What animal do you find strangely cute, and what is it about them that makes them cute?

Madelyn Rinka, Co-Editor-in-Chief

“I don’t know if this counts as ‘strangely cute,’ but I’ve always really loved bats. Maybe it’s just because I appreciate them from an environmental standpoint, but I just find them really interesting to learn about. With the benefits they can bring to an ecosystem, it’s easy to overlook how funny some of them look.”

 

Mario Lorrimer, Business manager

“I am a big fan of fluffy things with big ears. These are generally seen as cute traits by the public, so I had to do some digging and soul searching to find the right balance that I feel not everyone might agree with. I would like to share with you the amazingness that is the Long-eared Gobi Jerboa, a tiny little floofster that calls the Gobi Desert its home. This ‘absolute bean’ has long ears and the right fluff to body ratio. It has long hind limbs, which when it leaps could be something seen in nightmares. Regardless of its long hind limbs, it is very cute and I appreciate it. Apparently, you can purchase one for $17 on the Internet. How reliable and safe is it? I have no idea. Will I buy at least five of them to keep as pets to love and stare at when I’m sad? Probably not, but I would like to. They belong in their desert paradise, where they are free to eat tiny food with their tiny face and enjoy their tiny life. Be free tiny floofsters, I shall admire you from afar.”

 

Flor Ana Mireles, Copy Editor

“Australia is home to a lot of unique creatures. Arguably, Australia’s most iconic and strangest creature is the platypus, which I find ‘strangely cute.’ First, platypuses are extremely interesting. They’re all cute and furry, but the females lay eggs and produce milk without nipples — and I’ll save you the Google search — they release milk through the pores of their skin. Meanwhile, male platypuses produce venom, which they try to inject into rival male platypuses during breeding season and is currently being researched as a treatment for diabetes. These cute and deadly semi aquatic creatures are basically a hodgepodge of creatures we already know and love: ducks, beavers and otters — all of which are themselves strangely cute. Platypuses are also no longer on the endangered species list, so that’s one small step for species longevity and one giant webbed-foot leap for platypus-kind.”

 

Rick Esner, News Editor

“I love raccoons. People give them a bad reputation because of the whole rabies thing, but pshh, who cares! They are a perfect, chubby mix of a cat and a dog with working hands. How could you not love them? These cute, little (or not so little; the chubbier the better) trash pandas are all I need in life. Whenever I see them run across campus at night I cannot help but pspsps at them like they are cats. I have yet to see one respond. My hopes are high though!”

 

Emma Heineman, Features Editor

“I am IN LOVE with every giant sea slug I have ever seen — which isn’t very many, but that isn’t the point. After I went to Sea Camp in San Diego, CA at the end of my eighth grade year, I have been casually obsessed with how precious these special little creatures are. For one thing, they have no form when you take them out of the water,which makes them a squishy, slimy blob when you hold them in your hands. Furthermore, their sheer size is both disconcerting and adorable. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, just picture a land slug, 20 times bigger and living in the ocean. Admit it — it’s ‘strangely cute.’”

 

Alexander Martinie, Opinions Editor

“Tardigrades are not only the cutest thing I have ever seen, but they are also hardy little buggers. These microscopic organisms, affectionately called water-bears or moss piglets, are arguably indestructible. These extremophiles are able to live in pretty much any environment. They can be found in tropical rainforests, frozen deserts and even in the vacuum of space. Tardigrades also help to develop ecosystems for other large organisms, which helps with biodiversity.”

 

Christina McLaughlin, Co-Editor-in-Chief

“Ever since I learned about them in a scientific documentary on Animal Planet, I have been obsessed with the Dumbo Octopus, a deep sea umbrella octopus known for its striking resemblance to the Disney character Dumbo. These typically small octopus species have flaps on their mantles, similar to the baby elephant in the Disney story, which really ups their cute factor. Along with their adorable ‘ear flaps,’ they have a very charismatic personality. There are plenty of videos online of these adorable buddies hiding in their tentacles or seemingly waving to the camera.”

 

Cameron Pritchett, Sports Editor

“Perhaps it was because it was one of the first animals I remember seeing in the zoo with my family so it brings back warm memories, but I’ve always thought gorillas were cute. I just want to go and give one a hug, you know what I mean? Now, I am not advocating for someone to do this, because, you know, there are certain risks that come with that. However, they are still strangely adorable to me.” 

 

Sofia Gallus, Arts & Entertainment Editor

“One animal that I find to be ‘strangely cute’ is an animal I actually just discovered this year while snorkeling: the Elysia crispata or lettuce sea slug. These little guys seriously look like little bunches of lettuce, but as a slug. They’re brightly colored and aquatic. They feed on algae and even incorporate chlorophyll from the algae they eat into their own tissues! I just think they’re so cool and super cute in their own way. I just want to give them little gentle pats on their little squishy heads.”

Photo: G. Bendig

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