A-z - Animals

Top 10 Happiest Animals On Earth

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  • Bluebirds have beautiful songs, bright colors, and live in large social groups. In some cultures, the blue bird symbolizes the coming of spring and is known as the bird of happiness.
  • Opossums lead a fairly peaceful life with few predators and are resistant to many diseases. They love to cuddle and hang on their tails, with possum mothers carrying their young on their backs.
  • Squirrels take our top award as the happiest critters because they always seem to be having a good time between collecting nuts, jumping from tree to tree, and enjoying energetic games of hide and seek with their squirrel friends.

Many animals seem happy when they are in their natural habitat. They have their favorite food around and they have their entire nest, pack or brood. How do we know which happy animals really love life?

To make a choice, we choose animals that seem to have an easier life compared to others. We look for animals known to engage in high levels of play.

Why is it important to play? Contrary to what we thought in the past, scientists now believe that animals don't just play to learn the skills they need as adults. For example, we used to think that bear cubs "fighted" to learn fighting techniques, or that tiger cubs stalked each other because they were learning how to hunt.

why animals play

However, recent research has called this conventional wisdom into question. It turns out that many animals use play just like we do. They use it to bond with other members of their species, release stress, reduce stress and learn more about their environment.

The happy animals on our list seem to lead happy lives with lots of room to play. Read on to learn about nature's funniest furballs.

#10 Happiest Animal: Kinkajou or Honey Bear

The happiest animal - kinkajou
Kinkajou (Potos flavus) on a branch. Kinkajous are sometimes called honey bears because they raid bee nests. They sip honey from the hive with their elongated tongues.

©Mark Caunt/Shutterstock.com

This adorable creature is native to the rainforests of Central America. It has thick, shaggy fur that helps it stay dry while rocking in humid tropical weather.

Kinkajous have long tongues that help them catch favorite insects and grubs to eat. Kinkajous has a sweet tooth and often raids hives for honey. That's where the nickname "honey bears" comes from for these adorable little mammals.

Kinkajous travel in small family groups, often filling the forest with their loud squeaks and barks. You can see these happy animals at the San Diego Zoo and the Phoenix Zoo.

#9 Happiest Animal: Bluebird

Happiest Animal: Bluebird
Early spring male eastern bluebird perched on a budding branch. Bluebirds can spot caterpillars and insects in tall grass at an extraordinary distance of more than 50 yards.

©Bonnie Taylor Barry/Shutterstock.com

There's a reason this stunning songbird is called the Bird of Happiness. Eastern, mountain, and western bluejays are known for their showy coloration and the large flocks they live in.

Bluebirds bring color and wonderful song to any garden. They are also very good at eating grubs and other unwanted insects. These cute, happy animals just want to find a nest and sing.

In many cultures, the bluebird is a sign of spring and a symbol of happiness.

These beautiful birds were once common in North America. The introduction of invasive species, especially the European house sparrow, has been devastating to native bluebird populations. Fortunately, bluebirds are prized by most bird watchers. Bluebird boxes have become popular items in parks and gardens, and they have helped increase their numbers.

#8 Happiest Animal: Opossum

Happiest Animal: Opossum
Opossums are the only known North American marsupials. They can eat thousands of ticks .

©Evelyn D. Harrison/Shutterstock.com

Like squirrels, opossums are so common that you may not notice how happy they are. With few natural enemies and immunity to many diseases including rabies and snake venom, opossums lead carefree lives.

These gentle marsupials are sometimes called "nature's cleaners." Because they eat just about anything, they can rid the environment of harmful pathogens, waste, and even ticks.

They are also very funny. They love to hang on their tails and hug each other. When her babies are too big to fit in her pouch, a mother opossum carries them on her back.

These harmless helpers are often misunderstood. If you see one in your yard, thank it for helping you stay safe.

#7 Happiest Animal: Penguins

Happiest Animal: Penguin
Adélie penguins dive into the water (Hope Bay, Antarctica). The black-and-white "tuxedo" look worn by most penguin species is an ingenious form of camouflage known as countershading.

© takmat71/Shutterstock.com

Penguins spend their lives in some of the harshest environments on Earth, but that doesn't slow them down. They are known for their strong family bonds and ability to protect each other from larger, more aggressive predators.

When they're not migrating across the frozen tundra, penguins enjoy outdoor sports such as skating on ice, diving, and fishing. Even without the snow, South African penguins were clearly having fun as they waddled and swam in the sand.

Many zoos have penguins. Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo has an emperor penguin exhibit, and Edinburgh Zoo has successfully bred several penguin species. The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore has African penguins.

#6 Happiest Animal: Kookaburra

Happiest Animal: Kookaburra
Two kookaburras sit on a branch. Kookaburras are known for their call, which sounds like laughter.


We can't leave out animals that laugh all their lives.

The largest member of the kingfisher family, the kookaburra is a handsome bird with brown and white plumage. The wild laugh of the kookaburra is one of the most distinctive sounds in the Australian bush. Kookaburras usually laugh at dawn and dusk, but they can laugh anytime.

These birds throw their heads back and open their mouths wide when they laugh. Usually, members of one family start and wait for others to join. If another kookaburra family is nearby, they join in until the sky is filled with their calls.

Kookaburras are found at Zoo Atlanta, Australia Zoo and Belfast Zoo in Ireland.

#5 Happiest Animal: Crow

The happiest animal: Crow
Carrion crow (Corvus corone) black bird perched on a branch. Crows are very intelligent birds. They are known for their problem solving skills and amazing communication skills.

©Rudmer Zwerver/Shutterstock.com

The cunning crow is known for its intelligence and loud, piercing calls. These curious birds can learn to mimic the intonation of a human voice. They also remember who was kind to them and who was not. Even more impressive, they passed this information on to their children.

Scientists have observed crows playing pranks on each other and engaging in advanced games. They'll swing from branches, slide down slopes, and hide objects from each other, all just for fun.

Ravens are sociable and cooperative. When they're not lying to each other, they're teaching the young crows valuable information. Male crows roost together in a sort of bachelor pad until they find a mate.

These birds clearly know how to enjoy life.

#4 Happiest Animal: Donkey

Happiest Animal: Donkey
Donkey family outdoors in spring. Donkeys are loyal and loving animals. Some people call them the dogs of the livestock world!


Playful, clever Donkey knows how to make the most of each day. They love to socialize and groom each other. In fact, they get depressed if they're alone, but perk up if they have some goat friends to hang out with.

Donkeys live all over the world, but they are especially adapted to desert climates. There are herds of wild asses in the United States, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Donkeys are known for their stubbornness, but that stubbornness is a sign of their intelligence. Donkeys refuse to go anywhere if they don't think it's safe.

You can see wild asses in the deserts of Nevada and California. Agia Marina is a sanctuary for Greek domestic donkeys. Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, UK runs donkey rescues around the world.

#3 Happiest Animal: Dolphins

Happiest Animal: Dolphins
Dolphins are caring animals and are often seen caring for the sick, elderly and injured in groups called "pods" .

©Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock.com

These friendly marine mammals always seem to be smiling or laughing, which makes us wonder, what's the joke? Dolphins are having fun as they jump through the air and into the water.

Dolphins make a "laugh" sound when they fight, which scientists call a happy sound. In laughter, the dolphins show that they are fine, show their intentions, and help prevent conflict among their dolphin friends.

Dolphins are one of the smartest animals in the world. They learned to use tools and developed sophisticated communication systems with each other. They are also loving animals. Rather than abandoning injured or weakened members of their pod, dolphins help them reach the surface and obtain food.

These sociable, intelligent, and compassionate animals live honorable lives, which is probably why they're always smiling.

#2 Happiest Animal: Goat

The happiest animal_goat
Goats were one of the first animals domesticated by humans, having been herded 9,000 years ago.


Whether it's a wild goat rushing up a steep mountain or a house goat prancing across a farm field, these sociable, happy animals are a lot of fun. Their wise little faces, short mustaches and prancing movements are irresistible.

Contrary to what some people think, goats are clean animals and prefer clean food over trash. That said, they are not that picky about what they eat and will try to taste everything.

Goats are docile and happy, often acting as "therapy goats" to calm anxious horses. You can find "goat yoga" studios that use goats to enhance the relaxing effects of yoga.

The domestic goat is far from endangered, but many wild goat species are. You can see pygmy ibex at Auckland Zoo. The Smithsonian Zoo in Washington, D.C. is home to Nigerian dwarfs and San Clemente Island goats.

#1 Happiest Animal: Squirrel

The happiest animal_squirrel
Two ground squirrels (Xerus inaurus) play in the Kalahari Desert, South Africa. Squirrels can jump up to 20 feet. They have long, muscular hind legs and short front legs, which together aid in jumping.

© EcoPrint/Shutterstock.com

The second smartest rodent (after rats), squirrels are active survivors that can be found in all corners of the world. Squirrels have learned to thrive in suburban and urban environments, and they are an important part of these ecosystems.

The squirrels seem to spend all day looking for food, burying the same food, jumping from branch to branch and chasing each other. These little guys never seem to sit still. They provide hours of entertainment when viewing them in your yard or city park.

The squirrel family includes chipmunks, groundhogs, and prairie dogs. These are happy animals in their own way, but squirrels get an award for always looking happy.

Top 10 Happiest Animals On Earth Summary

To recap, here are 10 animals that will put a smile on your face because they are so happy:

rank animal
1 squirrel
2 goat
3 dolphin
4 donkey
5 crow
6 Kookaburra
7 penguin
8 opossum
9 blue bird
10 Kinkajou or Honey Bear


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