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The Saint Anthony Festival

Although this little guy looks indifferent about being here, this is a day dedicated to domesticated animals. Every January in Madrid, Spain, there are celebrations to honor Saint Anthony, the patron saint of animals. The holiday is called Saint Anthony’s Day, and there are two different ceremonies.

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On the day of the holiday, domestic pet-owners line up around the Church of San Anton and wait for a priest to sprinkle holy water on their beloved dogs, cats, rabbits, and reptiles. The more controversial celebration takes place on the eve of St. Anthony’s day, and it is referred to as “Las Luminarias Festival.” Over 600 people watch as there is a fire ceremony for the purification of domesticated horses. It is believed that those who are able to ride through the flames unscathed will be protected for the remainder of the year. The celebration has faced much backlash over the past few years.

Penguin’s first day of school

This little guy is waving goodbye to his mom before heading off to his first day of school! Well, as much as we would like that to be accurate, this is actually a photo taken from The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in Heilongjiang Province in northern China.

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This festival is the world’s most significant snow and ice festivals where attendees can enjoy hundreds of sculptures and fun snow activities. Although many citizens agreed that the penguins were adorable, the photos faced backlash online. To this day, no one is really sure whether the backpacks were full of mini school books or not.

A panda and his owner

This little guy really loves hugs, and he really loves the guy that takes care of him at the Beijing Zoo. Pandas are considered an endangered species due to poaching and loss of habitat. Regardless, there are many conversationist organizations that are working hard to keep pandas from going extinct. The Beijing Zoo located in Beijing, China, is home to over 400 different species and has housed over 5,000 animals.

Fan Jiashan VCG via Getty ImagesFan Jiashan VCG via Getty Images
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The Beijing Zoo was the first of its kind in China, and some of the most popular attractions are the giant pandas, golden monkeys, milu deer, and northeast tigers. The panda hall is quite an impressive exhibit, with the inside mirroring the traditional Chinese gardens while covering 10,000 square meters.

Baby tiger’s first feeding

Cue the collective “awwws.” This tiger cub has three brothers and two sisters that look just like him, and they all live together in South China. These cubs were born at a zoo in Luoyang, central China’s Henan Province on May 11, 2019. Currently, the South China tiger is listed as “critically endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and is under first-class state protection.

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The last time a tiger of this caliber was seen in the wild was back in the 1990s in the Xishui Nature Reserve in southwest China’s Guizhou Province. There are a remaining 177 tigers left, and they are all in captivity.

Lemon and Indi sitting in a tree

These birds don’t care about PDA; they just want to show everyone how in love they are! Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, these birds have a fatal viral disease that breaks feathers and weakens their immune system. The disease is referred to as Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, or PBFD. The condition can only be compared to HIV in humans.

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Regardless, Lemon and Indi have lived a full and fantastic life, and spend every moment alongside each other. Since Lemon has lost her feathers, she has to live under a bird heater 24 hours a day to keep her warm. These tweethearts are a match made in heaven!

Beach days with Layla

Layla is a good girl with a big personality, despite being 2 lbs. Born on December 23, 2014, Layla was the runt of the litter and wasn’t even half the size of her other siblings. She resides in Petersburg, Florida, with her owner, Kathy Sherback who says, “as a young puppy, her little apple head was so adorable – a quality many Chihuahua lovers breed for but one that is associated with problems, unknown to myself. One of these problems is hydrocephalus.”

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Hydrocephalus is the build-up of fluid inside the skull. Often, this causes seizures, blindness, and behavioral changes. Kathy decided against brain surgery, which has a high mortality rate for dogs who are Layla’s size. Kathy has decided to try other alternatives with Layla’s health, saying, “We started Layla on homemade dog food consisting of meats, fruits, and vegetables. We also began supplementing her with probiotics, herbs, and superfood supplements.” Since starting her new diet, her coat grew back, and her lymph node swelling went down. Due to Layla’s immobility, she relies on Kathy to take her everywhere, but she is always prepared for new trips with her multitude of outfits, and specially designed wheelchair.

A dog and a duck walk into a bar

This dog and duck are an unlikely pair who love each other very much! Orange County mom, Pam Ishiguro has seven ducks living under her roof, and she was shocked when her 4-year-old duck, Rudy formed a strong bond with her golden retriever, Barclay.

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Although these two are best of friends now, they didn’t always get along. At first, Rudy would chase Barclay away whenever he tried to approach any of the ducks. Ishiguro explains how the tables have turned saying, “Rudy is our official toe biter if anyone gets too close. The other ducks know that Barclay is his best friend; if anyone gets too close they better watch out. Rudy will attack without warning.” She also adds, “Rudy and Barclay need each other – I think that’s why they have such a strong bond. They’re like the oddballs on the playground.”

Snow monkey day spa

Everyone likes to wind down and have a spa day, even these snow monkeys! This shot was taken in Yamanouchi, Japan, while this group of macaques monkeys were enjoying a dip with their children in the springs of Hells Valley. These monkeys have been known to live in the valley during the winter to keep warm. This behavior is odd, considering many monkeys aren’t fans of water.

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So, why do these guys bathe for long periods in the springs? It is actually learned behavior from watching humans bathe in the springs. During the winter, there can be 30 or more monkeys in the hot spring at a time. Although many of them clear out during the warmer months, you can occasionally spot a monkey or two taking a quick swim with their companions.

Echidna baby

No, you’re not looking at a niffler from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but we will admit this echidna looks strangely similar to the made-up creature. This photo was taken in Sydney, Australia in 2016, when the Taronga Zoo celebrated its first successful breeding of the short-beaked echidna in over 30 years.

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The babies, known as puggles, hatch after 10 days, and then they are carried around in their mother’s pouch for two months while their spines develop. Echidna’s are also sometimes referred to as spiny anteaters, and although they resemble hedgehogs, the two animals belong to separate mammalian orders.

Grizzly bear grooves

Yes, the Grizzly Bear was a dance craze that started in San Francisco, but this gives the dance a whole new meaning. Grizzly bears are quite exciting animals, and although they originate from Europe and Asia, today they can only be found in North America and Canada.

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Grizzly bears are known for their signature brown fur, but the hairs on the shoulders and back have white tops, giving them a “grizzled” look. During the 1970s, the number of grizzly bears dropped due to hunting. Since then, hunting bears has become illegal, and their population has since increased. These days, grizzly bears are a “threatened” species, meaning they are almost endangered.

Pigs night out

Priscilla and Poppleton are famous in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. With over 600,000 followers on Instagram, they are the most famous piggies in their hometown. Their followers enjoy adorable photos of the pair dressed up in bathing suits at the beach or snuggled up together in blankets.

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Priscilla and Poppleton, also known as Prissy and Pop, attend first grade with their owner, teacher Melissa Nicholson. Nicholson explained to TODAY Parents, “The kids take turns feeding them snacks and they just really love them. They like reading to them, and I really think it’s just different and fun for them.”

One happy little family

This unconventional family will absolutely melt your heart. Two Dachshund dogs called Maya and Peanut, have created a strong bond with Minnie the Hedgehog. The three little animals are best friends that live in Woking, Surrey, and have more than 30,000 followers on Instagram.

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Minnie, who is the oldest at 4-years-old, is an African Pygmy hedgehog, and she joined the family in 2013. Pictured, is Minnie’s older sister, Maya, and owner, Natasha Fernandes admits that the trio will often eat out of each other’s bowls. She has also hilariously admitted that, “Minnie doesn’t mind them, and she likes to climb on their backs. She gets on with them really well, and they follow her around like her own personal entourage.”

Spock the armadillo

Meet Spock! Spock lives in Wroclaw, Poland with his zookeeper friends. Unfortunately, Spock was abandoned by his mother as a baby. After his mom, Hermiona gave birth, zookeepers waited patiently to see if she would engage with him. They ended up having to remove him by the afternoon after she didn’t show any interest in the pup.

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However, do not fret! The small armadillo is set to live long and prosper, and is currently being raised by friendly zookeepers at the Wroclaw Zoo. After a few failed attempts, zookeepers were finally able to feed Spock milk by creating a tiny bowl for him. At six weeks old, Spock tripled his weight and no longer struggles to drink milk. His zookeeper friends have confidence that he will grow up to be a handsome and healthy armadillo!

Ferret kisses

This funny snapshot was captured in Spain, Madrid, after this woman’s ferret was blessed in San Anton Church for the celebration of Saint Anthony the Abbot. Its sins redeemed, the ferret became overwhelmed with thankfulness. Ferrets are quite fascinating creatures, with their long, slender torsos and goofy behavior.

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The reason for their domestication is still unclear, but phylogenetic studies suggest that the reason involves their hunting skills. Studies indicate that the Romans were likely the first to use them for hunting. With their long build, it was reasonably easy for ferrets to chase rodents, rabbits, and moles into their burrows.

Elephants never forget a good joke

This 3-week old calf obviously heard the photographer say a hilarious joke! The Asian elephant, also known as the Asiatic elephant, is the largest living land animal in Asia. It has been listed as Endangered since 1986, and the population has declined by 50 percent over the past three generations.

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Elephants are known to be brilliant creatures, and they are reported to have exhibited many human-like behaviors such as grief, learning, mimicry, play, altruism, use of tools, compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, memory, and language. Almost half of the global zoo elephant population is in European zoos, where they have more than half of the average life span of those who are protected in range countries.

Elephant seals like beach days too

Humans aren’t the only species that enjoy relaxing on the beach, this elephant seal is just trying to get his tan on! Southern elephant seals are one of the two species of elephant seals. Studies say that elephant seals from South Georgia (where this guy is from), are around 30 percent heavier and 10 percent longer than those from Macquarie Island.

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Elephant seals are unique since they are among the seals that can stay on land for long periods, and they can stay dry for several consecutive weeks. Southern elephant seals can spend more than 20 minutes underwater to hunt their prey at 1,300 to 3,300 feet.

Meerkat hideout

While his two friends were sleeping, this meerkat wanted to keep watch for predators and ended up being the star of this photo. Meerkats are burrowing animals, who live in large underground networks with many different entrances which they leave only during the day.

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They are very social animals, and even though you saw Timon in Disney’s The Lion King hang out with his best friend, Pumba, meerkats often live together in “clans” or “mobs” which consists of 20 to 50 meerkats. Meerkats use their tail to balance while standing upright, which is why this fellow looks so sturdy as he towers over his sleepy companions.

Raccoon adventures

This curious raccoon is exploring a garden in Brandenburg, Sieversdorf. Raccoons are noted for being very intelligent creatures, and this nocturnal traveler has been seen roaming all around the gardens in the village. Their facial markings are perfectly suited for the species that actively participates in burglary.

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Although it looks like this young raccoon is just looking for something to drink from this water basin, the most important sense for the raccoon is its sense of touch. Raccoons have “hypersensitive” front paws that are protected by a fragile layer of skin that becomes flexible when it is wet. They can identify objects before even touching them due to little whiskers located above their sharp, nonretractable claws.

Dapper dog

This dapper dog is ready to get adopted! If you’ve ever adopted a pet before, then you’ve probably seen the poor-lit photos that accompany their information on adoption sites. This Arkansas-based photographer decided to step up to spice up the usual pupper portraits by approaching pet photography in a new way.

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After volunteering at her local shelter, Tammy Swarek decided to create hilarious and adorable photos of the pups to help increase adoption rates. All the dogs from the Union County Animal Protection Society can be seen donning weird and unique outfits, and some of them even reveal their backstories.

Monkey see monkey do

This long-tailed macaque is monkeying around for the photographer! Also known as the crab-eating macaque, they are a primate native to Southeast Asia. This monkey, in particular, has had quite a long history with humans, and it isn’t entirely positive. They were considered to be pests to the local agriculture, sacred animals, and the subject of medical experiments.

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Macaques often feed on sugarcane and other crops and have been known to be somewhat aggressive towards humans. Although their names suggest that they consume a lot of crabs, crabs are not their main food source. Fruit and seeds make up 60 – 90% of their diets.

Shetland pony loves his haircut

This Shetland pony wants you to know that he doesn’t really care what you think about his hairstyle because he likes it this way. In fact, this is the hairstyle donned by many Shetland ponies. Known for their good-temper and intelligent nature, Shetland ponies are the strongest of all horse and pony breeds when you consider its size.

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It can pull twice its own weight whereas a draft horse can only pull half its own weight. Shetland ponies were initially used for pulling carts of peat, coal, and for plowing farmland. Many Shetland ponies are noted for being great therapy horses and for having a strong personality. At the same time, they are also known for being impatient and sometimes uncooperative.

Orangutan in Diaper

This baby orangutan named Budi is on the road to recovery. Up until now, Budi has had a terrible life in a chicken coop while being fed nothing but condensed milk. When he first entered the hospital, he could barely sit up on his own, but two months later, Budi began eating fruit, walking, and climbing on his own.

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The staff of the International Animal Rescue sanctuary in West Borneo, Indonesia, were by his side, ensuring his full recovery. Orangutans live in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. They are some of the most intelligent primates, and they have shown that they can use tools for daily activities such as building nests.

Kanzi loves a good campfire

This is Kanzi, and Kanzi is just a hungry primate waiting for his food to finish cooking. This 31-year-old bonobo chimpanzee at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa, is impressing humans everywhere with his love for campfires. This smart ape will collect firewood, break it into pieces, arrange them in a pile, and then ignite them with matches or a lighter.

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His main companion, Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, is the only scientist able to converse with bonobos. Kanzi tells Dr. Savage-Rumbaugh that he creates fires because they fascinate him. Kanzi fashions a grill over his fire, and he often cooks burgers or marshmallows over it using a frying pan.

Ella Bean the Yorkshire terrier mix

This glamorous girl is finishing up some work before getting her mani-pedi. Ella Bean is 4-year-old Yorkshire terrier mix. She is a puppy mill survivor and former death row dog from a south Florida shelter. Although she’s had a hard life, these days, she enjoys modeling, ceviche, and Instagram. With over 100,000 followers, the internet sure does love little Ella Bean.

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This 4-pound pup has explored some of the most glamorous cities in the world, and her owner, Hilary Sloan, makes sure to document their travels well. Sloan admires Ella’s transformation saying, “She was a really anti-social traumatized dog when I first met her. She was really stand-offish and nervous around people and other dogs. Now she is this incredibly social, happy, and outgoing dog who travels with us everywhere, comes to work with me, and is really well-loved by all the people who come in contact with her.”

Dunnart the carrot-tailed marsupial

This little guy may be small, but he is capable of doing many impressive things. You can recognize a Dunnart by its large eyes, pointed mouth, sharp teeth, and long, carrot-shaped tail. These nocturnal animals are carnivores, and their diet consists of insects, larvae, small reptiles, and amphibians.

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Unlike many other animals, Dunnarts do not have to drink water, as they get all the water they need from their food. When food is scarce, they will use the fat stored in its tail as a source of energy. During the day, these small Dunnarts can enter a dormant state to help save their energy.

An unlikely pair form an adorable bond

This Leopard named Salati and golden retriever, Tommy, are best friends who live in Pretoria, South Africa. All your life you’ve probably assumed that dogs love chasing cats around, but in this instance, it is exactly the opposite! Animal wrangler, Richard Brooker, takes the pair out every morning on his family’s 1,850-acre estate to run around and get some exercise.

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Brooker says, “when we first received Salati, she was tiny, and Tommy could chase her around. But now with Salati matching for weight the tables have turned. It’s all fun and games, and they love playing together.” Salati was rescued as an orphaned cub and was donated by a local vet to the family-run retreat which focuses on rehabilitating injured animals.

Squirrel’s hang out spot

This eastern grey squirrel is just hanging out! The eastern grey squirrel, otherwise known as the grey squirrel, is a tree squirrel local to eastern North America and are generally found in large areas of dense woods. Contrary to popular belief, squirrels are intelligent animals, and they always have a plan at hand.

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They are also quite secretive and suspicious when it comes to protecting their food. Many times, if the squirrels are wary of the location, they will only pretend to hide their food if they believe they are being watched. They will dig up and re-hide their food many different times to confuse onlookers.

Reading with Bonny

Bonny enjoys reading on her own, but she really enjoys reading with her friends! Reading dog Bonny, who is a Briard, is part of a program in Offenbach, Germany, called The Reading Dog Project. We were puzzled at first. Dogs assisting children with reading skills? Turns out the program works wonders.

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Bonny has gone through specific training in order to become a reading dog, and she helps kids with reading or communication problems become more confident in their reading skills. Briards are very loyal and protective dogs, and they are often referred to as “a heart of gold wrapped in fur.” Briards are used as service and therapy dogs due to their intelligence, fluffy coat, and loyalty.

Am I doing this smiling thing right?

All this little guy wanted to do was smile for the camera, but he just can’t figure it out. This goofy boy is a Hovawart, which is probably a dog breed you haven’t heard before. Hovawarts are a medium to large size German dog breed. The name of the breed, Hovawart, means “farm watcher,” as these dogs were often used as watchdogs. These pups make great dogs since they are absolutely obsessed with their family.

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It’s difficult to find these dogs in this day and age, as they began to disappear during the medieval period. Newer breeds such as the German Shepherd Dog began to replace the Hovawart until the beginning of the twentieth century. Zoologist Kurt Friedrich König was determined to save the breed, and began crossing them with Newfoundlands, German Shepherd Dogs, Leonbergers, and Bernese Mountain Dogs. The breed was finally recognized by the German Kennel Club in 1937.

Alpaca hide and seek

Now you see him; now you don’t…This young alpaca enjoys playing hide and seek in this buttercup field. Often confused with llamas, alpacas are noticeably smaller. Alpacas, unlike llamas, were not bred to be working animals, as their fiber is used to make knitted and woven fabrics. Their fibers are normally used for blankets, sweaters, hats, etc.

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They are often kept in herds and can be found in Southern Peru, Western Ecuador, and Northern Chile. They have been domesticated for thousands of years, and there are no longer any wild alpacas. Mostly quiet animals, alpacas can sometimes be aggressive, but they are also gentle, intelligent, and observant creatures.

Cutie spotted at Dogfest

This cute pupper is enjoying her day at the Dogfest Festival in Knutsford, England. If you love your dog or dogs in general, then this festival should be on your bucket list! Celebrated in the U.K., this dog festival allows you to bring your dog to experience a range of events such as dog shows and food stalls.

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There’s even the Big Dog Walk, where you can enter your dog to go on a mass walk of either 2k or 4k. Have a bit of a naughty pup? There’s a school for your dog on-site, where you can walk away with some new training ideas. Think your dog is ready to get his first job? There’s a Dogs with Jobs section where you can get career advice from some dogs who have been on the job scene for a while.