Kittens, puppies, piglets and bear cubs are all on the top of of our list of the cutest baby animals in the world, ever. They dominate all those 'squeeeee' social media posts, as well as calendars, mugs and stuffed animals all resemble these cuties too. But what about the less commonly appreciated animals?
Ok, so, all infants across the world and across species tend to be totally adorable; they're designed to have that cute little vulnerable look, so that any grownup who comes across them will feel compelled to take care of them. Ever seen a chick, baby monkey or calf? Totally 'awww'-inducing; of course, arachnids and serpents probably don't get much more adorable in baby form. But, with those exceptions, most baby animals are even cuter than human babies. So yes, even the oddest-looking animals can be surprisingly kewt. Here, we've put together a totally eek-able list of the cutest most unconventional baby animals. They may not be taking the place of kittens and puppies anytime soon, but they've certainly got the novelty factor.
This little African cutie has scales that are made of keratin, just like our hair. There are three different species of the pangolin, and they are all just as adorable. Unfortunately, they're under threat due to humans. They're said to have magical properties, and are consequently often captured and killed for ritualistic practices. They're also being trafficked as pets, but as they're not meant to be domesticated anyone who cares about wildlife preservation should just admire from afar the cute baby pangolin piggy-backing on their moms.
14 Owston’s Civet
The Owston's Civet lives in the forests of Vietnam. It uses its long snout to burrow for food and spends a lot of its time sleeping. The baby Civet, when first born, weighs only 88 grams; squee! Like many other animals, loss of habitat is a major problem for the Owston's Civet - their gorgeous fur is also much sought after, making them a target of hunters.
13 Dhole Puppy
These adorable dogs live in Eastern and Southern Asia. They resemble a cross between a wolf and a fox but do not fit into either category completely. The females of the pack can produce up to 12 pups at a time, which makes them even more unusual. 12 of these cute, fluffy pups could never be a bad thing though.
When fully grown, a Dik-Dik is only a foot tall at the shoulder. Though they look like deer, they're actually small antelope and frequent the African savannah. Like so many of the cuties on this list, their habitat is being threatened, and they are also hunted. One might think these little creatures would never stand a chance against African predators, but they have great eyesight and can outrun many predators. Their fur also acts as very effective camouflage.
Definitely not one of those creatures one would typically think of as cute, the sloth produces surprisingly adorable babies. Sloths are of course the slowest moving mammal but despite being slow, they continue to survive, so they must be doing something right. Baby sloths are starting to get a bit more credit in recent years, as videos of baby sloths in zoos become online favourites.
Of all the animals on this list, people typically think that skunks are the worst - the worst smelling and some of the worst looking. Typically viewed as vermin, many will not hesitate to try to remove skunks from their property. But others love skunks. Although they produce a strong smelling odor, it's possible to remove their scent glands and keep them as pets (much like with ferrets) - and when you see a baby skunk, you can understand why just about anyone would want to keep one as a pet.
9 Beaver (kit)
The beaver is one of Canada's most iconic animals. Once much sought after for its fur and tail, the beaver is now being protected, although it is still under risk of habitat loss. The baby beaver, or kit, stays with its mother for a few years after birth. It is tiny and covered in a thick brown coat, which helps it stay warm. The beaver isn't conventionally what one might call cute, but one look at a beaver kit and most will change most people's minds.
Most of us are familiar with hyenas thanks to the Lion King, so the little guy gets some negative press. But they aren't evil creatures. Hyenas do scavenge and kill, but many other animals do likewise. And while the full grown hyena is not particularly cute, the baby hyena certainly is: Their black bead-like eyes and tiny paws are sure to melt anyone's heart.
Residing in the chilly arctic and subarctic waters, beluga whales are quite rare to see. The easiest way to see them, of course, is at the local aquarium. The babies are usually a darker grey in colour, but mature to be a brilliant white. Their black eyes and rounded, super-shiney bodies make these babies especially adorable.
6 Echidnas (Puggles)
The Echidna is not very well known. It is one of the only mammals to lay eggs (one of two, actually; ever heard of the platypus?). These little creatures are born completely pink and smooth, but later develop spikes all over their bodies. Even their name is cute: The baby Echidna is called a Puggle.
5 Sea Otter
Everyone has seen sea otters before, either online or in person. But not very many have seen baby otters. They are just as adorable as can be. They are members of the weasel family, and live primarily in water. The cutest aspect of these pups is that they actually ride on their mother's chest until they are two months old.
There are many different varieties of hedgehogs worldwide. They forage for food and even make noises similar to a pig (hence the name). They are also popular pets. When they're born, they resemble pink erasers, but quickly grow into fuzzy, spiny little creatures. They are definitely one of the cuter pets you can get.
3 Bush Baby
Bush Babies are a type of monkey that lives in central Africa. Nocturnal by nature, they are quite rare to see in the wild - and, of course, their habitat is under threat. These little creatures live in the trees, and for the first month, the wide-eyed babies are carried in their mothers' mouth.
2 Sugar Glider
On a list of the world's cutest animals, the sugar glider is sure to top the list. Found in the wilderness of Australia, the little marsupials are related to the kangaroo and koala. But they are much smaller, which leads many to first think they are related to mice or rats although that is not the case. Recently, they have been bred as pets and do remarkably well in domestic environments. They can learn tricks much like dogs, and can live to be 12-15 years old.
1 Spotted Genet
While this is actually a kitten, it is an unusual one. One of the cutest wild animals around, the Spotted Genet lives in Southern Africa and has been known to become quite tame around humans, which is why they're becoming increasingly desired as pets.
This is dangerous for the Genet and its future, however - poachers will kill mothers and take the kittens to sell.