A-z - Animals

Top 10 cutest animals in the world

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key point:

  • The sea otter is a cute animal because it has a small, round face and tends to float on its back and even hold hands when others are floating on the water together.
  • The salamander, or the walking fish of Mexico, spends its life like a baby with a perpetual smile on its face. It also has hairy appendages that look like feather boas.
  • The quokka, a marsupial known for its cuteness and friendliness, lives on Rottnest Island off the coast of Australia – one of the most remote places in the world.

There are hundreds of cute, cuddly animal species on this planet. How do you narrow them down to a list? It's not easy, but we stick with the animals, whose little faces will melt your heart and who have cute and mischievous personalities too.

This list of the cutest animals in the world is sure to make you smile:

#10. pygmy marmoset

cutest animal pygmy marmoset
The cute pygmy tamarin fits easily in human hands.

©Shaun Jeffers/Shutterstock.com

The pygmy marmoset ( Callithrix pygmaea ) is a small New World monkey native to the Amazon rainforest of South America. It is the smallest monkey in the world and one of the smallest primates in the world. A typical pygmy marmoset weighs just over three ounces. Its aliases are Pocket Monkey, Little Lion and Pygmy Monkey.

This little baby has a curious face and fluffy fur. The monkey's thick fur makes it appear larger than it is to scare away predators. Pygmy marmosets live in parts of Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia.

While it's already arguably one of the cutest animals in the world, there are 9 more animals to discover!

Pygmy marmosets are not endangered, but they are often victims of the illegal pet trade.

#9. red panda

Cutest Animal: Red Panda
Red pandas will stand on their hind legs as a defense mechanism. When provoked or threatened, they will often stand up and appear larger.

© iStock.com/Edwin_Butter

The red panda ( Ailurus fulgens ) is native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. This beautiful creature looks like a cross between a fox and a panda, but neither is related. It's closer to a raccoon or a skunk.

The red panda has thick red fur and a bushy tail. It's about the size and weight of a house cat. Its playful face and mischievous behavior make it a favorite of those visiting zoos and sanctuaries.

Sadly, red pandas are critically endangered. Like giant pandas, they eat only bamboo, and habitat loss has led to severe population declines. However, some zoos have successfully bred red pandas. The Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands manages the international pedigree of red pandas.

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The Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee holds the record for the largest number of red panda births in North America.

#8. mongoose

The cutest animal_Mongoose
Mongooses are able to kill and eat venomous snakes and scorpions without harm because they have some immunity to the venom.

© Zsolt Biczo/Shutterstock.com

Meerkats are so cute they even have their own TV show. Do you remember the Mongoose Mansion ?

The mongoose ( Suricata suricatta ) is not a cat. It's actually a little mongoose. Native to southern Africa, mongooses have huge eyes and long tails. Meerkats have very cute behaviors, including sitting up on their hind legs and looking around.

A mongoose stands about 14 inches tall with a long tail. Meerkats are highly social. They live in groups called "mobs" that consist of two or three mongoose families. These mobs live in their own extended underground caverns.

The mongoose is listed with a conservation status of "least concern". You can find meerkats in African game reserves and in zoos around the world.

#7. newt

Cutest Animal: Salamander
The very cute newt is more than 1,000 times more cancer-fighting than mammals.

© Spok83/Shutterstock.com

The salamander (Ambystoma mexicanum) or Mexican walking fish is related to the tiger salamander. Despite its name, it is a reptile rather than a fish. Salamanders range in length from 6 to 14 inches.

Why is it on our list of cute animals? Its little smiley face is the reason. Salamanders always seem to be smiling sweetly. Scientists say this is because it has a trait called neoteny, which means it looks like a baby its entire life. It also has hairy appendages that look like feather boas.

Sadly, this adorable animal is endangered. Conservation efforts and breeding programs have had some success restoring salamander populations to lakes in Mexico.

#6. hedgehog

Cutest Animal: Hedgehog
The cute hedgehog is very smart and loves to play mazes!

©Miroslav Hlavko/Shutterstock.com

This tiny creature is known for its round, spiky body and very cute facial expressions. Hedgehog ( Erinaceusis ) is a member of the hedgehog family.

There are 15 species of hedgehogs. This cute little animal lives in Europe, Asia and Africa. Hedgehogs were introduced to New Zealand. There are no hedgehogs in Australia or North America. Hedgehogs are tiny, but they're not defenseless. Their sharp teeth and spines make them difficult for predators to catch and eat.

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While not native to North America, hedgehogs are becoming popular pets in the United States, with the most common choice being the African pygmy hedgehog. A hedgehog can cost between $100 and $300, but some states ban them as pets, such as Georgia, California, Hawaii and Pennsylvania.

Hedgehogs are listed as "least concerned" for conservation status.

#5. chevrolet

Cutest Animal: Chevrolet
Chevrotains are the most primitive ruminants and have not changed much during their time on earth.

©teekayu/Shutterstock.com

Chevy ( Tragulidae ), also known as mouse deer. Chevrotains are native to warm regions of Southeast Asia, India, and parts of Africa.

Chevrons are the smallest hoofed mammals, or ungulates, in the world. Scientists say they have rediscovered a Chevrolet that had been "lost to science" for nearly 30 years.

There are several Chevrolets and they are all small. Depending on the species, Chevrolets range in weight from 4 to 33 pounds. The smallest is a small Malay and the largest is a water Chevrolet.

This adorable little baby looks like a fawn with a mouse face. However, this adorable animal is being threatened by habitat destruction and hunting.

#4. sea otter

Cutest Animal: Sea Otter
Otters love nothing more than kissing and cuddling each other!

©Kirsten Wahlquist/Shutterstock.com

Recently, a sea otter named Joey captured the hearts of YouTube viewers watching as he was rescued from a near-death condition and raised at an otter sanctuary in Canada. Joey's daily fight to survive and his love of toys captivated millions of viewers.

This is not surprising, as sea otters are one of the cutest animals on land or sea. The sea otter ( Enhydra lutris ), the smallest marine mammal, is a marine mammal native to the northern and eastern coasts of the North Pacific Ocean. About 90 percent of the world's sea otters live in Alaska.

What makes this furry sea animal so cute? It has a small, round face and tends to float on its back in an adorable pose. Even more fascinating, sea otters hold hands as they float together on the surface.

Sadly, sea otters were hunted to near extinction and their numbers have not fully recovered. Today, they are listed as an endangered species.

#3. Fennec Fox, the smallest of all foxes

Cutest Animal: Fennec Fox
The Fennec Fox's large ears help dissipate excess body heat and locate subterranean prey in hot weather.

© iStock.com/Anolis01

Algeria's national animal is also a slender beast with a baby face, furry paws and huge ears.

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The fennec fox ( Vulpes zerd a) is a small fox native to the Sahara desert. It lives in Morocco, Mauritania, northern Niger, Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula. Its large ears help it dissipate heat, which is how it survives in hot climates. The thick fur on its feet protects it from the scorching desert sand. It feeds on small birds, rodents, fruit and reptiles. The fennec fox is the smallest member of the canine family, weighing only about four pounds.

This adorable fox has lent its name to the Algerian national football team, Les Fennecs. It is a protected species in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

Fennec foxes are plentiful and they are listed with a conservation status of "Least Concern".

Cutest Animal: Black-footed cat
The black-footed cat is a rare and mysterious cat, one of the smallest cats in the world.

© slowmotiongli/Shutterstock.com

The black-footed cat ( Felis nigripes ), also known as the small tabby cat, is the smallest wild cat in Africa and one of the smallest in the world. It is between 14 and 20 inches tall. It has black or dark brown feet and a gorgeous black and silver spotted coat.

This adorable wild cat has a small round face and pointy ears. Its kittens weighed just three ounces at birth.

Black-footed cats are nocturnal hunters, preying on birds, small rodents, and occasionally rabbits. In Africa, these small felines are known for their ferocity. There is a legend that a black-footed cat can bring down a giraffe.

Black-footed cats are found only in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. They live mainly in grassy plains, scrub deserts and sandy plains, including the Kalahari and Karoo deserts. Wuppertal Zoo, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, and Philadelphia Zoo have all successfully kept black-footed cats in captivity.

#1. The quokka – the happiest wild animal in the world

Cutest animal: quokka
The main reason quokkas are so cute is their face, that little smile makes them look super happy!

© Grakhantsev Nikolai/Shutterstock.com

In the world of cute animals, it's hard to pick just one winner, but the quokka's friendliness gives it an edge. This cute little animal is known for its sunny personality.

The quokka ( Setonix brachyurus ) is also known as the quokka. It is a small, round creature, about the size of a cat. Its face looks like a cross between a mouse and a rabbit. Quokkas are marsupials. It is nocturnal and carries its young in pouches.

The only place where the quokka lives is on Rottnest Island off the coast of Australia. It is one of the most remote places in the world. Despite this, they have become so popular that they are now a tourist attraction. Locals say if you really want to show your quokka love you should support conservation efforts that help protect quokka territory. The quokka is officially listed as a "vulnerable" species due to habitat loss.

Top 10 Cutest Animals In The World Summary

You meet them and your heart melts. Let's take a look back at the 10 critters that made our cutest list:

rank animal
1 quokka
2 black footed cat
3 fennec fox
4 sea otter
5 chevrolet
6 hedgehog
7 newt
8 mongoose
9 red panda
10 pygmy marmoset

In comparison, what is considered the "ugliest" animal?

blob fish coming out of the water
The blobfish has a strange, almost human-like face. Some call it one of the ugliest creatures on earth.

© Lack of Author Information/Public Domain – License

The blobfish, which has no bones or scales, is an unusual deep-sea fish that lives off the coast of Australia and Tasmania. Their faces are strangely human-like, permanently frowning. They can grow up to 12 inches long and live at depths of 3,900 feet. Bless its heart.

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