10 Cutest Animals in The World That Are Actually Fascinating

It has been said that humans will bond with anything we can anthropomorphize (project human emotions and motivations onto) but can anyone blame us when so much of nature is filled with adorable animals.

So Many Cute Animals That We’ve Yet To Find

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Everyone knows domesticated animals can be cute as all get out. But there are about 1.2 million species we’ve identified out of an estimated 8.7 million total. We have so many cute animals we’ve yet to find!

So Many Cute Animals That We’ve Yet To Find

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Though we’ve only scratched the surface of the species found on Earth, some of the ones we’ve discovered are best known for being cute but are actually profoundly complex and unusual creatures.

Cutest Animals That Are Actually Fascinating

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Here are ten animals, ranging from the deepest depths of the ocean to the heights of the sky, that are best known for being adorable but are secretly utterly fascinating.  

10. Quokka

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A small marsupial in the same family as kangaroos and wallabies, the quokka mostly lives on Rottnest Island off the coast of Australia.

10. Quokka

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Renowned for their remarkable tolerance towards humans, enabling visitors to the island to capture captivating selfies with these ever-smiling creatures, the quokka is well-adapted to its natural habitat.

They store fat in their tails for lean times and can go up to a month without a drink of water.

9. Axolotl

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Known best as a pet and laboratory animal, the axolotl is very hard to study because it naturally occurs only in two lakes in central Mexico.

9. Axolotl

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Unlike most amphibians, axolotls retain juvenile traits, including their famed feathery gills and a lack of moving eyelids.

It also possesses stunning regenerative abilities, able to regrow any part of its body perfectly up to five times.  

8. Chinchilla

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Hailing from the harsh Andes Mountains of South America, the chinchilla is known for their lush, thick coat.

8. Chinchilla

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While humans may have two or three hairs per follicle, chinchillas can have up to 75! This thick coat not only protects them from the cold of their natural home but also gives them a way to escape predators.

By shedding some of their fur, they can escape the grip of a predator, not unlike lizards that can shed their tails. Their thick coat also means they need to bathe in dust, as water can ruin the insulating layers. 

7. Dumbo Octopus

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Named after the Disney character due to their large fins resembling Dumbo’s ears, the dumbo octopus is actually fifteen species that together are the deepest dwelling octopi.

7. Dumbo Octopus

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Living at depths of over 13,000 feet, the dumbo octopus uses its fins to swim while using its arms to steer.

Due to the depths they live at, the dumbo octopus rarely encounters predators and is only threatened by animals and fish that can dive down deep enough to get at them.

Because of this, they are one of the few octopus species that have no ink sac. 

6. Sea Sheep/Leaf Slug

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The leaf sheep, or leaf slug, is wholly unique in the animal kingdom. Not only do they look like little sheep with leaves all over them, but they are also the only multicellular animals that can photosynthesize like a plant.

6. Sea Sheep/Leaf Slug

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The bright green coloring comes from the algae that the leaf sheep eats. It then extracts and stores the chloroplasts, the cells plants use to convert sunlight to energy.

A leaf sheep can live on sunlight alone for several months!  

5. Desert Rain Frog

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As the name implies, the desert rain frog lives in deserts in Namibia and South Africa.

Unlike most frogs, the desert rain frog lives entirely on land, burrowing under the sand to avoid the heat of the day, and coming out at night to eat small insects and grubs.

5. Desert Rain Frog

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Also unique among frogs, the desert rain frog can’t hop and instead walks everywhere. In order to get the water they need, the desert rain frog absorbs water from fog and dew.

With their perpetually angry expressions and small rotund bodies, the only thing that makes the desert rain frog even cuter is the sound they make when threatened: a loud, piping squeak!

4. Hummingbird

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Weighing less than an ounce, hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world. There are 320 species, but these tiny fliers are found only in the Americas.

4. Hummingbird

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Its unique wings only attach at the shoulder, like human arms, which allows the hummingbird to fly in any direction and even hover!

The smaller the hummingbird, the faster it beats its wings, with the smallest hummingbirds beating their wings up to 80 times a second.

3. Black Footed Cat

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Only eight inches tall, the black-footed cat is Africa’s smallest wild cat! While it may look like a house cat, and a small one at that, the black-footed cat is one of the world’s deadliest predators, catching and killing up to 60% of the prey it hunts.

3. Black Footed Cat

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In comparison, a lion weighs over 200 times as much as its diminutive relative yet only catches its prey 25% of the time!

2. Collared Owlet

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The smallest owl in Asia, the collared owlet is only six inches tall and weighs only 2 ounces. Unlike most owls, the collared owlet prefers to be active in daylight hours.

2. Collared Owlet

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Since it’s so small, it has to get creative to protect itself. By rapidly turning their heads while calling, this tiny owl can throw its voice like a ventriloquist!

1. Sloth

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These perpetually smiling tree-dwellers are native to Central and South America. Sloths graze on the tree canopy they live in, eating leaves, twigs, and buds.

1. Sloth

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Famous for their slow metabolism and laid-back lifestyle, at maximum speed, a sloth moves about 120 feet a day.

Their slow movement isn’t helped by all the naps they take, especially since sloths sleep up to 20 hours a day!

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This article was produced by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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