It’s common to argue over whether puppies or kittens are cuter, but what about wild animals? They certainly deserve some love too.
Meet seven of the cutest undomesticated animals you’ll ever see, all hailing from the cold upper reaches of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido.
From fluffy carnivores to a genuine Pikachu lookalike, these little critters will melt your heart!
The adorable Ezo Momonga is a type of flying squirrel endemic to the area.
It’s small enough to sit in the palm of your hand, it eats with tiny hands while looking at you with gorgeous, enormous eyes and it FLIES.
Also persevering through the cold winters alongside the flying squirrel is the Ezo Fukuro, Hokkaido’s resident owl species.
Ezo, Hokkaido’s historical name, is commonly applied to native birds and animals in the area. This owl blends in so perfectly with its surroundings it becomes one with the trees.
Ezo Naki Usagi
And now to what many see as the inspiration for Pikachu. The Ezo Naki Usagi, the Hokkaido Crying Rabbit, belongs to a family of mammals known as Pika. No, seriously.
The tiny, mouse-like rabbit collects greenery throughout the warmer months, storing it in rocky crevices to feast on once the snow sets in.
Hokkaido Red Fox
Next up we have Hokkaido’s red fox. Don’t be fooled by that smouldering stare, though…
It looks practically as cute as a kitten!
The Ezo Risu, a breed of squirrel, is another contender for cute wild animal of the year.
The Hokkaido red squirrel occupies most of its time foraging for nuts and berries.
The Shima-Enaga is a type of long-tailed tit that lives only in Hokkaido. Unlike the Northern long-tailed tits in the rest of Japan, this one doesn’t have brown “eyebrows” – its face is completely white.
Last but definitely not least we have the Iizuna, an adorably fluffy, snow-white Least Weasel.
With a head as wide as its neck, this gorgeous animal can often be found peering gracefully over mounds of snow.
Although they’re cute, encounters with these beauties are fleeting as their snowy whiteness and incredible speed means they’re likely to disappear as soon as they’re spotted.