You may recall last year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, in which squished monkey balls took the top prize. Now, the storied competition is back with a new slate of comedic characters. Coming by land, by sea, and even through the air, the expressive animals in the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards show how amusing life on Earth can be. Congrats to all the finalists here.
A red squirrel leaps through the air during a rainstorm. Frozen in time, it looks as if it’s waterbending.
“What shall I write next”
“Most bear cubs do cub-like things. Like, follow mum around, nurse, and be generally cute. But this cub took it to another level of cuteness. She found an eagle feather and started to play with it for a good 10 minutes,” said photographer Torie Hilley. “As she danced and rolled with the feather, she held it in her mouth for a moment – as if she was thinking of what to write next! Cuteness overload!”
“I was going to see and photograph this eastern screech owl nest in a local park in Florida. One morning, a few days before the two owlets fledged, one owlet tried to squeeze into the nest hole with Mum, maybe to see the outside world for the first time. It was hilarious and I was glad I was there that morning to photograph it. The moment lasted only a few seconds as Mum didn’t seem very happy with the arrangement. Check out the expression on her face,” said photographer Mark Schocken.
“Talk To The Fin!”
“This was shot on the Falkland Islands,” said photographer Jennifer Hadley. “These two gentoo penguins were hanging out on the beach when one shook himself off and gave his mate the snub.”
“It’s all kicking off!”
This shot in Cape Hillsborough, Australia, shows two wallabies play fighting. The photo makes it look as if one wallaby is simply standing on the chest of the other, defying gravity, when it’s really delivering a kick to the other animal’s chest.
“Stop and stare”
“After hearing Borneo’s borders would reopen again in April 2022 I couldn’t wait to visit and photograph some of the weird and wonderful wildlife on the island,” said photographer Andy Evans. “After 2 years with no tourists it seemed like the wildlife was just as shocked to see me as I was to see them. This young proboscis monkey watched in amazement as I cruised by on the Kinabatangan river.”
“What do you mean smile?! I am smiling!”
“I spent a whole morning with this lion pride,” said photographer Alison Buttigieg. “One of the lionesses made some funny facial expressions after yawning, luckily for me she looked straight into the camera for a moment and I caught this fake smile.”
This shot captures a fox in California winking at the photographer. What the wink is about? I don’t speak fox.
This beleaguered-looking raccoon was caught waving on a Florida beach.
Triggerfish, you’ll notice, have teeth. The aggressive animals are known to bite divers — and though they didn’t take a piece out of the photographer who captured this shot, they did scratch some of his equipment.
“Monkey Wellness Centre”
One monkey here is in total relaxation, while its compatriot checks in.
“Pegasus, the flying horse.”
A crane attacking a bull from behind in India. From the photographer’s perspective, it looks like the bull has wings.
“Not so cat-like reflexes”
“This 3 month old cub and his sibling were in a tree. The other lionesses were in other trees and on the ground. He wanted to get down and walked all over the branches looking for the right spot and finally just went for it. It was probably his first time in a tree and his descent didn’t go so well. He was just fine though after landing on the ground. He got up and ran off with some other cubs,” wrote Jennifer Hadley, the photographer.
A monkey in Abha, Saudi Arabia, can’t help but smirk at the camera.
“A zebra does a great impression of the 80’s children’s game Buck-a-roo,” said photographer Vince Burton. “It also looks like it’s been fart-powered.”
An emperor penguin chick flails its wings on the continent’s icy coast.
“I’m gonna strangle you!”
“I was following a group of meerkats on foot in the Kalahari Trails Game Reserve, in South Africa. Most individuals, including adults, were in a playful mood. It gave me a unique opportunity to capture very interesting and dynamic interactions between some members of the group. In the photo that I have selected, there is no aggression between individuals, but rather an interaction that reminds us of humans when one of your friends jokes about you and you pretend to strangle them and, in response, they open their mouth like a simpleton,” said photographer Emmanuel Do Linh San.
“Can I borrow honey from you until tomorrow?”
A bear peeks at the photographer from behind a tree in Martinselkonen, Finland.
Two vultures on display in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Their stance allows you too see their pantaloon-like legs in all their feathered glory.
“Excuse Me… Pardon Me!”
“A duckling walking/waddling across a turtle covered log at the Juanita wetlands,” said photographer Ryan Sims. “The duckling fell off after a few turtle crossings, it was cute.”
“These elephant seal weaners were practicing their jousting skills for many minutes before they collapsed in exhaustion,” said photographer Andrew Peacock. “One looks to be resting far more comfortably than the other!”
“I CU boy !”
A spotted owlet winks at a photographer in Bikaner, India.
“The swan was in the middle of a fight with another swan, chasing him around on a frozen lake,” said photographer Bojan Bencic.
“Three headed (‘Kerberos’)”
Three bear cubs sit close together. They appear to be one creature, evoking images of Cerberus, the mythical three-headed dog that guarded the entrance to the Greek underworld.
“Your Picnic’s Mine!”
“Armed with dagger-like claws and often being territorial and aggressive towards intruders, cassowaries command respect and most people keep a safe distance from them,” said photographer Lincoln Macgregor. “I spent several days photographing and documenting their behaviour at Etty Bay, where these wild birds regularly come into contact with humans and have become comfortable approaching people. Picnickers in this area often inadvertently attract these birds with food, however human food can have a negative effect on their health.”
“Rushing Little owl fledgeling”
A gangly owl runs across the ground in Israel. A majestic animal in the air, the photographer managed to capture an awkward moment for the bird.
Moose are awesome creatures; seeing its teeth is somewhat jarring. Is it funny… or menacing?
“Misleading African viewpoints 2”
A hippo yawning next to a heron. From the photographer’s perspective, it looks as though the bird is about to be a goner.
“I jump instead of flying”
A screech owl hops from branch to branch. “He was a bit lazy,” said photographer Tímea Ambrus.
“Do You Have a Moment to Talk About Our Lord and Saviour, T-Rex?”
Two black-headed gulls bickering over territory. One appears to be caught off-guard by the arrival of the other.
For whom is this image a comedy? Certainly not the mother macaque, who appears wearied by the long day.
“Curtain Call II”
The body position of this bear cub is similar to an actor bidding adieu to their fervent fans. The stick in its mouth shows that the observer is hardly the cub’s top priority.
A squirrel appears startled by the presence of the photographer. It contorts itself towards the frame, to see what all the bother is.
“You can’t see me, can you?”
An owl peeks out from the ruins of a chimney in Bulgaria. It seems to be scowling at the intrusion.
A bear cub appears to be in bliss, deeply breathing in the scent of the wildflowers in Finland.
“The Guillemots were arriving with fish for their young and seemed to just dive into the middle of the horde of young ones,” said photographer Corinne Kozok.
“Keep calm and keep your head”
“Two King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) at Volunteer Point in the Falklands. The right hand bird may have an inscrutable expression but it must be wondering where its mate’s head has gone,” said photographer Martin Grace.
A monkey grins as she calls towards her children in Saudi Arabia.
“This salmon decide to punch the bear in the face rather than be lunch,” said photographer John Chaney. Make that salmon 1, bears 99.
The photographer caught this Picasso triggerfish vomiting up the coral it just ingested. Its scattergun method may seem a bit more Jackson Pollock, but we’ll forgive the fish.
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