If you’re ever having a bad day, there’s no better way to cheer yourself up than with photos of adorable creatures doing cute things. Here are 10 of the cutest baby animals born in captivity over the past year, including a number of endangered and threatened species, like the fascinating tree-dwelling Margay Cat and the tiniest hippo you’ll ever see.
Cloud Leopards at the Nashville Zoo
How incredibly cute are these babies? Vulnerable to extinction due to deforestation, poaching and the pet trade, clouded leopards can be difficult to breed in captivity due to their reclusive disposition. That made it all the more momentous when these cubs were born at the Nashville Zoo in March. “Nashville Zoo is on the forefront of clouded leopard care and conservation,” says carnivore supervisor Karen Rice. “The births of these two cubs aids in our conservation efforts and benefits the long-term plan to create a sustainable captive population.” (images via Amiee Stubbs/Nashville Zoo/WENN.com.)
Tiny Adorable Otters at Taronga Western Plains, Australia
Three Oriental small-clawed otter pups were born to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, New South Wales this year. It’s the second litter for mother Emiko and father Pocket. Says keeper Ian Anderson, “Oriental small-clawed otters are a social species and live in large families so it is anticipated that the family will remain together in the near future. By the end of April we will expect to see the pups out and about more regularly in the exhibit with their parents and older siblings.” (image via WENN.com)
Endangered Gorilla at Busch Gardens, Florida
It’s especially easy for us humans to fall in love with teeny-tiny baby gorillas because they remind us so much of our own infants. Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida welcomed an endangered western lowland gorilla in February, its third successful gorilla birth. Guests can see the baby on the Myombe Reserve habitat along with the rest of the gorilla troop (image via Busch Gardens Tampa via WENN.com.)
Incredibly Cute Bilby Baby in Australia
Bilbies, also known as rabbit-bandicoots or macerates, are marsupials native to Australia, where their population shave declined due to the introduction of farm animals and predators like foxes and cats. Taronga Zoo in New South Wales successfully breeder them for the first time, debuting two joeys in December 2014. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited to officially open the zoo’s new Bilby exhibit, named for their son, Prince George (image via WENN.com.)
Rescued Orangutan Thriving in Indonesia
This poor little baby was living in a chicken cage and surviving on condensed milk when he was found by International Animal Rescue in Borneo. Seriously ill and neglected, he was nursed back to health by the charity’s team in Indonesia, who named him Budi. While his condition was extremely critical at the time, he’s now on the mend, and weeks of physiotherapy, medical treatment and a nutritious diet have him walking and climbing again.
Eerily Adorable Ghost Bat
Born just in time for Halloween at Australia’s Taronga Zoo, this little guy is a ghost bat, also known as a false vampire bat. Ghost bats are the world’s largest microbes and Australia’s only carnivorous bats, and they eat large bugs as well as frogs, birds, lizards and small mammals. Their name comes from the translucency of their wings, which give them a ghost-like appearance in the sky at night. “The pup has been clinging to its mother for warmth and security, clutching onto her back with its back legs,” says keeper Wendy Gleen. “Ghost Bats are particularly vulnerable to mining, which can threaten their maternity caves.” (Images via Vanessa Stebbings/Taronga Zoo/WENN.com.)
Extremely Rare Margay Cat
How sweet is this super-rare baby Margay cat born in Uruguay last November? Pictured with her mother, the kitten is an adorable example of a near-threatened and highly unusual species. Margay cats typically only have one kitten per litter, and remaining populations are declining due to habitat loss and forest conversions. Until the ‘90s, they were hunted illegally for the wildlife trade. Part of what makes this adorable feline so unusual is the fact that it does almost all of its hunting in the treetops, and has ankles that can turn up to 180 degrees, making it highly agile. Remarkably, the Margay cat can mimic the sounds of small mammals, birds and tree frogs to draw in its prey (image via WENN.com.)
Little Baby Aardvark at Busch Gardens, Florida
Aardvarks may be wrinkly and nearly bald, but you have to admit, they’re still awfully cute when they’re little. This healthy baby was the fourth born to parents Izzy and Friz at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. (Images via WENN.com.)
The Cutest Hippo Ever?
Who knew that hippos, which are actually quite terrifying once they reach full-scale adulthood, could ever be so cute? Olivia is a baby Dwarf Hippo at the Parken Zoo in Sweden, weighing just 13 pounds at birth. Formally known as the pygmy hippopotamus, this species is native to the forests and swamps of West Africa and weighs less than a quarter as much as their larger cousins. There are only about 3,000 of them left in the wild (Images via WENN.com.)
Red Panda Cubs
This cutie is among four litters of Red Panda cubs that were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia last year. Out of the 10 cubs, 7 survived, and this little one is being hand-reared to increase its chances. Red Pandas are difficult to breed, making conservation efforts extra important. The survival rate for Red Panda cubs living in facilities officially accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is jus about 50 percent (images via Janice Sveda/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute/WENN.com.)