Animal comedy capitalises on the usual grace of the natural world and the inherent humour of slapstick. Since animals can’t do stand-up routines, we rely on their occasional anthropomorphics and blunders to get a laugh. Here are some of the winners of this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards, which honour photographers who manage to capture some of that hilarity on camera. (First photo may be a little NSFW, depending on your workplace.)
Photographer Ken Jensen captured this display of aggression by a golden silk monkey in Yunnan China. Animals: just as weird as humans sometimes.
“Ninja Prairie Dog”
Arthur Trevino captured this battle of nerves, which had a surprising ending. “When this Bald Eagle missed on its attempt to grab this prairie dog, the prairie dog jumped towards the eagle and startled it long enough to escape to a nearby burrow,” Trevino said. “A real David vs Goliath story!”
“I Guess Summer’s Over!”
John Speirs captured this pigeon getting smacked in the face by a leaf in Scotland. We all can relate to that creeping — and sometimes flying — feeling that the long nights and cold weather are on the way.
“Time for School”
Is there any more irksome feeling than being woken up by your parent and rushed out the door? That experience, albeit among smooth-coated otters instead of humans, was captured by photographer Chee Kee Teo. A mother otter hauls her pup out of the water by the nape of its neck, surely on to some important otter business.
“The Joys of a Mud Bath”
In a freeze frame, it looks like this young elephant took a tumble. Actually, the pachyderm was doing an intentional face-plant to get lathered in lovely red-orange mud in Matusadona Park, Zimbabwe.
“Majestic and Graceful Bald Eagle”
I want to fly like an eagle… into a tree. David Eppley captured this bald eagle in a rare moment of miscalculation. “This particular Bald Eagle wasn’t showing its best form,” Eppley said. “Yes, sometimes they miss.” Though the bird recovered and continued on its way, this photo will live on for eternity, which we’re all grateful for.
“See Who Jumps High”
Credit to mudskippers, who despite their habitat manage to look positively gorgeous in a freeze-frame. In this photo, two amphibious fish appear to watch a third jump. The animals absorb oxygen through the lining in their mouth and throat, but we can appreciate that in this photo it looks as though everyone’s in awe of their friend’s airtime.
This proboscis monkey is either scratching its nose or really, really loves that tree. Jakub Hodan caught this embrace between a large-nosed proboscis monkey and the tree on which it perched. “Who are we to judge,” Hodan reasonably inquires.
“How Do You Get That Damn Window Open?”
Raccoons are usually quite skilled at breaking in to bins, attics, and traps, so it’s a little jarring to see one having such a hard time with an ordinary window. But such is the case for this frustrated fellow, who stretches spread-eagle across the screen. Its mischief will have to wait for another day.
The bear seemingly attempting to hide behind a tree half as wide as itself was actually clambering down. Caught in a freeze-frame, you can see just one eye of the ursid, as if the animal is trying to discretely check if that weird human is still watching.
“I got you”
Roland Kranitz caught two gophers goofing around. The gopher at right is doing some sort of somersault while another — frankly too close to the stunt for comfort — looks on.