From wolfish grins to just another manic monkey, most animals have been caught flashing a smile from time to time. Whether they’re smiling on the inside is another matter, of course, but one thing’s for certain – their smiles are compelling and often, contagious. Take these 12 smirking critters; they really know how to turn a frown upside down!
Otis the Smiling Hippopotamus
(images via: Telegraph UK and Daily Mail UK)
If Otis the hippo was hungry for fame, he sure seems to have found it. The three-ton native of darkest Africa resides at the San Diego Zoo these days, where he spends his time photobombing tourist pics – with their consent, of course.
(image via: Digit50d)
Jay & Lauren Parker just happened to be in the right place at the right time: just outside the hippo tank after Otis had a tussle with his female exhibit-mate, Funani. The rest is history, as Otis’ beaming countenance now gazes out from countless Pinterest boards, Tumblr pages and screensavers worldwide.
(images via: The Future Buzz and Holy Taco)
Smiling sharks aren’t really grinning, they just look that way all that time due to their not having lips. Don’t take it personally, though. If you should encounter some sharks and they appear to be smiling, it’s because they’re excited to meet you… and the “m” is silent.
Yangtze River Finless Porpoises
(images via: China Daily and Straits Times)
Pandas may be the poster kids for Chinese endangered species but other large mammals are having a much tougher time. Take the now-rare Yangtze River Finless Porpoise, for instance. Closely related to dolphins and whales, these sweetly smiling creatures are having a tough time of it, being as they inhabit some of the most polluted water in China – and that’s saying something.
(images via: F-Paper)
Yangtze River Finless Porpoises naturally wear a small and sweet smile, a feature that they retain regardless of their mood and even into death, which makes the top photo above of a recently deceased porpoise all the more saddening.
(images via: PS Deluxe and Tour Egypt)
There’s an old middle-eastern proverb that goes something like “Never trust a smiling camel, he’s probably running a pyramid scheme.” Get over the hump, however, and you’ll find camels aren’t the ill-tempered, mean-spirited beasts they’re made out to be. Why else would we walk a mile for one?
(images via: Telegraph UK and ECNS)
Stump-tailed Macaques, like all monkeys, can be mischievous and being mischievous seems to be an enjoyable activity no matter what your species. Who can say what this grinning primate has got in mind… like his tail, he’s got us stumped.
(images via: Anguished Repose and Cyburbia)
The Barbary Monkey above looks not a bit barbaric in the images above though you wouldn’t want one loose in your domestic environment. He (or she) seems to be as happy as can be living in the Upper Rock nature Reserve on Gibraltar. Being closely related to humans, monkeys like these are genuinely happy when they’re smiling.
Sweet Piglet Squid
(images via: Postiar and Seaway Blog)
The Banded Piglet Squid (Helicocranchia pfefferi) is a small, rather rotund squid that lives at ocean depths of more than 100m (300ft). It’s sweet smile is deceptive: that’s not really a mouth but merely a fortuitously placed line of “pig”mentation.
(images via: Morho/DeviantArt, Dennis Wong and Trial-By-Combat/DeviantArt)
Wolfish grins aren’t solely an attribute of wolves, but it’s safe to say “grinning” wolves and wolfishly grinning people have different motivations for their wolfish expressions. Wolves can appear quite frightening when they put on a toothy threat display – something hard-wired into our DNA, perhaps – so maybe the look of a wolf who’s NOT snarling looks friendly by comparison.
(image via: International Wolf Center)
Wolves aren’t always grinning wolfishly, of course, they show their happiness in a variety of ways. Check out the Arctic Wolf above, checking out a cool, crisp December morning from his cozy den at the International Wolf Center and finding it suits him to a T.
(images via: Fenwick1925, Freakgirl and First Murabess)
The rare and unusual Axolotl presents a rather dragon-like demeanor derived from its feathery, fiery-red external gills. What could be off-putting becomes irresistibly cute, however, thanks to the creature’s cartoonish toothless smile.
(images via: Gigazine)
Hard to believe a restaurant in Japan serves them deep-fried… and still smiling.
(images via: HaHaStop, Horsebears, TooBizarre and Snake Preservation and Awareness)
Snakes aren’t only happy in the Eve-ning, they seem to grin at all times of the day or night. We’d say it was because they’re “Able” to do so but that would be pushing a pun far too far. Snakes have evolved uniquely hinged jaws that enable (sorry) them to swallow prey much wider than would appear to be possible, leading to the question “where are all the morbidly obese snakes?”
(image via: We Heart It)
One smiling snake has broken through the fifth wall to become a bonafide Internet celebrity… OK, an Internet meme, which is not quite as cool but better than nothing. “Happy Snake” lacks a rattler’s venom-dripping fangs but it does pack a mean set of very un-snakelike choppers. Happy yes, disturbing even more so.
Crested Black Macaques are Amused
(images via: Gareth Hughes and Telegraph UK)
Call it a case of “monkey steal, monkey do”. Photographer David Slatergot quite the surprise while getting some close-ups of Indonesian Crested Black Macaques: the creatures noticed their reflections in Slater’s camera lens and their primate curiosity took over – literally. Were the normally stoic and serious-faced macaques amused? We think the self-portrait above says it all.
(images via: FactZoo, DonRobot and Lonelee Planet)
Fugme? Fugu! Be careful what you wish for, Homer-wannabe’s, for although Fugu (or Puffer Fish) may be a delicacy in some parts of Japan, some parts of the Fugu could very easily be the last thing you’ll eat – ever. The fish’s liver and ovaries contain a deadly paralytic toxin that regularly takes the lives of intrepid diners. Fun Fugu fact: serving Fugu liver has been illegal in Japan since 1984; before then it was merely ill-advised.
(image via: DetroitNet)(image via: DetroitNet)
This Fugu may be smiling but who will get the last laugh: the fish, the inexperienced sushi chef or your estate’s beneficiaries? Considering that the fatal dose of Fugu toxin can be comfortably stacked on a pinhead, we’d say all three.
(images via: Puamelia, The Rag Blog, HD Animals and Covermaker)
This “so happy smiling cat” comes from Japan, the land of Hello Kitty where cuteness rules and thanks to the ubiquitousness of camera-equipped mobile phones, cat-lovers around the world can enjoy this purr-fectly pleased puss.
(images via: Disney Costume Ideas and Mousebreath Magazine)
Cats have a long tradition of smiling that dates back to Dickens’ Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland through the counter-culture capers of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers’ famous feline, Fat Freddy’s Cat.
(image via: Daily Mail UK)
If the human animal can smile, the same should go for non-human animals. While many kinds of animal smiles are only interpreted that way by our “Elvis On Burned Toast” over-stimulated brains, it’s obvious that among the higher mammals at least smiles really mean what they appear to mean… and there’s nothing “mean” about that!