It is almost impossible to not crack a smile at the silly faces being made by the animals below, captured by some talented photographers who were in the right place at the right time. With comedy... it’s all in the timing!
‘Stuffed full of nuts’ by Barb D'Arpino
Chipmunks (Tamias spp.) are the smallest members of the squirrel family and very lively they are too, with starring roles in many a Hollywood blockbuster. All but one of the 25 species of chipmunk are found in North America.
“She always brightened our days, you couldn’t help smiling while watching and photographing her behaviour,” Barb told BBC Earth. See Barb’s image on Flickr.
'The Scream' by Peter Brannon
The tricoloured heron (Egretta tricolor), also known as the Louisiana heron, is a colourful medium-sized heron of the Americas with a liking for coastal swamps and marshes. In flight and at rest they hold their neck at a curve similar in shape to an ‘S’.
It’s obvious why Peter compares his heron image to Edvard Munch's The Scream. He still gets a bit of a start when he sees it: “To this day I am still not sure who was more surprised, me or the heron,” he told BBC Earth. See Peter’s image on Flickr.
'Moose shake' by Tor Atle H. Kleven
They are known as moose (Alces alces) in North America and elk in Europe and are the largest living species of deer, reaching an impressive two or more metres at the shoulder. They live in colder regions as their large bodies cannot sweat added to the heat produced by fermentation in their guts, makes living anywhere else uncomfortable.
Tor was lucky enough to capture this female moose having a shake in Sweden and titled it ‘Moose shake’. See Tor’s image on Flickr.
'Because I'm happy' by Giorgia Marinoni
Red-eyed tree frogs (Agalychnis callidryas) are some of Central America’s most colourful and unusual residents, named after those bulging red eyes. When threatened this iconic rainforest amphibian flashes its red eyes, orange feet and blue flanks, hoping to startle any predator and gain precious seconds to escape; a technique known as ‘startle colouration’.
This red-eyed tree frog could almost be laughing at photographer Giorgia, who took this at Oasi di Sant'Alessio, Pavia, Italy. See Giorgia’s image on Flickr.
'Slumber time' by Haydn Bartlett
Orangutans (Pongo spp.) are Asia's only great apes, with one species found on the island of Borneo and the other on Sumatra. These 'people of the forest', as their name translates, are remarkably intelligent.
Some populations use sticks to probe for termites for food, and this knowledge is passed down through the generations. Males are larger than females and have distinctive throat pouches and cheek pads. See Haydn’s image on Flickr.
'Curly tongue' by Mike Franks
It will come as no surprise that the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is the tallest living land animal and native to Africa, but less well known is that they have long dextrous tongues up to half a metre long. While it may look like a giraffe is rudely sticking its tongue out, it is probably about to wrap it around some tasty leaves.
“The great thing about the giraffe was that every photograph I shot he was pulling a different face,” Mike told BBC Earth. See Mike’s image on Flickr.
'Posing for the camera' by Bob Hadfield
Celebes crested macaques (Macaca nigra) are critically endangered monkeys only found in the forests of a few Indonesian islands including Sulawesi (formally known as Celebes). Male macaques show aggression by staring with an open mouth, grinning, yawning and lunging; they exhibit submission by lip-smacking and grimacing.
Bob believes that, “The macaque literally smiled for the camera… It felt remarkably like a human response.” See Bob’s image on Flickr.
'Funny face' by Ranveig Marie Nesse
Red deer (Cervus elaphus) are common inhabitants of Europe, Asia and North Africa. They are grazers of grass and shrubs with a four-chambered stomach. Only the stags sport the impressive antlers seen here, which start growing in spring and are usually shed at the end of winter.
This red deer, captured by Ranveig in Namsskogan, Norway could be ‘chewing the cud’ but it’s more likely that he is trying to scare the photographer away. See Ranveig’s image on Flickr.
'Portrait of an ostrich' by Steven Fischkoff
Ostriches (Struthio camelus) are pretty hard to mistake for any other bird, other than perhaps emus, but ostriches are African whereas emus are an Australian native. They are the largest living bird, with running speeds approaching 70km/h, the fastest land speed of any bird around today.
The distinctive long necks, legs and large eyes add to their comedy value; this perfect portrait was taken by Steven. Here is his Flickr image.
'Smile' by Paul Biggs
Frogs (Anura spp.) are a diverse group of amphibians containing approximately 5,000 known species; the call, or croak, of a frog is very distinctive to each species. The bulging eyes of most species provide almost 360° vision.
This grinning example may look like an early Noughties animation, but this is a mirrored composite image of a frog by Paul Biggs.
When Paul first saw it, he says the image: “Made me laugh out loud and still brings a smile to my face every time I see it”. See Paul’s image on Flickr.
'Alpaca my bags' by Aaron Sarauer
Alpaca (Vicugna pacos) are relatives of the camel that have been domesticated in South America for thousands of years. They are known for ‘spitting’ saliva and stomach acid at other alpaca to express their displeasure or rebuke amorous advances; but it’s not something they do very often.
“When I took the photo it was hard not to laugh directly at his face. It makes you think of how you feel after a bad hangover or late night and just don’t care how you look!” Aaron told BBC Earth. See Aaron’s image on Flickr.
‘Starry-eyed’ by Haydn Bartlett
Don’t be fooled by the funny ‘cross-eyed’ pose of this incredible close-up of an owl, as they can be some of the most efficient birds of prey on the planet. They are often heralded as symbols of wisdom and mystery, although you wouldn’t believe it looking at this snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) captured by Haydn Bartlett. See Haydn’s image on Flickr.
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