December 12, 2014 4:01 AM EST

Whether cute and cuddly, wild or exotic, animals seem to endlessly fascinate. Our furry, feathered friends provide us with constant surprises and hours of viral entertainment on an annual basis. And this year was no exception.

Here, TIME looks back over the past 12 months and presents a selection of underreported, astonishing and apparently-implausible animal images—from a bear in a hammock and swans in a boat, to a koala with a camera and a “happy” sloth. Images, we trust, that will maintain their ability to utterly and thoroughly surprise.

Contact us at letters@time.com.

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