6 Baby Animals That Look Nothing Like Their Parents

When it comes to newborn humans, their appearance is quite distinct from that of adults.

With their hairless bodies and peculiar proportions, they stand out in the animal kingdom. However, if we shift our focus to other creatures in nature, human babies suddenly appear as mere replicas of their parents. And mind you, we’re not even discussing insects!

In fact, numerous animals undergo such remarkable transformations as they mature that one might mistake them for entirely different species. These fascinating creatures captivate our attention with their awe-inspiring metamorphoses.

Allow us to introduce you to some of our favorite examples of these wondrous transformations in the animal kingdom.

Silvered Leaf Monkey

baby silver leaf monkey
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

While most animals strive to ensure their offspring blend into their environment, silvered leaf monkeys take an unconventional approach—they do just the opposite. Adult silvered leaf monkeys possess dark, silvery fur and nearly pitch-black skin. In contrast, their babies flaunt a vibrant golden coat and whitish-pink skin.

The precise reason behind this drastic color disparity remains uncertain. However, experts in monkey behavior propose that communal childcare plays a significant role. As silvered leaf monkey females care for all the group’s infants, not just their own, it may be advantageous for them to easily spot the young monkeys when they visually contrast with the adult population.


baby flamingo
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Flamingos are renowned for their signature pink coloration. Yet, brace yourself for a surprise—flamingos are not naturally pink. In fact, they acquire their distinctive hue through an unintentional process of feather dyeing.

The pigmentation is a result of the high concentration of carotenoid pigment, similar to that found in carrots, which they obtain from their food. Over time, the carotenoids accumulate in their feathers, gradually transforming them into a vibrant shade of pink.

However, when it comes to baby flamingos, they deviate from the expected color scheme. These adorable hatchlings emerge from their eggs with pure white plumage. It is only as they grow and mature, gradually adopting the diet that includes carotenoid-rich organisms, that their feathers begin to take on the characteristic pink hue.


baby echidna
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

If asked about the most distinguishing feature of an echidna, one might immediately think of its spines. However, it’s quite amusing that echidna babies, also known as ‘puggles’, are actually born without these spiky defenses.

The development of spines commences around 50 days after birth. You might be inclined to remark, “Of course they don’t have spines! Otherwise, giving birth would be an ordeal for the mother!” Well, the joke’s on you – echidnas lay eggs, so the absence of spines in newborns can be attributed to the fact that the spines are modified hairs. These young echidnas hatch hairless, lacking spines as well.


baby swan
Photo: pxfuel

Swans exude an air of majesty with their elongated necks, vibrant orange beaks, and pristine white feathers. However, a glimpse of a swan chick, also known as a cygnet, might lead one to mistake it for a different kind of waterfowl.

Depending on the specific species, swan babies exhibit shades of dirty gray or brown, sporting necks that do not surpass those of other ducklings, and displaying black bills. Once again, the purpose behind these understated colors is camouflage. By avoiding a conspicuous white appearance from the start, the cygnets make it harder for predators to detect them.

Over the course of two years, their necks gradually elongate, and they shed their gray down. The last vestige of their juvenile appearance is the black beak, allowing us to discern a young swan when encountering one with such a distinctive feature.


baby tapir
Photo: pxfuel

Tapirs are often regarded as living relics, characterized by their short trunks and typically displaying a subdued palette of gray, brown, or black-and-white hues. However, tapir babies defy this conventional appearance.

Their arrival into the world is marked by distinct white stripes and dots that lend them a striking appeal, almost reminiscent of watermelons. Interestingly, this unique pattern serves a crucial purpose.

While it may catch our attention, it actually helps these young tapirs blend seamlessly into the shadows of their natural forest habitats, providing them with protection against potential predators. As the tapir offspring grow, their distinctive stripes gradually fade, usually around the age of six months.


baby emu
Photo: pxfuel

Emus, often deemed unremarkable with their gray-brown plumage, undergo a transformation similar to tapirs when it comes to their chicks.

Emu hatchlings showcase an intricate pattern of white and brown stripes and spots, which grants them a fashion-forward appearance. In a manner reminiscent of avian tapirs, this striking pattern serves a purpose: it aids the chicks in blending harmoniously with their surroundings by disrupting their silhouette.

As emu chicks mature, their stripes gradually disappear around the age of three months. In a curious twist, emu eggs themselves diverge from the blending strategy observed in their plumage, exhibiting vivid turquoise or avocado green hues.

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