30 Most Beautiful Animals on the Planet
Animals may have different criteria than humans do when it comes to beauty. This doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate it and all the ways it’s expressed. The beauty of animals has long influenced fashion, design and art, and it’s easy to see why, with their vibrantly colored feathers, unique markings and stunning facial features.
Nature didn’t just make animals beautiful to look good; it goes deeper than that. What we see as simply pretty fur might be a survival technique. Often it’s the animal’s fur or coloring that helps them hide from predators by blending into the landscape.
Here are some animals we think are beautiful. Some may fit the traditional beauty standards and others may not, but all have something undeniably attractive.
Height: 15-17 hands
Weight: 900-1100 pounds
Lifespan: 25 years
Bottom line: You only need to see an Andalusian horse once to know why they’re considered beautiful — it’s their elegance, power and fierceness. Their magnificence is often on display at equestrian events. Andalusian horses aren’t short on ability and talent either, as they’re masterful at jumping, dancing and athletic challenges. These beauties are the personification of grace under fire. They can stay calm while being charged by an angry bull and wait until the last minute to step aside.
Height: 9-12 inches
Weight: 7-21 pounds (male), 3-7 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 3-6 years
Bottom line: How do Arctic foxes manage to keep warm and still look stylish? It’s their snowy fur. This luxurious coat covers their entire head and often changes colors with the seasons. One of the Arctic fox’s most striking features is its yellow and orange eyes. Other identifying features include big ears, short muzzles, long bushy tails and furry toes. Sadly, their beautiful white coats, which help them camouflage in the snow, make them desirable for those looking to make a buck in the fur trade.
Height: Up to 4 feet in length
Weight: 25-40 pounds
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Bottom line: You may be tempted to pet these beautiful cats, but stay away. Caracals have super sharp claws and will kill anything they catch, even if their prey is twice their size. One of their most striking physical attributes is the long tufts or tassels of black fur at the tip of their already long ears.
Height: 2-3 feet
Weight: 75-140 pounds
Lifespan: 12 years
Bottom line: Cheetahs aren’t only one of the most beautiful of the big cats; they’re the fastest land animal. They have a slim runner’s body with a narrow waist and long legs. Their undercoat ranges in color from light-brownish to deep gold, making it the perfect base to set off the pattern of solid black spots cheetahs are known for having. Their extraordinary black tear stripes, which go from their eyes to their mouth, protect them from the sun’s glare by attracting the sun away from their pupils.
Height: 2.5-3.5 feet
Weight: 26-71 pounds
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Bottom line: Eurasian lynxes have an air of mystery, which adds to their beauty. They’re nocturnal, so seeing one is a rare occurrence. They’re medium to large with long legs and an athletic build. Their sizable paws, bobbed tails and tufted ears are recognizable attributes. Like any fashionista, the texture and color of their coats modify according to the season. The winter months call for long, thick coats in silver and yellow-gray, and for a cooler summer look, shorter hair in shades of red or brown is all the rage.
Height: 9-16 inches with a wingspan of 2-3.5 feet
Weight: 1.5-2.6 pounds
Lifespan: 15+ years
Bottom line: Besides being gorgeous birds of prey, falcons are a remarkable feat of natural engineering. They’re super fast due to their aerodynamic torsos and distinctive pointed wings. They see eight times better than humans with their extra eyelids. These eyelids are partially translucent, allowing the falcons to see through the lid while protecting their eyes. Falcons symbolize many things such as light and positive energy, fighting against one’s fears, being ambitious, striving toward one’s goals and freedom.
Height: 15-17 hands
Weight: 1,200-1,400 pounds
Lifespan: 16 years
Bottom line: When you’re watching a movie of the novel “Black Beauty,” there’s a good chance that the horse playing Black Beauty is a Friesian horse. They’re one of the oldest horse breeds in Europe, dating back over 1,000 years. Most Friesians are all black, though occasionally there may be a bay or chestnut one, and they have thick flowing manes and long fur or feathers on their feet. Though they have a dignified bearing, Friesian horses are social, eager to please and intelligent.
Length: 17-22 inches, tails 16-19 inches
Weight: 2-7 pounds
Lifespan: 8 years in the wild, 13-34 years in captivity
Bottom line: While Genets may look like cats, they’re more closely related to mongooses and fossas. Genets have long bodies, extended ringed tails, pointed muzzles and spotted fur. The color of their fur varies from species to species but is often a butter yellow or gray. One distinguishing mark of the Genets is a dark stripe along the spine. They’re solitary animals and look like someone holding onto a secret, making them special and intriguing.
Height: 2.1-2.5 feet
Weight: 80-250 pounds
Lifespan: 8-15 years in the wild, 18-25 in captivity
Bottom line: These gorgeous cats are sometimes mistaken for cougars because of their spots. One way to differentiate between the two is that the jaguar's markings, also called rosettes, have black dots in the middle. Some jaguars are tawny-colored with spots, while others appear almost completely black. Jaguars are larger than cougars, with rounded heads and short legs, and they’re excellent swimmers. It makes sense that jaguars symbolize royalty, intelligence, beauty and strength because they radiate greatness.
Length: 1-2 feet
Weight: 1.2-8.4 pounds
Lifespan: 12-17 years
Bottom line: Leopard cats are often mistaken for Bengal cats or leopard cubs. They’re small wild cats that are the size of a domestic cat but with thinner bodies, proportionately longer legs and webbed toes. Leopard cats stand out because of their markings. Their small head has two eye-catching dark stripes that run from their eyes to their ears and smaller white streaks from their eyes to their nose. Even the backs of their long and rounded ears have distinctive white spots on them.
Height: 3-4 feet
Weight: 280-420 pounds
Lifespan: 8-15 years
Bottom line:Lions may be majestic, but they’re not the "Kings of the Jungle." That's because lions don’t live in the jungle; the plains and grasslands are their stomping grounds. Lions aren’t the largest of the big cats, either, as that distinction goes to the Siberian tiger. Lions have glorious, flowing manes that signal their dominance and good health while protecting their neck and head from injuries received during fights. It’s never a good idea to mess with these fierce beasts.
Height: 1-3 feet
Weight: 2-4 pounds
Lifespan: 35-50+ years
Bottom line: Macaw is generally used when referring to one of the approximately 18 species of large, extremely colorful parrots. For many macaws, their name is based on their appearance. For example, the scarlet macaw has red, yellow and blue feathers and the green wing macaw has a bright-red body with green wings. Both scarlet macaws and green wing macaws are considered two of the most beautiful parrots in the world. When it comes to faithfulness, these birds mate for life.
Length: 5-10 feet
Weight: 176-330 pounds
Lifespan: 8-10 years
Bottom line: The Malayan tiger is one of the rarest of all tigers and is listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. These gorgeous tigers make their home mostly in the tropical forests of Malaysia and Thailand. They look beautiful and majestic with orange fur, black stripes, long whiskers and intense black eyes. They’re more than enlarged house cats but magnificent creatures of the jungle who must be protected so their species won’t die out.
Temperament: Peaceful, reclusive, shy
Length: 2.3-3 inches
Lifespan: 2-3 years in captivity, 10-15 years in the wild
Bottom line: Mandarin fish are lovely and come in various shapes, designs and colors. Some of their shades and colors include purple, green, yellow, orange and greenish-blue with wavy lines and patterns on a solid background. Since Mandarin fish are striking and lack scales, it’s easy to assume they’d be easy prey. However, their skin is coated with mucous and has a disgusting scent to it. Mandarin fish are slimy and smelly, and they taste bad, too. Admire their beauty, but don’t get too close.
Height: 2-3 feet
Weight: 150-280 pounds
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Bottom line: Is there a more charming, delightful and beautiful animal than a panda? With their stub noses, pinchable cheeks and cuddly-looking furry bodies, pandas easily captivate our attention and our hearts. Their walk resembles a toddler who’s beginning to learn how to move by standing on two feet. Pandas like to have fun and enjoy life and are a symbol of positivity. While you might be tempted to call a group of pandas cuteness overload, they’re actually called an "embarrassment."
Length: 14-21 inches (male), 9-13 inches (female)
Lifespan: 5-7 years (male), 2-3 years (female)
Bottom line: Panther chameleons may be the most beautiful reptile around. While the female panther chameleons tend to be tan or brown with tiny touches of pink, peach or tangerine, the males come in a collection of colors that more than rivals those found in a rainbow. The panther chameleon’s colors correspond to their geographical location and are in vibrant shades of blue, red, green, aqua and yellow. They’re never a solid color but can have spots or a tie-dyed look.
Height: Approximately 2 feet
Weight: 6-15 pounds
Lifespan: 3-4 years
Bottom line: Red foxes are predators like many other beautiful animals, but people seem to have difficulty being impartial when it comes to the fox’s appearance. Their faces have very attractive bone structures and bright eyes. Their red fur is spectacular and covers much of their body, with touches of white on their muzzles, sides and chest. Their tails are luxuriously soft and fluffy, but they aren’t just for show. The red foxes' tails help them keep their balance and stay warm and cozy when it gets too chilly.
Height: 20-25 inches (tail is an additional 10-20 inches)
Weight: 10-20 pounds
Lifespan: 9-13 years
Bottom line: If red pandas weren’t stunningly attractive, humans wouldn’t go bonkers when they saw one. Their reddish-brown coats, big eyes, round baby-like features and white face markings are gorgeous. While red isn’t usually the first choice for staying under the radar of a predator, the cinnamon-red fur of the red panda helps them blend in with the red moss found in their habitat. Red pandas need lots of beauty sleep, especially in cold temperatures, in which they only wake up to get a snack.
Height: 2-3 feet
Weight: 44-75 pounds (male), 34-64 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 14-16 years
Bottom line: Lassie, one of the most popular dog actors, was a rough collie. This breed is known for its beauty, sweetness and loyalty. They have long and lush fur coats that come in several different color combos, such as white, sable, merle (a genetic pattern characterized by unevenly shaped patches of diluted pigment and solid color) and blue-merle. Rough collies appear to be genuinely happy to be with their family, making them beautiful inside and out.
Height: 21-23.5 inches (male), 20-22 inches (female)
Weight: 45-60 pounds (male), 35-50 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Bottom line: While everything about a Siberian husky is strikingly beautiful, their eyes are the first thing to captivate one’s immediate attention. Their eyes are intense, almond-shaped and come in amber, blue and brown. Sometimes the Siberian husky will be bi-eyed (having two different-colored eyes) or be parti-eyed, with two colors in each eye. Their fur is plush, dense and comes in white, black and everything in between. Beyond their obvious good looks, Siberian huskies are loving, friendly and always ready to have fun.
Length: 11 feet (male), 9 feet (female)
Weight: 600+ pounds (male), 370 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 16-18 years
Bottom line: Siberian tigers are considered by many to be the most beautiful animal on the planet. They look like the perfect example of a tiger with their orange fur, black stripes and white undercoats. Like human fingerprints, each tiger has a unique pattern of stripes, and even the skin under its fur is striped. Their feet are padded, and they roll their paws as they walk, making them nearly soundless as they stalk their prey. The Siberian tiger is mysterious, majestic and disappearing fast.
Length: 7 feet with a 3-foot long tail
Weight: 50-90 pounds
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Bottom line: Snow leopards are extraordinarily beautiful, but most people will never see them in the wild. This is because snow leopards live in the mountains high above the tree line. One of the things most striking about them is their smokey-shaded coats tinted with cream and butter-color shading, black rosettes in their unique pattern and long tails. Snow leopards are built to withstand cold temperatures. Their fur, their wooly undercoats and even their tails will wrap around to cover vulnerable areas of their bodies to stay warm.
Height: 3-4 feet
Weight: 309-534 pounds
Lifespan: 8-10 years
Bottom line: Not only is the Sumatran tiger exquisite, but it’s also the rarest and smallest of the tiger subspecies and is classified as critically endangered. The Sumatran tiger shares many similarities with the Siberian tiger but has a darker orange-color coat and more stripes. The Sumatran tiger’s stripes are narrower, closer together, and they have stripes on their legs, giving them an eye-catching appearance. Their mane-like hair grows around their necks, adding another touch of majesty to their already powerful looks.
Length: 6 inches
Weight: 0.32 ounces
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Bottom line: The male swallow-tailed hummingbird is especially radiant in its colorful and lavish plumage. Much of their body is an iridescent green, with a deep purple-blue head, upper chest area, tail and vent (the waste storage area.) Their tail is dark blue and has a pronounced split. While not always visible, there tends to be a white spot behind the eye of a swallow-tailed hummingbird. Females look like toned-down versions of the males and aren’t quite as dazzling but are still fabulous in their own way.
Height: 4 feet (male), 3.6 feet (female)
Length: 10 feet (male), 6 feet (female)
Weight: 330-550 pounds
Lifespan: 18 years
Bottom line: White lions have long been prized for their beauty and are a symbol of leadership and pride. Contrary to some theorists, white lions aren’t classified as animals with albinism, as they don’t lack pigmentation but have a lighter pigmentation. Their blue or gold eyes look as if they’re outlined in black, making them pop. African folklore spoke of these "children of the sun god" who were sent to the Earth as gifts. Now is the time to treasure these gifts before they become extinct.
Length: 7.5 feet (males), 3 feet (female)
Weight: 9-13 pounds (male), 6.1-8.8 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 10-25 years
Bottom line: Animals don’t get any more glamorous than the white peacock. Their ivory feathers are breathtaking enough, but there are also crystals that cover those feathers. When the white peacock is strutting its stuff in the sun, the sun’s reflection combined with the crystals creates a sparkling effect. If their bejeweled plumage doesn’t get the attention of a female, then the white peacock will dance in the rain. There’s no end to what these birds will do for attention.
Length: 6.8-11 feet
Weight: 309-660 pounds
Lifespan: 10-20 years
Bottom line: White tigers are beautiful animals; their gorgeous cream-colored fur always makes them stand out, even when that’s the last thing they want to happen. White tigers do not have albinism; some even have a slight orange tint to their fur. White tigers have black or dark-brown stripes that run up and down their body. Their blue eyes are hypnotic as if they have mind control powers. There aren’t any white tigers left in the wild, and the only places you can see them are special zoos and animal sanctuaries.
Height: 4-6 feet
Weight: 40-175 pounds
Lifespan: 14-16 years
Bottom line: Wolves aren’t exactly cuddly and adorable, but that doesn’t mean they’re not beautiful. Wolves are one of the most misunderstood animals and get a bad rap. They’re hunters, but they’re also very social animals that develop intense bonds with their family members and packs. When a wolf finds a mate, they stick with them through good times and bad. Wolves will even sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others. Wolves are amazing creatures with raw beauty, a wild spirit and a concern for their own.
Zanzibar Red Colobus
Length: 17.7-25.5 inches
Weight: 11.5-30 pounds
Lifespan: Unknown. No Zanzibar red colobus has successfully been held in captivity.
Bottom line: The appearance of the Zanzibar red colobus may give you mad-scientist vibes because of the long white hair on the top of their heads, but they’re very attractive monkeys. They’re medium-sized, with adorable potbellies and distinctive coloring. Their coat runs the gamut in color from dark red to black, giving an ombre effect, and often has a distinguishing black stripe on their shoulders and arms. Fun for the Zanzibar red colobus includes burping in each other’s faces.
Height: 5 feet
Weight: 770-990 pounds
Lifespan: 20-40 years
Bottom line: Zebras are sleek, beautiful and always stylish. Zebras have long held our interest and continue to fascinate people today. Their elaborate and unique stripes are so cool; they seem fake and painted on. But their stripes are more than a fashion statement, as they help keep them cool in the blistering African heat by acting as a sunscreen and heat-repellent. The term "motion dazzle" refers to the optical illusion that happens when groups of zebras (aka a dazzle) move at high speeds together, confusing other animals.