10 Great Animal Memes, From Birds to Coons

Here at Audubon, we appreciate a good Internet sensation as much as anyone (if Honey Honey Badger Don’t Care, we certainly do). From snowboarding crows to cute kittens, animals consistently creep into our inboxes and on our Facebook feeds. When these images and videos are posted, blogged, and altered enough to be considered part of the web’s consciousness, they become memes. Animal memes can be silly, offensive, or even insightful – and these are some of the greatest, with explainations of their origins according to Know Your Meme.


1. Socially Awkward Penguin

Socially Awkward Penguin is an series featuring a penguin that lacks social skills and finds itself in awkward situations…a lot. The photo of the penguin was first taken by nature photographer George F. Mobley for National Geographic’s Wild Animal site.

2. Paranoid Parrot

Paranoid Parrott is a series of pictures of a parrot looking over its shoulder for a variety of seemingly mundane reasons. The origin of the photo is unknown, but it was first used in a Photoshop contest in 2004.

3. Anti-Joke Chicken

The classic anti-humor joke, “Why did the chicken cross the road?/To get to the other side!”, inspired the Anti-Joke Chicken, which features what seems to be the beginning of a joke...but turns out to be a normal statement. The original picture was taken by Marshall E. Tyler, its owner.

4. Technologically-Impaired Duck

Technologically-Impaired Duck features an ignorant duck that doesn’t understand computers (which is funny, all ducks I know can Google). The image is a stock photo from FreeFoto and became a meme in 2009.

5. Rich Raven

Appearing since 2008, Rich Raven images feature a common raven Photoshopped with a top hat, cane, and a bottle of liquor, along with a condescending phrase. The un-Photoshopped image was taken by photographer Timothy Blackmore in 1997.

6. Art Student Owl

Art Student Owl images are believed to have been started on a Tumblr. They feature an owl with a cigarette in its mouth and tend to include phrases art students would stereotypical say.

7. Philosoraptor

Philosoraptor poses philosophic questions and became popular in 2009 after being posted on the social news site, 4chan. The image was originally created as a T-Shirt by Sam Smith, who registered the copyright for the design in 2008.

Other Animals:

8. Bad Joke Eel

Bad Joke Eel became popular early this month, featuring an eel with its mouth slightly open, almost as if it's looking for some applause. The photo was originally taken by Jeffrey N. Jeffords scuba diving in the Philippines and became part of a series called Advice Animals on the social news site Reddit.

9. Lame pun Coon

Lame Pun Coon features a smiling raccoon along with a really lame pun. It became popular on hubsites like Tumblr and Reddit in spring 2010, but the image was originally taken by Sara Hunt and uploaded to the photo-sharing site Flickr.

10. Crazy Girlfriend Praying Mantis

Female praying mantises commonly kill and consume their male partners before, during, or after mating. With this in mind, the Crazy Girlfriend Praying Mantis features something a sociopathic girlfriend might say to you. It first appeared on Reddit.

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