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When people think of cute animals, they often assume that this applies to only the smaller, more cuddly ones, like rabbits and bunnies, kittens and puppies, hamsters, and guinea pigs. Still, these animals are not the only ones who can make you feel all gooey inside and say, "Aww!" These top 5 cutest animals will make you say, "aww!" Read on to see if your favorite animal made it to the list or was left out because it wasn't quite as cute as these adorable guys!
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1) The Red Panda
The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a small arboreal mammal native to central China, parts of Tibet, and Myanmar. It's about two feet long and looks like a cross between a raccoon and a teddy bear, making it one of the most adorable species. Its black-and-white fur and distinct head markings are what make it so charismatic. They enjoy eating bamboo shoots, eggs, insects, and occasionally rodents; because they're primarily nocturnal creatures, they get all their feeding done before sunrise. Red pandas are endangered due to habitat loss, and though they live in protected areas in China, their numbers continue to decline.
The meerkat is a medium-sized mongoose found in parts of Africa and the southern regions of Iran. They are members of the mongoose family and live in groups called mobs, which have around 20 to 50 individuals. Despite being related to mongooses, they are more closely related to weasels. Meerkats are cute because they always stick together as a group no matter what's going on. For example, even when exploring, they usually return to their group when it's time for dinner.
3) The Arctic Fox
The Arctic fox is a small fox native to the Arctic regions of Canada, Alaska, Siberia, and Greenland. The Arctic fox's white coat and bushy tail make it look adorable. They are also known for their calm temperament, which makes them great pets. In captivity, they can live up to 10 years, but in the wild, their life expectancy is only 2–3 years.
The owl is a nocturnal bird of prey whose large eyes are equipped with binocular vision, allowing them to see well in low light. Though some species of owl are small and active during daylight hours, most are not, making them mysterious creatures. The barn owl (Tyto alba) is found all over North America, Europe, and several places in Africa. This particular species has been used for human benefits like pest control since it has a healthy appetite for rats and mice. Owls also have other valuable traits that contribute to their cuteness. Their ear tufts look like feathers, but they're cartilage and aid hearing by stabilizing their heads while hunting at night.
No list of cute animals would be complete without a hedgehog. These little mammals are downright adorable with their spiny coats and prominent cheeks. They also have a unique way of getting around—hedgehogs roll up into balls for protection or to burrow into soft ground. But don't let their prickly exteriors fool you — most species are completely harmless, except when they eat dinner out of your garden plants. Next time you see one in real life, try not to squeal too much, or your neighbors might think it's an alien invasion.
The red panda is a cross between a raccoon and a teddy bear. Meerkats are cute because they stick together as a group no matter what's going on. The meerkat is a medium-sized mongoose in parts of Africa and southern Iran. Owls are nocturnal birds of prey that hunt at night. Hedgehogs roll up into balls for protection or to burrow into the ground. The Arctic fox is a small fox native to the Arctic region.