Wee Wildlife: 13 Amazingly Adorable Baby Animals

Few things incite quite the chorus of “awwwws” from us humans as do newborn animals, especially when they’re of the cute and cuddly variety. These photos depict a wide variety of species including a baby cheetah with a puppy companion, a pygmy hippo the size of a cat, teeny twin koalas and a sweet two-toed sloth.

Busch Gardens’ Baby Cheetah

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The new baby cheetah at Busch Gardens in Tampa has an unlikely best friend: a 16-week-old female yellow Labrador puppy. The cheetah cub’s mother wasn’t caring for it, so they gave the 8-week old cat supervised play time each day with the puppy. The pair will eventually live together and travel together to teach the public about the plight of cheetahs in the wild.

“Male cheetahs are social and often live together in coalitions,” says Tim Smith, an animal curator at Busch Gardens. “This social bond will be a very similar relationship, and they will be together for life.”

Baby Aardvark at the Colchester Zoo

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Another healthy baby aardvark has been born at the Colchester Zoo in Colchester, England. This little guy, born on March 20th, is the 8th so far.

Harry the Hippo

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Have you ever seen a hippo so tiny? Harry the hippo calf was just six days old when these photos were taken at the Cango Wildlife Ranch in South Africa. Harry is a pygmy hippo, so he’ll never get quite as large as most of the hippos we’re used to seeing. He was rejected by his mother, Hilda, and now receives round-the-clock care from staff at the ranch.

Hesty the Sumatran Orangutan

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When Hesty the Orangutan was found unresponsive, dehydrated and weak at 11 days old, staff at the Denver Zoo in Colorado nursed her back to health, placing her in an incubator for 11 days. The first of her species born at the zoo in 25 years, Hesty is doing great and has been reunited with her mother. “We moved her into an incubator next to her mother’s quarters and bottle-fed her,” says Dr. Felicia Knightly, senior vet at the zoo. “We made sure Hesty and Nias could see each other the entire time. Nias remained interested in the infant while we provided critical care.”

Newborn Camel

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This baby camel was the seventh born to 17-year-old mother Urga at the Zurich Zoo in Switzerland in 2010. Seen beside her mother when she was just a newborn, the camel was unsteady on those long legs.

Kai the Hyena Cub

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We don’t generally think of hyenas as being all that cute, but it’s hard to argue with this picture. Kai, a spotted hyena cub born in 2009, was born to couple Ngozi and Kibo at the Denver Zoo in Colorado. Zoo officials hoped that Kai can help change the public perception of this species, which is one of the most misunderstood mammals on the planet. Though they do scavenge carcasses left behind by other predators, hyenas are skilled hunters – even more successful than lions.

Perth’s Ugly Puggles

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Are these the ugliest babies you’ve ever seen? No one could blame you for cringing at the sight of newborn puggles, the hairless and spiny offspring of the species known as short-beaked echidnas. These two, Moa and Kain, were born in 2009 at the Perth Zoo. The species is notoriously difficult to breed, but Perth Zoo has been successful for quite a few years in a row now, and their research may help save the short-beaked echidna’s critically endangered long-beaked cousin.

Two-Toed Sloth

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Who doesn’t have a soft spot for sloths? The sweet slow-moving animals are even cuter when first born, like Sidone, who was nursed back to health in an incubator after her mother fell ill and stopped producing milk. Born as part of a breeding program at the Bristol Zoo in the U.K., Sid had to be manually fed and was kept company by a cuddly teddy bear.

Ronnie the Baby Diana Monkey

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Baby Ronnie arrived at the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, England in 2008 after his £30,000 adoption fee was paid in the form of donations from a music festival headlined by Mark Ronson. The baby Diana monkey was named after Ronson in honor of the donation.

Sweet Squirrel Monkeys

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Few things are cuter than a tiny squirrel monkey clinging to its mother’s back. This image was taken at China’s Hainan Safari Park in 2006.

Not-So-Tiny Giraffe

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A mother giraffe peers in at her baby shortly after its two-hour birth at the Congqing Wild Animal World in China in 2007. Though the baby looks tiny next to its full-grown parent, looks are deceptive: at this point, it was already almost six feet tall!

World’s First Twin Koalas

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How sweet are these little koala babies? They were the world’s first set of twin koalas to be born in captivity, making their debut at the Xiangjiang Wildlife park in Guangzhou, China in 2007. They measured just ten centimeters in length when they were born.

Gorilla Raised by Humans

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Baby Tia was adopted by staff at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, England in 2008, when her mother showed no maternal instincts. Placed in diapers and fed powdered milk, Tia will be hand-reared by humans. Her mother, Tamki, was also hand-reared because she, too, was rejected at birth. Says Phil Ridges of the animal park, “She was dehydrated and in need of some love and attention just like human babies. Betwee us we have been surrogate mothers, spending 24 hours a day with her and she is progressing well, putting on weight and taking in her new surroundings.”