Grin & Bear It: 12 Sweetly Smiling Animals

Wolfish Grins

(images via: Morho/DeviantArt, Dennis Wong and Trial-By-Combat/DeviantArt)

Wolfish grins aren’t solely an attribute of wolves, but it’s safe to say “grinning” wolves and wolfishly grinning people have different motivations for their wolfish expressions. Wolves can appear quite frightening when they put on a toothy threat display – something hard-wired into our DNA, perhaps – so maybe the look of a wolf who’s NOT snarling looks friendly by comparison.

(image via: International Wolf Center)

Wolves aren’t always grinning wolfishly, of course, they show their happiness in a variety of ways. Check out the Arctic Wolf above, checking out a cool, crisp December morning from his cozy den at the International Wolf Center and finding it suits him to a T.

Smiling Axolotl

(images via: Fenwick1925, Freakgirl and First Murabess)

The rare and unusual Axolotl presents a rather dragon-like demeanor derived from its feathery, fiery-red external gills. What could be off-putting becomes irresistibly cute, however, thanks to the creature’s cartoonish toothless smile.

(images via: Gigazine)

Hard to believe a restaurant in Japan serves them deep-fried… and still smiling.

Happy Snakes

(images via: HaHaStop, Horsebears, TooBizarre and Snake Preservation and Awareness)

Snakes aren’t only happy in the Eve-ning, they seem to grin at all times of the day or night. We’d say it was because they’re “Able” to do so but that would be pushing a pun far too far. Snakes have evolved uniquely hinged jaws that enable (sorry) them to swallow prey much wider than would appear to be possible, leading to the question “where are all the morbidly obese snakes?”

(image via: We Heart It)

One smiling snake has broken through the fifth wall to become a bonafide Internet celebrity… OK, an Internet meme, which is not quite as cool but better than nothing. “Happy Snake” lacks a rattler’s venom-dripping fangs but it does pack a mean set of very un-snakelike choppers. Happy yes, disturbing even more so.

Crested Black Macaques are Amused

(images via: Gareth Hughes and Telegraph UK)

Call it a case of “monkey steal, monkey do”. Photographer David Slater got quite the surprise while getting some close-ups of Indonesian Crested Black Macaques: the creatures noticed their reflections in Slater’s camera lens and their primate curiosity took over – literally. Were the normally stoic and serious-faced macaques amused? We think the self-portrait above says it all.

Grinning Blowfish

(images via: FactZoo, DonRobot and Lonelee Planet)

Fugme? Fugu! Be careful what you wish for, Homer-wannabe’s, for although Fugu (or Puffer Fish) may be a delicacy in some parts of Japan, some parts of the Fugu could very easily be the last thing you’ll eat – ever. The fish’s liver and ovaries contain a deadly paralytic toxin that regularly takes the lives of intrepid diners. Fun Fugu fact: serving Fugu liver has been illegal in Japan since 1984; before then it was merely ill-advised.

(image via: DetroitNet)(image via: DetroitNet)

This Fugu may be smiling but who will get the last laugh: the fish, the inexperienced sushi chef or your estate’s beneficiaries? Considering that the fatal dose of Fugu toxin can be comfortably stacked on a pinhead, we’d say all three.

Smiling Cats

(images via: Puamelia, The Rag Blog, HD Animals and Covermaker)

This “so happy smiling cat” comes from Japan, the land of Hello Kitty where cuteness rules and thanks to the ubiquitousness of camera-equipped mobile phones, cat-lovers around the world can enjoy this purr-fectly pleased puss.

(images via: Disney Costume Ideas and Mousebreath Magazine)

Cats have a long tradition of smiling that dates back to Dickens’ Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland through the counter-culture capers of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers’ famous feline, Fat Freddy’s Cat.


(image via: Daily Mail UK)

If the human animal can smile, the same should go for non-human animals. While many kinds of animal smiles are only interpreted that way by our “Elvis On Burned Toast” over-stimulated brains, it’s obvious that among the higher mammals at least smiles really mean what they appear to mean… and there’s nothing “mean” about that!

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