Even though they wriggle, human babies are pretty easy to weigh because they can’t escape the scale. Animals, on the other hand, are an entirely different story. In fact, we’re guessing you probably never stopped to consider how difficult it must be for zookeepers to weigh the animals they care for each day.
While newborn babies can’t flip over and crawl away, animal babies often aren’t fans of staying put. Because of that, zoos often resort to wrapping infant animals in comfy blankets and plopping them in a bucket to keep them from waddling away. And it doesn’t get any easier when they get older! How are you supposed to weigh a full-grown bear when it’s got a very sharp set of adult teeth? Or what about birds that finally learn to use their wings?
Weighing animals is important because it tells a zoo whether its inhabitants are being fed enough and alerts them if anyone gets sick. Fortunately, most zoos have figured out a pretty good system for weighing their animals without a fuss.
For an instant pick-me-up, keep scrolling to see some adorable photos of not only baby animals being weighed but also some teeny-tiny adults on the scale, too. You’ll regret not having seen a lion cub in a bucket getting measured before — trust us!
Baby Red Panda Being Weighed
Baby Red Panda
How cute was Zhin-Li the baby red panda back in 2013? When this photo was taken, the hefty tot weighed a whole two pounds. Adult male red pandas typically weigh between eight and 16 pounds, so Zhin-Li certainly has a lot more growing to do. "He's sort of stumbling around in the nest box," Binghamtom Zoo curator Dave Orndorff said at the time. "He tries to crawl a little bit on the shavings on the bottom of the box."
Red pandas are distantly related to their white-and-black relatives, the panda bear, but are more similar in size to a house cat. However, red pands enjoy some of the same foods as their giant panda relatives, like bamboo. Red pandas supplement their diet with berries and other fruit, small insects, and bird eggs.
Frog Being Weighed
Fea's Flying Frog
This teeny-tiny Fea's flying frog is just hanging out on the side of a scale at the ZSL London Zoo's 2017 annual weigh-in. Zookeepers are responsible for measuring all manner of creepy-crawlers, from the tiniest of amphibians to the tallest giraffe. In total, there are more than 20,000 animals at the London Zoo, so zookeepers have their work cut out for them.
Also known as Wallace's flying frog, this little guy is only four inches when fully grown. The webbing on its feet helps it glide from tree branch to tree branch as it makes its way down from high up in a tree to the floor of the rainforest. In fact, Wallace's flying frog can float almost 50 feet in between jumps, which no doubt gives it the appearance of flying.
Baby Penguin Being Weighed
Baby Gentoo Penguin
Back in 2014, the Tennessee Aquarium celebrated the birth of two cute and cuddly baby gentoo penguins. The older penguin was born to parents Biscuit and Blue, and perfected the signature hissing sound gentoo penguins make, according to a press release from the aquarium at the time. "It almost sounds like a deep Darth Vader noise," aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich said. The younger penguin was the offspring of Bug and Big T., who are experienced parents. "With those genes, this is going to be one tough bird!" Aldrich joked. Though we're not quite sure which penguin is in the bowl, one thing we do know is he (or she!) is pretty darn cute!
Gentoo penguins are the third-largest penguin species, behind the emperor and king penguins. Males tip the scale at 19 pounds on average, while females follow right behind at 18 pounds. Judging by their tiny flippers, these little fuzzy babies have a lot more growing to do.
Baby Lion Being Weighed
This grouchy-looking lion cub was photographed being weighed in a bucket back in 2016 at the Gaia Zoo in Kerkrade, the Netherlands. Judging by his or her mean mug, someone did not want to be there!
When lion cubs are born in the wild, all lionnesses will nurse the babies. If the cub is female, she will stay in the pride for the rest of her life. If the cub is male, he can be forced out or leave the pride on his own at around two or three years old. Lion dads don't play an active role in raising their young, so we're sure this little guy or gal is closely bonded with Mom.
Baby Kiwi Being Weighed
Kiwis are an endagered species of flightless bird, which makes the birth of this baby kiwi at the Avifauna Bird Park in Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands in 2018 all the more special. "A lot can go wrong in that first period, but the animal is in perfect health," Avifauna said in September when the baby hatched. The chick was named Tuatahi, which means first or first one in Maori. Tuatahi was the first kiwi chicken born as part of a program across 16 zoos worldwide to increase kiwi populations.
New Zealand chose the kiwi as its national bird, as the species is native to the island. Kiwis are such special symbols of New Zealand that they appear on many flags in the country, and many new Zealanders call themselves Kiwis.
Baby Bear Being Weighed
We're not sure what type of bear cub is being weighed in this photo taken in 2018 at the International Fund for Animal Welfare's Orphan Bears Rehabilitation Centre in Russia, but we do know he or she is one cute little ball of fur. The center where this bear is being cared for looks after orphaned cubs until they're healthy and old enough to be released back into the wild.
This little bundle of chocolate fur resembles a brown bear cub, in our opinion. If indeed this baby is a brown bear, he's got a lot of growing to do. Adult male brown bears can weigh anywhere between 130 and 1,300 pounds!
Caiman Being Weighed
Baby Dwarf Caiman
See, not all reptiles are scary! It's like this little guy knew exactly what the zookepers at the Paris Zoological Park meant when they shouted "Say cheese!" This adorable eight-month-old Cuvier's dwarf caiman weighs all of 114 grams, which is about four ounces. That's less than a regulation-size baseball.
Adult male dwarf caimans will grow to be less than five feet long, and females max out at roughly four feet long. These mini crocs usually only weigh between 13 to 15 pounds, which is about the size of a very well-fed house cat.