7 min read

7 Unexpectedly Adorable Baby Animals

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They're big and strong and oh-so-tough ... and then you see their baby photos.

1. Olive baboons

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Known for: Fierce physical competition between males during mating season. Adults sport yellow-brown fur and a muzzle so elongated that they almost resemble dogs.

But as babies: Weighing two pounds, they're born with bright pink skin and dark fur. They begin exploring their surroundings as early as two weeks, but never stray very far from their mothers (despite Mom's embarrassing insistence on grooming them in public).

2. Hippos

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Known for: Being more than 3,000 lbs. of the most unpredictable aggression in all of African wildlife.

But as babies: Despite being naturally talented swimmers who are born underwater and swim to the surface for their first breath, a hippo calf will stand on its mother's back when the water is too deep.

3. Sandhill Crane

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Known for: Beautiful red foreheads, long dark bills and some of the most majestic wingspans ever to grace the skies.

But as babies: They resemble awkward giant chickens. Born with plumage and open eyes, they are ready to leave their nests within eight hours of hatching - though they still rely on their parents for food and aren't fully independent until they are around ten months old.

4. Warthogs

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Known for: Two pairs of intimidating, razor-sharp curved tusks. The upper canine pair can grow up to 10 inches long. The lower tusks brush against the canines every time the warthog closes its mouth, making them sharper and sharper over their lifetime.

But as babies: They remain in the burrows where they were birthed for the first few weeks of their life suckling with their mothers. Piglets are gradually weaned and learn to graze (under Mom's strict supervision, of course) within four months.

5. Spotted Hyena

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Known for: Being Scar's feared army in "The Lion King." Their "maniacal" laugh and species-wide success as both scavengers and hunters makes them the most common large carnivores in Africa.

But as babies: They are just three pounds of soft, brownish black fur. Even though hyena cubs are in a hurry to grow up (they begin emulating adult behavior such as marking territory and sniffing each other within the first 30 days of their lives), they don't shed their baby coat and replace it with spots until they are five-to-six weeks old.

6. Tasmanian Devil

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Known for: Wreaking havoc in "Looney Toons" with a whirlwind of destruction! And they're also the largest carnivorous marsupials in the world). The astonishing strength in their large necks gives them one of the strongest bite-to-body weight ratios of any land predator.

But as babies: Even after 105 days of nursing in their mother's pouch, young Tasmanian devils still only weigh seven ounces!

Fighting for their lives: Since the discovery of Devil Facial Tumor Disease in the 1990s, this contagious cancer that afflicts Tasmanian devils with large lumps around their heads and mouths (preventing them from being able to eat) has decimated this species' already limited population. The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is monitoring devil populations and studying the disease itself in hopes of finding a cure. You can aid their efforts by making a donation here.

7. African Spurred Tortoise