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If you live with a pet of any kind, you’ve probably noticed that animals are flipping hilarious. The same goes for wild creatures spanning the planet. Their antics can dazzle, raise questions, and add some comedy to the pursuit of science.

A lot of the fun, however, rests on interpretation. A photographer might snap a creature in its habitat a certain way or capture an interaction with other members of its species because the scenario struck them as amusing. The viewers then get a second-hand look at the artist’s perspective. But they’ll never know what was running through the subject’s mind at that moment—not until biologists tap into animals’ self-awareness.

While you wait for that Dr. Doolittle breakthrough, check out the finalists of the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. These reptiles, mammals, fish, and birdies are completely meme-worthy and will add some sunshine to your day. Maybe even literally, if you choose to head outdoors and see what silly sights you can spot in your own backyard.

A monkey on a tree looks like it's sitting on a giraffe
Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda. “During a game drive we found a group of monkeys playing around with each other, jumping up and down from a bare branch. It was a joy to watch. After a while I saw a giraffe coming from the right. By the moment it passed the branch, one of the monkeys was on his post to ride the giraffe.” Photo: Dirk-Jan Steehouwer Noordwijk/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2021
Vine snake with mouth open
Pune, India. “Vine snakes are very commonly seen snakes in Western Ghats of India. When approached they show aggression by opening their mouth wide open. Nothing could scare off this beautiful harmless vine snake. I was happy to find it and smiling, and it looks like he was smiling back at me.” Photo: Aditya Kshirsagar/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2021
Three mudskippers jumping
Tainan, Taiwan. “These mudskippers were seeing who can jump the highest.” Photo: Chu han lin/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2021
Close-up of pied starling beak
Randburg, South Africa. “I took this shot while photographing a group of pied starlings perched in a tree at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in South Africa. It perfectly sums up my mood on most Monday mornings.” Photo: Andrew Mayes/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2021
Langur monkeys playing in a group
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, India. “A young langur sways its body to give an impression that it’s dancing.” Photo: Sarosh Lodhi/The Comedy Wildlife Awards 2021
Indian chameleon on the end of a branch
Chennai, India. “This Indian chameleon was captured on camera in the Western Ghats.” Photo: Gurumoorthy K/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2021
Canada gosling peeking out from behind tree
Lee Valley Park, England. “I was photographing a group of Canada goslings for a while when one broke away from the pack. It hid behind the leg of a bench for a few seconds before poking its little head out to say hello.” Photo: Charlie Page/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2021

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