The rains are usually a precursor for the birthing season. Within a few weeks, Kaingo is filled with the baying and booing of little baby animals of all descriptions and sizes. It is true that not all animals will drop their young at the same time – Mother nature has its own ideas on timing – but you can see a definite increase in the numbers of little ones in November, December, and January.
Allow me to introduce you to some of my own, and totally bias, favorite babies. This list is by no means complete and we would love to hear from our readers whom they would put down as the cutest babies...humans excluded...
First on our list is the Tsesebe.
Now look; neither Mom or Dad will win any beauty contests anytime soon, but they do make a striking baby! Born at about 12 kg in weight, the little calf (the progeny of a tsesebe bull and tsesebe cow) is probably the most uncoordinated little creature around just after birth. Falling over its own mile-long legs, struggling upright and eventually getting even footing to suckle and move off with mom. This little guy will, however, be able to move with alarming speed a day or two after birth.
Cuteness factor: 6/10
Next on my list of favorite babies are the zebra.
Show me the nature lover that does not love a zebra! Now make that zebra a few inches shorter, add a bit of fluff, and you have one of the most photogenic babes in the animal kingdom. They tend to be a bit timid though. The mare will hide her 35kg foal from view as soon as perceived danger approaches. Catch them in an unguarded moment and they will frolic and kick around for hours on end! It is then when the child models of the bush come to their own.
Cuteness factor: 5/10
Now for one of the larger babies.
A giraffe calf is born at a massive 102kg. It stands 1.5m tall. And the mother stands, back legs bent, for the delivery. This means that the poor giraffe falls from a dazzling height protected only by the birth sack that raptures on impact with the ground. Talk of a rude awakening! Soon the baby will stand on its wobbly legs, looking for the all-important first drink of mother's milk. This milk, the colostrum, is chock-a-block with the essential nutrients, minerals and immunity boosting richness needed for the little ones first few hours.
Cuteness factor: 8/10 - For the bungee jump into life!
Impala babies. Legs that seem too long for their compact bodies.
Impala lambs are born with a weight of about 5kg. That seems to be quite heavy if you think that the average human baby weighs 3.3kg. An impala baby is well developed at birth and will be able to walk and run within a day after birth, the human only at 14 to 15 months old! The only problem is that they don't quite know how to stop yet
Baby impala on a mission to test their legs often fall as a mechanism to stop, choosing a likely tuft of grass to crash into. Strangely, few injuries occur, and within a few days, they do develop an effective brake mechanism. A creche of impala lambs running amok around their watchful mothers is one of Nature's best-loved spectacles.
Therefore, I will give the Impala a cuteness factor of 8.5/10
Unlike the rest of the mammals on this list, the final one’s mother can only be described as... uhm...
Warthog mothers and fathers can never be classified as good looking. Regal maybe. interesting, certainly. But good looking? Their babies, however, break the mould and this list wide open! Warthog piglets, bouncing after mom, tails erect in single file, epitomize the word cute. They are very playful too, bouncing up and down, and chasing each other until the sow intervenes and calls her brood to order.
Oh, and they are smart too! It is almost as if nature apologized for their lack of physical beauty by giving them brains! From a young age, little warthogs will display a marked intellect in imitating their mothers and figuring out how their own bodies work, from their shovel-like noses to their bone hard heads.
WINNER: I have no option but to crown the humble warthog baby number one on my list!