One of my not-so-guilty pleasures in life is collecting pictures of cute baby animals. I hoard them up, saving them for mopey days when I need something squee-worthy to boost my spirits.
As much as I love kittens and puppies, the sloth has spoiled me for most other animals.
Just look at it: the strange face and beady eyes, the too-long arms, the penchant for cuddling with stuffed animals and soft blankets. How can anyone deny that this is one of the cutest creatures in the world?
But that was until last week, when a couple of contenders for the prize of Cute As a Baby Sloth emerged: the baby otter and the baby platypus.
The trouble, friends, is that I can’t choose between them, so this is where you come in. Read on, then tell me which one you think should win my awesome award by voting in the poll.
The Baby Otter
Baby otters are fuzzy. They squeak. They apparently cover their eyes and swim about, like this little otter pup below (doesn’t she look like she’s playing Marco Polo? Swoon.).
While they aren’t considered fully social creatures (they are pretty independent–hunting and foraging on their own, and not in packs), they spend a lot of time in groups known as “rafts,” and do extra-precious things like hold hands while they sleep.
The sea otter population is estimated to have once been as large as 150,000-200,000. Sadly, almost two centuries of being killed for their fur has dramatically reduced their numbers. While conservation efforts have restored the sea otter population up to 75% in some areas, they are still classified as an endangered species, and are at risk from pollution and oil spills.
But just look at those precious faces! Soooo teeny and cute!
The Baby Platypus
I never really thought twice about the platypus before George Takei posted this photo on his Facebook feed. When this magnificent specimen of photoshoppery popped up on my tumblr dash (baby platypuses in fedoras, you guys. Absolute perfection.), I fell in love.
The platypus is distinctive for a number of reasons. They are one of the few mammals that lay eggs rather than give birth. They’re poisonous–the male apparently has a spur on his hind foot that secretes venom. And with their flat duck-like bills, beaver-like tails, and strange feet, adult platypuses are really, really odd looking. Even better, they waddle when they walk, as we can see in the video below.
But what seems odd (and a little dangerous) in an adult platypus is precious in a baby. I mean, really, just look at how plump and squishy they are. Don’t you just want to cuddle it?
Those of you who are in Australia can go wading with platypuses at Healeville Sanctuary’s “Platypus Playpool” in Victoria. Otherwise, you can check out this video of a platypus nest, as well as Buzzfeed’s top 15 platypus pictures.
Now it’s your turn, folks. Which one will capture the Cute As A Sloth Award?
Otters and platypuses not your style? Tell me which baby animals you think are cute as a sloth!