Baby animals are adorable. If they weren’t, a lot of YouTube videos wouldn’t even exist. But there’s a fine line between adorable baby and ugly newborn. And there’s no telling which side of that line a critter is born on.
Sure, nothing’s more magical than a creature entering the world for the first time. But a lot of animals are born pretty ugly before they grow up to become very cuddly indeed.
We’re gonna take a look at some newborn animals and see for ourselves if they’re ugly or cute. But be warned–when we say a newborn critter is ugly, we’re not kidding. Some faces really can only be loved by their mothers.
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Many people know that baby kangaroos, or joeys, live inside their mother’s pouch. What’s more adorable than a baby animal riding around inside a backpack? But as it turns out, joeys don’t look so cuddly as newborns.
Actually, they don’t look like much of anything. About the size of a penny, the newborn joey is blind and only has two legs. It kinda looks like a tiny piece of raw chicken.
Then again, the mama kangaroo is only pregnant for about a month. The joey simply doesn’t have time to grow much inside the womb. After it’s born, the joey climbs into its mama’s fuzzy pouch, where it nurses for nine months.
By the time it’s old enough to leave the pouch periodically, the joey has grown into full cuteness. What a relief.
Horses have been known to break 50 miles per hour. So it’s not surprising that they learn to use those four powerful legs very soon after birth.
Newborns foals are simply cute. With a stubby tail, tiny head, and wobbly legs, who wouldn’t say aww?
And watching it struggle to use those wobbly legs isn’t just adorable–it’s inspiring. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. They usually manage to stand upright within an hour of birth. That’s amazing. Human babies can’t even sit up for half a year. No wonder we ride horses–they’re just naturally better at moving around than we are.
4. Giant Panda
Of course, Giant Pandas are naturally the best at sitting around and doing nothing. But in spite of the laziness, who doesn’t love panda bears? They’re fuzzy, fat, and all around adorable. China picked a good animal to dub their national treasure.
But sadly, panda cubs don’t seem so precious when they’re newborns. Pink and blind, they kinda look like rats. About the same size, too.
Mothers have been known to accidentally squash their tiny babies. Not shocking, as adult pandas are fully 900 times larger than their newborn cubs.
But don’t worry, after one to two months, the baby panda grows into an adorable miniature of its parent. Chubby, with black and white fur, it’s become just as cute as we hoped.
3. Red Panda
Everyone knows about the Giant Panda. But Asia’s lesser known treasure is the equally endearing Red Panda. Also nicknamed Firefox or Lesser Panda, this critter is about the size of a housecat. Its bushy ringed tail helps it balance while climbing trees, jumping, and basically living much more athletically than its black and white cousin.
And that’s not the only difference–newborn Red Pandas are adorable. They come into the world with a full coat of grey fur and maximum cuteness. Up to four precious cubs can be born in one litter.
And unlike Giant Pandas, who will abandon one twin to die and only raise one cub, the Red Panda mama looks after everyone in her litter. Maybe it’s easier to care when all of your babies are this cute.
Maybe someone should rewrite “The Ugly Duckling” into “The Ugly Robin.” Like many songbirds, the newborn robins are pretty ugly. No wonder they hide inside the nest for up to two weeks.
Take this nestling, fresh from the egg. It weighs less a quarter. And frankly, it looks nothing like a bird. No feathers and its wings are smaller than its giant closed eyes.
Maybe that’s why robin parents feed their nestlings up to 100 times a day. It has a lot of growing to do before it puts on feathers, opens its eyes, and becomes a colorful adult. Good thing Mama and Papa Robin work together on raising their babies–a lot of effort goes into it.
Of course, not all newborn animals are that helpless. Particularly the ones born in the water. It makes sense–they won’t go far in life without learning to swim with the current.
Check out this dolphin calf. He looks and swims exactly like his mother. Just look at him go. He’s only been in the world for a second and he’s shooting around like a bullet. He’ll stay with mom for two to three years before he’s a real adult. But he’ll never outgrow that big smile.
Kangaroo, Horse, Giant Panda, Red Panda, Robin, Dolphin. All of these animals are quite cute as adults. But half of them are surprisingly ugly as newborns. You’ve probably seen a lot more photos of the adorable adults than you have of the unattractive babies. It definitely makes you think about all the changes we go through as we grow up. How you look when you’re born doesn’t necessarily say much about you as an adult.
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