The animal kingdom contains so much more than just iconic lions, lone wolves, and our beloved silly cats. Planet Earth is home to millions of different species that make us excited and immediately inspire us to learn everything about them. But while charismatic and cuddly creatures get all the hype, some critters are unfortunate enough to have a bad rep as dangerous, frightening, or even disgusting. So let’s balance out the scales a little bit, shall we?
Some nature enthusiasts pay attention to these underappreciated rarities and are ready to share their discoveries with everyone online. So when user sqnyq reached out to Ask Reddit with a very fine question, “Which animal do you think deserves more love and recognition than it gets?”, people wasted no time in typing out their answers!
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To celebrate their efforts and show some admiration for these overly misunderstood creatures, we have gone through the thread and handpicked some of the best responses it had to offer. So scroll down and enjoy learning more about these species as much as we did. Share your own takes with us in the comments, and be sure to check out our previous feature on weird animal facts right over here!
Bats are one of the most beneficial animals on the planet. A single bat can eat over 1,000 insects in one night of feasting. Take into account the largest bat colony is in Texas and is about 20-40 million bats (depending on time of year). Think about how many more bugs there would be without those bats
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Crows, they are so intelligent
When I was 14, working at a farm some crown opened our chickens door (they were just a different breed that makes blue eggs, to separate them among the others we had them in a huge cage that they can really move around, a huge one). i was so fucking mad like why the fuck a crown would open that fucking door. anyways i closed it. few minutes after, same crown opened the door again. when i went there i was shocked. there was a huge snake there and the crow was literally trying to help the chickens to get away from the snake. people just look at them as some useless bird whatsoever but they are not
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To learn more about underrated creatures and why we fail to give them the appreciation they truly deserve, we spoke with Jennifer Verdolin, Ph.D. She is an internationally recognized animal behavior expert, professor at the University of Arizona, and author of Wild Connection: What Animal Courtship and Mating Tell Us about Human Relationships who shares her insights about the animal kingdom on Twitter and Instagram under the handle @RealDrJen.
According to Verdolin, most species are overlooked and underrated, but one that she believes deserves a ton more credit is vultures. “Globally, they are one of the most threatened groups of birds,” she told Bored Panda. While there are many incredible species of vulture, “23 to be exact”, the animal behavior expert wanted to focus on the black vulture.
“They are socially complex, hanging out together to eat or roost together. When they are socializing there is the usual drama, some friendly interactions, some aggressive ones, that one vulture that wants to be in charge, eat first, etc.,” she explained, adding that they are pretty monogamous too. “Of course, they provide an important service. They are the cleaners and I’ve watched them pick the carcass of a raccoon or possum clean in a little under an hour.”
The simple honey bee…
They are endangered and are a major part of the ecosystem. Without the honey bee lots of vegetation would die off due to the lack of pollination. No I am not a bee keeper or even work with bees, its just I have a healthy respect for them and what they do.
Spiders on the other hand can all go back to that alien planet they came from.
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Hedgehogs. They’re literally an endangered species in the UK. I wish people would recognise that and do more to help!
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Another animal species Verdolin deems as greatly unappreciated are spiders. “They are talented and, of course, snack on other little critters in our home.” The expert continued to explain how they can hear you across the room and how some of them are also known to be incredibly social. Let’s not leave out the desert spider female, “a mom who literally gives her life to her kids.”
Cows. They’re cute smart and kind. Like very big milk puppies
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Owl’s keeping the rodent population under control. Plus they are super cool.
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Wildlife is truly remarkable. The whole animal world is fascinating and full of unsolved mysteries we humans are trying so hard to crack. But at the same time, we tend to pay more attention to certain species (often adorable-looking) and continue to carry specific opinions about other critters that usually turn out to be wrong.
When asked why some animals unconsciously appeal to us more, Verdolin pointed out there are a few answers to this. As she explained in her book Raised by Animals: The Surprising New Science of Animal Family Dynamics, animals that are “cute” or look young (just like pandas, dear readers) trigger our brains to be careful, look after, take care of them, and reduce aggression.
“That’s why we will spend hours looking at videos of baby animals. Once animals are all grown up, I think some species, like the panda and koala benefit from this tendency,” she continued. “They have large heads, and in the case of pandas, a coloration that makes them look like they have big eyes — even though neither of these species is particularly friendly.”
Grumpy horse with bunny ears
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Octopus, very intelligent creatures and fascinating to watch
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Eats ticks and pests, rabies resistant, carries cute babies on its back, has a bunch of teeth, marsupial!
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“Another factor, though, that we can’t ignore is the cultural conversation we have about some species and mythology about certain animals,” Verdolin said, adding that the perfect example of this is the wolf. “We literally spend billions to care for our pet dogs, which are essentially juvenile wolves 7000 years + removed, and support movies and policies that decimate wolves. We also have a disdain and fear of coyotes, which are not that different either.”
There are countless other species like sharks, snakes, and bats that have a bad rep in the human world and face similar issues like wolves and coyotes. “The cultural stories we have about them reinforce negative tropes and influence our opinions,” Verdolin said. “And then there are of course the ‘unattractive’ animals. We are incredibly biased against species we don’t think are ‘cute’ or attractive.”
Turkey vultures. Hear me out: they look ugly af, but they’re gentle creatures who just clean up the environment naturally. If they get too scared, they will vomit themselves. They can eat diseased flesh without taking on any illness. They live in a flock, and are tied to their mates until death. They’re also endangered in some areas.
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Red pandas… So damn cute.
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Set up a bird feeder and see how much enjoyment you can get just by watching and counting the different kinds of birds that show up.
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The animal behavior expert revealed we tend to underestimate most species of other animals. “Historically, modern humans have looked for ways to separate themselves from other animals. This is in direct contrast to Indigenous people that see themselves integrated with nature, reflecting the traits and aspects of other species in their cultures, beliefs, and spirituality,” she continued.
“So first we have this notion that we are separate from and then comes the idea that we are better than. Incidentally, this is connected to how we have marginalized groups of people whether it be based on socially defined racial categories, gender, religion, etc.” Verdolin pointed out this led to us ranking other species as better or worse according to how “similar” they are to us.
Spiders. Most are harmless to humans and they get rid of irritating bugs.
They are also perfect for keeping away irritating humans
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Squirrels. I could watch squirrels run around and climb trees all day long.
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All of the animals deserve more love, recognition, and respect.
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“Science has had to redefine ‘human’ so many times because we keep discovering all the ways we are not different,” she noted. “Beyond ravens counting and solving puzzles faster than a college student or elephants visiting the bones of their fallen friends and family members, we know that pigs grunt to express their feelings and that other animals have personalities. They are sentient. Period.”
Sharks, they do get recognition but most of it is negative. Sharks are ??
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The Pangolin. It’s severely endangered yet It’s not protected.
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Chickens. Smart, affectionate, with complex social lives and personalities, they can be kind, affectionate, sneaky, greedy, generous, caring or selfish… each one it’s own unique personality
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So Verdolin would like to remind you that we humans are not that separate from other animals. “What happens to them, how we treat them, is a direct reflection of the state we are in right now. As puffins washed ashore dead earlier this year and little blue penguins followed a few weeks ago, other species are in crisis,” she reminded us. “And so are we.”
She understands it’s much easier to think about a panda than a squirrel that’s running around in your backyard. “But every squirrel is out there trying to make a living, raise a family, avoid death and suffering, and catch a few naps in the morning sunlight. Stop for a minute next time to watch, observe, and think about how you can make the lives of animals right there around you better today,” Verdolin concluded.
ITS FOREHEAD IS SO CUTE. And it looks absolutely adorable coated with blubber all around
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They are incredibly smart, sweet, and social animals who *did not cause the black plague*. One reason why they are often used for experiments (lab rats) is because they are so socially similar to us humans. [Rat Park]
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Beavers are incredibly hard workers. Capable of the same level of decision making and precision that goes into our construction of dams or homes or chopping down trees. There ears can sense the slight trickle of water indicating a leak.
In a story linked below the arrival of settlers in the 1800’s wiped out beavers in one area effectively destroying the ecosystems that the beaver dams had created and wildlife depended on. The loss of beavers was still so profound that HUMANS started to make their own beaver dams!! Then like the born workers they are, a few beavers must have heard through the grapevine and took over what humans were doing with far more than their teeth and bare hands.
They work so hard. Their work ethic is better than any humans. They are always on call. No nights off. Now, I truly admire the team work and socialist structure of most any colonies, but beavers can build dams that transform its environment and create their own mini ecosystem. They are incredibly important and considered a keystone species. The largest beaver dam is half a mile long and started in the 70’s and is located in Canada. That’s generations of beavers dedicated to the “family business” of continuing this huge dam. They of course continue to MAINTAIN a dam a half mile long. Made of just sticks and trees and mud and whatever other tricks they have. I have the utmost respect for their abilities and contributions to their environments!
Seeing videos blowing up their incredibly hard work makes me sad. I get it, someone’s poor garden is flooded and we can’t stand for that. Or someone’s property is filling with water and they have the right to not want it to. But, it just seems so horrible to destroy something so incredibly built and with such hard work and dedication and brain power that we need to blow it up to take it down.
For the record, I get that beavers can cost millions in damages to property and some support trapping when their numbers get high or they become a problem.
But, I just truly hope animals have the capacity to just laugh at a species who’s numbers are growing faster than the environment can handle or support, whom quickly destroy and invade their homes before they take over and are everywhere, who cost thousands and thousands of years of growth and strength and survival in trees every year with their destruction, that species having the NERVE to point to others as needing help being controlled. Calling others destructive or a nuisance.
The best part is saying with a straight face how another species population is growing too fast and too large and needs to be culled and controlled. I know, I’m human. But even if it’s just us, it still feels hypocritical to say.
BEAVERS ARE AMAZING
(Just don’t think about the rodent thing)
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Reptiles generally. A lot of people think of reptiles and are disgusted. They either think of slimey snakes or agressive dragons. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t always cute and cuddly, but there’s so many snakes in rescues that never get a home because of the stigma.
I don’t think an exotic pet is right for everyone by any means, in fact I think it should be more regulated so that you have to put some thought into having one, but they really can be affectionate with the right owner and time.
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The platypus; a mammal that lays eggs, has a duck bill, uses electrolocation, and has venomous claws.
Pigs!!!! They have emotions very similar to humans
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Parrots are awesome
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The porcupine. I like them and find them interesting, but they smell like stale death. Just any I’ve been near smell horrible and carry a cloud around them. It’s entirely possible my experience is an outlier; I’ve only encountered them a few times, so I could be misled by a narrow sample. But the smell was assaulting.
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Hyenas. For hundreds of reasons.
Disney did them dirty.
Carrion feeders of every stripe. They are the heroes of the animal kingdom, providing important steps in decomposition and reclamation of matter, and people think they’re yucky.
If you hit an animal with your car, and are able to stop, please stop and move the animal to the side of the road, it helps prevent carrion feeders from getting hit by cars later.
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Orangutans. Being an ape and not being a batshit crazy violent animal is achievement enough in itself, but orangutans take it a step further and are surprisingly smart and docile.
The Cacomistle or the Maned Wolf, both are really cool animals!
Okay so I know a lot of people hate pandas for them eating bamboo even tho they’re designed to eat meat, but it’s not because they’re stupid. They lost their taste for meat. A gene they had which “motivated” them to hunt and eat meat somehow disappeared. It’s not like they can control that. And people also say they don’t mate on their own. Well god made female pandas go in heat for only three flippin days out of an entire flippin year. That’s it. Since their population numbers are so low, what are the chances a male and a female are going to see each other in that time frame
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Swans. They will commit sewer slide if their partner dies. Beautiful and sad at the same time.
Dogs for sure, they get all the love and recognition and they still deserve more.
Humans, I see a lot of people (especially on Reddit) that seem to be misanthropes who hate their own species and each other, its a shame really. I wish people showed the same love that they have for other animals towards humans instead of constant hatred towards each other, it would really make the world a better place.
Lions. I just admire on how majestic and mystifying they can be.
Skunks, they are wonderful animals.
Gorillas. They’re cool. But I don’t hear people saying they’re thier favorite animal much
The shoebill bird. I know most people won’t think so, but I think that it’s the cutest animal I’ve ever seen
Pigeons!! We domesticated them for communication but now that we don’t need them they’re considered ugly and gross. But they don’t fear humans which is why they’ll come up to us. Poor things.
Vultures are natures sanitizer.
By eating the carrion, they prevent the spread of diseases. Their stomach acid destroys any pathogens and they also have a very stout immune system and their urine and defecations “cleans” the area of the carcass.
Hognose snakes, just look at that stupid little face
Moths. Absolute beauties
Lizards in general. I hate when people say that they can not form social connections, I have a bearded dragon that will go out of her way to cuddle up to me, I had a male dragon that was best friends with my golden lab. Their favorite activity was looking out the window together. They would sit there, and my dragon would snuggle up to his ear and they would watch squirrels for hours. I believe that social cues for reptiles are very foreign and alien to us, but if you can find a way to open a door to their heart, you will never find a warmer place, even with cold blood. It is kind of like the way that I am attracted to ‘bitchy’ women, sure they are scaled and thorny on the outside. But when she wants to love on you and cuddle up, you will feel like the most important person in the world.
Giant anteaters! Or anteaters in general! Some people own the smaller ones as pets and they’re so cute!
Sloths and raccoons ?
Unicorn of the Ocean.
Spiders, geckos and dragonflies. They’re usually seen as house pests by many, but they don’t touch our food and hunt actual house pests.
literally any animal that is used for meat or other products
The snot otter.
Cats without hair
They are very cute and gives alot of affection
And people that are allergic to cat hair can get one of these since they dont have hair
Skunks, they do so much for your environment and you don’t realize it, and they make wonderful pets..we have 6 and no we didn’t get them from the outdoors lol
Cicada. It looks scary, sounds scary, especially when it flaps it’s wings, sometimes it’s big, but it’s actually harmless.
Tarantulas, most of them aren’t super aggressive.
Ferrets! They are smelly, but are super loving and absolutely hilarious little creatures given the right care and environment ❤️
They are fascinating. They know when it’s going to rain. The termites have a caste system. The soldiers will boot out the aeletes only when it will rain within 24 hours. Aeletes are winged reproductives; they will fly out of the nest and try to start a new one. They look like the tie fighters in Star Wars: four fixed wings like a biplane. They are harmless; you will see them in the evening with low wind, about 70% humidity and 30 degrees Centigrade. [world’s American, I know. I wasn’t brought up with Fahrenheit]
That’s also a survival tip. If you see the winged reproductives flying then it’s going to rain soon. Go to higher ground, prepare to collect rain etc.
There are many different kinds of termites. Many have not yet been discovered. Some are similar to cockroaches in the way they lay eggs; the Giant Northern Australian termite. Others use parthenogenesis to reproduce. For instance the French Guianan termite.
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The giant african land snail
Insects, they are fascinating!
Rattlesnakes, Copperheads, Water Moccasins. Take your pick. They perform a vital service and aren’t aggressive at all. They are only defensive. You have to pretty much step on them for them to bite. It’s not advantageous for them to bite a larger mammal they can’t eat, and it means they don’t get to eat again for a long time if they inject venom.
Tune in next week when I talk about how your friend who says they were chased by a water moccasin is full of s**t and that’s not cottonmouth behavior.
I was going to go with vultures so I’ll mention them as well. They are cool animals that perform a vital service.
Centipedes. Females are great mother and will care for their children to death, they come in a variety of color, slither in a hypotonic way, and are not agressive toward human, they just freak out a lot when they feel like they are in danger, they get rid off other bugs and even mice, they are the best!