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8 Animals Who Look Nothing Like Their Baby Pictures

When some animals are first born, they look nothing like their parents. Then, once they grow up, you can tell they're family.

Emperor Penguins with chickvladsilver/Shutterstock

Penguins

There’s no denying that baby penguins are one of the cutest animals. When they first hatch, they are small and fluffy, unlike their tall, smooth parents. Baby penguins are fluffy so they can protect themselves from the cold weather until they grow their adult feathers. Even though they seem super fluffy, they still rely heavily on mom and dad to keep them warm. 

Flamingos (Phoenicopteridae) newborn baby with his mother.Ondrej Chvatal/Shutterstock

Flamingos


Before they become elegant, bright pink birds, flamingos are born with white and gray feathers and straight beaks. As the flamingo matures, its bill starts to curve downward and its feathers change to pink after about two years. On the other hand, some animals look so similar that you can’t tell them apart. See if you can identify the difference between these nearly identical animals.

wild boar babieskyslynskahal/Shutterstock

Wild boars

Baby wild boars are born with much lighter fur than their parents, dark stripes, and no tusks. It’s a good thing the little babies stand out from their environment because a female can give birth to up to 12 piglets!

Baby of the endangered South American tapir (Tapirus terrestris), also called Brazilian tapir or lowland tapir with its motherNick Fox/Shutterstock

Tapirs

Similar to wild boars, Tapir babies are born with markings on their fur. Their parents have plain, dark coats. The stripes make it easy for the parents to keep an eye on their young.

Mother and child of silvered leaf monkeySerguei Koultchitskii/Shutterstock

Silvered leaf monkeys

Silver leaf monkeys are born with orange fur and a white face and white hands and feet. Their skin changes color to black, just like their parents, within a few days of birth. Their fur changes from orange to black after about three to five months. You’ll instantly love these adorable pictures of baby animals.

 Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus) on the BeachNicram Sabod/Shutterstock

Grey seals

Yes, adult and baby seals have similar shapes (just very different sizes), but grey seal babies are a completely different color than their parents. Seal pups are small, white, and fluffy. Their parents are large, grey, and sometimes speckled. The thick layer of fluff helps to keep the seals warm in the cold weather until they gain enough blubber. They don’t stay this tiny for long though because they gain three to five pounds every day from their mother’s milk.

cassowary babies chicksMichal Tesar/Shutterstock

Cassowaries

These little brown striped babies look nothing like their black dinosaur-looking mothers. It can take up to six months for cassowaries to start looking like adults. Their plumage will change from light to dark brown and they will start to grow a horn on their head. 

Macro side view on ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) weird spiny larva hunting on green leafAnest/Shutterstock

Ladybird beetles

This creepy crawly beetle actually turns into a ladybug, also known as a ladybird, later on in its life. After hatching from the egg, the larva sheds its skin and then attaches to a plant to form the pupa after 21 days. Then, after five to seven days, it hatches into an adult ladybird. Now, check out the strangest animal found in each state.

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for rd.com or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.