Many of us have a special place in our hearts for animals. While we see imperfections as rare, veterinarian Dr. Timothy D. Hodge notes that congenital defects are more common than we think. He lists cleft palates and limb deformities as particularly common. The reasons behind birth defects are largely unknown, but they continue to affect wild and domestic animals worldwide.
Here at Bright Side we have compiled a list of animals who were born a little different, to prove that they can still melt your heart.
This strange-looking marsupial was orphaned in Melbourne, and lost most of his fur due to the stress of being separated from his mother. In a turn of ill fate, he also developed a fungal infection, which made his skin appear green under certain lights. This occasional green hue earned him the name “Shrek” and he has since been tended to by the Maryknoll Wildlife Shelter. Despite his unfortunate circumstances, we think Shrek might be the most huggable wombat ever.
This adorable pup has been singled out since birth, having been born with a disproportionately large head and a cleft palate. She was nursed by SNARR Animal Rescue in New York and touched many hearts as she clung onto life in spite of her health issues. Having battled for the better part of a year, and bonded with the team’s foster kittens, Sasha is an inspiration to those who have fought through hard times. We find her beautiful despite her “flaws.”
Roux is a beautiful Siamese mix kitty who lives in New Orleans with her loving owner. At first glance, she doesn’t seem particularly different, but her missing front legs will soon make you realize that she’s not like the rest of her species. This has earned her the affectionate title, “T-rex,” and with her playful nature, Roux proves that no legs can also be no problem.
Smushie the Cat was found as a stray on the streets of Richmond, Virginia. With an underdeveloped nose and a cleft palate, Smushie was all alone before being welcomed into her forever home. Although her nasal issues can cause breathing difficulties, we can’t get over how cute she looks and we’re so glad she’s found loving owners despite her facial quirks.
Quasimodo—also known as "Quasi the Great“—is a German Shepherd with short spine syndrome. This “severe shortening of the vertebrae column” means that Quasi has the appearance of being hunch-backed. This makes him smaller than the other dogs of his breed and reduces the span his back and torso considerably. However, this spinal compression hasn’t affected his charming puppy eyes, and we find him completely irresistible.
Sweet little Alba made worldwide headlines when she was featured in Orangutan Jungle School. While her condition could be more accurately called leucism, this snowy beauty is famed as the first known albino orangutan, and she has stolen many hearts with her piercing blue eyes and not-so-orange coat. Despite looking different to her classmates, Alba proved herself as a confident young ape and was quickly accepted into the group. She may be the only one of her kind, but that hasn’t stopped her from receiving the love and friendship she deserves.
Bunnies are known for being cute, white-tailed, and super fluffy. While Mr. Bigglesworth scores 2/3, his genetic disorder means his fur comes and goes sporadically—and usually in patches. This little Rex rabbit was rescued after being deemed unsellable and has since become a viral sensation (he even has his own merchandise). Mr. Bigglesworth’s stardom shows the world that it’s okay to be unconventional, and he’s won over many followers in the process.
It’s likely this isn’t the first time you’ve seen an animal with 2 different eye colors. This condition is a result of an excess or a lack of melanin, and is usually genetic. As with most deviances in appearance, “heterochromia iris” has sparked many myths and superstitions. While the condition can cause sensitivity, it is generally harmless and—as this precious cat shows—can be strikingly beautiful.
This adorable “chiweenie” named Tuna was born with an overbite, which gives him an unusual appearance (and a pretty consistently shocked expression). Tuna went viral after his owner posted pictures of the pup in a series of costumes, and quickly became a hit with his distinctive features. He now has 2 million followers on Instagram. Tuna definitely melts our hearts by showing that beauty comes in many forms and he is now a loyal ambassador for rescue dogs everywhere.
This beady-eyed beauty is named Taln’gai Dha’run, meaning “white wing.” Named after his white pigmentation, Taln’gai is leucistic, which means he looks a little different than his fellow flyers. The retention of some blackness around his ears and stomach gives him an appearance unlike any other bat. When he was rescued, Taln’gai’s feet were sunburnt, and he was even mistaken for a piece of discarded paper. Despite his abnormalities, we think Taln’gai is enchantingly cute and has come a long way since his orphaned days.
California-based Doby is a house cat with cerebellar hypoplasia. This is a neurological condition that makes Doby a little wobblier than his furry friends. Along with this, Doby has a cleft nose, which makes him look like his nose is divided in half. He found a loving home after being rescued and we think he’s beautiful just the way he is.
Mimi the rabbit was born without ears, and with only 3 legs. Her difficult circumstances meant that she was the odd one out amongst her bunny pals. While Mimi’s owner makes her adorable knitted ears, Mimi embraces her differences and still manages to be one of the cutest bunnies we’ve ever seen.
Which of these unique-looking animals surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments below!