature that they retain regardless of their mood and even into death, which makes the top photo above of a recently deceased porpoise all the more saddening.

Smiling Camels

(images via: PS Deluxe and Tour Egypt)

There’s an old middle-eastern proverb that goes something like “Never trust a smiling camel, he’s probably running a pyramid scheme.” Get over the hump, however, and you’ll find camels aren’t the ill-tempered, mean-spirited beasts they’re made out to be. Why else would we walk a mile for one?

Manic Monkeys

(images via: Telegraph UK and ECNS)

Stump-tailed Macaques, like all monkeys, can be mischievous and being mischievous seems to be an enjoyable activity no matter what your species. Who can say what this grinning primate has got in mind… like his tail, he’s got us stumped.

(images via: Anguished Repose and Cyburbia)

The Barbary Monkey above looks not a bit barbaric in the images above though you wouldn’t want one loose in your domestic environment. He (or she) seems to be as happy as can be living in the Upper Rock nature Reserve on Gibraltar. Being closely related to humans, monkeys like these are genuinely happy when they’re smiling.

Sweet Piglet Squid

(images via: Postiar and Seaway Blog)

The Banded Piglet Squid (Helicocranchia pfefferi) is a small, rather rotund squid that lives at ocean depths of more than 100m (300ft). It’s sweet smile is deceptive: that’s not really a mouth but merely a fortuitously placed line of “pig”mentation.

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