12 Of The Cutest Animals On Earth

Animals are admired and loved by millions of people throughout the world. Despite some species being endangered, there is an effort by organizations and people to help keep them safe. To provide more detail, in the 1950s there were about 30 million hedgehogs in Britain; now, that number is down to about 1 million according to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, and that is just one type of animal. Thank goodness there are steps being taken to help save the population, and other animal populations such as foxes, polar bears, cheetahs, gorillas, and more.

All animals have beauty whether they are domestic, exotic, or wild. The following list focuses on more exotic breeds and we are aware there are many others you may find to be adorable. For now, here's a list of 12 of the cutest animals on Earth.

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12 Penguin

Penguins live almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere. Most people associate them with Antarctica, which is where the majority are located. They spend half of their life on land and the other half in the ocean. Their wings are basically flippers, unable to allow a penguin to soar in the air. A penguin's unique and cute walk is partly caused by them using their wings, and tails to maintain balance for their signature upright stance. If they ever feel like going for a dive, adult penguins can reach a depth of around 1,850 feet for a little longer than 20 minutes. They are known to be friendly to humans and don't mind going up to group of people. Penguins have a well-known waddling gait and unique coloring throughout their frame that resembles a man's suit.

11 Koala

Koalas are featured on popular food packaging such as Koala Yummies, which are hallow cookies with a chocolate inside. If you're like me and grew up on these treats, you probably love koalas as well. The furry animals are typically found in areas such as South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales. Some of their recognizable features are the fluffy ears, large nose, round frame and large eyes. They typically sleep up to 20 hours a day and don't move around much so a sighting can be difficult. Many pictures in mainstream media have a koala with offspring sitting in their pouch. The young can stay in the pouch for the first 6-7 months of their life. These adorable animals typically weigh no more than 35 pounds, and the males are twice the size as the females. Koalas have curved, sharp claws that allow them to climb trees and grasp things well. They are asocial animals and only spend around 15 minutes a day on social behaviors.

10 Pygmy Marmoset

A pygmy marmoset is known for being the smallest true monkey in the world at around 3 and a half ounces. The fur of one of these creatures is brownish-gold with hints of grey as well as black and orange around the rest of its body. A pigmy marmoset has the unique ability to rotate its head 180 degrees. They walk on four limbs and have the ability to leap from branches. In terms of diet, they eat tree gum by licking up the sap inside of the tree with its tongue. Overall, they are social animals that form cooperative care groups. When they are infants they babble--or vocalize--similar to speech in infant humans. What makes them cute is their natural behavior of caring for members in the group, such as babies. It's not uncommon to see a sibling taking care of its infant sister or brother. Pygmy marmosets are always in groups of 2-9.

9 Meerkat

Meerkats have a slender frame and typically weigh a little over a pound and a half. They are often seen in cute photos standing upright by using their tail for balance with a slight bend in their knees. This almost makes them appear to be sitting down on a chair. Meerkats have dark eyes, small ears, and fur with multiple colors in it, ranging from black to tan. They live in parts of the Kalahari Desert, Namibia, and South Africa. When these animals are in the wild, they can live for as long as seven years. In captivity, the life span is up to double that. Meerkats are extremely social and typically hang in a clan averaging 20-30 members.

8 Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are usually confused with porcupines. They are recognized by their short hairs called quills or spines, which cannot be easily removed from the hedgehog. Hedgehogs usually have 5,000-6,500 quills that they use to protect themselves from predators. When the furry creatures are in danger, they roll into a tight ball that causes all the spines to point outwards. They sleep for a large portion of the day under brush, rock, grass, or a hole in the ground. There are various pet species of hedgehogs, but it is illegal to own one in some Canadian municipalities, U.S. states, and other places.

7 Slow Loris

Slow lorises are nocturnal primates found mainly in Southeast Asia. They can be found in the Philippines, China, Bangladesh, and other areas. Most have large eyes, distinctive coloration, and round heads. Slow lorises also have strong grips, allowing them to hold onto things for a long period of time such as tree branches. However, watch out; they are considered dangerous since their bite is toxic. By licking a gland on their arm and mixing the secretion with saliva, a slow loris can take down any predator with one chomp. It's especially difficult to hear one coming as they move slowly and make little noise, particularly when they feel scared. Just make sure not to hold one and you'll be fine!

6 Red Panda

A red panda is slightly larger than a domestic cat. There are only 10,000 mature ones in the wild population. The fur is reddish-brown and they have a long, shaggy tail. Red pandas mainly come from the eastern Himalayas and south-western China with a population issue due to fragmentation, habitat loss, and poaching. They typically eat small mammals, bamboo, insects, birds, and more. The lifestyle of a red panda is relaxed as they are mainly sedentary during the day.

The face of a red panda has distinctive white markings that often resemble a raccoon. They also have a round head, black nose, incredibly dark eyes, and a bushy tail. Here comes the cute factor: right after a red panda wakes up, they clean their fur and lick their front paws as they stand. Some will also rub their belly and back, almost looking like a human as they stand on their back legs.

5 Fennec Fox

A fennec fox can be found in the Sahara of North Africa. They have large ears and excellent hearing capabilities in addition to a cream coat. The fluffy fur helps to keep them warm at night. A fennec fox loves to eat rats, rodents, eggs and rabbits. They are the smallest fox of all the world's foxes although their bat-like ears are huge in proportion to the rest of their body. A fennec fox is able to survive in the hot desert because their feet are hairy and protects them from the hot sand. Their feet also allow them to dig underground dens where they live. In terms of socializing, the foxes hang out in small communities when they aren't busy resting.

4 Sea Otter

Sea otters have the ability to walk on land, but they can also live in water their entire life and never come out. They are known for having thick coats that keep them warm, which is the densest of any animal. A sea otter has long whiskers and highly sensitive paws to help find prey in dark waters. Many pictures show a sea otter floating on its back in water where all four limbs can be neatly placed on its torso. These animals are also very food driven, spending up to 60 percent of the day looking for something tasty. An adult has 32 teeth and they are designed to crush food. What's also cute about sea otters is their clumsy walk and funny looking run. Sadly their population has drastically declined as they have been hunted for their fur for decades.

3 Baby Elephant

A baby elephant is one of the cutest types of babies you'll ever see. It is clumsy since their eyesight is poor. It can't fully control it's trunk yet so you'll typically see a baby elephant trip over it. The adorable animal has to rely on its mother and family herd. As a result, the personality of a baby elephant can be compared to a human child. The large-eared creatures even have to drink their mother's milk for the first 3 months. It typically takes around 9 months for one to have mouth, trunk, and foot coordination. Since touching is a huge part of communication between elephants, it's cute seeing a mother use her trunk or leg to lovingly touch and take care of her calf. Baby elephants love to play and will often chase each other and play-fight.

2 Harp Seal

Harp seals have a yellow-white coat at birth that turns white after three days of being born. It will stay white for around 2 weeks and then slowly turn into silver-grey fur with black patches. When they are 12 days old, the mother will abandon the baby. Harp seals have pure black eyes and little flippers with strong claws that help them move on ice. They learn how to swim by beating the water with their front flippers, thus leading to the nickname, 'Beaters'. These ice seals look adorable when they walk in a group since they don't have arms and legs. Harp seals are extremely social and known to be loud as well. They live to be around 30 years of age in the wild.

1 Alpaca

Alpacas are often confused with llamas since they have a similar appearance. The hair of one of these animals is called fleece, or fiber and typically come in 52 natural shades as classified in Peru. They can even be bred for a specific color since the fiber is used for making sweaters, blankets, gloves, scarves, ponchos in South America, and much more. Their fluffy and thick fur, pointy ears that stick out, and squinty eyes give them a friendly-looking appearance. Also alpacas are known to spit and have done so on humans in the past. The shape of their mouth can even make them appear to be smiling.

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