There were so many captivating animal photos taken in 2012 that it's hard to choose the best. In the gallery below, find some of the top animal pictures from our weekly animal photos collection.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Two Houston Zoo cheetahs recently had a chance to stretch their legs on a run, and their stunning speed was caught on camera. "They need about 600 feet," Beth Schaefer, the zoo's curator of primates and carnivores told The Houston Chronicle. "We don't have that straightaway anywhere on zoo grounds." The five-year-old brothers, Kito and Kiburi, were taken to the fenced turf horse racing track at Sam Houston Park and even taken off their leash during the last two visits.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
While chameleons are well-known kings of camouflage, animals of all shapes and sizes are experts at disguising themselves from predators. In his "Vanishing Act" project, photographer Art Wolfe captures animals blending seamlessly into their surroundings.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
The animal kingdom is filled with many strange characteristics and behaviors. Some peculiar attributes, like the hippopotamus' 'blood sweat,' can be explained by adaption, while the causes of other bizarre animal traits remain more of a mystery.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
The warmest month in the Arctic Circle still means temperatures below 50 degrees. But that doesn’t deter about 200 species of Arctic birds from making the northernmost part of the Earth their home for at least part of the year.
Monday, December 24, 2012
As 2012 comes to an end, it's a good time to reflect and remember the most important stories of the year. So let's be honest: wacky, cute and fascinating animal videos stole the show.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Like a pair of Velcro stripper pants, gecko tails come off easy. The lizards have pre-formed score lines in their tail that allow them to quickly rip off their tails when a predator has grabbed it, according to a new study. The gecko tails, which were described Wednesday (Dec. 19) in the journal PLoS One, essentially stick to the body of the animals with adhesive forces.
Friday, December 21, 2012
This is one frog you don't want to meddle with; Just check out the pinchers on this thing! The Japanese Otton frog, Babina subaspera, is one of the only species of frog in the world that possesses retractable claws like a cat. Each of its spines is contained within a sheath and can be pushed out the front of the digit, but not without puncturing the skin. In other words, the frog has to inflict self-harm to use the spines. In this way, the frog might be more aptly compared to the comic book superhero Wolverine than to a cat.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
For indisputable evidence of just how heroic dogs can be, take a look at the team of Golden Retrievers who recently arrived in Newtown to help comfort the victims of Friday's shooting. All through 2012, we've seen countless such examples of heroic pets.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
From bonobos to zebras, zoo babies as a set are pretty adorable. These incredibly cute photos highlight young and newborn animals from zoos around the world.
Friday, December 14, 2012
A new small primate with a toxic bite and distinctive facial fur markings has been discovered in the jungles of Borneo. The new slow loris species is found in the highlands of the island of Borneo and has been named Nycticebus kayan, after a major river, the Kayan, flowing through the region.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Life can be stressful sometimes, and what better way is there to relieve stress than to watch puppies play in the snow? That question was rhetorical, because there is no better way. This YouTube channel appears to have been created to help find homes for these nine golden retriever puppies. The plan worked! All the pups have found good homes! Now we know they're safe and happy, and we can enjoy their playful puppy videos even more!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
A few weeks ago, the internet went nuts over this video of a rare Australian animal called an echidna being nursed by a zoo caretaker. Since most Americans don't know a ton about echidnas or their babies -- called puggles -- Ze Frank put together this handy guide to help us all with the basics.
Monday, December 10, 2012
A smooth fox terrier dog out for a hike with his owners almost didn't make it home alive when he found himself stuck in a very precarious situation. The dog, named Jonah by his owners, the Vargas family of Frisco, Colo., slipped away from his leash after a group of ducks on a pond caught his eye while the family was walking home from a hike in nearby Breckenridge over Thanksgiving weekend, according to authorities.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Like humans, many animal parents look after their offspring with tender care, giving them hugs and keeping a close eye on their little ones. Animal babies are pretty cute on their own, but it turns out they are even more adorable when photographed with their family.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
An Oregon zoo says it will retain possession of the country's newest baby elephant, a 300-pound female that hasn't yet been named, even though it won't own the animal. A breeding contract gives ownership of the calf born Friday in Portland to a California for-profit elephant rental company, Have Trunk Will Travel. But the zoo said the elephant will live out her life within its walls.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
President Obama may not have won many Southeastern states in his recent re-election, but he did make waves across the Republican-leaning region. And thanks to two scientists from Georgia and Missouri, his Southern profile is still growing — although some of his flashiest new acolytes don't have a clue who he is.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Some people are just ridiculously lucky -- particularly, people who don't need pillows because they have animals to lay their heads on. Like, can you think of anyone luckier than this baby surrounded by three pug-pillows?
Saturday, December 1, 2012
For the first time, scientists have figured out how to determine the age of a lobster – by counting its rings, like a tree. Nobody knows how old lobsters can live to be; some people estimate they live to more than 100.