Striking photos of 15 animal species you might not know exist.

1. The emperor tamarin

Two words: HOLY MUSTACHE.


Image by Kevin Barrett/Flickr.

Need more 'stache in your life? Emperor tamarins can be found in the Amazon rainforest throughout parts of Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. The mustachioed primates live in troops (usually consisting of two to eight members) that are led by the eldest female.

It's been said that in captivity, emperor tamarins are highly needy and love to petted by their human caretakers. I'm not sure about you, but I feel like I could be awesome at that job.

Image by Tambako the Jaguar/Flickr.

2. The spirit bear

You already know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but did you know you shouldn't judge a bear by its color, either?

This isn't a polar bear happily lost in the woods, folks. It's the ever-elusive Kermode bear, otherwise known as the spirit bear.

It's a unique (and rare) subspecies of American black bear that lives in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada.

Image by Maximilian Helm/Flickr.

Only 1 in 10 Kermode bears have cream-colored coats. Beyond just looking cool, the coats act as a kind of camouflage in rivers, allowing the blonde bears to catch more salmon than their darker-furred counterparts.

3. The quokka

For years, Disney has claimed that its over-commercialized theme parks (rife with sweat, screaming children, and mouse hats) are the "happiest place on earth." Nice try, Disney.

The happiest place on earth is actually anywhere within a five-foot radius of a quokka.

A post shared by @instaquokka on

Seriously. Could these mini-marsupials be any more smiley? They primarily live on Rottnest Island, Australia (which was named after "rat nest" from the guy who initially discovered the island and thought the quokkas were big rats). But if you go to visit them, be chill and don't feed them. They're already a vulnerable species, and messing with their diets is not a way to help.

A post shared by @instaquokka on

You might remember that the quokka briefly found Internet fame when this quokka selfie went viral a few months ago. Yet there are still millions of people outside of Australia that have no idea these cheery little furballs exist.

Pixar, I'm looking at you to fix this. Give us our quokka movie.

4. The bat-eared fox

If the quokka is the happiest, most jovial-looking animal on the planet, the bat-eared fox appears to be, uh ... on the opposite end of the spectrum. Just look at this sinister grin:

A photo posted by Charlotté Rita Higton (@charlieanimates) on

Despite their perpetually sneering expressions, they're not the evil assholes of the animal kingdom. Bat-eared foxes are a highly social species. Also, male bat-eared foxes are basically stay-at-home dads, taking on at least half of the pup-rearing duties, including grooming, chaperoning, and defending. #LeanInTogether

A photo posted by Sean Crane (@seancranephoto) on

Fact time! Their big ears not only help them hear potential prey, but they also help them stay cool in the grassy plains of Africa.

5. The sand cat

Ready to meet the only cat species that lives in sandy deserts?

Image by Tambako the Jaguar/Flickr.

Meet the adorable sand cat. This small but fierce feline lives in the deserts of North Africa and Asia and can weigh up to seven pounds. Its large ears help it detect prey underground before quickly digging it up with its tiny paws.

Speaking of paws, its footpads are completely covered with thick, wiry hair to help protect against extreme temperature.

Image by kellinahandbasket/Flickr.

6. The sloth bear

It's time to introduce a fluffier animal to this list. And there's no better animal to do the honors than the sloth bear.

Image via Thinkstock.

These big, messy balls of bear-fluff primarily live in the forests of South Asia and are considered a vulnerable species because of habitat loss and, in some cases, human capture.

Image by Jane Perez/Flickr.

Despite the name, they're not related to sloths, nor are they slow-moving. They don't even hibernate like most other bears.

7. The Bengal slow loris

If the sloth bear wasn't fluffy enough for you ... challenge accepted.

This is a baby Bengal slow loris:

A photo posted by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

Slow lorises are also a vulnerable species, so plucking them out of the wild to become your pet is not recommended.

Image by Helena Snyder/Wikimedia Commons

Out in the wild, you'll find the same sweet face across tropical and subtropical areas of South Asia.

8. The rock hyrax

Now this little furball is full of surprises.

Image via Thinkstock.

Looks like a rodent, right? But it's not.

The rock hyrax is actually most closely related to the elephant and the manatee. If you think that's crazy talk, you can read even more about it here on Psychology Today.

Image via Thinkstock.

More fun facts? They've got a huge range of vocalizations, they have sweaty feet that work like suction cups on rocks, and they enjoy group sunbathing sessions. If that sounds right up your alley and you'd like to meet these delightful little elephant cousins, they can be found in parts of East Africa and the Middle East.

9. The cotton-top tamarin

If the animal kingdom ever decided to form an '80s rock band, the cotton-top tamarin and its long, white head of hair would totally be the lead singer.

Image by Airwolfhound/Flickr.

Striking, right?

Unfortunately, the cotton-top tamarin is considered critically endangered by the IUCN. An estimated 80% of their population has been destroyed in the past two decades due to $!#%ing deforestation.

Image by russellstreet/Flickr.

To learn more about how you can support conservation efforts, check out the Wildlife Conservation Network.

10. The Patagonian mara

Ever wonder what the offspring of a horse and a rabbit would look like? Yeah, I never really considered it either ... until I saw the Patagonian mara.

A photo posted by uni_san (@uni_san) on

So weird? So cool. So weird and cool!

Image by orestART/Flickr.

OK, the Patagonian mara is not actually the product of some torrid horse-rabbit love affair, but it is a member of the rodent family, even though it has hoof-like front claws.

Interesting fact: They're one of the few mammals that are strictly monogamous.

11. The jerboa

Now try to imagine what the love-child of a mouse and rabbit would look like. Does it share any resemblance to the jerboa?

These cute little rodents live in North Africa and Asia, and they come in all sorts of varieties — there are 33 different species, according to National Geographic. And? Six of these species are PYGMIES.

Image by Bell Pletsch/Wikimedia Commons.

As you might guess by their long feet, these tiny creatures don't walk — they hop (or leap, if it's to escape a predator).

12. The dhole

Let's keep playing the animal mashup game: What would happen if a German Shepherd and a fox decided to procreate? Maybe something that looks exactly like the dhole.

A photo posted by Ashwin Gokhale (@ashwin_gokhale) on

The dhole is an endangered dog species native to Eastern and Southern Asia. Like many other animals on this list, habitation loss is primarily to blame, but disease transfer from domestic and feral dogs might be playing a role, as well.

Image by Neil McIntosh/Flickr.

13. The golden snub-nosed monkey

Ever seen a blue-faced monkey with orange fur?

A photo posted by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

If so, you've met the distinctive golden snub-nosed monkey, resident of central China. And sorry, but it's on a totally different level than you. No, seriously: It spends over 97% of its time in trees.

Image by Su Neko.

One of my favorite facts about this strange beauty is that many of its vocalizations are made without facial movement, just like a ventriloquist.

14. Pallas's Cat

ALL HAIL THE KING OF FLUFF: PALLAS'S CAT.

Image via Thinkstock.

It really does have the longest and densest fur of any cat species in the world, which plays a key role in keeping it well-insulated during the winter months in central Asia. Unfortunately, it's this same fluffy coat that has made Pallas's cats a target for poachers, which in turn has contributed to population decline.

Image by Tambako the Jaguar/Flickr.

Because of its expressive face, this funny feline often pops up in image lists and memes around the Internet. Keep 'em coming, Internet. I love it.

15. The sun bear

I've obviously left the best for last, friends. I'd like to introduce you to ... [drum roll] the sun bear. The sun bear lives in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia and is the smallest of all living bear species (about half the size of your good ol' American black bear). They're also a total delight.

Beautiful markings? Check. It's said that the name comes from the gold crescent-shaped patch of fur on its chest.

A photo posted by Abe Snider (@abesniderphoto) on

Comically long tongue? Check. It helps them extract and eat their favorite foods: termites and honey. It also lends itself to some spectacular "blargh" memes, as you might imagine.

A photo posted by R Mylie (@digitalneverages) on
A photo posted by @arawlings16 on

You're drunk, sun bear. Get out of that tree and go home.

Ability to make hilarious facial expressions? A million times, check.

A photo posted by @hammsuke on

There's still a lot that's unknown about this animal relative to other bear species, but we do know some things!

We know they've got a lot of loose skin around their necks, which acts as a form of protection. We know they're able to make clucking noises like a hen. And, of course, we know they're awkwardly adorable.

A photo posted by HoneyandYogurt (@honeyandyogurt) on

Sadly, we also know they're a vulnerable species, as defined by the IUCN — yet another consequence of deforestation. But! If you're interested, you can directly support sun bears through the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (which also has 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor, in case you like to travel).

Did you know there are several success stories of humans saving endangered animals from extinction?

In the late 1960s, only 400 American bald eagles could be found soaring around our skies — the American symbol on the brink of extinction. However, thanks to the collective efforts of U.S. citizens and the government, the species has rebounded over the past several decades, with almost 10,000 breeding pairs identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2006. Today? It's considered "least concern" by the IUCN.

Other species we've saved? The gray wolf. The Florida panther. The grizzly bear. The brown pelican. The black-footed ferret. The list goes on!

Here's the thing, though: Laws only change, conservation programs only get funded, and destructive human behaviors only stop when enough people care.

And people can't care if they're unaware that species like the golden snub-nosed monkey or Pallas's cat or the sun bear are in danger of extinction — let alone that these animals even exist. #RealTalk

Awareness matters. Awareness begets action. Which is why I'll keep making animal lists like this one if it means people will share with their friends and families. Together, we can increase awareness (even if it's only 15 funny-faced animals at a time).

Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Photo by Naomi Hébert on Unsplash
gray steel 3-door refrigerator near modular kitchen

There's more to keeping a green kitchen than recycling your yogurt containers or opting to store your leftovers in glass Tupperware. Little things, like your trash bags, can add up, which is why it's important to try to reduce your footprint as much as possible. Fortunately, these sustainable kitchen products make it easy keep a green home!

Reusable Silicone Baking Cups



Reusable silicone cupcake liners save you money on having to buy disposable paper cupcake wrappers every time you bake. These sustainable cupcake liners are just as festive as anything you would throw away. Because the liners are made with a sturdier silicone, they can be used for other purposes, like arts and crafts projects.

Amazon Basics, $7.99 for a pack of 12; Amazon

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less
ZACHOR Foundation

"What's 'the Holocaust'?" my 11-year-old son asks me. I take a deep breath as I gauge how much to tell him. He's old enough to understand that prejudice can lead to hatred, but I can't help but feel he's too young to hear about the full spectrum of human horror that hatred can lead to.

I wrestle with that thought, considering the conversation I recently had with Ben Lesser, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor who was just a little younger than my son when he witnessed his first Nazi atrocity.

It was September of 1939 and the Blitzkrieg occupation of Poland had just begun. Ben, his parents, and his siblings were awakened in their Krakow apartment by Nazi soldiers who pistol-whipped them out of bed and ransacked their home. As the men with the shiny black boots filled burlap sacks with the Jewish family's valuables, a scream came from the apartment across the hall. Ben and his sister ran toward the cry.

They found a Nazi swinging their neighbors' baby upside down by its legs, demanding that the baby's mother make it stop crying. As the parents screamed, "My baby! My baby!" the Nazi smirked—then swung the baby's head full force into the door frame, killing it instantly.

This story and others like it feel too terrible to tell my young son, too out of context from his life of relative safety and security. And yet Ben Lesser lived it at my son's age. And it was too terrible—for anyone, much less a 10-year-old. And it was also completely out of context from the life of relative safety and security Ben and his family had known before the Nazi tanks rolled in.

Keep Reading Show less
via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

Keep Reading Show less