A baby sloth peeks out from behind a door on a floating house near Manaus, Brazil, May 20, 2014.
A baby sloth peeks out from behind a door on a floating house near Manaus, Brazil, May 20, 2014.Felipe Dana—AP
A baby sloth peeks out from behind a door on a floating house near Manaus, Brazil, May 20, 2014.
A black bear lies on a hammock at a residential back yard in Daytona Beach, Florida early evening on May 30, 2014.
A young giraffe named Marius was shot dead and autopsied in the presence of visitors to the gardens at Copenhagen Zoo, Feb. 9, 2014.
A cat is placed in a transport bag during the World Cat Show in Prague, Oct. 25, 2014.
A dove released during an Angelus prayer conducted by Pope Francis, is attacked by a seagull in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican January 26, 2014.
A cat colored with green paint in Varna east of Sofia, Bulgaria, Dec. 05, 2014.
In this photo provided to Reuters by the Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Melbourne, a 10-year-old pet goldfish is prepared for the removal of a life-threatening head tumor, Sept. 11, 2014.
A man grooms his mini poodle after competition at the 2014 China International Pet Show in Beijing, Nov. 17, 2014.
A fisherman transports a dead whale shark after it was caught in fishermen's net, in Yangzhi county, Fujian province Aug. 1, 2014.
An elephant immerses behind a window in the elephants' indoor pool at the Zoo in Leipzig, Germany, Aug. 5, 2014.
An Arabian horse stands in front of a living room door. After a powerful storm swept through northern Germany in December, Stephanie Arndt brought the horse, named Nasar, inside and he now regularly stays in the house, Holt, Germany, Feb. 10, 2014.
Swans sit in a boat after they were rounded up from Hamburg's lake Alster, Nov. 18, 2014.
A Great White Shark in Mossel Bay, South Africa
A cormorant master prepares sea cormorants in Gifu, Japan, July 2, 2014.
Top view of a lion on the cage of a vehicle at the Safari Lion Zoo in Rancagua, Chile, Oct. 30, 2014.
A horse is rescued, in Jalandhar, in the northern Indian state of Punjab, March 5, 2014.
Chickens are seen surrounded by plants covered by ash from Mount Sinabung near Sigarang-Garang village in Karo district, Indonesia's North Sumatra province, Jan. 12, 2014.
A villager lifts his dog onto a truck to evacuate as Mount Sinabung spews ash at Pintu Besi village in Karo district
A bird flies over the crater of mount Bromo after it was thrown by Hindu worshippers during the Yadnya Kasada Festival Aug. 12, 2014.
Mushon, 45, a Sumatran Orangoutang plays with a piece of bamboo and a tin can in the Tel Aviv Ramt Gan Zoological Center near Tel Aviv, Israel, March 23, 2014.
A male red deer with antlers covered in bracken, walks through undergrowth in Richmond Park, London, Oct. 3, 2014.
A stray dog from Sochi, Russia gets acclimated to its "doggie den" after arriving at the Washington Animal Rescue League shelter in Washington, D.C., March 27, 2014.
A Lipizzan horse is seen during a show of the Spanish Riding School from Vienna, Austria, at the Ziggo Dome arena in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Nov. 29, 2014.
An eight-months-old trained monkey sits on a can next to his owner, holding the leash as they wait for customers to perform to in a park in Islamabad, Pakistan, Jan. 31, 2014.
A raccoon in the Fasanerie animal and plant park, Wiesbaden, Germany, June 21, 2014.
Piglets are carried over floodwaters by a resident as they return to their home after fleeing earlier due to a swollen river in suburban San Mateo, Rizal province, Philippines, Sept. 15, 2014.
A zoo staff member touches Mango, a 19-year-old Syrian brown bear, during preparations for his surgery at the Ramat Gan Safari near Tel Aviv, May 7, 2014.
A panda named Li Li plays on a tree in the sunshine in a zoo in Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, China, Jan. 01, 2014.
A donkey looks out of its shelter at a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah in Punjab Province, Pakistan, May 5, 2014.
Fisherman feed their otters as they catch fish in Narail, Bangladesh, March 11, 2014.
A dolphin jumps as a large wave starts to roll, San Diego, Calif., Jan. 20, 2014.
Mustafa Mohamed, 5, reaches to trim a horse at his father's makeshift animal barber shop in Cairo, March 8, 2014.
A leopard leaps across an under-construction structure near a furniture market in the Degumpur residential area as a bystander moves out of the way in Meerut, India, Feb. 23, 2014.
A crow on the roof of the Chancellery, Berlin, May 6, 2014.
The 140th Running Of The Kentucky Derby
A veterinary staff member at an orangutan conservation center conducts medical examinations on an orangutan found with air gun metal pellets embedded in his body in Sibolangit district, northern Sumatra, Indonesia, April 16, 2014.
Fighters struggle with a wild horse during a traditional event in the Spanish village of Sabucedo, July 5, 2014.
A whale captures a pelican between its jaws, Monteray Bay, Calif., Nov. 23, 2014.
Maria Torero, seen here with her son, cares for 175 cats with leukemia at her home in Lima, Peru, Aug. 15, 2014.
An Australian Koala, born with a damaged eye, sits atop a branch in its enclosure at Sydney Zoo, Sydney, April 3, 2014.
A monkey cowers as its trainer, Qi Defang, approaches during training for a circus in Suzhou, Anhui Province, China, Nov. 29, 2014.
A Bengal Tiger yawns in its enclosure in Shanghai Zoo, Shanghai, Nov. 18, 2014.
Oklahoma City police officer Sgt. Ryan Stark leans over the casket of his canine partner, K-9 Kye, following funeral services for the dog in Oklahoma City, Aug. 28, 2014.
Japanese Macaque monkeys soak in the warmth of mountain hotsprings at Jigokudani Monkey Park, Yamanouchi, Japan, Jan. 19, 2014.
Indian Border Security Force Dog Squad personnel take part in a march during Republic Day celebrations in Jammu. India, Jan. 26, 2014.
35,000 walruses gather on shore near Point Lay, Alaska, Sept. 27, 2014.
A cat tears through a government palace corridor as officials await the arrival of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Asuncion, Paraguay, March 20, 2014.
Dogs trot around at a luxury pet hotel in Singapore, Nov.4, 2014.
A Chinese Crested dog takes a bath at a pet salon, Sao Paulo March 27, 2014.
A small owl yawns as it sits in the snow in Ansung City, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, Dec. 4, 2014.
A baby sloth peeks out from behind a door on a floating house near Manaus, Brazil, May 20, 2014.
Felipe Dana—AP
1 of 50

50 Astonishing Animal Photos of 2014

Dec 12, 2014

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.

TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.