It's amazing what the world has in store for us, and it seems cuteness knows no bounds. Here's 15 of the absolutely cutest animals on the planet that I bet you never knew existed.
#1. Ezo Momonga
You've got to be kidding me... This thing is so cute it will make your head explode into candy.
They can only be found in Hokkaido, a small island on the very northern tip of Japan. They are cousins to the flying squirrel, but created to be about 1000x cuter with their big eyes and tiny paws.
This fuzzy creature was just recently discovered by scientists in 2013! The first new animal species to be discovered in 35 years, it took scientists 10 years of searching in the forests of Ecuador to find this little guy.
Meet the Olinguito, they're late to the party but are very welcome to stay.
The Iizuna or Japenese weasel can also be found on the same island as the ultra-cute Ezo Momonga. But unlike a regular weasel, their fur coat changes to white to camouflage it in the winter time.
Just like a ferret, they have long slender bodies and can burrow to hunt for food.
#4. Spoon-Billed Sandpiper Chick
These are an incredibly rare and beautiful chick, which at this point are considered critically endangered. There are only 100 breeding pairs left in the world, but the team at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) centre in Slimbridge are working to push these birds back from the brink of extinction.
#5. Giant Angora Rabbit
So... This is a thing. Yes, they are real. They look like a hairy beanbag chair, or just a voluptuous rabbit that got soaked and blow-dried too long. But they're actually a domestic rabbit originally from Turkey, and commonly bred for their long soft wool (which is softer and more valuable than cashmere).
They need to be regularly brushed, groomed, and cuddled with (because how could you not!?).
#6. Dik Dik
I know the first thing you're thinking is it's the baby version of Bambi. But these are actually miniature antelope. Fully grown they'll only ever reach 1 foot tall, and reside in Africa's Savannahs.
They may look small and innocent, but they're tough to catch. A dik dik can run up to 26 miles per hour to get away from predators. But that's not all, as they run they whistle through their noses, created a "dik dik" sound that alerts their friends of the imminent danger, hence the name.
Check out the cool paint job on this guy. Numbat's are a cousin of the Anteater, but they prefer to munch exclusively on termites (maybe it should be renamed to termite-eater?). They pig out on over 20,000 termites a day! And then recover from a full day of eating by sleeping in hollowed logs at night.
You can find these little guys out in Western Australia, but unfortunately they have been listed as an endangered species.
#8. Irrawaddy Dolphin
These are not your typical dolphin, they have a short beak, a large bulging forehead, and a permanent smile. They linger in the coastal areas of Southeast Asia, and are very low in numbers.
These dolphins once built a mutually beneficial relationship with local human fishers. The fishers would call out to the dolphins and they would respond by driving fish into their cast nets. In return, the dolphins would be rewarded for their efforts with some of the caught fish.
It's heart breaking that so many beautiful and intelligent animals have become endangered.
#9. Sugar Glider
Sugar gliders have recently become a popular exotic pet for many people. They're adorable, social, and very playful (but do require a lot of care and specialized diets).
They're marsupials, so they begin their journey into life within their mothers pouch - just like a kangaroo. And just like it says in their name, they're expert gliders and love to feast on sweet nectar or sap. But they'll eat insects, plants, and meat at well.
#9. Red Crested Tree Rat
Rats are very misunderstood creatures, they're actually brilliant critters with a ton of personality and charm. But this type of rat is rare, so rare indeed that it was just rediscovered for the first time in over 100 years!
Not much is known about this rare species, other than accounts from way back in the late 19th century. They are similar to a regular rat, but have a soft woolly coat that is orange and red in color.
#10. Japanese Red Fox
Once again Japan shows up with another super cute animal. This time with a cuddly red fox.
While your typical fox is timid, shy, and likely to keep a safe distance, the red fox in Japan is far more brave. Often coming to inspect anything that arouses it's curiosity. In fact parts of Japan have fox sanctuaries, and for 100 yen you can visit a sanctuary for some up-close bonding and play time.
At first this feline looks similar to it's Cheetah cousins, but they're much smaller and have impressive gymnastic skills. They weigh in at about 8 - 20 pounds, have extremely long tails to act as a counter-balance, and huge eyes that aid in night vision.
But what's most impressive is their ability to climb, and even run up trees. In fact, they'll spend most of their lives hanging out in the trees. They've even been spotted hanging from tree branches with just one foot, similar to a monkey.
The Margay is the only cat species with the ability to rotate it's hind legs a full 180 degrees, which enables them to run head first down trees. Not to mention they can jump up to 12 feet!
#12. The Blue Parrotfish
Meet the happiest fish in the world. And no, it's not from a Pixar movie.
They're found on coral reefs in tropical parts of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
Jerboa's are found in deserts in Asia and North Africa. As you might expect with those ridiculously large ears, they have excellent hearing. They're nocturnal, so they prefer to stay in burrows during the day to avoid the heat, and rely on hearing, smelling, and whiskers to navigate at night. Another cool feature is their ability to move quick and hop up to 3 feet.
#14. Fennec Foxes
Fennec foxes are considered the smallest fox species in the world, but they compensate a little with their big ears. They live in desert environments and only venture out at night. Those giant ears actually radiate heat and keep them cool in those hot conditions.
They create little communities and live in packs of about 10 or less, and look for plants or small rodents and insects to eat at night.
These guys like to hang out in big groups, filled with all members of their family. Sometimes in groups of up to 60! Out of all those members there is always at least one guard on duty who keeps an eye on things. If a predator is near the Meerkat alerts their family of the oncoming threat. That's when they all dive back into their burrows.
They live in a large network of underground tunnels, and are excellent at burrowing.
Source: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Remind you of a certain Pokémon? Pikachu from the popular videogame franchise is actually based off this adorable animal found in China.
Pika's like colder environments and can be found in mountains and meadows. They spend most of their day foraging for grass, plants, seeds, and weeds.
They're actually not a rodent, but closely related to a rabbit. They're smaller in size, and if you look closely they don't have a tail.
#17. Red Panda
Source: Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Finally, the cutest of them all. You've probably heard of a Red Panda by now, as they're becoming more popular these days. And how could they not? Their playful, fun to watch, and adorable!
And yes, they are related to the Panda bear, and also a racoon. But they are considered the only member in their unique family, the Ailuridae.
Red Panda's spend most of their time in trees, and forage at night. They love bamboo, but they'll also go looking for fruit, roots, and acorns.
Red Panda's have become endangered due to deforestation.