Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Cutest Faces of Nature

Because there is nothing better than a cute little animal to brighten everyone's week! Check out these cute baby species, most of which are endangered. Learn more about each one and what is being done to preserve these poster children for the undeniable cuteness of nature! When you’re finished – let us know which ones were your favorites, or if you think you've got a species that is even cuter – share it! Tweet the hashtag #CuteSpecies!

American Pika
Credit: Steve Torbit/USFWS

The American pika's big round ears and chubby cheeks make them one of the cutest species ever! They are extremely sensitive to heat and need to live in temperatures under 77.9 °F
Scientist Says: Though the American pika appears to have no tail, it actually has one of the longest tails of any lagomorph (member of the rabbit family) buried in its fur.

Black-footed Ferret
Credit: Kimberly Tamkun/USFWS

These baby black-footed ferrets (called "kits") can brighten anyone's day. They are definitely one of the cutest species but they are also one of the most endangered species. Over the past years, these cute critters have been reintroduced to 17 different sites across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Scientist Says: The black-footed ferret was once considered extinct until 1964 when a small group was found in South Dakota.

Pacific Lamprey
Credit: Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Can you find the cute baby species in this handful of dirt? This cute baby might look like a worm, but it is actually a fish. What you see here is a baby Pacific lamprey – or an ammocoete. These little creatures are the cutest babies you will ever find in Pacific Northwest rivers!
Scientist Says: Pacific lamprey can remain in the ammocoete stage for up to seven years, during which they are deaf and blind!
Learn more via our friend Luna the Lamprey!
More photos

Red Panda
Credit: Jessica Kordell/Smithsonian

The red panda has one of the cutest faces and especially cutest tails out there! Due to deforestation within their natural habitats, these loveable critters are also considered endangered.
Scientist Says: The red panda only grows to the size of a housecat, but their bushy tails grow up to 18 inches and help keep them warm in winter conditions.

Northern Spotted Owl
Credit: Tom Kogutus/USFWS

Two cute and fluffy Northern spotted owl chicks. These adorable babies are threatened on the Endangered Species list and a top priority for U.S. Fish & Wildlife. They can be found in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California.
Scientist Says: Spotted owls have an opaque third eyelid called the nictitating membrane which helps clean and moisten their eyes; this is especially helpful during flight and to protect their eyes from broad daylight.

Credit: Ken Mayer/Flickr CC

The happiest species on Earth, this baby sloth might never stop smiling at you. What a treat it must be to get to "hang out" with a sloth!
Scientist Says: International Sloth Day is on October 20th (did you celebrate this year?)

...And Just for Kicks

And because this was far too cute not to share for Halloween! One World One Ocean’s “sealiest costume ever!”

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