Nature Goes Nuts in Delightful 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards Shots

A ninja squirrel, a derpy lion and smooching seals lead the pack of hilarious wildlife images honored this year.

Amanda Kooser
Squirrel leaps through the air, one arm extended like a furry little Superman.
1 of 20 Alex Pansier/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

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.

Crane spreads its wings behind a bull, making it look like the bull is a mythical Pegasus.
2 of 20 Jagdeep Rajput/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Accidental Pegasus

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.

A lion cub twists around in the air, scraping its paw along a tree trunk.
3 of 20 Jennifer Hadley/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

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.

A zebra caught in an awkward moment with back legs kicked up and dust behind it.
4 of 20 Vince Burton/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Bucking zebra

Photographer Vince Burton got a kick out of seeing this zebra in Kenya having a bit of an odd moment. 

A fluffy baby penguin moves across a snowy landscape with one wing extended upward like it's dancing.
5 of 20 Thomas Vijayan/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Happy feet

A fluffy baby emperor penguin brings the cute to this photo from Antarctica.

Two meerkats, one with its hands and arms around the neck of another, like a pretend strangle.
6 of 20 Emmanuel Do Linh San/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards


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.

Two blobby gray seals rest. One has its face smooth in the side of the head of the other.
7 of 20 Andrew Peacock/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Smooshing seals

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.

A round hole in a tree reveals two owl faces peering out, one a mom and one a baby.
8 of 20 Mark Schocken/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Packed-in owls

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. 

Three bears cubs sit in a way that looks like one cub with three heads.
9 of 20 Paolo Mignosa/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

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.

A black-bodied large cassowary bird sits on a picnic site and looks intimidating.
10 of 20 Lincoln Macgregor/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

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."

A small brown owl strolls busily across the ground like it has somewhere important to go.
11 of 20 Shuli Greenstein/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Owl legs are hilarious

A little owl in Israel went for a stroll and showed off its long legs. 

A moose with massive antlers raises its head and shows its teeth like it's smiling.
12 of 20 Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Derp moose

Photographer Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven captured a moose with its teeth bared and thought it looked like a shark.

Hippo in the water with mount wide open is seen at an angle that makes it look like it's about swallow a long-legged water bird standing nearby.
13 of 20 Jean Jacques Alcalay/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

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.

Two wallabies against an orange sunrise with one looking like its flying sideways in the air.
14 of 20 Michael Eastwell/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

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.

Two penguins stand together, but one has its head back so it looks headless.
15 of 20 Martin Grace/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

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.

A bear sits in the water by a waterfall, mouth open and head tilted as a salmon appears to punch it in the head.
16 of 20 John Chaney/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Fish in the ear

Bears in Alaska are known for feasting on salmon. In this photo, it looks like the salmon is fighting back.

Brown bear cub on the ground holds the end of a feather in its mouth.
17 of 20 Torie Hilley/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Feathery friend

A brown bear cub holds an eagle feather during playtime in Alaska.

Scruffy looking raccoon sits on the ground with one paw raised up like it's waving.
18 of 20 Miroslave Srb/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Howdy, folks

Raccoons can be cute little rascals, like this one in Florida demonstrates by holding up a paw.

Two tropical fish face the camera like they're posing for a selfie.
19 of 20 Arthur Telle Theimann/Comedywildlifephoto.com

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, one stretch out on the ground with the other leaning over it.
20 of 20 Frederica Vinci/Comedywildlifephoto.com

Monkey check

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.

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