7 Uniquely Special Animals

7 New "Aww" Inspiring Animals

Step aside pandas, and make way for the Grant's golden mole.

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It seems like the internet obsesses over a small list of animals deemed as cute. From happy Shiba Inu dogs to friendly dolphins, these creatures may elicit a few "awws" but eventually get boring after a while. Perhaps it's time for an introduction to some more interesting animals for more variety. With a bit of research and a lot of personal bias (I love birds and monkeys), I compiled a list of seven overlooked animals I absolutely adored at first sight.

European Robin

Instagram/ Graham Jeffery

Though these adorable birds may be recognized as the national bird of the United Kingdom, European Robins aren't as well known in the Americas. Thus, I feel like it's my obligation and duty to introduce these tiny spheres with legs to my fellow Americans. Not to be confused with the American Robin, the European Robin belongs to a completely different genus than their western counterparts. Common garden birds in Europe, the European Robin has a brown head, back, tail and wings with an orange face and breast. Their underbellies are usually white and their wide eyes give them a curious innocent expression. This along with the fact that they puff up into little balls probably explains why they're so dang cute. However, don't let this bird's friendly appearance fool you. They can be solitary, territorial birds who are quite elusive and shy, puffing out their chests in aggressive displays and attacking other competing birds. If you needed an example of a cute force to be reckoned with, the European Robin is a perfect candidate.

Golden Mole

Instagram

Grant's golden mole is perhaps one of the cutest animals without eyes I have ever beheld. It lives in the deserts and sand dunes of the Namib in one of the driest habitats of the world. Though it lacks eyes, it makes up for it in extremely sensitive hearing and vibration detection which it uses to hunt for prey at night. Contrary to other moles, the golden mole doesn't have a permanent tunnel system because the sand they burrow in collapses on itself. It's more like a "sand swimmer" than a sand digger. Unfortunately, this strangely cute creature is vulnerable as it faces habitat destruction through dune removal and diamond mining.

Magpie

Pixabay

Because of their occasional habit of eating dead animals, magpies and their crow relatives are usually the subjects of much superstition and fear, being an omen of bad luck in many cultures. However, despite their bad reputation, these birds have an amazingly mischevious, curious and clever personality that is the subject of many funny anecdotes. In fact, they are among one of the most intelligent animals to exist with a brain to body ratio similar to those seen in great apes. These birds have demonstrated the ability to mimic human speech, use tools, work together as teams, recognize themselves in a mirror and hold "funerals" for themselves. In my opinion, the black and white with hints of iridescent blue and green on their wings make them one of the most beautiful birds I've ever seen. If you want to know more about these birds, here's a hilarious and interesting video about a man who lives with a magpie.

Sandgrouse

Instagram/ Antoine Marchal

I first learned about sandgrouse through Planet Earth II and immediately fell in love with their silly calls, interesting adaptations and hardworking tenacity. Living in one of the driest environments on earth, sandgrouse nest in the desert and must bring back water for their chicks. Thus, they've developed one of the coolest adaptations ever. By laying their belly over the water, male sandgrouse can soak, collect and transport up to two tablespoons of water in their feathers like a living sponge. The chicks then "milk" their dad's feathers to drink the water. If this wasn't cool enough, sandgrouse have the most adorable call ever which sounds like a rubbery, less annoying, cuter version of a squeaky toy.

Gibbons

Pixabay

Gibbons are a family of primates I find incredible. Native to Asian forests, these animals live their entire lives swinging from tree to tree and are therefore perfectly adapted to it. With hook-shaped hands for reaching branches, long, outstretched arms, powerful legs and specially adapted shoulder joints, these guys are skilled, acrobatic climbers perfectly capable of jumping and swinging long distances. Their form of movement known as brachiating allows them to move 35 miles per hour through the jungle and cross distances as wide as 50 feet in a single swinging leap. In addition, gibbons are one of the most bipedal primates besides humans who usually walk on two feet when not in the trees. This behavior captured in many videos looks extremely similar to humans and offers insight into why humans learned how to walk. Unfortunately, many are endangered or critically endangered from habitat loss, the illegal pet trade and poaching for traditional medicine.

Kakapo

Instagram

This strange oddity is the kakapo, a large, flightless parrot home to the islands of New Zealand. With large eyes, a long beak and an owl-like face, it looks eerily similar to a wise, old man. Among some of the many ways it's unique, it's nocturnal and roams the forrest floor occasionally climbing trees. However, this cute, fat, flightless bird may not be here in a few years. It's now critically endangered with 157 birds making up its total population as of 2017. Though it used to be common in New Zealand, humans introduced mammals and predators nearly wiping them out. In addition, such few numbers cause extremely low genetic diversity and fertility rates bringing an onset of new problems. Among these is inbreeding which is causing the spread of diseases and defects. Now, the kakapo is the center of many conservation efforts with Sirocco the kakapo as an ambassador to spread awareness and teach people about these interesting creatures.

Kea

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Kea are also similar to kakapo as they're also home to New Zealand and somewhat unique from other parrots being the only alpine parrot in the world. With a long, curved beak and olive-brown feathers, these birds look quite unassuming from the outside aside from a few streaks of orange under their wings. However, it's their personality that makes these birds so charming. They're naturally curious and mischevious which makes them unafraid of humans. Thus, they've become a common feature in New Zealand's ski fields and mountain huts and are notorious for stealing and destroying food, shiny objects and rubber from car windows. Another prominent feature is their intelligence. Many can perform similar tasks as a crow using problem solving and teamwork. Unfortunately, these birds are endangered due to conflicts and accidents involving humans along with previous laws that allowed the hunting of kea to protect sheep from attacks. However, the fact that they've managed to adapt and survive with humans indicates a high reproductive potential for them. If you want to see how they behave, Youtube is packed with videos about these birds wreaking havoc and being playful.

There are so many different amazing animals we're missing out on right now simply because we're unaware of them. Hopefully, this article helped introduce some new cute and fascinating animals a little different from the norm. If we can bring attention and awareness to these truly special animals, perhaps we can help save them or at least know about them for the brief time they exist on Earth. Happy learning!

Popular Right Now

My Biggest Advice To Incoming Freshmen — Get Involved!

Campus involvement is so important!

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Thinking about college and your future plans can be frightening. I know before I came to Mizzou I was really scared. What was I supposed to expect? How different would things be? Would I like it here? Despite all the nerves that I was feeling, there was still this anticipation inside me, and an overwhelming feeling of excitement to start something new.

There were a lot of things I was uncertain about before arriving at Mizzou. Wanting to be in a sorority and get involved on my campus was not one of those things though. I wanted to go through formal recruitment at Mizzou and join a Panhellenic chapter. Growing up, I was constantly involved. I was a cheerleader throughout almost all my childhood, as well as in high school. I participated in executive councils, national honor society, young life, other clubs, and did community service all while still continuing to do really well in school. I wanted to carry on these habits in college and get the best experience I could during these four years.

I started off college right away getting involved by going through formal recruitment and accepting a bid from a sorority chapter. Rush was an intense and very long week, but I loved it! It was a hard process meeting with all these chapters, putting on my best attitude every morning even after really long days, and not showing that I was nervous. When I was down to my top two houses, I remember being anxious not knowing which one I would get. I only hoped I would get the best house for me and my personality, and that everything would work out the way it was supposed to. Throughout the week, everyone kept emphasizing the phrase "trust the process." I didn't know what that meant until after I accepted a bid from Alpha Phi.

Looking back on my experience with rush, I realize how thankful I am that I decided to join a sorority. After less than a year, I can say that I've met so many amazing people. I've met girls my age who I can honestly say are my best friends and older girls who have inspired me to become the best version of myself. I love being involved in my sorority and having a purpose on campus. As a freshman, I already have appointed positions in my house, and I'm able to contribute my ideas to the chapter.

I'm constantly busy and my schedule is always packed! Whether it be a sorority event, work, clubs, community service, classes, homework, or just hanging out with friends I always have something to do. Being involved at Mizzou was the best decision I ever made though. Being in my sorority and having campus involvement has made me feel like I have a purpose here. I feel connected to the people on this campus. At a big college like Mizzou, it can be hard to feel connected when there are so many people you don't know. For me, being in organizations like my sorority make the campus feel smaller and less overwhelming. It's helped me call this place my home.

A sorority might not be the right decision for you, but I can say without a doubt there are so many options in college. Being involved is so important! Here at Mizzou, there are over five hundred organizations to join. You can join clubs that involve your major, religious groups, rec sports teams, music groups, and so much more. Being involved allows you to do better in school and raises your overall happiness level. There is something for you out there and I can't express how important it is to find that club or that organization that matters to you.

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The Movie Watchers

The Types Of People That Watch Movies

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This past weekend I saw the movie of the life time, Avengers Endgame. It was the culmination of 10 years in the making and no there will not be any spoilers in this piece of writing. I however noticed the same trends that occurred each time I went to the movies. The I saw the same people, however they were just in different bodily forms. When my eyes were not glued to the screen out of sheer anxiety and thrill, I managed to catch a quick glance at the type of people that plague our good theaters.

To start off, there are always those people that are good people and don't disturb the movie experiences of others. These are the quiet people, the ones who keep their eyes on the movie and focus on nothing else. These are the people we should all aspire to be, with their bloodshot eyes from not blinking as to not miss a single moment of the movie. While I am not always the Eyes Glued To The Screen movie watcher, I can say with assurance that I am a somewhat follower of this rule. I think everyone should learn from these people.

Next comes the traditional On My Phone Like A Idiot in the movie movie watcher. This is by far the most annoying of all the people that come to a movie. Like I came to be entertained and I paid good money for this, I didn't pay 14 dollars and 31 cents to hear some girl gossip on her phone to her friend about how her boyfriend didn't bring her flowers or some middle aged man attempt to close a business deal while his kids were watching the movie. Either leave your business at home or for the courtesy of others, at least leave it outside the theater. No one brings me more anger than these people just because they don't know any common courtesy or manners.

If your at the movie, you might get hungry or thirsty so its normal for people to bring in some food, most typically being popcorn. This is fine and all but don't chew so loudly that it sounds like Jurassic Park to the person next to you. Or don't sip up your drink in such a way that it makes the people around you wonder how your mother raised you. I call this person, the Slurper. Just, be chill and watch the movie. At least your not like the On My Phone Like An Idiot where you're an inconvenience to the whole theater.

Movies are a great way to get distracted from the horrors that are our personal lives. They are solace for some people, giving us a place to escape from reality. So please, don't disturb the kind movie goers who just need a break from that relentless school, job, or even family. Just give them their peace. So sit down, turn off your cellphone, and enjoy the movie.

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