The animal kingdom is a dynamic place, filled with action, splendor, and drama. But freeze any one moment in time, and creatures’ behavior can become hilarious. These images represent the final shortlist of the 2023 annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards competition. Previous finalists have included a lion colliding with a tree (2022) and a monkey landing in the most unfortunate way on a branch (2021). This year’s selection does not disappoint.
“Everyone Can Fly”
This cute shot of a rather blobby grey seal was snapped on the eastern coast of England. The seal appears to float over the sandy beach as it hustles along.
“Walk Like an Egyptian Goose”
An avocet and an Egyptian goose are seen here on the Royal Society for the Protection of Bird’s Minsmere reserve. The avocet is flying in to scare off the goose, who strayed too close to the former’s chicks.
A young baboon and its mother are spotted here, the baby trying to get away from its mother’s meticulous grooming.
“Oh My, Talk About Poking Your Nose Into Someone Else’s Business”
Safe to say this particular view of giraffes in Namibia’s Onguma Game Reserve speaks for itself.
“Right of Way”
Five surgeonfish seem to freeze in place, yielding the water in front of them to a black tip reef shark off French Polynesia.
“Don’t Look Down”
This Atlantic puffin is seen doing a “reverse Snoopy impression,” in the waters off the United Kingdom’s Farne Islands, in the words of photographer Brian Matthews.
“Just a Kiss”
A chacma baboon on its mother’s back in Kruger National Park looks surprised as it points to its cheek.
“Ready Steady Go”
Another in the mom-and-child trend, this shot of two polar bears on Svalbard shows a mother pushing her offspring into the water.
Similar to one of last year’s finalist images—which showed a lion hitting a tree—this shot shows a lion cub landing awkwardly on a trunk in the Masai Mara.
“Fox With a Cigar”
A grey fox with a stick in its mouth appears to be emulating Churchill.
“Part of Your World”
A fun perspective of a batfish on a dive off the Seychelles.
“Doing the Tango”
These mustangs in Wyoming appear to be dancing with one another. They’re actually fighting, but it’s an amusing standalone shot.
Three King Penguins on Argentina’s Islas Malvinas look like they’re holding hands—erm, fins.
“The Rainforest Dandy”
An apparently sassy monkey in Bali mugs for the camera.
“Picture Me Picture Me”
A bear in Finland seems to insist on getting the photographer’s attention.
“What Nice Teeth You Have”
A painted wolf at Kruger National Park in South Africa gives the camera a toothy grin.
“My friends interpret this scene in two ways,” said photographer Jacek Stankiewicz, in a Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards release. “1. A young naughty kid is arguing with a parent,” or “2. One kid is reporting to the parent that its brother did something wrong: look he has broken the glass in the window.” Whatever the genuine case, it’s a fun exercise in anthropomorphism.
A white grouse looks like it’s ready to be thrown at an unsuspecting passerby. But please don’t.
“I Don’t Know”
A dragonfly in Warta, Poland, appears to shrug with genuine nonchalance.
“Now That’s a Selfie”
A swan peers head-on into the camera on a beach in Poland.
“Air Guitar Roo”
A grey kangaroo looks like he’s practicing air guitar in this shot taken in Perth, Australia.
“Directions Please No I Told You They Went That Way”
An inquest appears to unfold between a trio of Gentoo penguins and a lone chinstrap penguin in Antarctica.
A great grey owl looks pretty over this week in a shot taken in Grand Teton National Park.
A beaver holding a thin strip of fiber in its paws gives the impression of a human being with a bit of dental floss. It helps that the beaver’s teeth are dark orange—they could probably use a floss.
“Singing in the Rain”
A wood pigeon on a post in the UK looks like it’s singing in this shot—taken in a downpour.
“Living the Moment”
A seal off Staten Island, New York, looks like it doesn’t have a care in the world as it basks in the sunlight.
“The Cabaret Bear”
A polar bear holds a stick, as if it’s about to be putting on the Ritz.
A joey pops out from behind another grey kangaroo in Melbourne, Australia.
“Go To Your Room Little Brother”
Birds love to point, apparently. This shot shows two great horned owls in Tierra Verde, Florida. The owl at right seems totally over whatever the left owl keeps hooting about.
A macaque inspects a leaf in Sulawesi, not entirely differently from how many humans scan a newspaper.
A little owl in Wales scowls at the camera.
An otter in Singapore in an Arabesque position.
A leopard leaps off the ground in Masai Mara. “I know it isn’t a bird and technically it does not have the faculty of flight,” said photographer Paul Goldstein, “but, you cannot fault this leopard’s effort to get airborne.”
“Look at Right Bro”
A macaque appears to be impressed by the deer over its right shoulder, and encourages the viewer to look at the sight. In reality, the monkey was scratching itself. But it’s a great photo.
A lemur appears aghast whatever situation is unfolding before it.
Two bear cubs in Katmai National Park and Reserve in Alaska give each other a hearty handshake.
“The Happy Turtle”
This turtle appears in awe of the dragonfly that landed on its nose, in Israel’s Jezreel Valley.
“Mona Lisa’s Smile”
Is this snowy owl smiling? Or not? Perhaps there’s less thought in its ambiguous expression than the one so delicately crafted by da Vinci, but it’s a humorous sight.
A striated heron in South Africa takes to the water in search of a morsel. The bird caught the fish, but the moment preceding the catch looks like a blooper.
“One For the Family Album”
Three gannets in Yorkshire. File it in with the other awkward family photos.
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