Seven of the Darn Cutest Baby Animal Photos on the Web


Photo via Gothamist

4. Baby Pandas

In honor of the 2008 Olympics and of the movie Kung Fu Panda, let's put baby pandas on this list. It’s amazing that these bears start out so small: The babies are about the size of a stick of butter! For many years the taxonomic classification of the giant panda was under debate as it shares traits of both bears and raccoons. However, molecular studies suggest that the giant panda is a true bear and part of the Ursidae family. The giant panda's closest ursine relative is the spectacled bear of South America. This baby panda is from the Wolong Nature Reserve's Research and Conservation Center for the giant panda. At the reserve, when a new baby panda is born, the scientists give them a number, but in January 2007 the research center asked the public to name these cubs. Gothamist suggested Peek-A-Boo for this bear, or Peeks for short! Check out more absurdly cute baby panda photos here.


photo via www.xanga.com/moulann

5. Baby Sea Otter

Anyone spending time at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California will fall in love with the baby sea otters. Baby sea otters are very vocal--they cry when they are left alone and make grunting sounds when they are happy. Sea otters will move their heads from side to side to say hello. Most visibly unique about sea otters is the way they eat. They swim on their backs, using their stomachs as a table on which to place all their food. Sea otters are especially vulnerable to oil spills, as their fluffy fur can become covered with oil, which makes grooming very difficult. If an otter can't groom itself, the air trapped between the two layers of its skin is not pushed to its undercoat, and it will die of hypothermia.


photo from www.thingsthatmakeyougoaahh.com

6. Baby Wombat

And now, in a shout out to our friends in the land Down Under--the baby wombat! (Green Wombat is also the name of one of our favorite blogs--but we digress...). In captivity, wombats rarely give birth. Only a few zoo births have been recorded, the first one at ZSL London Zoo in London's Regent's Park in 1856. The controversy surrounding this photo is that many Aussies wrote in claiming that this is NOT a baby wombat, but a baby possum! After looking through many photos it doesn't look like to us like a baby wombat after all, but it also doesn't look like a baby possum. Does anyone know what this is? Besides just super cute?!


photo from borednight.com

7. Baby Hedgehog

And finally, in the category of cute-ugly babies, we have: the hedgehoglet! The name 'hedgehog' comes from joining hedge, for the hedgerows the hedgehog frequents, to hog, for the hedgehog’s piglike snout. From the time of birth, baby hedgehogs are capable of vocalizations to express themselves to their mother in the form of a squeak or a peep. It is hard to believe that these babies are born spiny. Hedgehogs have changed little over the last 15 million years. Like many of the first mammals they have adapted to a nocturnal, insectivorous way of life. Hedgehogs are the only British animals to hibernate, alongside bats and dormice.

Last year, hundreds of baby hedgehogs were taken in by rescue centers in England. The babies had been born late during an exceptionally warm autumn and were too small or too weak to hibernate. Surveys have revealed hedgehog numbers are down 50 percent--to 750,000--in recent years because of unpredictable weather, road deaths, and intensive farming practices. Believe it or not, in New York, they have recently become more popular as space-saving pets. For example, this past spring TreeHugger met a girl who liked to bring her adorable, little hedgehog everywhere. Hedgehogs have more to recommend them than just pure cuteness: a pet hedgehog roaming free is a powerful way to control garden pests.

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Tags: Activism | Animals | Endangered Species | Extinction | London