These Are Time’s 100 Most Influential Animals of 2016

36 minute read

Correction appended: April 28, 2016

Why did I create the TIME 100 Animals? Because humanity obviously needs a definitive list of the most influential animals in the world.

To do so, I formed a panel consisting of seven top animal experts. The Animals 100 board consisted of PETA president Ingrid Newkirk, Animal Planet and Discovery Channel president Rich Ross, environmentalist Philippe Cousteau, Farm Sanctuary president Gene Baur, BuzzFeed Animals editor Chelsea Marshall, my friend Phil Johnston—who not only co-wrote Zootopia but also wrote the scene in The Brothers Grimsby in which the characters get stuck in an elephant’s vagina—and Moby, the vegan musician who lives a few houses away from me and was walking by my driveway while I was working on this. (Read about the totally rigorous process here.)

Here’s the full list:

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the year Jaws was released. It was 1975.

1. Cecil

A.J. Loveridge—WildCru

The days of Ernest Hemmingway and Theodore Roosevelt ended when that Minnesota dentist killed an African lion so beloved he not only had a name, but a really good name. After the public shaming of the dentist, which included Jimmy Kimmel crying on air, it became clear that big game hunting was no longer socially acceptable. Within a few months, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added two subspecies of lion to the endangered list making hunting of them not okay for U.S. citizens. France banned importing dead lion trophies. And more than 40 airlines will not transport them. Plus, Jimmy Kimmel cried.

2. Tilikum

Gerardo Mora—Getty Images

The SeaWorld Orca was PETA President Ingrid Newkirk’s top pick. After killing three people, getting his own documentary and more impressively inspiring Tommy Lee to write a letter, the park is ending its orca shows. SeaWorld’s stock price plummeted. “He got everyone to open their eyes. We got Southwest to take orcas off their planes. We got Mattel to stop making a SeaWorld Barbie. He was the follow up to Free Willie: ‘Free Tillie.’” In March it was discovered that Tilikum now has a fatal respiratory disease that Newkirk blames SeaWorld for and SeaWorld blames respiratory disease on.

3. Uncle Sam

Martin Schoeller for TIME

None of the GOP candidates’ attacks on Trump did him any damage, but when a 27-year-old American Eagle named Uncle Sam showed up on the 25th floor of the Trump Tower for a Time magazine cover shoot with The Donald, he took the billionaire down.

4. Ten Chinese CRISPR goats

Using the American-created CRISPR technology that allows scientist to snip and move parts of DNA, Lei Qu at the Shaanxi Provincial Engineering and Technology Research Center for Shaanbei Cashmere Goats—which is a real place—created goats (presumably Shaanbei Cashmere ones) with bigger muscles and longer hair, to increase their meat and wool. Americans invented CRISPR technology, but they won’t use it because they’re ethical wimps. The Chinese have made super beagles, super pigs, super sheep, super monkeys and—this last one is totally a guess—that eagle that attacked Donald Trump.

5. Revenant Bear

Twentieth Century Fox

Didn’t see the movie, but if TIME can put Leonardo DiCaprio on its TIME 100 list, I can totally put the bear from that movie on the list. Even if there was no actual bear rape in the movie, Revenant Bear brought up the issue of bear rape.

6. Pizza Rat


The scrappy spirit of New York City was captured by the video of this rat trying to carry a whole, uneaten slice of pizza down some subway stairs.

7. Zika Mosquitoes

Felipe Dana—AP Photo

They would have been much higher on the list, but they’re not quite individuals. But they’re not quite a species either, since it’s just the mosquitoes that carry the disease we’re talking about. I can’t believe I spent so much time thinking about this.

8. Mickey Mouse

Kevin Winter—Getty Images

Do I need to explain this? Really? It’s Mickey Mouse. He’s the Warren Buffet of animals. He’s worth $160 billion. You show a photo of Mickey Mouse to anyone in the world, you know what they say? They say, “Mickey Mouse!” You show a photo of TIME 100 cosmologist Kip Thorne to anyone in the world and you know what they say? “Show me Mickey Mouse again!”

9. American Pharoah

Al Bello—Getty Images

He or she was the first horse to win the Triple Crown in a long time. Remember? The horse? Who won the three races? With the owners who couldn’t spell “pharaoh”? Yeah, I know it’s not 1940. That’s why it’s all the way down here on the list.

10. Angry Birds

Angry Birds/Rovio Entertainment

An $80 million Angry Birds movie comes out May 20. And they’re still angry? These are the luckiest birds in history.

11. Naruto

David Slater

The macaque, which is one of an apparently endless number of words for “monkey,” took selfies as part of nature-photographer David Slater’s project in Indonesia. PETA sued Slater, saying he can’t make money off the picture, since the monkey owns the copyright. Shockingly, the court case wasn’t about whether photography really is art, but about whether animals have the same rights as humans. A judge in (surprise!) Northern California had to rule on Naruto, et al. v. Slater, et al. deciding that a monkey isn’t a person.

12. Grecia

Rescate Animal Zooave

Some teenagers (I’m just assuming it was teenagers) in Costa Rica took a block of wood and smashed a toucan’s beak off. People raised $5,000 in two days on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to create a 3D-printed beak so Grecia could eat again. Which is a really sweet image until you find out that toucans eat maggots.

13. Tieta

Marcia Heloisa Amarante

This is hard to believe, but around the same time the Costa Ricans were 3D-printing a beak for Grecia, the Brazilians were 3D-printing a beak for their own injured toucan, Tieta. This is way less important that the Costa Rican incident which got all the rich Costa Rican tourists upset and into wildlife. But if we spread Grecia and Tieta apart on the list, you would have already forgotten about Grecia, so this seemed easier for everybody.

14. Freeway llamas

AP Photo/

The O.J. Simpson-style chase of one black and one white llama was covered live for 20 minutes on local Arizona television, as cops chased the two by car and then by foot, eventually lassoing both. “The llama thing was the day of “the dress,” says Buzzfeed Animals editor Chelsea Marshall, about the garment that was either blue or not blue or something like that. “I ran home with so much energy. There was so much stuff happening on the Internet that day. The llamas would have blown up more if the dress weren’t so crazy.”

15. Lolita the Orca

Marice Cohn Band—Miami Herald/MCT/Getty Images

Hundreds of protestors showed up at the Miami Seaquarium on January 17 to protest the orca that’s not only been held in captivity since 1970, but also given a super-creepy name. Lolita is the subject of a court case over whether an endangered species is exempt from being forced to put on a mildly entertaining show.

16. Diesel

Police Nationale/AP

The seven-year-old Belgian Shepherd busted into the apartment of the guy suspected of planning the Paris bombings, took multiple gunshot wounds and died. The police dog saved the life of the Paris police, posthumously receiving the Dickin Medal, which sounds much better with a French accent. The Twitter hashtag #JeSuisChien trended on Twitter.

17. Sudan

Georgina Goodwin—Barcroft Media/Getty Images

The last male Northern White Rhinoceros in the world, Sudan is living in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy where he is encouraged to breed with two young female Northern White Rhinos, Fatu and Najin. IVF is being considered. To prevent poaching, he has 24-hour armed guards, watchtowers, drones, guard dogs and transmitters in his horn. He has been visited by Bollywood actress Nargis Fakhri, and still was not turned on enough to mate successfully with either of his brides.

18. California Journey

Jack Grassa

The three-year-old male whose full name is GCH Vjk-Myst Garbonita’s California Journey (most people call him C.J.) is the third German shorthaired pointer to win Best in Show in the Westminster Dog Show. This will inspire all impossibly long-named German shorthaired pointers to cut their hair or wash or whatever is required to win this thing.

19. Cow that gave stem cells for in-vitro meat burger

Thanks to the stem cell donations of one anonymous cow, people are making fake beef, which might one day save the environment and cows. It could also get the far right angry about cow abortions despite the fact that they don’t exist.

20. Piper, Barack, PT, Angelica, Shirley, Romeo and many other Ringling Brothers Elephants Whose Names I Didn’t Feel Like Looking Up

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds—AFP/Getty Images

They’re being retired, as the circus is deciding to go elephant-free because people thought that it was pretty mean to make elephants do stuff even though, for the rest of us, it means more stage time for clowns.

21. Grumpy Cat

John Lamparski—Getty Images

Though her real name is Tardar Sauce (trivia: Tardar Sauce was named after tartar sauce) this cat has feline dwarfism and an underbite, which makes it look grumpy. Its Facebook page has more than 8 million Likes. It’s been on the cover of New York magazine. It has it’s own wax statue at Madame Tussauds. It starred in a Honey Nut Cheerios commercial. Showing amazing range, it’s appeared on The Bachelorette and WWE’s Monday Night Raw. It’s been to TIME magazine for a photo shoot. As the Official Spokescat of Friskies, it was flown first class to New York, where it got a hotel room with its own king-size bed and a personal assistant. It was voiced by Aubrey Plaza for a Lifetime movie called Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. All of this is true.

22. Suraj

Wildlife SOS

One of about 600 Hindu temple elephants that are kept chained in confinement most of the year to be paraded in a religious procession, Suraj had lost an ear from abuse. (This, in any case, according to the Daily Mail.) He was freed from the 12-square-foot room he had lived in for 20 years by the kind of people who free animals, which caused a riot from the temple-goers. But the episode is also causing India to reconsider whether elephants should be employed this way.

23. Qiaoqiao

In February, someone in Beijing stole Tian Fengbo’s dog, which is one of the very, very few seeing-eye dogs (apparently there are only about 100) in all of China. Tian is a masseur, which is a common job for Chinese blind people, and he owns a chain of massage parlors. After a media uproar, Qiaoqiao was returned by the thieves with a note of apology.

24. Bei Bei

Matt McClain—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Born in August in the National Zoo in Washington D.C., Bei Bei is one of those thin diplomatic lines of connection between the U.S. and China. Apparently, the Chinese have long conducted most of their diplomacy by giving pandas to other countries, dating back to the seventh century (which is the ones that start with “6” and not “7”). First ladies Michelle Obama and Peng Liyuan had to agree on its name. The zoo offered Ping Ping (“peace”) while China liked Bei Bei (which I’m pretty sure means “Beyoncé Beyoncé”.) When Bei Bei turns four, he has to move to China. Until then, you can watch him on the zoo’s PandaCam.

25. Shark that attacked Mick Fanning

WSL/Getty Images

The J-Bay Open, an event on the World Surf League Championship Tour ended prematurely when a shark attacked surfer Mike Fanning. It chewed off the leash of his surfboard before he punched it in the back and got picked up by a rescue boat. And it was all on live TV. Fanning and Julian Wilson decided to take a tie for first place instead of getting back in the water. I’m assuming they just do that for the rest of their lives.

26. Kabosu

Strolling With Kobasu

The original Shiba Inu that started the “doge” meme in which people who are bored on the Internet try to help other people who are bored on the Internet. It inspired Dogecoin, which is a currency specifically created for people who think Bitcoin is too popular. NASCAR driver Josh Wise’s car was sponsored by Dogecoin. So wow.

27. Selfie Dolphin


An endangered baby Franciscana dolphin was scooped out of the ocean in Argentina and passed around for selfies before it died from complications of being passed around for selfies. A huge news story, it taught people not to pass around sea life, though the incident did not convey its much more important lesson, which is to stop taking selfies.

28. Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan

Norman Ng—MCT/Getty Images

China and Taiwan have a very strained relationship. In 2005, China gifted these two pandas to Taiwan as part of its panda diplomacy. “Tuan Yuan” means reunion, which would sound ominous to me if I were Taiwan, but apparently isn’t so bad that it would keep them from taking free pandas. In return, Taiwan sent China two Formosan Sika deer and two Taiwan Serows. Which seems a little lame. It’s not like anyone is talking about Serow diplomacy.

29. Bo and Sunny

Pete Souza—White House/Getty Images

The First Dogs don’t seem to do much, but occasionally they must affect Obama’s mood. Probably as much as one of Obama’s favorite authors, Marilynne Robinson, who made the TIME 100 list. I fear I’m coming off as defensive here. I’m not defensive. It’s just that this entry was a little pro forma.

30. Marnie

Santiago Felipe—Getty Images

This 13-year-old Shih Tzu rescue dog with a vestibular disease that caused a hearing impairment and an adorable head tilt, is owned by some MTV-show creating hipster. So all these celebrities posed with it: James Franco, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Tina Fey, Lena Dunham. Marnie has more than a million Instagram followers. I can’t believe how many pets have giant social media followings.

31. Holly and Willow

PA Wire

Queen Elizabeth has been queen for so long, and likes corgis so much, that there have been like ten generations of these things around the royal palace. They’re on gold coins, statues, jade ornaments. People like to give the Queen stuff and, just like you give that old lady who likes pandas all those panda salt and pepper shakers and panda statues, the Queen has all kinds of corgi stuff, only bigger and more expensive. But she’s finally stopped breeding them and Holly and Willow are the last two.

32. Maru the Cat


The male Scottish Fold cat that lives in Japan has made YouTube videos that have gotten more than 300 million views. I don’t know. It’s a famous cat. It’s cute or something. I don’t get it.

33. Maru the Dog

Shinjiro Ono

So there’s also a dog in Japan named Maru. Apparently Maru means “Internet sensation” or something. This dog is famous because it always looks happy. That’s it. wrote a whole article about Maru the Dog titled, “21 Reasons This Dog is The Best Dog in the World.” I’m sure it got more hits than any of my columns.

34. Lil Bub

Amanda Edwards—Getty Images

The cat, which was the runt of its litter, is beloved for its adorable disabilities, which includes a bone disorder and some thing that keeps its tongue out at all times. It has more than two and a half million Facebook likes, a stuffed animal, books, a calendar, and a web series. The documentary about Lil Bub won the 2013 Tribeca Online Festival Best Feature Film. “Lil Bub’s ‘dude’ puts a lot of effort into giving back to disabled pets because she has her own thing she had to overcome. So her story is really inspiring,” says Buzzfeed Animals editor Chelsea Marshall. “She had this physical therapy thing where she can go up stairs. It’s cool to see that progress. It’s nice to see her being taken care of and respected in her fame.”

35. Chocolate

U.S. Polo Association

The first U.S.-bred polo horse to be the best in the world, he was ridden by Adolfo Cambiaso, the best polo player in the world, in two pivotal chukkers of the 2015 finals. And probably some slightly less important, but still pretty important, chukkers. Cambiaso has said, “He has good power, a good temperament and a really sensitive mouth.” That’s more than I wanted to know about polo.

36. Selfie Rat

The rat that climbed on a sleeping guy on a subway platform, and took a mildly cute picture of himself turned out to be a hoax created by mysterious rat training performance artist who calls herself Zardulu and describes herself as a “mythmaker.” That has brought into question the veracity of not only Pizza Rat but everything ever.

37. Nitama


The following is all true. There was a stray Calico cat named Nama, who was adopted by this failing little train station in some remote city in Japan. She was so beloved, She was made the station master of the Kishi stop, which crucially included wearing a tiny conductor hat. Tama reportedly increased passengers by over 10 percent, bringing in an estimated 1.1 billion yen ($10 million), and saving the station and the company that ran the line. Eventually Tama was made the first feline executive of a train station company. Tama died last year. Her funeral was attended by 3,000 people and a bronze statue was built at the station. After the 50 days of mourning in Shinto tradition, the Calico that trained under Tama, Nitama (which means “second Tama”) was named stationmaster. Nitama studied under Tama, apprenticed by running the Idakiso Station and attended Cat Stationmaster Training School.

38. Streetcat Bob

Luke MacGregor—Reuters

A homeless heroin addict in London met a cat and that cat just wouldn’t leave his emaciated, shaking side. He followed him to tube stations where he busked and other British words. He became so well known that the London literary agent who bought the British rights to Marley & Me thought there should be books about him. The books, A Street Cat Named Bob (which became a best seller), The World According to Bob and A Gift From Bob, have helped charities and other inspiring stuff.

39. Buffy and Yume

Sovfoto/UIG/Getty Images

Although Putin’s dog which startled the dog-fearing Angela Merkel is no longer alive, his two other dogs are totally scary too.

40. Nala

Vincent Sandoval—Getty Images

With nearly 3 million Instagram followers, this five-year-old adopted Siamese and Tabby mix wears hats and is cute and I have no idea what human beings are like anymore.

41. Hamilton the Hipster Cat

Hamilton The Hipster Cat

With a San Francisco address, an owner who works at a startup and a streak of white fur over his mouth that looks exactly like a handlebar moustache, Hamilton is everything other cats loathe.

42. Anna and Maybelle


These pigs were found on a highway after falling out of a transport truck, rescued by an animal activist, and brought to Gene Baur’s Farm Sanctuary in Upstate New York. When Jon Stewart and his animal activist wife visited, they apparently thought, “We need pigs!” They adopted them, which led to the couple turning their land in New Jersey into Farm Sanctuary’s fourth location.

43. Shiba-San 

When the Suzuki Tobacco Shop closed in October, that meant that the dog famous for working there, Shiba-San, would retire. Still, Shiba-San serves as an icon of hard-work and friendliness and habits that can lead to cancer.

44. Marutaro 


Someone in Japan owns a hedgehog as a pet, and that someone likes to make paper masks for that hedgehog and take photos of said masked-hedgehog. Weird, right? But not as weird as the fact that 100,000 people signed up on Twitter to see these pictures.

45. Bubba Sue


Both Miley Cyrus and her pet pig appeared nude on the cover of Paper magazine, one of which people found shocking. Bubba Sue helped convince Miley to become a vegetarian. Or maybe it was when coyotes ate her dog. Or a blowfish she met. I don’t want to read anymore about Miley Cyrus, okay?

46. Chaser 

A retired psychology professor taught his Border Collie to identify 1,022 toys by name and retrieve them, proving two crucial scientific facts: a) animals can understand language and b) there exists at least 1,022 toys.

47. Dorothy


This is a chicken that Ingrid Newkirk, the President of PETA, feels really strongly about. In an email about Dorothy, which was part of an email about a lot of specific chickens she wanted on this list, Newkirk wrote: “I’m partial to Dorothy because I got to know her recently and found she is a curious and gentle person who was dumped as a “discard” at a county fair, had a broken wing, and we rescued her. And because we offered that $1 million prize for the first in- vitro lab-grown chicken because Americans eat 1 million chickens an HOUR! We’re often rescuing chickens, but she was the first chicken to have surgery in our mobile vet clinic. The vets and vet techs are hard nosed bastards but they were smitten. Each of those birds has thoughts, feelings and a personality, any chicken’ll do to make the point, but Dorothy’s the most recent hard-luck story turned good-luck story I know.”

48. Bretagne

Charlotte Dumas—Barcroft USA/Getty Images

The last known living rescue dog from 9/11, this 16-year-old Golden Retriever lives in Texas but came back in September to visit Ground Zero, where she had sniffed through the rubble looking for bodies.

49. Nick Wilde


The fox in the movie Zootopia played by Jason Bateman is very influential, according to TIME 100 Animals board member Phil Johnston, who co-wrote the movie. Nick has a lot of attitude, but also a heart of gold. He learns some valuable lessons by the end of the film.

50. Long John

Andy Watson—Bull Stock Media

One could have made a case for Crystal Deal, the 2015 Bucking Bull of the Year, but runner-up Long John is the most fearsome bull in bull riding. As of the Professional Bull Rider’s World Champion Bull, Long John had 21 total outs, 14 of which were on the Built Ford Tough Series, which is really tough. Yes, Crystal Deal bucked off all 10 of its riders, but Long John is 42-8 in three years on the pro circuit. And yeah, Crystal Deal averaged 45.6 points to Long John’s 44.5, but you have to remember that Long John had a couple of injuries this year. Tough call, and we understand if you argue with this one. That’s the fun of the TIME 100 Animals.

51. Bernie Bird

Steve Dykes—AP

Bernie Sanders was speaking to a huge crowd in a stadium in Portland, Oregon when a bird flew onto his podium. And everyone stopped because they thought it meant world peace or whatever stoners like to believe. Portland puts a bird on everything, so it was not going to pass up a chance to put one on Bernie.

52. Boo

Mark Davis—Getty Images

My mom bought my six-year-old son a stuffed animal dog wearing a bathing suit. I have no idea why. I don’t ask about these things. When you have a kid you wind up with all kinds of crap. Someone was staying at our house and saw it and said, “That’s Boo.” Which I am sure my mom did not know. It turns out this is indeed a stuffed representation of a Facebook-famous Pomeranian, with more than 17-million likes, four books, a Gund stuffed animal, a 2012 fake-death hoax and a job as the Official Pet Liaison of Virgin America. Boo is owned by a Facebook employee and is known for having short hair and being cute. That’s all it takes, I guess.

53. Esther the Wonder Pig

Courtesy of Steve Jenkins

A Canadian couple, Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, thought they were buying a mini pig. But Esther grew to be 667 pounds. They decided to keep her, raised money to open an animal sanctuary and became vegans. It’s the kind of story that inspires people not to buy mini pigs.

54. Joan of Shark

Silas Mountford—Western Australian Department of Fisheries

The breakout star of this year’s Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, Joan of Shark is a huge female great white who lives off the Western coast of Australia. Also known as Bride of Jaws (the title of the documentary about her) she’s got a tracker on her that will last a decade, allowing scientists to better understand how to boost rating for Shark Week.

55. P-22

National Park Service/AP

A male mountain lion left the Santa Monica Mountains, crossed two freeways and landed in Los Angeles’ giant Griffith Park where the Hollywood sign is. He showed up in a crawl space in someone’s house. More importantly, a few weeks after I moved into my house, my mom and her husband were watching our son while we were in Spain when two guys from Fish and Wildlife knocked on our door holding a gun and told them not to leave the house because a mountain lion was in our backyard. Then they never came back. Nobody left the house for a long time. Then, just when we thought it was safe, P-22 broke into the Los Angeles Zoo and mauled a koala bear. A koala bear! Yet people still love him. Liberals are weird.

56. Gus

A very popular YouTube video shows this bulldog that really wants to bring a kiddie pool in the house. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk loves it. “If a video is someone just using their animals and dressing them up in stupid clothes and sunglasses it’s not about the animal at all. There’s this dog called Gus, on the Internet. It’s summer and he’s hot and they’ve got one of those plastic pools. Gus wants to get in the pool but he wants it in the house, so he spends this inordinate amount of time and he’s very clever and he gets it inside,” she says. “There’s not someone pushing him. It’s him. It’s very different than the surfing squirrel that’s just being used. That squirrel is tied down and doesn’t want to be there.”

57. Lion King

Andrew H. Walker—Getty Images

The lion that saved Disney is still one of the top draws on Broadway. And it led to a whole business of musicals for kids. And that led to the cleaning up of Times Square. It also led to Julie Taymor’s rise, which led to that Spider Man musical debacle, which led to the world weirdly turning on U2. I may be stretching here.

58. Manny the Frenchie

Manny & Friends

Named Chicago’s most famous dog by Chicago magazine, this French Bulldog has raised more than $150,000 for animal charities, which in human money is $150,000. Manny has promoted Macy’s Southwest Airlines, FedEx, Subaru, Nest and West Elm. The Swiffer one is the only one that makes sense.

59. Jesper

This Norwegian cat became famous in February for a video of it “skiing” in which “skiing” is running alongside its owner who is actually skiing. Still, that’s apparently some feat for a cat, since they’re lazy and don’t like to be near their owners.

60. Humaid Albuqaish’s cheetah

If you’re a super-rich young baller in the Middle East and you don’t have a cheetah to pose with next to your lambo or on your boat, you’re not even worth a $30 barrel of oil. Humaid Albuqaish, the only person Young Thug follows on Instagram, has just shy of 900,000 followers who see his lions, monkey and cheetah live it up with him in Dubai.

61. Jim the Pom


How do you get two million Instagram followers? Be a dog that looks like a teddy bear. It’s that easy. Also, he can walk really far on two legs. But you can probably already do that. The other part is going to be harder.

62. Stella


She’s the French bulldog on Modern Family. So she’s dealing with all of today’s hot-button issues, like younger wives, gay marriage and income inequality. I have no idea what they do on that show anymore. I stopped watching several seasons ago. For no good reason, really. It’s a good show.

63. Casper

NOAA/Office of Ocean Exploration and Research/ AP

In March, near Hawaii, about 2.5 miles deep in the ocean, an animal was discovered that is probably a member of a new species. It might even be part of a new genus, which is the next step in Carlos Linnaeus’ hierarchy, if what I remember from junior-high science is at all right. None of that matters. What matters is that this octopus-looking thing without pigment cells might wind up being called Ghostopus.

64. Tuna Melts My Heart

Tuna Melts My Heart

Another animal with an adorable disability, Tuna inspires other people with his book subtitled “The Underdog with the Overbite,” touring the world to talk to people about pet adoption.

65. Choupette

Jens Kalaene—Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP Images

The ultimate evil-doer accessory. Karl Lagerfield is always petting this white cat on his lap while he plans to destroy the world through fashion, always foiled at the last minute by the fact that you can’t destroy the world through fashion.

66. Kitty Purry

Kristian Dowling—Getty Images

Katy Perry’s cat is in her videos and appears on stage with her. During the California Dreams Tour, Kitty Purry was shown on the screens in a purple cat suit with a bejeweled heart and danced with Perry during a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” She also is a part of back stage meet and greets.

67. Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson

Raymond Hall—GC Images

These are Taylor Swift’s cats! Remember that time Meredith was SO not feeling the gym? Or when Olivia went claws out and destroyed some lithographs just because she could? Or when Olivia gave the whole morning a big nope? Or when Liv helped sleeping reach a whole new stage of adorable? Me neither. But writer Amanda Bell saw all these Instagram photos and wrote those things about it.

68. Kermit the Frog


He’s got an ABC show, weathered a breakup with Miss Piggy and sang with Jack White.

69. Reef

Mark Thiessen—AP

Dallas Seavey’s top dog won the Iditarod, allowing Seavey to beat the second place finisher–his own dad. He’s won the race four of the past five years. I get the feeling not a lot of people are interested in Iditarodding and am working to change that in this small but significant way.

70. Jedi

Luke Nuttall, a seven-year-old with type-1 diabetes, had a blood sugar emergency that went undetected by his continuous glucose monitor. But his diabetic alert dog (DAD), Jedi, got Luke’s mom, by laying on top of her since he can’t beep or buzz or play voice recordings or whatever it is continuous glucose monitors are supposed to do. Dog Silicon Valley is, it is not getting enough respect.

71. Thula

Iris Grace Painting/Facebook

These tear-jerking human interest entries might be the Time 100 Animals’ strength, so I’m doubling down. Do you know about Iris Grace Halmshaw? Well, grab an inspirational tissue and sit down for a stretch. She’s a British six-year-old with autism who calms herself down with paintings that are extraordinary and have sold for £1,500, which is some amount more than $1,500. She started painting and talking after her parents got her Thula, a Maine Coon cat, that was trained as a therapy cat. Can a writer win a Pulitzer for an online list of animals? I’m about to find out.

72. Wisdom


A 65-year-old Laysan albatross gave birth. Yes, to an albatross, but still, that’s amazing. She’s 65. Which in albatross years has to be at least 65.

73. Woody

Dave J Hogan—Getty Images

Tom Hardy loves dogs. Way more than friends, which he says he doesn’t have since he has dogs. Women find this heart-melting. What is wrong with women? The guy likes dogs more than people. This is not a good sign. He brings Woody, his Yellow Lab mix rescue dog, on red carpets, where it chases pigeons and barks and does other things that Tom Hardy presumably wants to do himself.

74. Giggy

Cindy Ord—Getty Images

Owned by Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Lisa Vanderpump, Giggy suffers from alopecia, which allows Vanderpump, who is a real person, to dress her up. The dog goes to a lot of Los Angeles hot spots. Other dogs, we’re guessing, want to be Giggy.

75. Jaws

Universal Pictures/Getty Images

Yes, that movie was 41 years ago and the shark was actually not an animal but a mechanical sculpture. But Time 100 Animals advisor Phillipe Cousteau felt strongly about including Jaws: “I still talk to people all the time that say, ‘I saw that movie when I was a kid and I’m afraid to get in the water.’ It’s influential for a bad reason.”

76. Mike VI

Doug Benc—Getty Images

In addition to a student dressed up as a tiger, LSU has a real, live tiger as its mascot. The fifth in a line of live tiger mascots, Mike VI (pre-pope name: Roscoe) lives on campus in a $3 million, 15,000-square foot habitat with a waterfall, a stream and a pond. You can see him in it on his online Tigercam. If he feels like going into his cage before a game, he gets paraded around the field with cheerleaders on top of it. Then he’s parked outside the opposing team’s locker room so they have to walk by him before coming out to the field. LSU has a very successful football team.

77. Ralphie V

Dustin Bradford—Getty Images

Ralphie the Buffalo is the mascot of the University of Colorado. It is a real, live female buffalo that gets paraded by a team of five“Ralphie Handlers” who dress in the kind of Western war gear you see on the History Channel and get to be considered varsity athletes for running her around the field before a game. Which seems fair. The fifth Ralphie (hence the name), Ralphie V was donated by Ted Turner who had her trained for this starting at age two, in what would rank as the 12,456th craziest thing he’s ever done.

78. Three cats who attended the G-20 Summit


In November, three stray cats walked on the stage of the G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, smelled the many, many flowers arranged there, refused to be shooed off, and caused much laughter. That laughter softened the global leaders, who agreed on a lasting world peace.

79. Boo and Pistol

Ignat/Bauer-Griffin—GC Images/Getty Images

When Johnny Depp was in Australia filming yet another Pirates of the Caribbean movie, he brought his wife, Amber Heard, and their two frighteningly named Yorkshire terriers. But as everyone knows, you can’t bring pets to Australia without permits and a brief stay in quarantine. This isn’t the country of freed criminals anymore, after all. The dogs–which Australia threatened to kill if they didn’t leave–flew back to California, but a court case is in effect. Heard has pleaded not guilty and has released this statement which is very serious as you can tell because it starts with the word “whilst”: “Whilst I am unable to comment on the specifics matters before the Court I would like to say that I respect the importance of Australia’s laws.” This, of course, is not what anyone asked her.

80. Star

Keith Barraclough—Animal Planet

The Chow Chow/Labrador mix was the MVP of Puppy Bowl 2016 as part of the winning team, Ruff. She scored the first double touchdown in Puppy Bowl history, which maybe involved scoring a touchdown on one end of the field and then running to the other end to score another touchdown? I don’t understand the rules to Puppy Bowl at all.

81. Bull that gored Saul Jiminez Fortes


In 2014 Fortes was part of a bull fighting match in Spain that was cancelled due to the bulls beating all three toreos – the first time that’s happened since 1979.

82. Hanzo

OE KLAMAR—AFP/Getty Images

The L.A. based bulldog won 2015’s Unleashed by PetCo Surf Dog Competition in the “X-Large dogs” category and in tandem (with Kalani), repeating his 2014 wins. He has already been inducted into the International Surfing Museum’s Surf Dog Walk of Fame.

83. Punxsutawney Phil

Chris Hondros—Getty Images

Barely on the list–probably won’t be next year unless he really steps up his game. No one cares anymore and it’s just getting pathetic. If it weren’t for ancillary publicity from the great Bill Murray movie, Punxsutawney probably would have stopped this nonsense by now.

84. Wayne Sanchez

I and my colleagues were firmly opposed to any of the board members putting their pets on the list, but Zootopia co-writer Phil Johnston made a very compelling case for his cat, which he says is the first transgendered pet. “He had a penis removed. There were these crystals forming in his urethra. He had vaginoplasty surgery. I suppose I should use ‘she.’” Phil certainly should.

85. Bubba


This cat lives just a few houses from Leland High School in San Jose, where he likes to roam the halls and attend classes. He’s got a student ID card. It doesn’t take that much to make it this far down the list on the Time Animals 100.

86. Starving polar bear

In August, photographer Kerstin Langenberger got a picture of a really emaciated polar bear on the Norwegian islands near the North Pole. It became a rallying cry for people who fear global warming, even though this particular polar bear was probably starving for normal polar bear reasons, like how much it has always sucked to be a polar bear.

87. Conrad

Cole Burston—Toronto Star/Getty Images

On July 9, 2015, a dead raccoon was found on a sidewalk in Toronto. For the rest of the day, for reasons that have to do with the fact that the raccoon was right next to a tech company, the city mourned him. Condolence cards, flowers, candles, crowds, a candle-lit memorial service, the trending twitter hashtag #DeadRaccoonTO, a fundraiser for the Toronto Wildlife Center. Or Centre. All of these happened.

88. Inuyama Shibao


Did you know that one of the first anchors of the Today Show was a chimpanzee? Does that make you feel less weird about the fact that a dog wearing a suit and tie pretends to be an anchor in an infomercial? Remember when Japan was the country with weird reality shows? We are all infomercial dog news anchors now.

89. Fu Wa and Feng Yi

Lai Seng Sin—AP

China’s diplomacy seems largely about sending other countries pandas. Luckily, it seems like every country really wants pandas. Spider diplomacy, for instance, would not work, though undoubtedly is being considered by North Korea. These two pandas arrived in Malaysia and now Malaysia loves China even more. Donald Trump would make China sends us lots of pandas and make them pay for the walls around their habitats.

90. Kolkata Elephant


A wild elephant got lost from its forest and rampaged through Kolkata, India, destroying parked cars and scooters and some homes, as crowds followed it, because, probably, YouTube.

91. Banana


Waking up is always shocking when you’re 99 yeas old, but this 99-year-old woman in Miami woke up with a Kinkajou on her chest. A Kinkajou is an animal of some kind, which is all I care about for this list. It was someone’s pet that had escaped from what I can only guess is a very classy, perfectly restored Victorian house.

92. Chris P. Bacon

Tom Benitez—Orlando Sentinel/MCT/Getty Images

The cruelly named pig that has a wheelchair because it was born without the use of its hind legs is yet another disabled animal star with three books, a movie and a PBS show.

93. Deep Blue


The largest shark ever to be filmed is female, about 50 years old, lives off the coast of Baja, Mexico, and may be pregnant.

94. Brian Griffin


The atheist Family Guy dog is in his 14th season of bringing high-brow culture to Fox.

95. El Jefe

US Fish & Wildlife Service

The last known jaguar in the United States that is not a guy in a furry suit paid to jump around at a football game despite the team’s losing record. It was caught on film in the Santa Rita Mountains near Tuscon, Arizona. Though they once roamed America in huge numbers, this is the first time anyone has seen a jaguar in motion in more than four years.

96. Omo

Omo is not an albino! She is leucistic! Totally different pigment condition! She’s only the second white giraffe seen in 20 years. She’s named Omo after a popular brand of detergent in Tanzania, though I’m sure a lot of people wanted to name her Albino. Which would be wrong!

97. Toast and Finn

Amy Sussman—AP Images/The Humane Society

Remember that guy who called himself “The Fat Jew” who was popular on social media and then people discovered he stole all his jokes from other people on social media and no one bought his book or paid attention to him any more? Well, he came up with a new angle. He threw a wedding for his dog, who married a dog belonging to Amanda Hearst, the heiress to the Hearst fortune. Tickets cost $150 and went to some animal charity. The wedding was attended by 300 people and held at the High Line hotel in Manhattan on January 13. The bride dog wore a custom gown by Marchesa and a $139,000 diamond necklace on loan. She was led down the aisle by Simon Doonan. The wedding was officiated by Cindy Adams who said to the attendees, “Speak now or forever hold your pee.” Drinks were donated by Smirnoff; a specialty cocktail called the Chiweenie-Tini was served. The cake was supplied by Butterfly Bakeshop. Do not let Bernie Sanders read this, or he will instantly turn into fiery coals.

98. Otto

Martin Mejia—AP

This bulldog in Peru broke the World Record for skateboarding through a human tunnel, by passing under the legs of 30 people who hopefully did not bring up this experience on first dates.

99. “Volcano” Sharks

Just what is sounds like! Sharks! Living in an active volcano! In acid and heat and volcano stuff, somewhere in the Solomon Islands, which are a string of islands with volcano sharks.

100. Jon Stewart’s Bull

A bull in a holding area escaped into Queens. So Jon Stewart rescued it and took it to the Farm Sanctuary location his wife created in New Jersey. That same night, Trevor Noah did nothing for animals.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at