15 Now-Extinct Species That Were Super Cute

With millions of species splattered across the planet, some fade away, while some thrive. From ferocious to adorable, the world has seen life come and go. Yet, the ecosystem continues to move forward.

While some extinct species date back generations, others are much more recent due to worsening climate conditions. Humans are the culprits behind several animals being wiped from the face of the Earth. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

However, despite these adorable species going extinct, it’s interesting to see what once was. These majestic creatures are the epitome of Mother Nature, and it’s vital to know more about them.

1. Wilson’s Little Penguin

Wilson’s Little Penguin
Image Credit: Simone Giovanardi.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, tiny penguins in New Zealand walked the Earth roughly three million years ago. These adorable mini animals are the oldest-known extinct penguin species and powerful swimmers who can dive 100 feet below. Looking at the fossils of these animals sheds light on how little this lineage had evolved, showcasing their robustness and adaptability to change.

2. Dodo

Skeleton Cast and Model of Dodo Bird
Image Credit: CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Google Arts and Culture states that dodos are a relative of the pigeon and dove species, though they were flightless. These beautiful species of birds evolved to become larger and lost their ability to fly. This made them ill-prepared for European sailors and their domestic animals who arrived in Mauritius. Dodos were three feet tall, grey in color, with a cute little white plume as its tail.

3. Wooly Mammoth

Woolly Mammoth Model Royal Vistoria Museum
Image Credit: Thomas Quine – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

You’ve probably heard of these phenomenal creatures in movies like The Ice Age. These beasts were massive in size yet would leave you breathless. According to Britannica, Wooly Mammoths existed in the Pleistocene ice ages and went extinct when the Earth’s climate became considerably warmer. With a thick layer of fur, they would make the perfect cuddle partner.

4. Great Auk

Great Auks by John James Audubon
Image Credit: John James Audubon/Wiki Commons.

The Trinity College Repository discusses how humans and the great auk coexisted in Northern Europe and North America for thousands of years. These enigmatic birds were fantastic swimmers but weren’t suited for life on land. European sailors sailing the North Atlantic were tired of consuming preserved foods, so they began hunting for these birds, ultimately leading to their extinction.

5. Irish Elk

Irish Elk Group Sculptures
Image Credit: Neil Cummings – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

According to the American Museum of Natural History, the Irish Elk was one of the largest known deers, weighing 1,500 pounds, with males having antlers up to 3.5 meters. To attract female counterparts for mating, they would grow out their antlers. The Irish Elk were generally found all across Europe and went extinct due to habitat loss and climate change.

6. Bramble Cay Melomys

Bramble Cay Melomys
Image Credit: State of Queensland – CC BY 3.0 au/Wiki Commons.

Experts state that the Bramble Cay Melomys went extinct in 2015. The Australian government officially declared that the species hadn’t been seen in the last ten years. They were only spotted in Bramble Cay, in northern Queensland’s Torres Strait islands. These 6-inch rodents barely weighed a quarter of a pound and were incredibly dinky due to their small size.

7. Saber-Toothed Tiger

Fossil of a Smilodon populator
Image Credit: J Jonah Jackalope, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The Saber-Toothed Tiger was named due to their elongated bladelike canine teeth. These tigers were apex predators with cat-like reflexes, making them sharp and agile. While they seem ferocious, they were cute and cuddly as long as they weren’t hunting you. Many researchers don’t know the cause of their extinction, though some suggest it resulted from competition with other species.

8. Sea Mink

American Mink (Close relation)
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Sea Minks are right up your alley if you love an adorable hand-sized animal. Sea minks had red-brown fur and were about three feet long. They were found in the coastal regions of New England and New Brunswick and were often targeted by traders due to their fur. These fuzzy babies went extinct for the same reason.

9. Passenger Pigeon

Passenger Pigeon
Image Credit: Internet Archive Book Images/Wiki Commons.

Passenger Pigeons were stunning, with magnificent wings, beautiful colors, and M&Ms-shaped eyes. According to Discover Wildlife, this species was endangered in the 1900s; Martha was the last bird that died in Cincinnati Zoo in 1914. The passenger pigeon’s demise was due to avian diseases and the loss of forests and their natural habitat.

10. Steller’s Sea Cow

Steller’s Sea Cow Exhibit in the Finnish Museum of Natural History, Helsinki, Finland
Image Credit: Daderot – CC0/Wiki Commons.

Experts explain that Steller Sea Cows were from the family known as Sirenians. However, they acclimated to the sub-Arctic waters of the Pacific. These bad boys could reach up to 20,000 pounds and were a massive 30 feet long. Like all other species, humans caused their extinction because they would use their fur for hats.

11. Pyrenean Ibex

Pyrenean Ibex
Image Credit: Joseph Wolf/Wiki Commons.

The Pyrenean Ibex is a camel-colored goat species that would make you swoon as soon you see it. With chunky horns and an innocent face, they were stunning. According to Extinct Animals, they were found in Southern France, the Northern Pyrenees, and the Cantabrian Mountains and went extinct in the early 2000s. In July 2003, scientists declared them not to be extinct as they managed to clone the species; however, the clone passed away after seven minutes.

12. Giant Beaver

Giant Beaver Skeleton
Image Credit: Ryan Somma – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

If you think beavers are adorable and squishy, imagine a giant one and all the joy it could bring the world. This species was a jaw-dropping six feet long and about 220 pounds. During the Pleistocene age, they were the largest rodents in Northern America, and they disappeared as the Earth became warmer.

13. Quagga

The Quahkah (Quagga) Aquatinta by Samuel Daniell
Image Credit: Samuel Daniell/Wiki Commons.

Experts describe the Quagga as a zebra species with stripes on the front of its body but not on its backside. This made it look like a half-zebra and half-horse, and it went extinct in the 19th century. The quagga could be found in South Africa and was hunted by farmers because it would graze their land for livestock, causing it to slowly become extinct.

14. Tasmanian Tiger

a pair of Thylacines
Image Credit: E.J. Keller/Wiki Commons.

The Tasmanian Tiger is a unique animal that looks like a dog with stripes but a massive mouth. According to Smithsonian Magazine, scientists initially thought that the last of the species passed away in captivity in the Tasmanian Zoon in 1936; however, new research shows that it lived for decades longer than that.

15. Japanese Honshu Wolf

Full moon in Musashi by Yoshitoshi - Japnese Wolf
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

Wolf Stuff discusses the Honshu Wolf, a subspecies of the gray wolf found in the islands of Japan. The wolf was declared extinct in 1905 when its existence was wiped from the Earth. The species was utterly cute, with a short, dense coat and a petite tail that made you melt. Though the Honshus diet was filled with vermin like deer and boar, it also consumed smaller rodents.


The Fugutive
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


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