Walk On The Wild Side: Striking Snapshots Of Nature’s MagnificenceBy Giovanni DS
The natural world is full of beautiful and wonderous things. From plants to animals to minerals and everything in between, we never cease to be amazed by what else calls this planet of ours home. While we’d love to spend our lives on a globetrotting adventure in search of these sights, we don’t have the time or resources to do so. But thanks to the internet, we don’t need to leave our couches to see wonders from every corner of the world. People see fascinating things every day, and we’re grateful they take the time to share them with the rest of us.
Walk with us as we see dozens of varied and fantastic species of animals, breathtaking sceneries and landscapes, enchanting plants and stones, and so much more!
Parenting is Hard
Parenting can just be hard sometimes, or all the time. There is no way of escaping that. But we also know that all the challenges and struggles are always worthwhile in the end. And this lynx mother probably agrees with that sentiment.
This adorable picture shows an absolutely exhausted lynx mother with her tiny cub whose eyes look like it is still brimming with energy. No doubt she is waiting for her cub to grow up so she can finally get some sleep.
The World is Just Nature’s Canvas
Many iconic pieces of art from across the world, painted over the course of dozens of centuries, all have one thing in common. That their creators were all, to some degree, inspired by the pure magical beauty of the natural world around them.
If you ever need a picture to point to when expressing this point, then look no further. It is maddening to think that all of these colors and hues are all-natural, completely made by nature. Proving again that nature is the true master.
The King of Foxes
This charming and eye-catching fellow is a breed of fox known as a cross fox, known for their black and red striped fur (similar to red foxes). This breed of fox is most often found in the northern parts of Canada.
Besides their different fur colors, cross foxes are basically identical to red foxes, although perhaps slightly larger with thicker tails and padded feet. One thing is for sure; this guy is a serious stunner! We would be happy to stumble across him on a nature walk.
An Unlikely Family
At first glance, you are probably wondering just how this little duckling managed to get into this owl’s nest. Well, apparently this owl was flying back to its next and thought a nearby egg was one of its own that fell out of the nest…
The owl took care of the egg and even the duckling once it hatched, seemingly adopting it as its own chick. We still don’t know all the details of how it worked out, but we sure are glad that it did!
Plenty of you probably know, have seen, or heard that birds are quite the talented and inventive little builders. This is most apparent in the nests they have to build to take shelter in, lay their eggs, and raise their chicks.
If it was not already impressive enough that they can do all of this without having hands, then check out this little birdhouse, complete with a leaf umbrella/roof. It’s very impressive, though we don’t know if it’s to shelter from the rain, the glaring sun, or just a happy accident.
When Did Saturn Get So Close?
We often forget about just how beautiful the other neighboring plants are, because, well, that just don’t ever see them. At least, not without specialized equipment. When we do see them, we are reminded of the unique features that make them quite distinctive, like the great rings around Saturn.
This person happened to just be outside at the right moment and snapped this awesome picture of the moon with a line of clouds stretched across it. Using a little imagination gives you an idea of what Saturn would look like close up.
Japanese Cherry Blossoms
Japan has an abundance of natural beauty, which in turn has inspired many painters over the years (no surprise right?). While Japan has a number of iconic natural features, one of the most famous has to be the cherry blossoms.
Cherry blossoms, known in Japanese as sakura, are the national flower of Japan and are commonly found in other parts of East Asia; they are immediately identified by their rosy petals. Despite their name, these trees should not be confused with the fruit-bearing cherry trees.
Riding under Night Light
The aurora polaris, more commonly known as the northern lights, is a stunning natural phenomenon that creates moving curtains of dazzling colors. The phenomenon is the result of solar winds that cause disturbances in areas with dense concentrations of charged particles.
If the spectacle was not already beautiful enough, sometimes you spot scenes such as these that just make it even more magical — a skyline painted by the shimmering colors of the northern lights and a herd of reindeer racing underneath it on white snow.
Birds of a Feather, Style Together
What you are seeing are not Christmas decorations. No, these little colorful birds are called Cardinals, a colorful and varied species of bird found across the Americas. The most iconic of the species are these red ones, as seen below.
Cardinal birds, at least the red ones in the picture, are believed to have been named after the Christian cardinal bishops, due to them having the same red hues as that of a cardinal’s robe and cap. Of course, the St. Louis Cardinals are named after the bird, not the bishop.
A Little Skink
This adorable little guy is a breed of lizards called skinks, which are part of the Scincidae family. The main distinguishing feature of skinks from other family members is their smaller and shorter legs in comparison to their body size.
The one in the picture is the blue-tailed or five-striped or five-lined skink (it all depends on where you are) of the Plestiodon genus and is found in parts of Northern America and East Asia. Although, as they grow, they lose their blue coloring in some parts.
Red Fox Agate
This stunning hunk of mineral stone, that kind of looks almost like sheets of burnt paper, is called Red Fox Agate. It is a rare form of agate that can be found in Patagonia, a region split between Chile and Argentina.
Agate is a mineral stone that is comprised of quartz and chalcedony (crystallized silica) and which can appear in dozens of different colors and patterns and can be found across the world. Agate can generally be found in areas of previous volcanic eruptions.
While we are busy looking at huge chunks of mineral stone, why don’t you take a look at this impressive chunk of pure and solid malachite. Malachite is formed from copper carbonate hydroxide, a mix that creates its iconic green coloration.
What’s even more interesting is that the exposed segment of the malachite looks surprisingly similar to burnout velvet. That all said, you should never handle pure malachite, as its dust can be quite toxic and irritating due to its high copper content.
The Little Mountain Cat
These little miniature leopard-looking cats are known as the Andean mountain cat, a breed of wild cat native to, you guessed it, the Andes (particularly in the higher areas) and were sacred to many Native American cultures. It may look like a regular housecat, but they probably won’t be as amused by a laser pointer.
Sadly, the species is listed as endangered, with around less than 1,500 still roaming around in the wild. As usual, the cause of their status lies with us humans, who have been pushing them out of their habitat and compromising their sources of prey.
A Phoenix rises in Etna
If you are familiar with mythology, then you will most likely be a little confused and shocked if you took a quick glance at this photo, of what could be mistaken for the mythical bird of living flame, the phoenix.
While of course, it is not a phoenix, but in fact, a burst of lava from Italy’s famous Mount Etna that happened to just spread in just the right way to perfectly appear as a flaming bird flying over the city.
A Blue Mushroom!
Nope, you aren’t dreaming; these are, in fact, real blue mushrooms! These incredible and stunning little fungi that look like a creature from Alice in Wonderland are called pixie’s parasol, or Mycena interrupta, and are part of the Mycena family. A family of, mostly, bioluminescent mushrooms.
Unfortunately, the pixie’s parasol is not bioluminescent. They can be found from far-off and separate places like Australia to Chile, as a result of a Gondwanan distribution pattern. They most likely derive their name from their wide and broad caps that look like parasols.
That is One Determined Tree
When you stop and just allow yourself to take in the natural world around you, you come to truly appreciate the majesty of it. You will also come to realize that nature will always find a way, given the time.
A fine example is this tree. It was determined not to be defeated and it stretched its roots and body as it grew along the face of rock and emerged atop it! Jeff Goldblum was right, “Life finds a way.”
Quite The Busy Bee
Bees are the undisputed gardeners and tenders of nature and her hundreds of plants and flowers. For this reason, it is understandable just why they are so important for the survival of the world and all who live on it.
Bees accomplish this feat by buzzing from flower to flower in search of nectar, collecting pollen as they do so. Take this guy, for instance, who is just absolutely covered in pollen! It looks like he fell into a packet of chips!
The Waterfalls of Lauterbrunnen
One of the appeals of reading or watching a movie or show set in some far-off, magical and fantastical world is that it lets us passively marvel at landscapes you would think impossible. That is until you see places like this.
Lauterbrunnen is one of the places that has inspired the creativity of many writers (including Tolkien) due to its stunning valley famous for its 72 waterfalls. It makes you wonder what it is like to live there. If we lived there, we wouldn’t get anything done; we’d be too busy staring at the landscape.
Gems of The Sea
The sea is home to a vast array of truly beautiful and graceful creatures, as well as some truly terrifying and vicious ones within its boundless watery domain. But that is not all it has to offer, as its gems are also marvelous.
And by gems, we are speaking metaphorically about the tiny seashells, bits of coral, and small urchin shells that wash ashore and decorate the sandy beaches. Life is truly magical under the sea if these colorful gems are any indication.
Canada’s Winter Waterfall
No, this is neither an icy clad volcano nor a geyser. This area, located in British Columbia, is known as the Helmcken Falls, which is Canada’s fourth-largest waterfall that runs along the Murtle River in the Wells Gray Provincial Park.
During winter, the canyon fills up with piles of snow which generally creates a snow cone that can reach 50m. As spring approaches, the cone begins to collapse in on itself, creating what appears to be a volcano. Nature is truly remarkable, no matter what season it is.
The Amber Mantis
Amber is an extraordinarily beautiful thing that most people would most likely not know that much about. For instance, that amber, while it might look like a piece of chipped mineral stone, is, in fact, a piece of fossilized tree resin.
Because of this, chunks of amber can be extremely old, and sometimes there is more to them than just the resin itself. For example, this tiny praying mantis was perfectly preserved and positioned within this chunk of amber. We wonder where Michael Crichton got the inspiration for Jurassic Park…
The Desert’s Garden
The Atacama Desert of Chile is one of the driest deserts in the world while also being the largest fog desert in the world. A bizarre mix that has allowed it to foster a little garden of tenacious flowers of its own.
Contrary to what it might appear to us today, the region is said to have once been a dense woodland forest before Colonial times. After which, the demand for wood and firewood gradually stripped the land clean by the 18th-19th centuries.
The Charming Mandarin Duck
The mandarin duck is a gorgeous species of perching duck that is native to large areas of East Asia and is thought to be closely related to the wood duck found in Northern America. It can be hard to imagine such a combination of vibrant colors naturally appearing in nature, but the mandarin duck proves us wrong.
As with a lot of bird species, only the male mandarin duck is this colorful, with bands of purples, whites, oranges, and blues. The females, in contrast, have a plainer gray and light brown coloring with white stripes and dots.
The Icelandic Landscape
While Iceland looks like such a remote and isolated tiny country, when looking just from a world map, it is home to some of the most gorgeous landscapes and natural features, such as the stunning Stuðlagil ravine through which the river Jökla runs.
The Stuðlagil ravine is famous for its towering columns of basalt columns that decorate each side. This is why the ravine is often incorrectly referred to/called the basalt canyon, with ravines and canyons being similar things but still very different.
Two Continents Within Arm’s Reach
This diver that you can see in the photo was touching both North America and Europe at the same time! Well, not exactly in the way we would think of the continents. He was actually touching both the North American and Eurasian plates.
This is known as the Silfra Rift, which is a divergent plate boundary between the tectonic plates of the two aforementioned continental plates. The Silfra Rift can is located in Iceland, where it runs through the island and its Þingvellir valley.
A Jumping Fish!?
This stunning display of aquatic to aerobatic mastery is the work of the Brycon fish, a freshwater fish that is commonly found within large parts of Central and South America. Although it seems like something from Super Mario Bros, this fish is very much real.
Brycon fish are known to launch and shoot themselves out of the water to catch fruits, seeds, and other plants that hang above the surface of streams and rivers. A feat that is perfectly captured in this picture. Who would have thought that fish would be hungry for dry food?
The Snake and The Rose
While this is one amazing picture and one amazing-looking snake, you would be wise to be very careful around it! This is the blue viper, a relative of the white-lipped pit viper, and an extremely aggressive snake. Certainly more dangerous than the thorns of that rose.
While the blue viper’s venom won’t kill you outright, it is still extremely dangerous as it has a hemorrhagic effect that will cause internal and external bleeding and severe pain. It is thought to be found in parts of Indonesia.
Talk About Sea Horses
It is always nice to see some animals just having fun, such as this herd of wild horses strolling along the beach and splashing in the shallow waters. They don’t have a care in the world, and we are jealous of their freedom and fun.
For the most part, wild horses are extremely rare. Most horses you are likely to ever come in contact with would all be domesticated. The only real wild or feral horses left are the American mustang and the Przewalski from Central Asia.
Woven Bird Nest
We have already seen one example of avian engineering (remember the umbrella-covered nest?), but can you ever really have too much? This avian couple somehow (possibly magically) built their nest within a bent tree leaf, incorporating the leaf into the design.
The result is a secure and sheltered little bird cave home that will hopefully keep some of the rain off the nest and provide some cover for would-be predators. We are not sure how sturdy it is, but it sure looks awesome!
This Cat Lifts More Than You
Humans are squishy. There is no way around that fact. No matter how powerful or impressive we think we are, when it comes to a test of physical power and fitness, 99% of all wildlife would wipe the floor with us.
Don’t believe it? Well then, take a look at this prowling mountain lion who has shoulders and triceps so big it makes the Rock look he has twigs for arms. This is one predator you do not want to ever annoy!
Baby Snap, Snap Turtle
After seeing that imposing mass of pure feline muscle, we have something on the opposite end of the spectrum. Introducing a tiny little baby snapping turtle! Seeing them like this, you can really see their dinosaur ancestry on full display.
While it might look cute right now, you definitely do not want to play around with it when it is older. It is called the snapping turtle after all! That is, unless you feel like you already have too many fingers.
Fish Are Friends, Not Food
We guess shark cage diving is just a little too boring for some people. There are some who seem to prefer swimming alongside them out in the open ocean. This picture is of a conservationist swimming alongside one of the biggest recorded sharks.
Despite the countless stories, sharks are not out to hunt humans. Fun fact about this shark: it was initially thought to be Deep Blue, a 6.1m long shark who was first spotted around Mexico. However, some marine biologists thought that the shark might have been Haole Girl, an equally large, or close enough, shark.
Now That’s a Big Rock
This is Wyoming’s Devils Tower, a name that might sound a bit sinister but has nothing to do with the devil. Apparently, the rock gained its name in 1875 when Colonel Richard Irving Dodge misinterpreted the native name of the rock.
The rock is also known as Bear Lodge Butte, Matȟó Thípila in Lakota, Daxpitcheeaasáao in Crow, and many other names. The Tower reaches a height of 386m and is the first national monument of the US as decreed by Theodore Roosevelt.
Cotton Candy At The Seaside
Sunsets are always a beautiful spectacle to behold, no matter where you live or are (well, maybe not in the UK). Some places are just luckier than others when it comes to having some mind-blowing sunsets and sunrises. Take this scene, for example…
This stunning picture was taken in the Maldives (possibly around the Lhaviyani area) during the golden hour. The result was a blue and light peach sky covered with pinkish-purple clouds that hung over the clear turquoise waters below. The braches touching the sky make it look like cotton candy, don’t you think?
Vicious Lion Cub, Much Scary
Imagine you are peacefully walking along the savannah’s grassy fields dotted with bushes. But then you hear a noise, and then a low growl and a fearsome lion pounces at you! And, your scream is cut off as you get a look at the lion cub.
You can just imagine that this little fellow is trying his absolute best to look as imposing and intimidating as he can and failing at it. He will have to wait a year or two before he can be terrifying. At this age, the mom is who we’re scared of.
A Circle of Nature?
Wildfires are never taken as a good incident, as they rage through woods, burning down trees, killing and off chasing animals, or burning homes. They are especially worse when caused by human action. Humans aside, they are a part of nature.
While fires are destructive, they are also symbols of rejuvenation. Many plants and flora require the flames to bring about new life by aiding them to germinate and regrow. Some solace as we see this Californian hill smolder under the light of the moon.
Not The Winter Wonder Land You Would Expect
At first glance, you would not be faulted for believing that this is a little city with its streets completely covered in snow. Except it’s not snow. Nope, what it actually is, is seafoam following a massive storm that hit Spain.
The parka the person is wearing makes it easy to mistake it for a snowy scene. This picture was taken in the coastal town of Tossa de Mar, a municipality along the Catalan coast in North-eastern Spain. The storm was so powerful that it caused the bordering waters and foam to flood the town.
A Mouldy Leaf
This odd yet captivating picture is of a dead and dry leaf that was decorated with tiny spheres of slime mold. Slime mold is a common term used to refer to eukaryotic organisms that are a form of fungi that grow on plants.
That all said, what is really amazing is how the mushroom-like fungi evenly sprouted along the edge of the leaf and nowhere else on the leaf. They make it look more like an arts and crafts project rather than a natural occurrence. While it looks cool, we wouldn’t recommend trying to eat them!
That is One Popular Capybara
The capybara, if you did not know, is the largest species of rodent in the world and can be found in South America. They also happen to be extremely social animals and can be found in groups of 20-100 — capybaras, that is. We’re not counting the other animals that live with them.
Capybaras are known to live alongside their non-rodent animals. Take these pictures as proof, with capybaras chilling with some turtles, hanging out with monkeys, and snoozing with some turtles and ducks. They really do seem to be quite the social species.
These Stork are Delivering Their Own Baby
Plenty of us either grew up with or were exposed to the tale that storks used to deliver babies. The tale was often played up for laughs or as a euphemistic way of explaining to children where babies come from.
While, if it was ever actually true, then this pair of storks would understandably be off duty as they celebrated the arrival of their own little egg-encased chick. Judging from the pictures, it looks they couldn’t be happier — parental pride transcends species.
A City Owl and Her Owlets
Speaking of proud and winged parents, take a look at this rather surprised mother owl and her nest of equally surprised owlets as they had their picture taken. They probably were surprised that someone managed to find their hidden nest.
A rather unusual nest made not in the open wilds but within the gutter of a modern city complex building. A reality that probably has to do with the ever-declining liveable and forested areas within what used to be their natural environment.
A Rural Barn Owl and It’s Amazing Feathers
Taking a step back from the big city and going back to the countryside, we find ourselves with another owl. This owl is known as a barn owl, one of the most plateful breeds of birds that can be found across the world.
What is really breathtaking about this specific owl is the beautiful and wood-like coloring of many hues that covers the owl’s body and feathers. The barn owl really seems to know a thing or two about color theory! Though we are torn on how we feel about its face looking over its wings at the camera.
A Surviving Task of a Woolly Mammoth
Back in 2019, the gradual thawing of the arctic permafrost that covered large swaths of Siberia revealed dozens of buried mammoth skeletons and tusks that were previously hidden for what scientists believe to be over 10,000 years. With this person holding a tusk, it’s hard to imagine just how small we would have been standing next to mammoths.
Sadly, the discovery was not all happy news, as once word spread of the discovery of the tusks, it led to a rise in tusk hunters who wanted to dig up the tusks for their precious ivory. Sad news aside, it truly is a sight to behold.
New Zealand’s Great Grass Fields of Wanaka
This gorgeous and enchanting view of long, open, and hilled grass fields that hug the sea and neighbors the majestic mountains can be found around the little resort town of Wānaka, in the Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island.
The name of the place means a ‘place of learning and sacred knowledge’ in the dialect of the South Island Māori people. Many tribes of Māori used to travel to Wānaka in their summer seasons to fish, hunt, and gather resources.
The Eye of Norway’s Dragon
This stunning little tidal pool and rock formation is known as the Dragons Eye, which can be found on Uttakliev Beach of Norway’s northern Lofoten Island. Surprisingly, while the pool has a name, we don’t know that much about it.
According to older sources and accounts, the Uttakliev beach used to be much harsher back in the day and yet has now become one of the country’s most beautiful beaches. No doubt the mysterious Dragons Eye had a part to play in its popularity.