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12 Cute Animals to Watch in 2012 [VIDEOS]

Maureen Lunn/Brisbane Falling/TheFutureIsUnwritten/Praziquantel/Crazy Creatures/likeaduck, Flickr

Admit it: at some point, you've been baited into the time-suck that is watching adorable cat videos on YouTube like a kitten to a ball of yarn. We've all been there. Well, my gato-gawking friends, TheFW is here to tell you that cute kitties are SO last year. To help you achieve entirely unparalleled levels of procrastination and avoidance at work, here is a menagerie of animals we think will be worth watching in 2012. Cue the theme to 'Wild Kingdom,' because here are 12 animals that could be the next “cats.”

 
1

Owls

 

 
Sure, the 'Harry Potter' movies are all wrapped up (SPOILER ALERT: Hedwig dies!!) but that doesn’t mean owls are not still chic. From jewelry to bands (Owl City) to films (those crazy 'Guardians of Ga'hoole' are getting a sequel!) these birds are wise enough to keep their talons on the pulse of pop culture.

 

2

Porcupines

 

 
These spiny rodents have gotten a bad rap for being, well, prickly with others. Not to be confused with hedgehogs, which have enjoyed more widespread social acceptance, (we’re looking at you, Sonic!) porcupines have yet to find an ambassador with the ability to withhold its pointed barbs in public. 2012 could change all that, thanks to the adorable (and vocal) viral video star Teddy the porcupine. He's less a porcupine, and more a porcu-puppy.

 

3

Honey Badgers

 

 
Arguably, the honey badger has been trending since the original video of the crazy little guy gnawing on a snake surfaced in 2007. However, thanks to Randall's hilarious narration that swept lists of the best viral videos of 2011, it's safe to say we haven't seen the last of the nasty-a$ fellow.

 

4

Sloths

 

 
Slow-moving, strange-looking and surprisingly adorable, sloths are basically the animal equivalent of 'Double Rainbow.' Baby sloths are EVERYWHERE right now thanks to YouTube videos and the trailer (below) for an upcoming documentary about Slothville, an orphanage for baby sloths in Costa Rica. Yes, a SLOTH ORPHANAGE. If they can watch the claws, sloths have major buzz for 2012.

 

5

Rabbits

 

 
Here comes Peter Cottontail, hoppin' into…your shower?! Yep, rabbits have always had the “cute” market cornered. Now, they're making bunny tracks toward “funny,” “odd,” and “our spinster aunt just forwarded this to the whole family.” Somewhere, Beatrix Potter is laughing her cottontail off.

 

6

Parrots

 

 
Parrots. Are. Hilarious. Our rainbow-feathered friends are the Will Ferrell of the animal kingdom. They sing, they dance. They’re great with physical comedy (i.e. they look really funny doing stuff.) And like this handsome fellow, they easily become cute pals with dogs and cats.

 

7

Goats

 

 
Either via a childhood petting zoo field trip or somebody's hippie aunt, chances are we've all had a run-in with a goat at some point. Whether head-butting, bleating like a man or faux-fainting in terror, goats are inherently giggle-inducing. Check out this goat catching a ride from a tortoise pal (an animal who nearly made the cut) below.

 

8

Lemurs

 

 
Crazy, cute and just the slightest bit creepy, these primates have made some previous forays into pop culture (King Julien from the 'Madagascar' films and Zoboo from the PBS Kids series 'Zaboomafoo' come to mind). And with on-camera charisma like this, we think it's only a matter of time until lemurs take over the world.

 

9

Baby Elephants

 

 
So adorable, Henry Mancini gave them their own theme song. What else can we say, but gesundheit?!

 

10

Foxes

 

 
Sly as a fox. Crazy like a fox. Megan Fox. These sleek canine-cousins have long been sniffed out as being an “it” species. Gorgeous and clever, (especially when voiced by George Clooney and Meryl Streep) foxes also occasionally like to cut loose and have a good back yard bounce on a trampoline.

 

11

Chameleons

 

 
Why aren't chameleons as popular as geckos? This little chameleon who is terrified of his owner's iPhone could easily replace that annoying Geico spokes-lizard who has a British accent for some reason. Android should snatch him up now before the changes color and decides he's suddenly into iPads or something.

 

12

Squirrels

 

 
Affectionately known as “tree rats” in some parts of the world, squirrels represent a delicate balance of fluffy cuteness and disease-carrying rodent. Awww, but just look at this one. He has the hiccups! Rocky and Bullwinkle rise again!

 

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