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37 Pictures of Majestic Animals Being Incorrigible Goofs

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards show a different, more relatable side of nature

Two brown bear cubs pose, one looking serious and the other collapsing with a wide open mouth and his paws in the air
Two brown bear cubs pose, one looking serious and the other collapsing with a wide open mouth and his paws in the air
Photo: Yarin Klein; all photos via Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2020

or the last three years, the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards (CWPA) has been single-mindedly focused on showcasing a profoundly underserved aspect of wildlife photography: Pictures that show the goofy side of our animal friends. It turns out that, contrary to what National Geographic might want you to think not every wild animal wakes up looking like their Instagram photos.

In fact, for every picture where these guys are being majestic and proud and flat-out awe-inspiring, there’s one where they’re just as awkward and absurd as we are. And the CWPA is committed to uncovering the very best of those moments while highlighting an important message of wildlife conservation in partnership with The Born Free Foundation. Here are some of the extremely relatable finalists from this year’s awards.

A raccoon recovering from a big night out.

A raccoon’s back legs and striped tail are pictured jutting straight out of a seemingly small hole in a tree
A raccoon’s back legs and striped tail are pictured jutting straight out of a seemingly small hole in a tree
Photo: Charlie Davidson

A tern taking a moment to file her nails.

A sea bird with an orange beak appears to be preening her wings, with one long sharp feather that resembles a nail file
A sea bird with an orange beak appears to be preening her wings, with one long sharp feather that resembles a nail file
Photo: Danielle D’Ermo

A turtle taking a moment to tell you how he really feels.

An underwater photo of a sea turtle whose upraised arm resembles a rude “middle finger” type gesture
An underwater photo of a sea turtle whose upraised arm resembles a rude “middle finger” type gesture
Photo: Mark Fitzpatrick

A penguin who forgot to read the sign.

A penguin standing underneath a sign that says “Warning: Please look under your vehicle for penguins”
A penguin standing underneath a sign that says “Warning: Please look under your vehicle for penguins”
Photo: Pearl Kasparian

A parrotfish who thinks you’re hilarious.

A brightly colored fish in the middle of the frame that has the appearance of staring and smiling goofily into the lens
A brightly colored fish in the middle of the frame that has the appearance of staring and smiling goofily into the lens
Photo: Arthur Telle Thiemenn

A lion cub who has no idea what’s coming.

Two lion cubs play on a rock formation, one has his back turned to another who looks poised to play pounce on her littermate
Two lion cubs play on a rock formation, one has his back turned to another who looks poised to play pounce on her littermate
Photo: Olin Rogers

An eagle owl chick who hopes no one saw that awkward landing.

A young owl lands in the sand, a little awkwardly
A young owl lands in the sand, a little awkwardly
Photo: Nader Al-Shammari

A snow monkey who forgot to check the water temperature before getting in the bath.

A monkey with a bright pink face is resting in warm water but making a face that looks like the water might be a bit hot!
A monkey with a bright pink face is resting in warm water but making a face that looks like the water might be a bit hot!
Photo: Wei Ping Peng

A brown pelican waiting for her friend to turn around.

One pelican is floating along peacefully with her back turned to another pelican who appears to be towering creepily behind
One pelican is floating along peacefully with her back turned to another pelican who appears to be towering creepily behind
Photo: Vicki Jauron

A classic elephant faceplant.

A young elephant trailing their parent trips and falls face forward, captured in a photo while mid face-plant
A young elephant trailing their parent trips and falls face forward, captured in a photo while mid face-plant
Photo: Tim Hearn

A langur who’s enjoying her makeshift swing way more than her brothers.

A grey langur monkey holds and swings on two hanging tails of the siblings or friends in the tree above her
A grey langur monkey holds and swings on two hanging tails of the siblings or friends in the tree above her
Photo: Thomas Vijayan

A sea lion on his day off.

A sea lion floating belly up in a shallow part of the water, with his nose pointing out and his flips folded at waist level
A sea lion floating belly up in a shallow part of the water, with his nose pointing out and his flips folded at waist level
Photo: Sue Hollis

A dangerously rebellious kingfisher.

A bright blue kingfisher is perched on a “no fishing” wooden sign with a small fish dangling out of his beak
A bright blue kingfisher is perched on a “no fishing” wooden sign with a small fish dangling out of his beak
Photo: Sally Lloyd-Jones

A snow monkey singing in the shower.

A snow monkey with a bright pink face raises their fists into the air as if they are hearing their favorite song
A snow monkey with a bright pink face raises their fists into the air as if they are hearing their favorite song
Photo: Ramesh Letchmanan

A polar bear who can’t even.

A large white polar bear resting on an ice cap with one paw clasped over her face
A large white polar bear resting on an ice cap with one paw clasped over her face
Photo: Jacques Poulard

A rose-ringed parakeet whose friend would actually rather not see her “weird toenail.”

Two green parrots regarding one another on a branch, one has her foot and claw outstretched in the face of the other
Two green parrots regarding one another on a branch, one has her foot and claw outstretched in the face of the other
Photo: Petr Sochman

A young otter who doesn’t want a kiss when his friends are looking.

A young otter is being groomed by his mother, but his face is frozen in a look of side-eyed embarrassment
A young otter is being groomed by his mother, but his face is frozen in a look of side-eyed embarrassment
Photo: Max Teo

A mountain gorilla who’s fully over it.

A close-up shot of a black gorilla’s face with his head resting on his curled hand, “thinker” style
A close-up shot of a black gorilla’s face with his head resting on his curled hand, “thinker” style
Photo: Marcus Westberg

A hippo comedian.

A young hippo is poking his head out of the water near an adult hippo’s ear, and it looks like he’s whispering a funny joke
A young hippo is poking his head out of the water near an adult hippo’s ear, and it looks like he’s whispering a funny joke
Photo: Manoj Shah

A macaque comedian.

A small macaque monkey reclines on a handrail with a big, comedic yawn showing small white teeth
A small macaque monkey reclines on a handrail with a big, comedic yawn showing small white teeth
Photo: Luis Martí

And an elephant seal comedian.

An elephant seal with a wide open mouth and a goofy face, squished next to another seal looking a bit irritated
An elephant seal with a wide open mouth and a goofy face, squished next to another seal looking a bit irritated
Photo: Luis Burgueño

Bring Your Elephant Daughter to Work Day.

An adult and baby elephant wade through a bright green field with a visible swimming stain on their skin and big smiles
An adult and baby elephant wade through a bright green field with a visible swimming stain on their skin and big smiles
Photo: Kunal Gupta

An Atlantic puffin who’s still learning to share.

Two puffins pose together — one has a mouth teeming with shiny blue fish, and the other is simply staring at that bounty
Two puffins pose together — one has a mouth teeming with shiny blue fish, and the other is simply staring at that bounty
Photo: Krisztina Scheeff

A ground squirrel practicing a soliloquy.

A tiny ground squirrel shot from the ground is clutching his paws and staring towards the sky reverently
A tiny ground squirrel shot from the ground is clutching his paws and staring towards the sky reverently
Photo: Roland Kranitz

A seal laughing at her own joke.

An outstretched seal with a jaunty tail in the air has her mouth wide open and eyes crinkled shut like a big laugh
An outstretched seal with a jaunty tail in the air has her mouth wide open and eyes crinkled shut like a big laugh
Photo: Ken Crossan

Two delinquent grizzly bears.

Two small grizzly bears are gathered near the wheel of a truck, and one has his paws on the wheel as if he’s turning it
Two small grizzly bears are gathered near the wheel of a truck, and one has his paws on the wheel as if he’s turning it
Photo: Kay Kotzian

A raccoon who’s definitely just resting and not stuck.

A young raccoon hanging in an awkward way from a very small tree branch
A young raccoon hanging in an awkward way from a very small tree branch
Photo: Jill Neff

A tiger who just remembered what he said last night.

A young tiger whose paw is over part of his face and whose visible eye is opened wide
A young tiger whose paw is over part of his face and whose visible eye is opened wide
Photo: Jagdeep Rajput

A reddish egret who woke up like this.

An egret traipsing through water with a large, textured mane of brown feathers
An egret traipsing through water with a large, textured mane of brown feathers
Photo: Gail Bisson

A red squirrel waiting for you to laugh at his joke.

A diminutive squirrel with red fur and tufted ears has an open mouthed, curious, fun expression and is staring at something
A diminutive squirrel with red fur and tufted ears has an open mouthed, curious, fun expression and is staring at something
Photo: Femke van Willigen

A brown bear doing the absolute bare minimum in a game of hide and seek.

A large bear semi-obscured by a much smaller tree
A large bear semi-obscured by a much smaller tree
Photo: Esa Ringbom

A brown bear who has no problem answering the door before getting dressed.

An adolescent brown bear standing on his back legs in a creek with his arm outstretched in a semi wave, looking scruffy
An adolescent brown bear standing on his back legs in a creek with his arm outstretched in a semi wave, looking scruffy
Photo: Eric Fisher

A gentoo penguin having regrets.

A trail of penguins walk along the beach, but one in the back appears to be regurgitating
A trail of penguins walk along the beach, but one in the back appears to be regurgitating
Photo: Christina Holfelder

A photobombing giraffe.

Two giraffe heads backed by sky, one appears normally in the frame and the other is poking out from the side, photobombing
Two giraffe heads backed by sky, one appears normally in the frame and the other is poking out from the side, photobombing
Photo: Brigitte Alcalay Marcon

Two gossip kings.

Two maned lions appear to be sharing a secret as one leans towards the other with a paw over his mouth
Two maned lions appear to be sharing a secret as one leans towards the other with a paw over his mouth
Photo: Bernhard Esterer

And, um … these guys. HELLO.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo: Asaf Sereth

Written by

Formerly editorial director @BuzzFeed. Currently editor @Tenderly and writer at large. Email: JackAShepherd at gmail

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