Nature is pretty awe-inspiring, especially when it comes to unique animal markings. Whether it's a horse with beautiful and unexpected colors or a cat that has some hilariously adorable spots, we can't get enough of animals with cool and unusual patterns. Here are several examples of really wild animal markings for your viewing pleasure. Bet you can't get through this list without saying "awwww" at least once as you read through!
A Smile To Melt Hearts
This little fella was found on the street and taken to the local animal shelter. We're not sure if that is a cute little mustache or a beaming black smile. Either way, this dreamboat of a puppy is unlikely to have trouble finding a new home. It's hard to know what is most charming; that perky stance, the big puppy dog eyes, or the tail wagging so fast it is a blur.
There is no word on whether or not he has a new home yet, but we imagine he is already bouncing about, wowing his new owners and charming everyone he meets.
An Underwater Beauty
You might assume that this turtle is an albino, but you would be wrong. This beautifully marked animal is what is known as leucistic. Unlike animals who suffer from albinism, animals which are leucistic experience only the partial loss of pigmentation which can result in many different patterns and colors in the skin, shell, and fur. Also, leucistic animals do not suffer from pigment loss to the eyes, so they do not have the red eyes associated with albinism.
Any species of animal can be leucistic, and it can affect one offspring and not another. We are just lucky to have caught a glimpse of this beauty.
He Wears His Heart On His Sleeve
Ok, he may not be wearing his heart on his sleeve exactly, but this is the closest a dog could get. Not only has this tiny bundle of fur got the most appealing sad eyes, but he also has love written all over him. A cutie pie canine who is just begging to be lifted up and cuddled, this puppy was in high demand once people caught sight of his very distinctive marking.
Let's hope this little fella has grown up and had a family of his own; then he can be passing on his love heart gene endearing his offspring for generations to come.
Cookies And Cream
This lovely little puppy is a dappled Dachshund, often referred to by Dachshund fans as a "Dapple Doxie." The fabulous coat is caused by a dominant gene and may or may not be similar to the coat of mom or dad. One of the parents has to be a dapple themselves to produce a dappled pup.
This delightful Dachshund looks like the furry equivalent of a big tub of chocolate cookies and cream ice cream. He is so delicious looking, those soft fluffy ears, those eyes pleading "cuddle me," only the coldest of hearts could resist him, don't you think?
They Are Sun Kisses
Not everyone is a huge fan of freckles, but it is impossible to look into the eyes of this handsome lad and not fall in love with him immediately. This beauty is a mixture of an Austrailian Cattle Dog and a Pitbull. With the traditional stocky and muscular pitbull body type and the Australian Cattle Dog's colors peppered through the coat, this puppy certainly seems to be one of a kind.
His freckled coat is set off by a pair of soft furry brown ears that are just begging to be scratched, and his facial expression screams "Take me home and love me."
Two For The Price Of One
If you ever wanted to have two cats but could only afford to feed one, here is the perfect solution. This fabulous feline carries her very own buddy around with her. The unusual markings on this lady's fur are a pure fluke, but doesn't she look adorable with her little black cat friend on her back?
None of her littermates nor her mom or dad had this type of marking; it looks like she was the only one fortunate to have a constant companion. At least she will never be lonely. Anybody lucky enough to own this cat would never want to put her down.
Half The Color, Twice The Impact
Peacocks are almost always magnificent to look at, except when they are running after you. Then, not so much. This rare bird is another example of a leucistic animal. In the case of our feathered friend, it has left him predominately white with a few splashes of his trademark colors splashed on his body and tail.
The reason you see so few leucistic animals is that it is a genetic trait and in the wild, these animals were more easy to spot and were, therefore, more likely to be hunted down for food. Luckily, these days, they are usually caught and protected by caring people, and that allows us to see the beauty of the leucistic animal.
Up until now, everyone's favorite penguin has probably been a particular animated bird who sang and danced his way through a hit children's movie. Delightful though he was, he can't hold a candle to this fluffy fur baby. At home all the way down in Antarctica, this Emperor Penguin is destined to grow into a beautiful example of the biggest and heaviest penguin species on the planet.
Unfortunately, she is likely to lose her beautiful heart as she grows, and her soft downy fluff is replaced by adult feathers. However, for now, we can enjoy her picture and aww 'till our heart's content.
No, My Ears Are Real
A cat with cat ears - isn't that every cat? Well, kind of, but this particular cat has taken a step further, went to Etsy and bought herself a pair of black cat ears on a headband. Maybe she is an Ariana Grande fan or a big comic book follower who just loves Catwoman. Who knows?
All I know is that she has the most beautiful green eyes and her quirky headwear just adds an extra layer to a lasagne of loveliness. I also know that any cat owner would be lucky to have this feline friend living in their home.
Is It Movember Yet?
This magnificently mustachioed fur baby has taken his commitment to Movember very seriously. If you are not familiar with this event, it is a commitment to grow a mustache in the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues. It is unclear whether or not this fella is raising awareness for male cats' health problems or the potential health problems of human men.
Either way, he has quite the handlebar mustache growing. I like to imagine him sitting on his owner's lap and twiddling his tiny feline mustache with his paw while practicing his evil purr.
Why Do You Think I Am Cross?
This cat has taken the concept of feline facial hair to the extreme. Not only has he grown an upturned mustache that many human men would envy, but he has also got a whole load of fluffy going on in the eyebrow department, too. That frown is the perfect expression for a cat as they are often complaining about the level of care you give them.
Food, shelter, love, and affection must always be on your moggie's terms, so Mr. Frowny Face here is all set to disapprove like the king of the house he knows himself to be. Just don't tell him we think he is hilarious.
Two In One Bird
This amazing budgerigar is not like any other bird in its family. This beautiful feathered friend is a very rare chimera. Chimeric animals are created when two or more fertilized eggs fuse together and become a single creature. It is like taking two fraternal twins and squishing them together to make one child.
Chimeras have two distinct sets of DNA in their bodies, and this can result in an animal with male and female parts, two different blood types, or a half and half appearance like this budgerigar. It is incredibly rare, and as such we were very lucky to see this beautiful budgerigar in all its glory.
Pass It On
This is one exhausted-looking mama, and you would be looking that tired too if you had just given birth eight times. Having not long given birth to an excellent litter of puppies, here she is posing with one of her little newborns. Not only does momma have an oh so lovely heart shape on her flank, but she has also kindly passed on this quirk to one of her little ones.
Now, hopefully, we can enjoy generations of fluffy, furry cuteness festooned with love hearts. If every heart-marked puppy can give birth to two more marked with hearts soon, we will be overflowing with heart-marked puppy love.
Paws For A Moment
Do you think you can you guess what happened to make this plump little newborn puppy? Maybe he was trodden on by a sibling in the womb, perhaps one of them marked him as a trouble maker, or more likely, but less fun, his paw nose is a delightful fluke. This sleepy-headed pup was completely unaware of the fuss he was causing when this photograph was taken.
He just wanted to snooze the day away. Unfortunately when he grew up, that cute little paw print spread out and merged together to form an absolutely lovely nose, but one without the extra "aww" factor.
This Sausage Looks Funny
Another extremely rare Dachshund, but this one is probably the most unusual of all. This Dachshund is a chimera. The two fertilized eggs that fused had very different types of coat; one was a regular patterned Dachshund, and the other was a dapple. Don't let the sad expression on her face fool you though; this little lady is a bundle of jumping joy.
When she is not sitting pretending to be glum on the sofa, she is bouncing up and down the garden, wagging her tail and rolling onto her back, just begging to have her belly scratched and rubbed.
I Don't Know Why You Are So Interested
Meet Sam, the permanently puzzled white cat who has his own Instagram channel and over 232,000 followers. He also has a Facebook page named SamHasEyeBrows approaching half a million likes. Born in 2012, his Facebook profile says he loves tomatoes and hiding, so you can only begin to imagine what kind of shenanigans he gets up to.
Of course, Sam can get away with absolutely anything he wants because he has the most innocent cat face in the world. How could you believe he had trashed the room when he looked at you with those eyebrows giving him such a puzzled look?
It's My Lucky Number
If you ask someone about their lucky number, a significant proportion of people will say seven. If seven is the most fortunate number, then this must be the luckiest cow in the world. This bovine baby was instantly named "Lucky" due to her not-too-subtle facial markings. Her giant seven was not immediately apparent at her birth.
The next day, when her mom had cleaned her up, and she had wobbled around on her spindly legs, the farmer went out to her stall and lo and behold, Lucky the Cow was staring up at her. It's not known if she still has this cute marking, but we like to imagine she has.
A Butterfly With Two Different Wings
This isn't a taxidermied butterfly that had two separate wings glued together. It was born this way. These butterflies are called bilateral gynandromorphs, an insect that is quite literally half male and half female. Although some researchers suggest that they could be chimeras--two twin embryos that merged into one--this might not be the case. Some butterflies with XX chromosomes will still develop into what looks like an adult male.
As a result, these beauties are usually sterile. However, bilateralism doesn't always look so clear-cut. Sometimes, a portion of one wing, or a single feather on a bird will reveal a bilateral gynandromorph.
Did Someone Spill Their Hair Dye?
This Rottweiler has a condition called vitiligo, where patches of light-colored skin show up. Except, in this case, it came out as patches of white fur. Don't worry; this condition doesn't cause any pain. In fact, some humans live their entire lives with vitiligo. It's a pretty common condition, with over 200,000 diagnoses popping up in the U.S. every year.
Fortunately, the pup doesn't mind one bit. The condition makes him look really cool, and gives him spots for eyebrows. He surely receives a lot of pets on the street from curious dog lovers.
A Pink Dolphin
This rare dolphin was spotted off the coast of Hong Kong. This species of dolphin is called a Chinese white dolphin, or Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin.
Scientists have sampled its DNA in an effort to save the species from extinction, as its very rare to spot one today, making it truly a once in a lifetime experience!
Smells Like Love
Another cute puppy, another cute love heart, another sweet nose, but this mournful looking dog is rocking all three things at once. Even without this unusual marking, this puppy would be tugging at the heart strings, but with the addition of a love heart on the end of his nose, wow, nobody could possibly resist him.
Unlike some of his canine friends on this list, this puppy with the most scratchable ears ever kept the unique nose adornment when it grew. Now she runs around the dog park bouncing back and forth lapping up the attention her lovely nose brings her.
This Little Piggie Stayed At Home
This perky pink piglet is not destined for the frying pan anymore. Being born with the international symbol for love on his flank saved him from being fattened up for market and instead, he is being force-fed love at home. No longer quite such a tiny cutie, this pretty porcine has grown to be as vast as his internet fan base and still wears his love heart with pride.
It is no wonder he was saved from the food chain, as anyone who could cart this little lovely little piggie off to market would have to have a heart of stone.
Living With A Monkey On My Back
Is it a shadow? Is it a painted silhouette? No, it is a cat with a perfectly formed fur monkey on her back. It would appear that she is oblivious to her primate companion, indefinitely hitching a ride on her unknowing back. The owners of this lovely lady were unaware of her shadow creature when she was a kitten.
The extra family member only became apparent when this cat grew to full size and had fluffed out. The unknowing couple even shares the same tail. What a lovely little feline friend with a unique pattern to make everyone smile.
The Emerald Cat Of Bulgaria
Residents of a coastal town in Bulgaria were alarmed when they saw a green cat wandering the streets. Other than its startling emerald green fur, the cat appeared to be healthy and happy. Locals first saw the cat in December of 2014, and many took photos and were in awe of the feline's unique coat. While some thought that vandals may have purposefully spray painted the cat, the truth eventually came out the following year.
Someone discovered that the cat chose to sleep in green paint at a nearby construction site every day, keeping her coat a vibrant emerald color. Weeks later, solid rainfall washed the cat's coat clean of paint, and she began to return to her normal brown and black markings.
Kitler The Cat
The moment Kitler's photo hit the web, the internet went crazy. With a mustache and hair that looks like Hitler, this cat as an immediate sensation. Despite their outward appearance, Kitler's owner says their cat has had no intention to take over the world.
It is actually a friendly cat who just happens to have the outward appearance of a Nazi leader who tried to become the supreme leader of the world. It's yet more proof that a cat's appearance directly dictates their celebrity status on the web.
The Heart Eyes Emoji In Dog Form
You know that heart eyes emoji that everyone keeps using? This pupper has that expression permanently. With this good boy, you'll never have to guess how much he loves you: you can see it in his eyes. By the way, his name is Charlie, and you can find plenty of pictures of Charlie the heart-eyed Dalmation on his Instagram page.
He's also a long-coat Dalmation, which makes him extra fluffy. Scroll through the page if you ever need to cheer up or scrub out an awful internet meme with adorable eye bleach.
He Stepped In Ink
This dog might look like he stepped in a giant vat full of ink, but these markings are natural. The good boy was posted to Imgur with a lot of users commenting that he looked like a fox. Wouldn't you assume that he was a fox if you saw him from far away?
Fortunately, he's just a happy house Shiba who looks like a Pokemon, or a painter pup. Plus, look at his face. He seems so proud, as he should be.
Isn't That Grasshopper Supposed To Be Pink?
Nope, this katydid isn't covered in paint. It's just unusually pink. If you're not familiar with katydids, know that they're usually the same color as grasshoppers (hence their nickname, long-horned grasshoppers). This bug looks pink because of a condition called erythrism. The condition usually stems from a genetic mutation that overproduces red and pink pigments.
Of all animals, katydids are especially likely to develop erythrism. Some scientists believe that it helps them blend in with the reddish leaves that they normally feed on. To us, they might look like a plastic toy, which no predator would want to eat.
Wait, Aren't Zebras Supposed To Have Black Stripes?
This is Zoe, an unusually bright zebra who lived in a private sanctuary in Kona, Hawaii. Most people would just call her a blonde zebra, due to her tan stripes and blue eyes. Although most people label her as albino, researchers seem split on the diagnosis due to the uncertain definition. Most preferred hypopigmentation, which is a rare reduction of melanin.
Unfortunately, Zoe died in August of 2017 after experiencing health problems unrelated to her fur condition. However, she did give birth to a son named Oreo, with normal black and white coloring. Oreo then bred two more foals with Zoe's pretty coloring.
Their Eye Shadow Is On Point
It's rare to spot a husky with spots. Usually, huskies sport full coats of white, grey, black, or brown fur. This adorable puppy is likely a mix and got their big black spots from another breed. What really catches the eye, tough, are the dogs' eyes. They can pull off some serious eyeliner.
This puppy made KISS makeup look pettable. Like a smoky eye look on the cover of Vogue, this pup peers straight through your soul. Their blue eyes provide the perfect contrast as well. Don't you just want to cuddle with them for hours?
They Look Like Ancient Forest Spirits
Some people may have heard about a single white deer--but a whole herd? How can so many deer turn out albino? Well, the more likely explanation is that they're not albino, but leucistic. Animals with leucism lack pigment all over their bodies. This genetic trait often appears in white-tailed deer. Some of them even turn out to be half-brown, half-white!
Unlike albinism, leucism keeps the deer's eyesight sharp, although they can't camouflage in the woods as well. Still, it's no wonder that hunters who see white deer in forests tell ghost stories about them afterward.
This Frog Is Dressed Up For A Rave
This frog looks like it's glowing! If you haven't seen it until now, that's because this species wasn't discovered until 2007. This genus Atelopus hops around South America's country of Suriname. And, no, it's not the same species as the bright-colored dart frogs, although it still could be poisonous.
Its black-looking color is actually a deep aubergine, the reddish-brown color of eggplants. Sadly, this pretty frog is threatened by illegal gold mining. It is quite the beauty to behold, however. It looks like it could illuminate a stadium.
"Got milk?" the cow asks. They are perpetually confused. You can tell by the question mark fur pattern that pops up on their head like a comic. In reality, there's no genetic condition or cause for this cow's fur pattern. It's just a coincidence that our minds register as a punctuation mark. Still, it's pretty funny. Should we end this description with more questions in honor of the cow?
How do you think the cow feels? Are you confused just looking at them? They're pretty cute, right? Is there nothing here to feel confused about?
Uh, The Banana Is Squacking
Most people are used to seeing the blue, green, red, and yellow macaw parrots. But a completely yellow macaw? This bird has xanthochromism, which creates unusually high yellow pigmentation along with low red pigmentation. Other species, such as horned toads, have been recorded to have this condition too. But birds have it most often. Researchers even assign xanthochromist birds their own label: Lutinos.
This lutino macaw looks gorgeous, even if they do seem banana-like. Unlike albino and leucistic birds, lutinos macaws are less likely to be picked out as "unusual," because they commonly have yellow feathers anyway.
What Kind Of Lab Is He?
Dog lovers know that there are three color variations for Labradors: chocolate, black, and yellow. So which one is this good boy? He's a half-black, half-yellow Lab. This puppy is a chimera, and not the lion-headed, snake-tailed monster that's in Greek mythology. Scientifically, chimeras are genetic anomalies where animals build cells from two different cell lines.
In this case, this dog contains the embryos of both a black Lab and a yellow Lab. If you can't decide which kind of Labrador you want, consider adopting a chimera. They're just as adorable and happy to meet you!
One Shiny Snake
You've probably seen silver snake jewelry, but not an actual silver snake. This new species of silver boa was discovered in 2016 on the Conception Island in the Bahamas. Unfortunately, these snakes coexist with feral cats that were came onto the island through foreign visitors. Now, Conception Island silver boas are a critically endangered species.
Although we'll always have our silver snake rings, necklaces and bracelets, researchers are fighting to keep our living silver snakes slithering. Even if you don't like snakes, you have to admit that this species is beautiful and one-of-a-kind.
This Time, The White Owl Is The Average One
Throughout this article, you've seen a lot of leucistic animals. But have you wondered what the opposite of leucism is? It's melanism, a development of unusual dark-colored pigment. It's the same condition that turns jaguars and squirrels black. This barn owl has melanism, which makes them look like an entirely different species that the average white-and-tan colored buddy sitting in the foreground.
Specifically, this owl may have pseudo-melanism, which creates a variety of pigments that make the owl look melanistic. Onlookers may not realize that this owl is any different without seeing their buddy right next to them.
Stripes, Or Spots?
This zebra is another example of melanism. Pseudo-melanistic zebras have such dark fur that patches of their coat can appear spotted instead of stripped. It may appear weird to us, but this fur coloring, fortunately, helps them blend in. In addition, those brown patches in the zebra's white space come with the melanism.
Without the tiny patches of stripes, most people might have mistaken this zebra for a donkey. Some melanistic zebras come out almost entirely black, like a foal who was born in the Okavango Delta in 2014. It's a lot more common than many people assume.
This Cheetah Has Freckles Instead Of Spots
When most people imagine cheetahs, they picture the big cat's signature polka-dotted coat. But this cheetah, spotted by photographer Guy Combes in 2012, has hardly any spots. It looks like the Kenya cat has freckles at most. Researchers believe that a recessive gene caused a lack of spots. Unlike other animals with unusual fur colors, this mutation works for the cheetah, because other animals will mistake it for a lion.
While rare, this cheetah is incredibly beautiful. Would you have even guessed that this was a cheetah if we hadn't named the species for you?
A "Strawberry" Leopard
More than one unusually-colored big cat hit the news in 2012. This pink-hued leopard was labeled a "strawberry leopard" by National Geographic. Like other animals with odd fur patterns, this leopard's coat resulted from a genetic mutation, in this case erythrism. But this mutation usually appears in raccoons and coyotes--rarely ever in big cats.
Researchers confirm that this pink kitty will still be able to hunt and camouflage relatively well. And, no matter how much this cat looks like a stuffed animal, don't cuddle up next to them. They're a trained hunter. A pink, strawberry-hued, vicious hunter.
Even Stranger Than A White Deer
You've already seen white deer in this article, and chances are you've seen regular brown deer in photographs. But how about a fawn that's in between? These deer are piebald, a recessive genetic trait that causes white fur to spread across white-tailed deer. In severe cases, this condition can cause dwarfism or twisted limbs, because the gene that controls coat color manipulates other physical traits. That isn't the case with this deer, though.
This adorable fawn is named Dragon, and he was abandoned by his mother once she noticed that his fur coat would limit his chances of survival. Fortunately, he's still frolicking happily on Kent County Farm!
Look! A Panda Dolphin!
Piebaldism coloring can also appear in other species as well, including marine life. These are a species of dolphin called Commerson's dolphin, also known as skunk dolphin, piebald dolphin, and panda dolphin. You can find them jumping through the waves of South America. These dolphins have no genetic mutations and are considered common, but they're fascinating to see.
You can distinguish the gender based on the black spots on their bellies. Males have a teardrop-shaped spot; females have a rounded spot on their bellies. Some aquariums display these beautiful dolphins.