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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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3. Territorio De Zagüates, Costa Rica

@territorio_de_zaguates / Via

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

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

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

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.


11. Llamas and Alpacas at Machu Picchu, Peru

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

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

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

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

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

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

@cmakattack127 / Via

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

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

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.

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.