Irrespective of the specie – excluding cockroaches of course – people always consider that baby animals are the most adorable thing on God’s green earth. Cubs have a certain appeal that, more often than not, seems to fade when the animal reaches maturity. To put it simply, while an animal has a debatable degree of “cuteness” that is mostly a matter of the personal opinion, during the early infancy stages you simply cannot look at it without exclaiming “Awwww!”
It is unknown whether or not the cuteness represents an evolved defensive mechanism for the animal that is otherwise helpless without the mother at this point and if the nurturing instincts of the parents are also influenced by it. Strangely enough, as theorized by Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz, the cuteness is not an adaptation proprietary to primates and humans, but rather the babies of these species present distinct features that enable parents to recognize them. All the adaptations are made to suit the requirements of the environment, which means that the cuteness factor is obsolete. Let’s find out more about the things that make us love baby animals.
1. Puppies are the probably most helpless ones in the bunch
A puppy that is separated from its mother after birth has very few trump cards – aside of course from the adorable look that could get him adopted – and consequentially, limited chances of survival. To put it simply, the newborn puppy is deaf, blind and has no teeth, which means that it is virtually at the mercy of the world. Even the sense of smell, the trademark of the canine regnum, develops much later on, more exactly in about three weeks after being born. Therefore, you can’t really blame them for spending the first week sleeping 90% of the time, there aren’t many other things they can do for fun.
2. Kittens are born with different bone structures, based on the breed
In spite of the fact that the vast majority of kittens (over 90%) are born with the same blood type – A – their bone structure and the number of bones can differ radically from one breed to another. That is why certain breeds of cats grow significantly longer than others and the exponents are faster, more agile and have the ability to switch running direction easier.
3. Puppies and kitten share the same sweat gland position
The feline and the canine regnum may have differences since the end of time and a situation where the two types of animals actually get along are rare, but there is one thing they have in common: the position of the sweat glands. In other words, unlike most animals, both kittens and puppies are born with the sweat in the pads of the paws. However, only puppies pant in order to vent excess heat and when a kitten exhibits a panting behavior it typically indicates it is exposed to some form of stress.
4. Parrots give their offspring names
Unlike the negative propaganda enforced by pirate movies tells us, not all parrots are named Polly. Researchers have determined that soon after the parrot chick hatches from the eggs, its parents will give him a name which will also constitute the signature call of the bird. As the little parrot matures, he will adapt the original signature call to his “taste”, shortening/lengthening it with whistling or chirping. In other words, the parrot transforms his initial name into a nickname.
5. Baby chimpanzees love to play with dolls
Yeah, not only that but baby chimps are actually utilizing stones, sticks and dirt to make up their own dolls, guided by nothing but their imagination. At the same time, research shows that in most cases the behavior persists through maturity. Before you are quick to discard this hypothesis and attribute it to a nurturing instinct, you should know that several studies shown baby chimpanzees used the dolls in very different games that held no resemblance to the natural cradling/nurturing behavior.
6. Panda cubs are the tiniest non-marsupial newborn mammals
Pandas are not exactly small framed once they reach maturity, but at birth these bamboo-loving mammals weigh approximately 3-5 ounces. This feature places them at the top of the tiniest mammals on the planet! And we all know that size is one of the characteristics that makes baby animals so adorable to humans.
7. Lion cubs are very dependent on their mothers
Lion cubs are not as helpless as puppies, but given the higher number of threats proprietary to their environment they would be equally lost without their mothers. The principal immediate danger to the cubs are not hyenas/leopards/predatory birds, as you might expect, but rather the male lions from a different pack that take over the females. It is necessary to mention that the female does not enter the reproductive cycle as long as it needs to take care of her cubs. That is why the mother lioness keeps the cubs safely hidden in the thick savanna bushes for about 6 weeks until the younglings develop the escape means necessary for survival.
8. A baby tiger’s stripes darken with age
This is probably the root of the common saying “a tiger earned her marks”, in spite of the fact that it refers to the post-natal stretch marks women develop. The stripes of the tiger cub have a grayish hue by default and they will not become matte dark until the animal has reached maturity. And another cute thing about baby tigers – although it is mainly a camouflage mechanism – they all have white belies!
9. Ducklings are pretty independent since the moment of hatching
From the moment when the eggshell cracks open the duckling is prepared to face the dangers of the world without an extensive assistance from the mother duck. Not only are these birds born with their eyes wide open and fully functional, but they don’t really need the warmth of the mother duck thanks to the protective fuzz coating. In essence, they could very well vacate the nest within a few hours after hatching.
10. Baby giraffes are born cute AND autonomous
While for most herbivores the cubs need a bit of exercise in order to learn how to walk, baby giraffes are gifted with this skill from birth. Several minutes after its fall – at birth, the baby giraffes falls from an altitude of 6 feet – the baby giraffe is happily waddling around and nursing.