15 Adorable Animals You Didn’t Even Know Existed
Puppies pale in comparison to these little guys.
Cute as your favourite 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
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.
American pikas are related to rabbits and hares. They might be small, but they’re still tough—the little critters can survive harsh weather without burying holes.
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There’s a reason fennec foxes make you say “aww”: the North African animals are the world’s smallest canine species. Fennec foxes also have the largest ears relative to their body size, which help them give off heat and hunt prey.
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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.
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Japanese raccoon dog
These cute critters—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.
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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
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.
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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.
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Just look at that face! These “giraffe cats” are found in African savannahs, and their long necks aren’t their only defining feature. Servals also have bigger ears than any other cat.
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The “Mexican walking fish” isn’t a fish at all but is 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.
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.
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This small anteater is cuter than its larger relatives. Its long mouth and tongue help it eat up to 9,000 ants every day (yowza!), but the tamandua also eats termites, honey, and fruit.
Between their tufted tails, big ears, and 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.
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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 loberia, which means “fruit of the wolf.”
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