2016. What a year it has been. We said goodbye to David Bowie, Prince and Alan Rickman. Hello to Brexit and Donald Trump. It was year where Tom Hiddleson frolicked around in the sea with Taylor Swift while wearing an 'I heart Taylor Swift' t-shirt, Honey G twerked on the X-Factor stage and Ed Balls danced Gangnam Style on Strictly. And let's not even start on the Kardashians. But amongst all the attention seekers, the real stars that made us double tap on Insta, click share on Facebook and screengrab to send via WhatsApp was content of the four-legged kind. Yep, 2016 was really the year that animals totally won the Internet. Here are our highlights...
The #selfie Taking Monkey Lawsuit
When a macaque monkey took selfies on wildlife photographer David Slater's camera back in 2011, he had no idea of what an Internet sensation he was going to become. Not only did the pics go viral, for obvs reasons but earlier this year, the photos ended up being brought before a US judge over rights issues. The lawsuit filed by PETA claimed that the monkey should have copyright to the photos as he was the one who pressed the shutter button. However, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled against it. Unfortunately, the monkey who lives on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia was unavailable for comment.
The Adele Dog
For those of you who haven't seen this... you're very welcome
The World's Only Brown Panda
Meet Qizai the only brown panda in the world. Reportedly abandoned by his mother at two month's old, Qizai was found as a neglected cub in a nature reserve in China. Scientists say his coat colour is down to a genetic mutation but that his mother was definitely black and white. Now aged 7, researchers are currently playing matchmaker to find him a mate as they say studying his child would help solve his unusual fur appearance.
When New Yorker Matt Little was commuting home he spotted this hungry rat carrying this huge slice of pizza. So naturally he whipped out his phone, uploaded it to YouTube and next thing you know #PizzaRat is trending on Twitter.
Uncle Sam, The Bald Eagle...
AKA our hero. We'd also like to thank Martin Schoeller, the award-winning portrait photographer and TIME contributor who had the idea to get Trump to pose with Uncle Sam. Seeming to take an immediate dislike to Trump, the 27-year-old eagle totally lost it mid-shoot, giving the President of the United States (still can't believe we're typing that) a good old swipe.
But even better, in another shot, the bird seemed to mistake Trump's hairpiece for some kind of a living creature and tried to attack that too.
BBC's War and Peace Sashenka
The six part BBC adaptation of Tolstoy's masterpiece may have had us all gripped and let's face it on the verge of tears most Sunday nights. But it was the final episode featuring a scruffy mongrel comforting his owner, the dying soldier Platon that really put our waterproof mascara to the test. Played by a two-year old Lithuanian rescue dog called Samba, we're still not over those harrowing final scenes of the dark-grey terrier whimpering in the snow.
Jolene And Her Favourite Toy
This dog owner made their dog's dreams come true when he dressed up as her favourite toy. Her reaction is everything.
The John Lewis Animal Clique
Sure Buster the boxer may have had his own hashtag but let's not forget the other furry stars of the John Lewis Christmas advert. I mean who knew an eclectic group of wildlife including a pair of foxes, a dumpy badger plus an incredibly cute hedgehog bouncing around on a trampoline could bring so much joy.
The Planet Earth II Baby Turtles
The finale of Planet Earth II saw hundreds of Barbadian baby turtles hatch but then confused by city lights crawl towards the urban sprawl rather than the sea. Some were shown falling down drains or run over by traffic. The programme ended with scores of the hatchlings shown crushed on the roadside making our Sunday night even more depressing. However, a couple of hours later BBC Earth confirmed that the film crew had stepped in and helped out those that they could tweeting: “Every turtle that was seen or filmed by the #PlanetEarth2 crew was collected and put back into the sea.”
The McVities's Kittens
We know now that Chocolate digestives + Kittens = Viral Ad Campaign
The Cheerful Duck And The Depressed Dog...
When George a dog in the USA lost his partner of 12 years, a black labrador named Blackie, he became depressed. That was until on the anniversary week of Blackie's passing, a duck literally waddled out of the blue into his life. George's owner, Jacquie Litton from Tennessee took to Facebook to post photos of the duo and explain how the duck had helped cheer him up. “We have no idea where this duck came from but he sure does love George and since the duck has arrived George has not cried one time,” she wrote. “It is strange for a duck to just appear at our house and be attached to your dog and even more strangely the anniversary week of Blackie’s passing.”