We are many who thinks that baby animals are the cutest thing in the world. But have you ever wondered WHY they are so cute? Is it because of their big eyes or what is the reason?
Why are baby animals so cute?
Baby animals appear cute because several body parts are proportionally bigger than when they are fully grown up. The eyes and the head are bigger and they tend to draw attention to them. We also perceive them as cute because of the high-pitched sounds they make.
Let’s start by looking at why we, as humans, think the babies from animals are the cutest thing. And after that, we will move on to whether animals share our enthusiasm for their offspring.
Why We Think Baby Animals Are Cute
You don’t have to spend many minutes on Pinterest to realize that we humans adore baby animals. There are a ton of cute baby animal pictures that get shared on and on each second. And we have to admit that we add our fair share of the content as well.
Let’s look at the questions in greater detail and see some examples of why we think baby animals are cuter than fully grown animals.
Let’s start by looking at why we as humans find the babies of the animal kingdom so cute.
1) They have bigger eyes and specific facial features
Babies have bigger eyes than their adult counterparts. That’s true for humans and animals alike.
When two puppy eyes stare at you it feels like they can penetrate you and see right through you or into your heart.
According to a study by the Australian Zoologist Konrad Lorenz, baby animals have larger eyes, smaller noses, higher foreheads, and retreating chins. He called this the “baby schema” and pointed out that this holds true for almost all species.
He has pointed out that this is an advantage in nature because the parents tend to favor babies that have the highest degree of these facial features.
The higher foreheads are something that is particularly present among mammals. When you take a good look at a baby monkey you can clearly see how the forehead is higher just like with human babies.
We have written a separate post about 10 animal species with, particularly big eyes.
2) They are clumsy and playful
Baby animals are often learning to walk, fly, hunt, and imitate everything the adults are doing. Just like our human babies. That can be super-cute to watch as they get up, fall over, and get up again to try to walk.
When we look at a newborn Bambi or Giraffe trying to get up on all four and balance their heavy bodies on those long thin legs we feel like we have to help them.
They may not need our help but it sure looks like they do.
Actually, the adults will often push them in order to get them standing or in order for them to learn to fly. When a bird mother pushes the little baby birds out of the nest it looks harsh. But they must do this in order to teach the little baby birds to survive on their own.
Soon they will have to be on their own and there’s a lot of skills they need to learn. So, the basic stuff like flying (!) cannot wait until the little babies have grown into adults.
3) They are fragile
They are also more fragile and the skin and bones are softer. So they have to be protected in order to survive. This fragileness and innocence have a way of getting to us.
We feel as we should protect them and keep them safe from danger. And they have to be protected and taught how to take care of themselves before they can wander around on their own.
This also makes them harmless.
Baby animals typically cannot hurt you so we feel safe and well around them. But you have to pay close attention to the mother. She will often get aggressive if you get near her baby.
This is true for several species among the larger mammal.
4) They are fluffy and soft
Baby animals often look like teddy bears. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
The fur, feathers etc. look bigger on a baby because the baby itself is so small.
The fur and feathers are super soft until they grow up. This also means that it feels pleasant to touch it and it may recall tactile impressions from previous encounters with soft materials. Something most people enjoys. Much like we enjoy putting on a sweater made of very soft fabric or wool.
This is also something that let us fall in love with them and think of them as cute and gorgeous little creatures that need our full attention.
5) Because we are genetically prone to care for babies
We have to take very good care of our own babies in order for them to survive.
Not only for a couple of months or years like in the animal kingdom but for a decade! The period where human babies are dependent on its parents is much longer among humans than anywhere in the animal kingdom. That also means that we tend to form stronger bonds with babies and kids.
Scientists believe that this behavior is reflected unto baby animals.
So when we see an animal baby we get drawn to it because we are genetically coded towards protecting and caring for babies.
That means, that we are used to feeling responsible and emotionally when we look at babies. Scientists believe that this behavior also comes into play when we look at babies from animals.
Do Animal Parents Think Their Babies Are Cute?
This is a question that has been debated and researched quite a lot.
Something causes the animal parents to take good care of their little ones even though it often seems like too much trouble. (If you have kids you know what I mean.).
Whether this is controlled by hormones or simply because the animal parents think the little ones look cute is a question we may never fully get answered.
But here are some theories as to why animal parents would think that their own offspring are the cutest. And therefore need their care and attention.
Babies are cute so they don’t get eaten
Some scientists believe that animal babies have bigger eyes, ears, and faces in order for the adults of the herd not to eat them.
They need to charm the older animals in the herd in order to survive. Especially among carnivores.
Since they have the same facial features as human babies (bigger eyes, higher forehead etc) it could indicate that their babies are also capable of charming their parents. This could, in fact, mean that the parents do think their babies are cute.
But we also find data pointing in the other direction.
According to BBC, scientists found that adults monkeys were actually not more attracted to images of baby faces than images of adults faces. So supposedly it is something that varies from species to species and maybe from breed to breed.
What Are The Cutest Animals In The World?
We believe that puppies are the cutest animals in the world.
They have unbelievably big and cute eyes that will melt your heart instantly.
And I don’t think we are the only ones with that opinion. There’s a good reason why we refer to cute eyes as puppy eyes. When my wife tries to trick me into getting something she really wants she will use her “puppy eyes” 🙂
Here’s why we think puppies are the cutest animals:
This little puppy can fit inside a coffee mug!
And here’s a Golden Retriever puppy. They are probably the most common breed among families. They are exceptionally friendly and good with kids.
Another good shot of a Golden Retriever puppy:
And a cute little Chihuahua puppy. With shampoo on its head.
Some dogs love to get a good bubble bath.
The Cutest Pets You Can Own
Well, we just mentioned puppies. So let’s move on to some other cute species that will make you say Arrrrrh.
Hedgehogs are super cute
We also especially love baby hedgehogs here at the Animalhow office.
Take a look at this cutie:
Another cute little fella is the Rabbit.
Rabbits have really big dark eyes and they are also some of the cutest pets you can own. Here are some images to convince you.
Who can say no to these eyes?
Or to this Rabbit dealing out commands?
You better get those carrots coming.
Rabbits are wonderful pets and they will let kids play with them. Kids love Rabbits and they are probably one of the most common pets in modern times.
And we totally understand why.
Animals Who Do Not Pay Attention To Their Offspring
But not all animal species have a habit of caring for their little ones. Among some animals, the parents just wander off as soon as the babies are born.
The babies are obviously fine anyway since the species is still around.
These animals include:
Cuckoos will often lay their eggs in other birds nests. This way they can skip the whole process of feeding and raising the little babies.
Panda mothers will often give birth to two babies. After a while, the mother will know which baby is the strongest among the two and she will abandon the weakest. This seems harsh but nonetheless, it’s the way of nature with Pandas. You can read more here about Pandas and their behavior.
Many species of fish will not do anything to protect their little ones. They lay a whole bunch of eggs and eventually some will get eaten and others will live and grow up to become adults.
Most insects just lay their eggs and forget about them. Many insects actually die before the eggs will hatch! The lifecycle of insects is often limited to one season so they will die in the winter before the little ones grow up.
Why Are Sleeping Animals So Cute?
This is probably because animals are EVEN MORE harmless and helpless when they sleep than when they are babies.
We rarely see animals sleep in nature because they will hide away before they go to sleep. Animals sleep in trees, in caves, under rocks, and other places they can find a hideout to stay safe.
This also means that we are more fascinated by pictures of sleeping animals. Simply because we rarely see them sleep.
Other animals are nocturnal and will sleep during the day and be awake at night. We have written a separate article here about nocturnal animals with a ton of interesting information on this special behavior.
So I think we can conclude that the cutest thing in the world is sleeping babies. Because not only are we genetically wired to like babies but when the babies sleep these mechanisms are enhanced.
Simply because we perceive sleeping creatures to be harmless and defenseless, which adds to the cute-factor.
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