22 Unexpectedly Cute Animals

Jun 14, 2016 by Ian (Day Styles)

Everyone loves kittens and puppies, but there are plenty of adorable animals that most people don't know. Some of these animals have an undeserved reputation, and some of them are so strange or rare that most people have never heard of them! In both cases, we think these beautiful animals deserve some attention - including birds of prey, creatures of the night, and the dancing peacock spider.

Spotted Hyenas

Spotted hyenas are smart and social animals that have a very bad reputation. While they’re known as scavengers and cowards with a sinister “laugh,” don’t believe everything you saw in the “The Lion King!” In the wild, hyenas have a surprising combination of feline and canine attributes and are most similar to dogs in their behavior. Young hyenas are a particularly cute combination of kittens and puppies. Hyenas groom and play with their cubs just like cats! You don’t want to get too close to a pack of hyenas, of course, but they don’t deserve their bad reputation.

Armadillos

Armadillos have armored scales of bone, similar to a turtle, but with flexible bands that cover their shoulders, backs, head, limbs, and tails. In fact, the scales are so strong that glancing bullets can ricochet off the armor. Naturally, armadillo means “little armored one” in Spanish, but the Aztecs called them “ayotochtli” which means turtle rabbit! There are many varieties of this armored critter native to the Americas, from the giant armadillo to the pink fairy armadillo that’s just four inches long and four ounces in weight. Despite their natural defenses, most armadillos are timid and flee at the first sign of trouble, but the famous three-banded armadillo rolls into a tight ball when threatened. Look at that little face!

Owls

Owls are one of the most recognizable birds of prey, but there are certain types of owls that are adorable rather than intimidating, like this sleeping tawny owl. Not every type of owl has a terrible glare and vicious talons! The discs of feathers around their eyes can give them a haunting nobility - or a look of constant surprise. Of course, every species of owl is a deadly hunter. They have an innate ability to slow their speed and specialized feathers that muffle the sound of their flight. Owls hunt at night when they can use their stealth to maximum advantage. But in the daylight, some owls are just hilarious balls of fluff.

Next up - the octopus?

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