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Animals

19 Places Animal Lovers Should Visit Before They Die

Swim with pigs, scope out sloths, watch seal pups play, and more.

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1. Exuma, Bahamas

The swimming pigs are located off of Big Major Cay. You may recognize them from Pitbull and Ke$ha's "Timber" video. Learn more here.
Norm Lanier / Via Flickr: cdorobek

The swimming pigs are located off of Big Major Cay. You may recognize them from Pitbull and Ke$ha's "Timber" video.

Learn more here.

2. Nara, Japan

Tourists can en-deer themselves to the roughly 1,200 sika deer in Nara (both Nara Park and the surrounding city) by feeding them locally available "deer crackers."Learn more here.
hslo / Via Flickr: hslo

Tourists can en-deer themselves to the roughly 1,200 sika deer in Nara (both Nara Park and the surrounding city) by feeding them locally available "deer crackers."

Learn more here.

3. Territorio De Zagüates, Costa Rica

This giant no-kill shelter is home to hundreds of dogs, who spend their days roaming the incredibly scenic property. Members of the public are occasionally let onto the grounds to help socialize the pups.Learn more here.
@territorio_de_zaguates / Via instagram.com

This giant no-kill shelter is home to hundreds of dogs, who spend their days roaming the incredibly scenic property. Members of the public are occasionally let onto the grounds to help socialize the pups.

Learn more here.

4. Ponies on Assateague Island

Hundreds of wild ponies roam this island off the Delaware coast. Each July, roughly 40,000 people flock to the area to watch its annual Pony Swim, in which about 150 ponies are guided across the water to nearby Chincoteague Island for an auction that keeps their numbers manageable.Learn more here.
Mrs. Gemstone / Via Flickr: gemstone

Hundreds of wild ponies roam this island off the Delaware coast. Each July, roughly 40,000 people flock to the area to watch its annual Pony Swim, in which about 150 ponies are guided across the water to nearby Chincoteague Island for an auction that keeps their numbers manageable.

Learn more here.

5. Penguins at Boulders Beach, South Africa

This beach near Simon's Town is home to a colony of "jackass penguins," named as such because of the braying sounds they make. They're awfully adorable to look at, though.Learn more here.
wagga_caro / Via Flickr: 74205684@N00

This beach near Simon's Town is home to a colony of "jackass penguins," named as such because of the braying sounds they make. They're awfully adorable to look at, though.

Learn more here.

6. Coati at Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

These raccoon relatives roam the falls in packs, hoping to mooch off tourist food. But unlike the deer in Nara, they shouldn't actually be fed — they're cute as hell from a distance, but not in the process of biting you.Learn more here.
empty007 / Via Flickr: empty007

These raccoon relatives roam the falls in packs, hoping to mooch off tourist food. But unlike the deer in Nara, they shouldn't actually be fed — they're cute as hell from a distance, but not in the process of biting you.

Learn more here.

7. Quokkas on Rottnest Island, Australia

This island off Western Australia is home to the quokka — a marsupial you may not be familiar with if you're a foreigner, but which just might be the happiest animal on Earth.Learn more here.
Beth / Via Flickr: drbethsnow

This island off Western Australia is home to the quokka — a marsupial you may not be familiar with if you're a foreigner, but which just might be the happiest animal on Earth.

Learn more here.

8. Sloths and Monkeys in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Does that sign not say it all? Manuel Antonio National Park is one of several places in the area to see sloths and monkeys in their natural habitat.Learn more here.
Marissa Strniste / Via Flickr: mstrniste

Does that sign not say it all? Manuel Antonio National Park is one of several places in the area to see sloths and monkeys in their natural habitat.

Learn more here.

9. Seal Pups at Oahu Waterfall, New Zealand

Every July and August, pups gather to play at this waterfall inside the Ohau Point Fur Seal Sanctuary. Just look at them splashing around!Learn more here.
Shellie / Via Flickr: flyingkiwigirl

Every July and August, pups gather to play at this waterfall inside the Ohau Point Fur Seal Sanctuary. Just look at them splashing around!

Learn more here.

10. Ōkunoshima, Japan

This island is often called Usagi Shima or "Rabbit Island," due to the hundreds of rabbits who roam it looking for visitors with food.Learn more here.
Rachel Lovinger / Via Flickr: mirka23

This island is often called Usagi Shima or "Rabbit Island," due to the hundreds of rabbits who roam it looking for visitors with food.

Learn more here.

11. Llamas and Alpacas at Machu Picchu, Peru

Obviously llamas and alpacas aren't the main reason travelers flock to Machu Picchu, but they're no drawback, either. Here's how to tell the difference between them.Learn more here.
Maximilian W. Schäfer / Via Flickr: satzmeister

Obviously llamas and alpacas aren't the main reason travelers flock to Machu Picchu, but they're no drawback, either. Here's how to tell the difference between them.

Learn more here.

12. Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan

The large population of Japanese macaques residing in this park can be seen gathering around its hot springs in winter, which provide a toasty respite from the cold forests where they make their homes.Learn more here.
David McKelvey / Via Flickr: dgmckelvey

The large population of Japanese macaques residing in this park can be seen gathering around its hot springs in winter, which provide a toasty respite from the cold forests where they make their homes.

Learn more here.

13. Rats at Karni Mata Temple, India

This Rajasthan temple is home to 20,000 or so black rats, called "kabbas," that are revered by locals and tourists alike. There are also a few white rats in the mix, which are considered particularly holy.Learn more here.
Koen / Via Flickr: koen_photos

This Rajasthan temple is home to 20,000 or so black rats, called "kabbas," that are revered by locals and tourists alike. There are also a few white rats in the mix, which are considered particularly holy.

Learn more here.

14. Marmots at Glacier National Park, Washington

Yellow-bellied marmots are a popular fixture of this park — one especially precocious critter even went viral in 2014 after taste-testing a GoPro that was recording an epic time lapse video. Some people called the video "ruined"; I beg to differ.Learn more here.
Brian Henderson / Via Flickr: stinkenroboter

Yellow-bellied marmots are a popular fixture of this park — one especially precocious critter even went viral in 2014 after taste-testing a GoPro that was recording an epic time lapse video. Some people called the video "ruined"; I beg to differ.

Learn more here.

15. Wallabies at Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

Wineglass Bay is inside Freycinet National Park on the Freycinet Peninsula. In addition to the wallabies, which approach visitors without hesitation, the area is home to a number of birds and diverse marine life.Learn more here.
Andrew Cowie / Via Flickr: afcowie

Wineglass Bay is inside Freycinet National Park on the Freycinet Peninsula. In addition to the wallabies, which approach visitors without hesitation, the area is home to a number of birds and diverse marine life.

Learn more here.

16. Seals and Sea Lions at La Jolla Cove, California

This San Diego beach has experienced a growing pinniped population problem over the past few years, but cautious tourists may still find it worth dropping by for the afternoon.Learn more here.
jpellgen / Via Flickr: jpellgen

This San Diego beach has experienced a growing pinniped population problem over the past few years, but cautious tourists may still find it worth dropping by for the afternoon.

Learn more here.

17. Zao Fox Village, Japan

Have you realized yet that Japan is the land of cute creatures? Visitors can buy food to get in good with the six species of foxes living in this preserve, though they'e discouraged from actual hand-feeding.Learn more here.
@cmakattack127 / Via instagram.com

Have you realized yet that Japan is the land of cute creatures? Visitors can buy food to get in good with the six species of foxes living in this preserve, though they'e discouraged from actual hand-feeding.

Learn more here.

18. Puffins on the Dyrholaey Peninsula, Iceland

Visit this spot at Iceland's southern end during the summer for puffins and gorgeous sea views. Just watch out for arctic tern nests along the way — those birds can get pretty aggressive.Learn more here.
Marco Bellucci / Via Flickr: marcobellucci

Visit this spot at Iceland's southern end during the summer for puffins and gorgeous sea views. Just watch out for arctic tern nests along the way — those birds can get pretty aggressive.

Learn more here.

19. Cats on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

This island is home to hundreds of stray (yet apparently thoroughly sociable) cats. Pet them on the beach, on the street, while eating lunch... the fuzzy possibilities are endless.Learn more here.
Kent MacElwee / Via Flickr: kmacelwee

This island is home to hundreds of stray (yet apparently thoroughly sociable) cats. Pet them on the beach, on the street, while eating lunch... the fuzzy possibilities are endless.

Learn more here.

Have fun hangin' out!

Note: While these places are great to see animals, visitors should be respectful and cautious. Unless informed otherwise at the attraction, keep an appropriate distance from wild animals and don't feed them, no matter how freakin' cute they are.

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