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Baby chinchillas are called "kits" and are born fully furred. These babies begin to walk within an hour of being born. Wikimedia Commons
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Baby elephants usually weigh a hefty 250 pounds when they are born. Despite their size, they might be the clumsiest of all baby animals. They often trip over their own trunks during the first months of their lives.
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Baby pandas look nothing like pandas when they are born. These furry black-and-white animals come out pink, hairless, and blind. They don't open their eyes until they are about two months old and can't move until they reach three months old.Wikimedia Commons
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Giraffes are the tallest land animals in the world, which means baby giraffes endure quite a drop when they are born — about six feet to the ground, landing on their heads.
But don't worry, the fall doesn't hurt the babies. Instead it shocks them into taking their first breaths.shizzi/Flickr
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These spiky animals were called "urchins" during the Middle Ages. Baby hedgehogs are still called urchins now.
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Baby hippos nurse on their mothers for the first eight months of their lives, suckling both on land and underwater during the mother's swims.Ed Oudenaarden/AFP/Getty Images
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A baby koala is called a joey and lives inside its mother's pouch for six months.Roderick Eime/Flickr
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Unlike other animals, chameleons keep growing throughout their lives. Chameleons grow to a full size between one inch to 27 inches depending on species.Wikimedia Commons
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Kitten’s whiskers are about as long as their bodies are wide so they can use them to gauge if they will fit into tight spaces. Kittens sleep for 18 hours a day, a habit they don't quite shake after they become adult cats. Pixabay
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Baby orangutans are quite needy and stay with their mother for six to seven years to learn necessary survival skills.Pixabay
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Baby owls are called owlets when they're newly hatched. They typically have lots of soft fluffy down before their feathers mature.Wikimedia Commons
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When they are babies, penguins are covered with fine down feathers. Since these feathers are not waterproof, they must avoid water until their feathers mature.Pixnio
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Chicks are born wet due to the remaining yolk they feed on while still inside the egg. As they get older, their feathers get fluffier.Public Domain Pictures
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Baby otters are blind for the first 40 days after birth, making them completely dependent on their mothers during that time. These animals are also famously terrified of water as babies.Vancouver Aquarium
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Rabbits can give birth to multiple litters each year with up to nine babies in each. To avoid detection by predators, wild mother rabbits only spend a few moments each day with their babies in the nest. Pxhere
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Crocodiles have very strong hearing. In fact, it is so good that they can hear their babies calling from inside their eggs.
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Baby ferrets or kits usually weigh a light 6 to 14 grams at birth and are about 2 to 2.5 inches long — the size of an average adult human's little finger. Wikimedia Commons
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Like many newborn mammals, puppies are born toothless. They grow baby teeth which fall out and mature by six months old. Etymologists believe the word "puppy" may have come from the French word poupeé meaning doll or toy.Pixabay
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Baby foxes are commonly referred to as pups, kits, or cubs. They typically stay with their mother in the nest while the father hunts for food.Pixabay
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Lion cubs are born with tawny spots that disappear as they get older. Lionesses separate from the pride to give birth and remain on their own for a couple of months with their cubs before introducing them to the rest of the pride. Pixabay
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When they hatch, baby ostriches are quite big and can be the size of a fully-grown chicken. It takes 42 to 46 days for an ostrich egg to hatch.Pixabay
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A baby llama is called a cria and can weigh between 20 and 31 pounds at birth. Llamas typically live for up to 25 years, though some have lived even longer.Pixabay
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Adult polar bears can grow up to nine feet tall, but as cubs they are very small. Polar bear cubs usually weigh around 16 to 24 ounces and measure 12 inches long.Wikimedia Commons
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At birth, baby rhinos are still quite big, weighing somewhere between 88 to 140 pounds. They stay with their mother until they turn three years old when they set off on their own.Pixabay
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Snakes can lay up to 100 eggs at a time. Baby snakes are born independent and fend for themselves right after hatching.Derell Licht/Flickr
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Turtles lay hundreds of eggs in one clutch. The turtle hatchlings begin to break their way out of the egg anywhere between 50 to 70 days into their development. Sadly, the survival rate of turtles is quite low since they are very vulnerable when young.Wikimedia Commons
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Crane chicks hatch with down feathers, open eyes, and the ability to leave the nest within hours of breaking out of the egg. They are born a dusty cinnamon brown color and develop mature colors as they grow older.Wikimedia Commons
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As mammals, a dolphin baby or calf is born live. The calf emerges tail first so that it doesn't drown underwater.AFP/Getty Images
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Fawns develop strong legs right away and are very independent from an early age. They can outrun an adult human even when they are only a few days old, but it usually takes a few weeks before they can effectively evade predators.Pixabay
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Horse foals are born with 80 to 90 percent of the length of their adult legs developed. Long legs are important for foals, especially in
the wild, as they give them the advantage they need to survive.
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Fur seals can give birth to one baby or pup each year. Pups stay on land until their waterproof fur develops.Wikimedia Commons
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A kangaroo joey is born at a very immature stage, measuring less than an inch and weighing less than a gram. The baby crawls up the mother's body and enters her pouch immediately after birth. Tambako/Flickr
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Piglets weigh about 2.5 pounds at birth and usually double their weight within their first week of being born.Wikimedia Commons
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Female prairie dogs give birth to a litter of pups inside their burrow. The pups stay in there until they are six weeks old.Eric Kilby/Flickr
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Skunks give birth to large litters with up to 10 babies or skunk kits. Baby skunks don't open their eyes until they are three weeks old.Land Between the Lakes KYTN/Flickr
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Baby tapirs are born with white spots and markings on their fur which disappear as they mature. The offspring, called calves, can stand a couple hours after they are born.Eric Kilby/Flickr
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When wolf puppies are first born, they are completely blind and deaf and have little sense of smell. But they grow rapidly, typically gaining between three pounds per week for the first few months of their lives.Tambako/Flickr
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At just eight weeks old, tiger cubs are ready to learn how to hunt, so their mothers teach them. When they turn two, the cubs will set out on their own.Wikimedia Commons
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Zebra foals are born with stripes which appear brown and white. They are well developed at birth, weighing an average of 70 pounds.Pixabay
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Colobus monkeys, which are black and white, are born with all white hair and a pink face. The color of their snow white fur changes as they reach adult coloration at six months old.Tambako/Flickr
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A baby goat is called a kid, which means a goat giving birth is said to be "kidding." Goats were among the first wild animals domesticated by humans.
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Newly hatched ducklings are vulnerable on their own. Ducklings younger than 10 days old tend to swim and walk as a group with their siblings and mother to stay safe.Pixabay
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Lambs are born with tails which they shed as they grow up. Like all mammals, they are fully developed when born, except for their teeth and sexual maturity which develop as they age.Pixabay
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Bison calves are called “red dogs” because of the reddish shade of their fur when they are young. After a few months, their hair starts to turn dark brown and their characteristic hump and horns start to grow.Pixabay
44 Adorable Baby Animals That Could Make Any Bad Day Better
Baby animals are more than just cute and cuddly — they're evolutionary marvels who rely on their adorable looks to survive. Their round features and big eyes trigger a kind of "cuteness response" that makes their parents — and us — want to nurture and protect them.
Plus, looking at cute baby animals is just plain fun. If you've had a tough day or just need a quick pick-me-up, there's nothing like looking at baby animals to boost your mood.
From owlets to goat kids, take a look at these remarkably cute baby animal pictures.
Why Are Baby Animals So Cute?
PixabayWe have the same instinctive reaction when we see human babies and baby animals.
When we see an adult lion we might feel intimidated by its majestic mane and ferocious teeth. Yet, when we see a baby lion, our first instinct might be to want to cuddle it or take care of it.
But it turns out, there is a psychological explanation behind our nurturing response toward adorable baby animals.
In 1943, Austrian ethologist and zoologist Konrad Lorenz was the first to suggest that all infants — whether human or not — share specific features that are universally irresistible. These traits include a large head paired with a small-sized body, small facial features such as the mouth and nose, round cheeks, a round body, and a high forehead.
Lorenz named this cute baby template the "baby schema." Scientists believe that, due to these specific infant traits, the natural instinct humans possess to nurture our babies also translates into an instinctive caring response toward baby animals.
"People are also animals, and our infants and young children – like the infants and young of most species – have certain consistent traits," David Barash, a psychology professor at the University of Washington who studies human and animal behaviour, told the BBC.
It is not just cute baby features that we find appealing. Humans also react to infant-like behaviors displayed among baby animals. For instance, the clumsy gait of a baby elephant who has not quite mastered how to walk reminds us of the clumsiness we witness in toddlers, triggering the same affectionate response.
Research shows that affection toward infants begins to take shape within our psyche when we are as young as three years old, reinforced by the societal norms of human culture to look after our young.
Scientists believe that our instinct to care for babies was likely an evolutionary adaptation since "any predisposition to be especially benevolent toward critters that meet the 'baby schema' is likely to be strongly favored by natural selection."
Furthermore, our desire to physically touch or hold babies, whether human or animal, is also motivated by this "cute stimulus" that triggers a biological reaction in our brain, whether we're holding a fluffy kitten or just looking at baby animal pictures.
"We know that [when we see a young animal or child] there is a really fast burst of activity in the orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain involved in reward," explains Eloise Stark who studies parent and child interactions in the psychiatry department at the University of Oxford.
She added, "We think this early activity biases the brain towards processing the cute stimulus – for example, by making sure we give it our full attention. The effect of this may be to approach the infant or cute animal, wanting to pick it up or look after it."
But sadly, as cute as they are, none of these baby animals can stay little forever.
How Long Do Baby Animals Stay Small?
PixabayThese kittens clearly fit the cute baby blueprint experts are talking about.
How long baby animals stay little depends on a variety of factors, including how they are born. Some animals give birth to live young, a method of reproduction called viviparity. Others lay eggs — a method known as oviparity — to reproduce and can do so through a number of ways.
For birthing animals, the periods of gestation widely vary. Elephants have the longest gestation period among all mammals as their pregnancies last for more than a year and a half.
The shortest gestation period known among mammals is possessed by the North American opossum which carries its babies to full term for 12 days before giving birth to litters of 16 to 20 babies.
Additionally, some rare animals possess the fascinating ability to switch between viviparity and oviparity, like the bimodal Australian three-toed skink which can both lay eggs and give birth depending on its living environment.
When it comes to the growth of baby animals, each species is different.
Most mammals are born blind, deaf, and without hair. This makes them completely dependent on their parents, at least until their physical features properly develop. But even among mammals, dependency during infancy varies between different kinds of animals.
Baby deer or fawns, for instance, are quite independent. Soon after birth, they separate from their mother, only reuniting to nurse every once in a while. Fortunately, they develop strong legs when they are only days old, giving them an advantage against potential predators.
By comparison, baby rhinoceroses will stay under the care of their mothers until they are three years old. Baby orangutans, who share a high percentage of our DNA makeup, will also stay with their mothers for years to learn the necessary survival skills they need before they venture out on their own.
Despite these differences, baby animals have one thing in common: no matter what kind of creature they are, they tug on our heartstrings. Blame nature for that.