42 Photos of the Cutest Wild Animals in the World
Puppies pale in comparison to these little guys.
Sand cat, North Africa and Southwest Asia
As cute as your favorite funny cat videos are, none can compare to the impossibly cartoonish, wide-faced Felis margarita. Sand cats live in the deserts of North Africa and Southwest Asia and get most of their moisture from their prey, rather than drinking water.
Siberian flying squirrel, North Asia and Europe
I’m sure you can see how this is one of the cutest animals in the world. You wouldn’t think a tubby little fluff ball like this could go very far in the air, but flaps of skin by their legs help them glide between trees. You can catch a glimpse of Siberian flying squirrels in Russia, China, and other northern areas of Asia and Europe. Tourists get especially excited to see them in Hokkaido, the only island in Japan with the furballs.
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Pika, Asia and North America
American pikas are related to rabbits and hares. They might be small, adorable animals, but they’re still tough—the little critters can survive harsh weather without burying holes.
Gundi, North Africa
If you thought guinea pigs were cute, try looking at a gundi without squealing. The Northern African rodents’ toes have tiny bristles that help them clean their fur.
Japanese raccoon dog, Asia
These adorable animals—also known as tanuki—are more closely related to dogs than raccoons. They’re monogamous, and the papa and mama Japanese raccoon dogs work together to raise their pups.
Chevrotain, Southeast Asia and West Africa
These tiny creatures look straight out of a fairytale forest. It might look like a deer, but the hooved chevrotain stands at only about a foot tall at the shoulder. Instead of antlers, the male “mouse deer” have tiny fang-like tusks.
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Harris’s antelope squirrel, United States and Mexico
Who can say squirrels are pests when this adorable species exists? Found in hot desert climates in the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico, Harris’s antelope squirrels use their tails as umbrellas to block out the sweltering sun.
Nope, bongos aren’t just drums—the African animals are also the biggest species of forest antelope in the world. As adults, their horns can grow as long as 40 inches.
The “Mexican walking fish” isn’t a fish at all but actually a salamander. Unlike other amphibians, which usually lose their dorsal fins and external gills after they grow out of the tadpole phase, the water-bound axolotls keep those features through adulthood, which explains why they’re one of the most adorable animals.
Quoll, Australia and New Guinea
As marsupials, these Australian mammals spend their first nine weeks of life in their mama’s pouch. Despite their sweet appearance, quolls are unapologetic predators. Larger species eat birds, possums, and rabbits, while smaller ones stick with insects, birds’ eggs, and little animals.
Jerboas, Northern Africa and Asia
Between their tufted tails, big ears, long hind legs, and tiny front limbs, jerboas look like a lab-made mish-mosh of several species. But make no mistake: The rodents are totally natural and belong to the same family as birch mice. Their long legs help them jump high and far.
Maned wolf, South America
Those long legs could even put Gisele Bündchen’s to shame. The fox-like maned wolf actually isn’t closely related to foxes or wolves and is the only member of the genus Chrysocyon. Its food choices are equally misleading—the biggest part of the South American animal’s diet is a berry called lobeira, which means “fruit of the wolf.”
Japanese dwarf flying squirrel, Japan
These tiny nocturnal creatures can leap from tree to tree using a gliding membrane that connects from their wrists to ankles called a patagium. Japanese dwarf flying squirrels typically feed on buds, leaves, bark, fruit, and seeds.
Bearded tamarin monkey, Brazil and Peru
I mustache you a question: do you think these monkeys are the cutest animals in the world? The bearded tamarin monkey can be found in rainforests hanging out in groups of three to eight, but sometimes may be found alone.
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Klipspringer, Southern Africa
This small antelope is known for its monogamy. Klipspringers display long-term—even lifelong!—pair bonding.
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The balloon fish is also known as a porcupinefish due to its sharp spines. These spines typically lay flat to their back until they puff up, making the spines stand straight out.
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Bilbies tend to be solitary marsupials, but sometimes they can be seen traveling in pairs. The pairs are typically two females who work together to raise their offspring.
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Japanese weasel, Japan
Japan has banned the hunting of female weasels in order to conserve the species. The country has seen a 25 percent decline in the population of this particular weasel species for the last three generations.
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Pygmy hippopotamus, West Africa
Pygmy hippos are few and far between, with fewer than 3,000 estimated to be in the wild. This is mainly due to poaching as well as the loss of habitat as forests are converted to farmland.
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Dik-diks get their name from the unique alarm calls that come from the females. Both male and females also make a sort of piercing whistling sound that alert other animals to predators.
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Malayan tapir, Asia
Malayan tapirs are easily identified by the distinct light-colored patch that spreads from its shoulders down to its back. The pattern is used for camouflage since the disordered pigmentation breaks up the outline, making it more challenging to spot.
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Capybara, South America
The capybara is currently the largest living rodent in the world. They wander swampy, grass regions alongside bodies of water in South America.
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Taeniura meyeni, Indo-Pacific
This species of stingray lays motionless most days and isn’t aggressive towards humans. They have been known to approach and examine divers. But don’t bother them! They will sting when provoked.
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The American mink, North America
While this little cutie is native to North America, human involvement has actually expanded where the American mink lives, such as parts of Europe and South America.
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Patagonian mara, Argentina and Patagonia
Closely resembling a jackrabbit, the Patagonian mara has very distinct long ears and limbs, making it look bunny-like. They are monogamous for life, only finding a new partner after their former partner’s death.
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Elephant shrew, Africa
You can probably see why these little guys are called “elephant” shrews with their trunk-like nose. They are very difficult to trap and stay well camouflaged, making them rarely seen.
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Numbat, Western Australia
Living in logs and burrows, the numbat hunts for termites that live underground with their sticky tongue. There are less than 1,000 of these marsupials left in the wild today.
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Tarsier, Southeast Asia
Similar to the slow loris, tarsiers have massive eyes. In some cases, their eyeballs are larger than their entire brain. Tarsiers need to balance their large eyes and head so they are able to wait long periods for prey to come along.
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Malayan flying lemur, Southeast Asia
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a flying lemur! OK, the Malayan flying lemur doesn’t actually fly. The membrane that connects from its neck to its toes allows it to leap among the trees with utmost grace.
Gold dust day geckos, Madagascar and Comoros
You may have seen this miniature gecko before, most likely on your television screens as the gold dust day gecko is used as the mascot for GEICO.
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Siberian chipmunk, Asia
The Siberian chipmunk appears across Asia from Russia to China and Japan. They were even introduced to Europe back in the 1960s for people to have as pets.
Dugong, Indian and Western Pacific Oceans
Have you ever seen a sea cow? It’s likely you have not, but you may have seen a manatee. Dugongs are the only members left of the Dugongiade family and are now closest related to manatees. Now that you’ve seen the cutest animals in the world, check out these adorable pictures of animal friendships that will fill your heart with warmth.