The best animals of 2018

Picture: (Caters, Channel 7, @mckellogs)

In a year that seems to have been jam packed with stresses and everyday horrors, it’s important to seek out all the good and life affirming bits that slipped through the cracks.

2018 was just one of those years. An interminable blend of major dramas and baffling events that seemed to both melt by, and drag along. 12 months with a decades worth of stuff to unpack.

Thank goodness then for the animals that provided some light relief. From new born baby wombats, to the Messi the pet puma and beyond- it’s been a vintage year for good boys and interminably cute critters.

And here’s 12 of the very finest to get you reminiscing on the year that was.

Knickers, the big cow

In this image made from video taken Nov. 15, 2018, Knickers the steer, center back, is in paddock with cow herd in Lake Preston, Australia. A enormous steer in the state of Western Australia has avoided the abattoirs by being too big. The 194 centimeters-tall bovine, dubbed "Knickers", is believed to be the tallest in the country and weighs about 1.4 tons, local media reported. (Channel 7's Today Tonight via AP)
(Picture) Channel 7’s Today Tonight

You didn’t seriously think he wouldn’t make the cut, did you?

Knickers burst into all of our lives this November, standing at 6ft 4in tall and 1,400kg.

And while he isn’t the world’s largest – that accolade belongs to an Italian cow called Bellino – he is still an extremely large chap.

So large in fact, that it may well have saved his life. Meat processors say that he’s just too large for them to deal with.

Which is just as well, considering the depth of feeling and good cheer the oversized beast has attracted online.

Knicker will live out the rest of his days on Lake Preston feedlot in Myalup, Australia, if you fancy posting him some fan mail.

Tango the horse

(Picture: @mckellogs)
(Picture: @mckellogs)

Ah yes, Tango. He was dubbed by all and sundry the ‘stupidest horse’ in the world this month, for his seeming inability to do anything non-memable, or without tripping into a light comedy of his own making.

Whether that was sleeping on his back, grazing freshly bare grass patches or eschewing a warm barn for the dubious shelter of a winter tree.

It’s all in good spirits, we think.

We’re all rooting for you Tango, you gormless fellow.

Moose, the four-year-old ferret

September calendar shoot. See SWNS story SWNYferret; A furry ferret who is the star of his own calendar has already flogged almost THREE GRAND worth of merchandise ahead of the holidays. Moose, a four year old ferret, is the face of the Modern Ferret, an annual calendar founded by his owners Haley Pearson, 26, and Channing Shattuck, 28, in 2016. The fluffy creature and his siblings Newt and Albert, two, don adorable pint-sized outfits including football jerseys and Christmas sweaters in photos to represent every month. Haley and Channing, both industrial designers, kick-started the calendar soon after adopting Moose in 2014, to change the public???s negative perceptions of ferrets. The couple, of Lincoln, Nebraska, have already raked in $2932 in calendar sales this year which sell online for $34 a pop or $52 for an enormous 19 inch by 27 inch version. Haley said: ???We got the idea to do the calendar because we were having such a positive response to our Instagram page and we saw the demand.
(Picture: /

We can’t imagine it’s that crowded a field – but we’re pretty sure that Moose might well be the breakout Ferret of 2018 (and quite possibly 2019, as well).

The four-year-old fur ball from Nebraska is brother to fellow ferrets Newt and Albert – and the three have been picked as the faces of a 2019 calendar dedicated to undiluted cuteness.

Not bad work, if you can get it.

The Pikachu possum

METRO GRAB - taken from the Facebook of Boronia Veterinary Clinic And Animal Hospital without permission Mutated gold possum has been dubbed the real-life Pikachu Credit: Boronia Veterinary Clinic And Animal Hospital
(Picture: Boronia Veterinary Clinic And Animal Hospital)

Oh boy. This critter doesn’t actually have a formal name.

Not that it stopped the adorable Australian possum from collecting viral fame as a dead ringer for iconic Pokemon, Pickachu.

The ‘vanishingly rare’ golden possum was discovered at the start of December in Melbourne, at the side of the road.

Thankfully, he got all the care he needed after a traumatic morning, before staying under assessment at a local vets.

A highly unusual genetic mutation accounts for the gold, by the way.

The drunk Kereru

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 12: the Kereru, New Zealand native Wood Pigeon. (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)
(Picture: Getty Images/ AsiaPac)

‘Classy, gluttonous and glamorous’ in the words of the official campaign to have the New Zealand bird declared the best in the country.

Well, it worked and all. The clownish Kiwi sky botherers lapped up a whopping 48,000 votes.

Not bad for a group that frequently get ‘so drunk they can’t stand’.

Boo the dog and Mike the magpie

Sent under embargo - no use before 15.00BST September 20 2018; Best friends Boo the whippet and Mike the magpie who have become inseparable. See Ross Parry story RPYMAGPIE; A magpie and a whippet have formed an unlikely friendship which sees them do everything together - from going on daily walks to sharing food and even a bed. Mike the magpie and Boo Radley the whippet's unusual friendship first blossomed after distressed Mike was found four months ago floundering on his own at just two weeks old. Boo?s owner Steve Rostron was out on an evening walk when the inquisitive pup sniffed out tiny Mike behind a telephone junction box. Artist Steve, 44, believed poorly Mike may have fallen out of his nest from a tree above and was worried he might not survive.
(Picture: Lee McLean /

Wouldn’t be an end of year round-up without the obligatory odd couple.

Boo the pooch bumped into Maggie on an evening walk back in the autumn, in his hometown of Sabden, Lancashire – with the latter tending injuries, having fallen out of a tree.

Now, the two have proved to be inseparable, with a bond formed during Mike’s slow recuperation at Boo’s family home.

The two even share food, walks and occasionally, the same bed.

We smell a buddy movie in the works.

Toothless the snake

Snake gets braces METRO GRAB taken from: Credit: HerpVet/Facebook
(Picture: HerpVet/Facebook)

The dentist is a necessary evil for many, however uncomfortable.

And there’s no good reason why that shouldn’t apply to our reptilian friends as well.

Toothless the Australian snake, had a rather interesting year.

The pet snake saw a normal meal turn into a protracted ordeal when her left lower jawbone folded and got stuck in her throat when she swallowed.

Her owners rushed her to the vet who, instead of operating a risky surgery to correct the problem, decided to get creative.

Hence the braces.

Mimi the bunny

PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: ADORABLE MIMI THE BUNNY WEARING HER NEW KNITTED FLOWER HEADBAND) A tiny bunny born with NO EARS can now live 'hoppily ever after' - as her caring adoptive owner KNITTED her a pair out of wool. Mimi, the seven-week-old runt of her litter, is completely deaf and has only three legs, but thanks to Rodajia Welch, 22, and her wool ears, the rabbit can 'be whoever she wants to be'. To make sure she feels as fabulous as her furry siblings, Rodajia knitted an impressive collection of woollen ears after being inspired by cosplay - in which people dress up in flamboyant outfits.SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
(Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

Mimi has never had it easy.

Born with only three legs and no ears, it would have been too easy to consign the bunny to a life of hardship and pain.

However, her owner Rodajia Welch, 22, decided to take matters into her own hands.

Now, Mimi stands out for a different reason: her vibrant knitted ears, which slot on her head whenever it’s safe to do so.

‘[Though not when] the other bunnies aren’t around, they would probably try to chew on them’, as Welch explains.

Fred the pigeon

Retired man Mike Roberts, 61, and his pigeon Fred. Mr. Roberts found Fred after he fell out of his nest as a baby and Mike has been hand rearing him ever since. Swindon, Wiltshire. October 1 2018 . See story SWBRpigeon .A retired man has ended up as mum to an abandoned pigeon chick he found, feeding it on cheese and letting it ride on his shoulder. Mike Roberts found the bird, which he's named Fred, after he fell out of a nest as a baby. ???I found him in front of my garage door ??? the body of his sibling was only 12 feet away. I took him in before the local cats could get him too.??? The 61-year-old has been hand-rearing Fred ever since.

Turns out the concept of ‘couch potato’ isn’t confined to the human race.

But a TV loving pigeon might well be a first.

61-year-old Mike Roberts probably didn’t have companionship in mind when he adopted ‘Fred’, who he found as a baby bird in his driveway.

However, young birds ‘imprint’ on humans – meaning that Fred now sees Mike as his parent, going as far as to ride about on his shoulder.

The Swindon based duo are pretty much inseparable and can usually be found watching tv together in the evenings.

Though Fred has since been taken into a specialist sanctuary, the memories remain.

Asha the Golden Retriver

PIC FROM Kerry McKinnon / Caters News - (PICTURED: Asha with owner Kerry McKinnon from Strathdownie, Victoria, Australia ) - A brave golden retriever has been hailed a hero after saving the life of an abandoned baby koala.Proud dog owner Kerry McKinnon, 45, got the shock of her life after discovering the tiny koala joey snuggled up to her 5-year-old golden retriever Asha earlier this week (SEPTEMBER 24).SEE CATERS COPY
(Picture: Kerry McKinnon / Caters News)

Not content with being a very good boy, Asha also proved something of a hero in September.

The five-year-old from Victoria, Australia saved a baby koala bear from a freezing night on the porch.

The marsupial snuggled into Asha’s fur, most likely saving its life.

Owner Kerry McKinnon found them both nestled on the porch the next morning.

See, not all heroes wear capes.

The Thames whale

A beluga whale swimming in the Thames near Gravesend, Kent. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 26, 2018. The rare marine mammal was first seen on Tuesday afternoon and appeared to be "swimming strongly" and feeding in the estuary. Rescue teams were on standby in case the animal, which is normally found thousands of miles away in the Arctic, gets into danger, and have urged people to keep their distance. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Beluga. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
(Picture: PA)

Yeah, this one was mad.

The mammoth creature was spotted in Gravesend, Kent by a local ecologist who took to social media with some snaps.

Fascinating it may have been, but not particularly good news for the whale involved.

Beluga whales usually inhabit the Arctic Ocean – so a detour to the comparatively sunny climes of south-east England could have proved disastrous.

However, news reports from November indicate that the whale is still thriving – even if it’s unsure if they’ll ever make it home.

Britain’s biggest puppy

Adopted five-month-old Great Dane puppy Arnie who wieghs in at a whopping 43kg (95lbs), with two-year-old French bull terrier Ralph. See CENTRE PRESS story CPDOG. A family has adopted Britain's biggest PUPPY - a real-life Scrappy-Do that is over 6ft and weighs more than a baby HIPPO. Arnie the Great Dane is only five months old and tips the scales at a whopping 43kg (95lbs) - and is still growing. The massive canine is the biggest the team at Dogs Trust in Glasgow have ever cared for. But now a family have fallen in with love and decided to adopt him - even though he dwarfs all of them when he stands on his hind legs.

Forget your typical Great Danes or bog standard Alsatians.

Arnie trumps them all.

As of 2018, the award for Britain’s biggest puppy goes to the South Lanarkshire based pooch.

Julie and Colin Reid adopted him from Dogs Trust back in the autumn, although they weren’t quite prepared for the scale of the new family member.

The Great Dane stands at 6ft on his hind legs and weighs at over 43kg, making him the semi-official ‘biggest puppy in the UK’.

It’s said he could potentially double in size in adulthood, though for Julie it’s still a case of ‘bigger means better’.

It was, she says, ‘love at first sight’- even if their already existing litter of French Bulldogs and Dougue De Bordeaux took a bit of time to get used to their new housemate.

Todd, the official Dog of the Year

Pics From Paula Godwin/Caters News - (Pictured: Todd, six months old, after attacked by snake.Anthem,Arizona,USA) -A doting puppy who almost died after getting bitten by a rattlesnake to save his owners life has won a dog of the year prize. Paula Godwin, 44, was out for a walk with her six-month-old pooch, Todd, in June this year when he noticed something moving by her leg. The curious golden retriever quickly darted for the rattlesnake to shield his owner from its venomous bite, but it turned and bit him on the face. Paula, from Anthem, Arizona, grabbed Todd and rushed him to a veterinary hospital within 10 minutes, where he was treated with anti-venom. SEE CATERS
(Picture: Caters News Agency)

Ultimate good boy Todd shielded his owner from a rattlesnake, and came out with a swollen face.

As well as being a hero, Todd kept smiling and luckily he was on the mend 12 hours later.

He was (quite rightly) crowned Dog of the Year by biscuit brand Milk-Bone in October for his ‘bravery, overcoming obstacles, and strong personality and loyalty traits’.