Squirrel goes flying
The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards deliver a bit of levity every year when announcing the finalists. Over 40 images made the cut for 2022, ranging from goofy mammals to silly birds. Here are some of the highlights from the top photos.
It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's super-squirrel. Photographer Alex Pansier captured a red squirrel in the Netherlands jumping during a rainstorm.
Photographer Jagdeep Rajput captured a fortuitous moment when a crane spread its wings behind an antelope in Keoladeo National Park in India. Rajput explained the crane was actually attacking the bull, which had ventured too close to the big bird's nest.
Kitty goes bonk
Cats are graceful animals most of the time. Photographer Jennifer Hadley witnessed a less-than-majestic moment when a lion cub in Tanzania attempted to descend from a tree. Hadley reports the cub was just fine despite the awkward dismount.
Photographer Vince Burton got a kick out of seeing this zebra in Kenya having a bit of an odd moment.
A fluffy baby emperor penguin brings the cute to this photo from Antarctica.
A meerkat looks a little startled by its buddy in this photo from South Africa. Photographer Emmanuel Do Linh San had been tracking the meerkats and notes this is a playful moment, not an aggressive one.
A pair of southern elephant seals pose, with one smooshing its face into the other in Antarctica. "These elephant seal weaners were practicing their jousting skills for many minutes before they collapsed in exhaustion," said photographer Andrew Peacock.
Four eyes peer out from one hole in a tree. The eastern screech owls in Florida are hanging out in a nest together. The big one is mom and the little one is an owlet.
Cerberus as a bear
If you saw this guarding the gates of hell, you would probably laugh and say "awww." These baby brown bears in Russia posed in a way that makes them look like the bear version of the mythological three-headed dog Cerberus.
Don't mess with this bird
Cassowary birds are notoriously dangerous, so it's just as well photographer Lincolon Macgregor kept some distance from this one in Australia. According to Macgregor, the big bird sat down on a picnic blanket and ate the food the humans had laid out for themselves.
"Picnickers in this area often inadvertently attract these birds with food, however human food can have a negative effect on their health," Macgregor said. "Cassowaries are well known for being important seed dispersers in their rainforest ecosystems, and when their diet strays from natural seeds and fruits, their important seed dispersal role diminishes."
Owl legs are hilarious
A little owl in Israel went for a stroll and showed off its long legs.
Photographer Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven captured a moose with its teeth bared and thought it looked like a shark.
Hippo and a heron
A fortuitous photo makes it look like a hippo in South Africa is about to eat a water bird. The hippo was actually just yawning and the heron wasn't in danger of becoming a snack.
Throw your wallaby in the air
These two wallabies in Australia were play-flighting on a beach at sunrise. Photographer Michael Eastwell captured a stunning moment where was one nearly parallel to the ground.
Penguin with a hidden head
Two king penguins in the Falklands stand together, but one appears to be doing an impression of the headless horseman. It shows how flexible these birds can be.
Fish in the ear
Bears in Alaska are known for feasting on salmon. In this photo, it looks like the salmon is fighting back.
A brown bear cub holds an eagle feather during playtime in Alaska.
Raccoons can be cute little rascals, like this one in Florida demonstrates by holding up a paw.
Give us a kiss
Two gray triggerfish in the Azores try out their best duck-face selfie poses. They may look cute, but photographer Arthur Telle Theimann warns they can be aggressive toward humans invading their space.
Two monkeys in Cambodia look like they're playing out a scene from a medical drama. Photographer Frederica Vinci notes the one on the ground was actually in full relaxation mode.