While bad news and political turmoil were turning everyone against each other, a #CuteAnimalTweetOff erupted, and it was exactly what Twitter needed.

The catalyst was a precious grey seal pup released to the press by Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Sarah Hill, a user from Virginia, challenged the VA Aquarium to do better – or rather, cuter. A friendly fire of back-to-back adorable animal moments followed, and hundreds of Twitizens eagerly watched it unfold in real time. Eventually, the Bronx Zoo decided to step into the ring, and hashtagged 7 other zoos in with them.

The animals that flooded the Twittersphere were a heartwarming distraction from the latest headlines, so do yourself a favour and take them all in below.