While nature photography almost always helps us take in the stark beauty of the world, it's always so, so serious, but that's not always the case. Animals can have fun too! These hilarious wildlife photos from the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards show us nature's major sense of humor (and trust us, she's a real knee-slapper!).
The Rare Bear-Headed Falcon
Adam Parsons became a finalist in the 2016 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards for this snap of the rare bear-headed falcon. You may think this is just a bear posed with a bird during a very normal day swimming, but don't be fooled. The bear-headed falcon is a rare sight, but it frequents rivers and streams in Alaska and Canada where it feeds on Salmon and other fishes.
It's particularly known for its fuzzy ears and tiny wet nose. Even that seagull in the background seems to be in awe of the bear-headed falcon's majestic, timeless beauty.
They're Calling This One 'Jungle Couture'
This photograph by wildlife photographer James Mitson captures nature's most exclusive fashion show – and we get to sit front seat like we're the stars of Sex and the City. This adorable elk appears to be strutting down the catwalk (or open field) with a rather amazing, couture hat. The designer didn't go on record, but we can bet he was partially inspired by a lion's mane and ethically sourced the recyclable materials in this piece (both trendy and mindful).
The only problem is that this little fella can't see a stitch. He's seemingly running around blind. No one ever said looking good was easy, but isn't it so, so worth it?
Close Your Eyes
The year is 1996 and you are six years old watching Titanic on HBO with your parents. You're bewildered by the majesty of the ship and your heart is breaking for Rose, who can't possibly fall in love with a man as poor as Jack without some serious side-eye from her family. Then, it gets to that scene – that infamous scene where Jack paints Rose like one of his French girls.
As soon as your mom see's Rose lying out on the couch, her wing goes up and covers your face. But you've already seen it. You've already seen everything.
Holding On For Dear Bite
Wildlife photographer Henrik Spranz managed to capture this precious moment with a very hungry little squirrel. We all know squirrels are the masters of foraging, climbing just about any surface and going to great lengths to get the perfect meal. If you've ever been to a public park where squirrels are used to being fed, you'll totally understand what we mean. They'll steal a meal right from your hands if you're hungry enough.
This little guy saw the bite of a lifetime when he spotted these blueberries just out of reach. Some key points that illustrate the silliness and adorableness in this picture: the squirrel's itty bitty feet and tiny little teeth. Also, look at that adorable fuzzy tail.
Sometimes you want to sit at home and do nothing but watch Netflix and eat an entire carton of Ben and Jerry's. Sometimes, you want to go out to a fancy restaurant, order every appetizer and waddle back to your car being barely able to breath.
Let's be real: we are all this squirrel. This squirrel's eyes may have been a bit bigger than his tummy, considering this ear of corn is bigger than his entire body, but that's not going to stop him. Didn't Michelle Obama warn against insane portion sizes? Either way, this squirrel seems pretty content to shove his chubby cheeks full of as much corn as physically possible.
Do you know that feeling you get when you told a really great joke and you know it's a really great joke? So does the lion on the right, who oh so smugly stares at the camera with his tongue ever so slightly out of her mouth. Her friend is, quite literally, on the floor laughing, rolled on her back in a pure, unbridled fit of giggles.
Whoever said female comedians weren't hilarious? Clearly they've never met this smug little lioness and her bestie. Austin Thomas was the wildlife photographer lucky enough to catch this set of standup.
It may look like Comedy Wildlife Photography Award Winner Angela Bohlke captured a clumsy face-planting headfirst into the snow (we know, Mondays are hard, especially when it's freezing), but that's not actually case. As silly as it looks, this fox is hunting mice. Before face-planting, the fox was carefully listening to the sound of mice underneath the snow cover.
Then, he stood up, jumped into the air and dove face-first into his dinner. Foxes like the fox in this photo eat mice, voles, grasshoppers, and berries, but in the winter food gets a bit scarcer and they're forced to dig for their meals.
When You Gotta Go
Sometimes you just gotta go. It doesn't matter if you're racing into the wrong restroom (why does the ladies bathroom always have an insane line?). When times get dire and your bladder is filled up to capacity, you've got to do what you've got to do. This giant lizard didn't mind at all that the restroom was for humans only.
He had business to attend to. We just feel sorry for anyone who might have run in looking to use a stall – not because this lizard looks dangerous, but because his face is basically screaming "you might want to give it 20 minutes before you venture in after what I've done." Yikes!
You've got nothing if you don't have your squad – those "ride or dies" who stick with you through thick or thin and make life totally worth living. They console you during horrible breakups, make you laugh with their hysterical jokes, and hate all the same people you do. They're also kind of judgey.
Let's be honest, these birds are absolutely judging the heck out of you right now. The middle one is straight-up rude! The others are just giving subtle you-don't-belong-here vibes. Okay, we get it, Regina George. We didn't wear pink and it's Wednesday. We'll sit somewhere else.
Sometimes it comes down to a battle of life and death, and you must proudly stand your ground while you fight. This little lizard is painted up like Braveheart, ready to embark on the battle of a century. His weapon of choice? A long, slender stick that he can whip around with ease and stop enemies in their tracks. Let's just hope his enemies aren't any bigger that say, a chipmunk, or this brave warrior might be in a little bit of hot water.
This hysterical photo by Anup Deodhar won runner-up in the 2016 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
Look What You Made Me Do
"Ooh, look what you made me do. Look what you made me do. Look what you made do. Look what you just made me do," thought this adorable little fuzzy creature as he hid his face in embarrassment. If ever a living being related to Taylor Swift's infamous new hit more than your average 17-year-old girl, it's this guy.
Don't hide your face in shame, buddy! Stand tall and be unapologetically you. Have we not learned anything from the snake queen herself? C'mon, you look like you're a little bit pleased with yourself. We can see it in your eye.
One Of Those Days
This water buffalo is just having one of those days. Yes, one of those awful, irreversible bad days. Sometimes the world just completely poops on you; other times a bird literally poops on you (some could argue that is a signal from the universe).
Either way, you know your day is totally ruined and it's not getting any better. The best thing for this water buffalo to do is just go to sleep, wake up tomorrow and try again. On the other hand, some cultures think getting defecated on by a bird is good luck. In that case, this water buffalo should try his luck against a lion…or maybe not.
Asleep On The Job
Tired, overworked moms know that sometimes you just need a snooze. If you're lucky, your toddler won't come screaming in your room at the crack of dawn and jump on your bed until you're awake. If you're lucky, your toddler is this adorable, well-behaved polar bear cub. This little cub is patiently waiting for mama bear to wake up, and in the meantime, he's certainly going to wave hello to the paparazzi.
Mama always taught him never to talk to strangers, but does a wave count? Either way, this photo is adorable and that photog better hope mama didn't wake up. No one wants the wrath of a mother bear around her cubs.
Did You Just Lick Me?
We can't be completely sure of the conversation happening between these two rams, which was captured in this Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards entry by Patricia Bauchman. Judging by the hefty amount of side-eye the second ram is throwing, we're pretty sure he's not amused. The exchange probably went as follows:
Ram One: "Look over there. Do you see it?" Ram Two: "No." Ram One: "It's right over there. Look!" Ram Two: "Where? I can't see it." Ram One: "Over there!" Ram Two: "Where?!" Ram One: "There!" Ram Two: "Oh, wow. Okay, I see it." Ram One: "Made you look!" Ram Two: "Did you just lick me?"
The rare double-headed rhino is thing straight out of myths (or perfectly timed photos). Capturing a rhino on camera is already pretty rare – but this photo seamless depicts two rhino heads on the same body. Had it been any other angle or any other second, the shot wouldn't have worked.
Sadly, rhinos are nearing extinction as illegal poachers hunt them for their horns, which carry a hefty price tag on the black market. Though conservation efforts have helped the population rebuild a little bit, there's still a whole lot to be done. Sub-species like the Western Black Rhino have already become extinct.
When You Just Can't Even
We can certainly relate to the expression on this fuzzy little guy's face. Hand on his head in disbelief with eyes closed in dismay, this guy just can't even deal with the idiots he has to deal with on a daily basis. Here he is, finally in solitude, thinking about the immense stupidity of his peers.
For a solid five minutes, this little guy was shaking his head in despair over the fact that he has to deal with unpleasant mindlessness on a daily basis. He is certainly ready for that vacation and is probably planning his next trip to the other side of the prairie where it is much quieter and relaxing.
The Dirty Dancing Fever
No one is putting baby in a corner on this dance floor (or dance tundra). This lemur has a one-way ticket to boogey town. Maybe he's been watching too much Saturday Night Fever, but this fuzzy little guy is the spitting image of John Travolta. All he needs is a white suit, some flared pants and some platforms, and he's ready to jive.
Sadly, he may have some trouble finding dance partners because most species of lemur are critically endangered thanks to poachers. The species only resides in Madagascar. At least this little guy doesn't seem to mind dancing with himself.
You Can't Sit With Us!
If the movie Mean Girls were to happen in wildlife, we'd imagine that it'd go a little something like this. These owls were perched on this branch when Sandy came along and decided to enjoy the afternoon with them. The first two owls probably don't enjoy Sandy's company, but don't really have the heart to tell her that they make fun of her constantly behind her back.
They did what a typical mean girl — or in this case, mean owl — would do and slowly by discreetly inched back further and further until Sandy had no choice but to fall off. Rude!
Please Don't Ever Do That Again!
The look of shock on this seal's face is one that tells us that he has just seen the work of wizardry and cannot believe what is happening before his eyes. That, or perhaps he is in utter shock over something gross he is watching. Either way, we can relate. Whatever the other seal is doing to elicit such an intense reaction must be pretty amazing.
Out best guess would be that this seal learned to turn its head all the way around like its owl friends on this list... or maybe he got some pointers from those headless penguins.
Life Imitates Art
In his 1889 essay, The Decay of Lying, Oscar Wilde proclaimed that "life imitates art far more than art imitates life." It's hard to tell exactly which side of that phrase rings true in this photo, but the two are clearly closely linked. In this photo-ception, a wildlife photographer is taking pictures of wildlife while wildlife is taking pictures of wildlife.
This reindeer isn't your average reindeer, though. It's likely that he's a multi-talent. In his off-time from Santa's grueling 24-hour work-year, he dabbles in amateur wildlife photography. Don't be surprised if you see his pics in the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards next year!
A Romp Through The Woods
There's nothing like a relaxing little jog on a brisk spring morning. That's exactly what's happening in this photo by Alex Jevon, an entry in the Comedy Wildlife Awards. This bear is having the happiest little romp through the woods. We're not sure where he's going (perhaps a local farmers market or to Grandmother's house for Sunday dinner), but rest assured, he's ecstatic.
All he's missing is his picnic basket. Let's just hope he doesn't take a page from Little Red Riding Hood's book – if you come near any wolves or sketchy woodland creatures during your stroll, just slowly back away, little bear.
A Figure In The Night
It is a fear among many to be driving down a dark road, with no lights leading the way besides your car's headlights. The only thing that would make this situation even more terrifying is if something — or worse, someone — suddenly appeared out of nowhere in front of you! But imagine that situation and coming up on this little fella.
Ominous, yes, because owl eyes do get a little creepy if you stare at them for too long, but also incredibly adorable. We're sure photographer Katarina Benesova had a good laugh when she saw him. This was her entry to the 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
This Guy Is On To Something...
This squirrel probably has a lifelong dream of becoming the world's next greatest composer. He is so serious about this endeavor, that he has even practiced his stance and hand gestures to get them just right so each member of his animal orchestra can play their songs beautifully. This little guy is clearly on to something.
In all seriousness, though, we wonder what this squirrel might have been up to to be captured in such a position. Perhaps he was admiring the grass when suddenly, he smelled food being dropped on the ground. Now all he has to do is find it.
Laughing At All The Slow-Pokes
This cheetah appears to be having the laugh of his life. Cheetahs are one of the fastest animals on this great Earth. This Cheetah probably challenged his safari neighbors to a friendly race, promising to take it slow knowing he has an unfair advantage. But of course, he fooled everyone when he sped off.
Now he laughing in the bushes at how slow all of his friends are. Or perhaps this cheetah could be laughing at the fact that he had just escaped a potential predator, knowing that he would hardly ever be caught because of his speed. We'd be laughing too if someone thought they could catch us!
There's A Spot On Your Face
"Mooom, stop!" is what the middle zebra is probably saying to the zebra on the right. This scene is reminiscent of those times our mothers would spot some sort of dirt on our faces and insist on wiping it off with a freshly-licked finger. Gross! The expression on the middle zebra's face is one many children resonate with all too well.
If anything, it just goes to show that even zebras care about appearance. After all, they are the most visually complex animals out there, so it would make complete sense if this zebra was being groomed by his mom. They have a reputation to uphold.
Got Your Nose!
How or why this owl's beak has disappeared into its face is a mystery. Even more mysterious is the fact that its eyes are closed since most of the time owls are always watching you. This picture gives us a giggle because it seems as if that is exactly what this owl is doing. If anything, it just makes the owl seem cartoonish and unreal.
People who are afraid of owls need to meet this little guy, because he makes the whole species seem less intimidating and more approachable. We would love to see an owl that is just happy to be living life like this fluffy guy.
Beware The Headless Penguins
When hell freezes over, we're pretty sure that means the zombie apocalypse would also be happening. If that were truly the case, then this scene is probably what you would see: headless penguins that are out to eat your flesh! It's a wonder how and why these penguins have their heads bent behind their backs (or at least, we hope that's the case here), but it looks amusing to say the least!
Thankfully, we know that these penguins are actually alive and well because chances of a zombie apocalypse are quite slim if you ask us.
This gorilla is living proof that hey, everyone does it — and by it, we are referring to the act of picking one's nose. This guy held nothing back as he plunged his finger into his left nostril, probably feeling around for those intense boogers that have just been itching his nose all day.
If anything, we wouldn't be surprised if this gorilla is doing this after a long day of socializing. He finally found a private place to pick and then just went to town on his nose picking escapades. Don't worry Mr. Gorilla, your secret is safe with us.
The Ride Of His Life
This tortoise is having the time of his life on the back of his elder tortoise. Just look at the gleeful expression on his face! It is probably the fastest speed he has ever traveled at in his life, so maybe that means they're going at say, three miles per hour? The elder tortoise looks completely oblivious to the hitchhiker on his back and was just going out for his daily snack.
Now that he thinks about it, his shell does feel a little heavier than most days. Too bad he can barely crane his neck around to see the party that is going on right behind him.
Out Of The Way!
This sea turtle is swimming with purpose and has no time for slow swimmers in his path. He is on a mission for the great migration and he can't let anything or any fish get in the way! The expression on the sea turtle's face shows that he has no time to waste.
Just look at how he rudely pushed aside the fish on the right! Hopefully, this sea turtle gets to where he needs to go on time and decides to relax when he gets there because it certainly seems like he needs to take a moment and chill.
An Itch That Can't Be Scratched
When we first see this picture, we think that this elephant must be so tired that she needed to take a moment to rest her feet! But actually, the story behind this photo is funnier than you expect. Wildlife photographer Jeff Sink captured this African elephant in 2017.
What she is actually doing here is using a termite mound to scratch an itch on her behind! Sadly enough, elephants can't scratch themselves like humans can, but they certainly find creative ways to do it! We're not sure if a termite mound was the best thing to use, however. Wouldn't that just make it worse?
All Of My New Best Friends
This seal looks overjoyed to be pictured with all of his new best friends, the penguins. However, the penguins look like they could care less about their awkward new "friend." Most of them are looking around as if they don't see him and they're probably thinking something along the lines of, "Great, there's that overly-friendly seal again.
Gosh, he makes me so uncomfortable with the way he's so happy all the time. Maybe if we look busy, he'll go away." Sadly, this seal can't pick up on the social cues of penguins and is still waiting for all of them to approve his friend requests on Facebook.
Here, Let Me Show You The Right Way
This Fox probably saw this photographer out in the wilderness and decided that they needed a little help. We imagine he is thinking something along the lines of, "Look, you and all you so-called 'wildlife photographers' got it all wrong. You're not capturing the essence of who we really are. Let me fix this for you."
We're surprised this photographer even let the fox get so near his expensive equipment and after all, aren't foxes known to be quite sneaky? We wouldn't be surprised if he ran off with the camera after this was captured.
This Cheetah Has Got Some Moves
Someone saw this photo and quipped, "He's got the moves like Jaguar." At least, that is probably what this cheetah is trying to achieve, given that jaguars are better dancers, although that has yet to be proven by scientists.
Either way, this cheetah is bargaining for best dancer in the feline community and we must admit that he is a strong contender for the title. Look at the way his body sways in the picture even though it is a still image! With any luck, you'll probably see this cheetah on a future season of So You Think You Can Dance.
Sometimes You Just Want To Be Lazy
This owl looks like he has had the most exhausting day of his life. He finally made it back to his home and just wanted to make like his cousins and lay down in the "spread eagle" position. "Ahhh, that's a good stretch," is what he is probably thinking to himself in this photo.
The look in his eyes tells us that this stretch is just what he needed to relax and now he is so blissed out that he is about to fall asleep. He won't even bother setting his alarm for the next morning because he knows he's just going to pound the snooze button.
Umm, May I Help You?
Oops! It seems like this photographer caught this bear in a compromising situation! Here he was just relaxing while bathing when all of a sudden a disruptive human came along and ruined the serenity of the moment. Not only is the bear probably embarrassed for having been caught in an intimate moment, but now he is contemplating whether or not to get angry or wait until the photographer leaves.
He probably stopped mid-bath, saw the photographer and thought, "Hmm, is it worth it today to ignite fear in this guy's eyes? Hmm, probably not. I'll just keep staring because that will scare the guy enough."
Gosh, This Kid Is A Handful
This monkey is probably regretting the moment that she had her baby because he is turning out to be a handful! We're only joking, of course, because we're sure that she feels incredibly blessed to have this bundle of joy in her life — except for this day maybe.
She can't even cross the street without her little man trying to run away because he saw something to play with. She's just trying to get to the trees on the other side but her baby is making it more difficult than it needs to be. Hopefully, this little guy thanks his mother for trying to keep him alive.
The Existential Squirrel
We can only imagine the thoughts running through this particular squirrel's mind: "Sigh, what is life? Look at all my bushy-tailed peers, scuttling across the park like they're paranoid that they're being watched... Running about as if there will be no more nuts to collect... Honestly, what is the point of it all? Isn't there a higher purpose to my being than storing nuts that I know I won't finish?"
Hopefully, this squirrel found his sense of purpose and will to keep fighting the great-squirrel-fight that we can only imagine those little guys are going through. Hang in there, little guy.