Winter’s coming, and it can’t be helped that some of us are feeling a tad blue. We want nothing more than to wrap ourselves in a warm blanket with a steaming mug of hot cocoa, our beloved pets by our side, and a cozy movie marathon on the TV. Alas! We’ve got grown-up responsibilities like work, studying, and worrying about the future to do. It’s enough to make anyone feel demotivated!
Fortunately for all of us, the internet is here to poke a few holes in those dreary gray clouds and let some sunshine into our lives. There’s nothing like taking a good long break and looking at photos of cute animals to warm our hearts. That’s where the wholesome r/TinyUnits online community comes in. The niche subreddit has been making people’s day better since the spring of 2019, posting photos of ‘tiny units,’ aka smol animals. They’re the exact opposite of ‘absolute units,’ but they take up just as much space in our hearts!
Scroll down for some of the cutest photos of these adorable tiny animals and remember to give them an upvote if you think you’d like to pet ‘em. We hope this list will chase away those pesky autumn blues and melt your hearts, Pandas. Let us know in the comments if we’ve succeeded!
Bored Panda reached out to the moderator team at r/TinyUnits and my first impressions of the community weren't wrong: they're as friendly as they seemed from the first glance. Redditor u/hwhouston517, the current head moderator, was kind enough to answer some of my questions about the subreddit, the cuteness factor, and how subjective things can get when considering whether or not something is, in fact, a tiny unit.
"I’ve only been here for about a year, using the ‘Reddit Request’ feature because the previous mods were inactive, transferring the ownership of the subreddit to me," the moderator told Bored Panda how they came to head the entire tiny operation. "Throughout the years, the subreddit has remained pretty simple and of only one objective: posts animals or objects that are very tiny." Simplicity at its best? I like to think so! The redditor stressed the fact that the subreddit is "extremely fun to mod" and being the head mod has been a "fun experience."
Bored Panda also reached out to PDSA Vet Anna Ewers Clark for some insights about by so many of us love baby animals and what we should do if we ever come across puppies or kittens out in the cold alone. PDSA is the UK's leading veterinary charity with 48 pet hospitals around the country.
The head moderator, u/hwhouston517, went into detail with Bored Panda about where the line lies between something that is a tiny unit and where it's no longer one. There's a lot of subjectivity involved, however, we really shouldn't overthink things too much. It's simply best to sit back, relax, and enjoy the overwhelming adorableness of the units.
"The beauty about this subreddit is that the concept of a 'tiny unit' is entirely subjective, meaning there are less complaints, fewer posts to moderate, and altogether more posts in general. Personally, I would define a 'tiny unit' not by total height, width or length, but by scale. My opinion is that an animal or object has to be at least 3 times as small as the average size of the animal or object in order to count," the head moderator went into detail about what they personally view as animals and things worthy of the label.
"For example, a Labrador Retriever cannot be posted here, but a Chihuahua can, since it’s probably three times smaller than the average size of a dog. The scale factor works in much larger animals, too. Fully grown elephants obviously aren’t tiny units, but baby elephants, which are still much bigger than other animals, count as tiny units as well."
Seal Accidentally Scares Baby Polar Bear
The head moderator reiterated that a lot of people enjoy r/TinyUnits because of the cuteness factor. As human beings, we tend to enjoy and admire looking at tiny animals because we can comprehend them in their entirety. From our point of view, they're less threatening, meaning we tend to see them as cute. "The more cute or attractive something is, the more dopamine our brain releases and therefore it makes us more happy," the mod said.
Psychologists Gary Sherman and Jonathan Haidt propose that small and cute things trigger a protective impulse in us. However, that’s not all. Seeing cute things and animals also brings out a childlike response in us. We have an impulse to engage with adorable, tiny things because we find it fun.
We also feel a deep sense of satisfaction that we’re capable of taking care of vulnerable creatures who might be incapable of looking out for themselves. So it’s no wonder that tiny units win over our hearts and our souls, leaving no place for sadness.
One Of The Earliest Uses Of Animal Therapy. Baby Ducks Cheering Up A Little Girl Undergoing Respiratory Therapy For Polio In 1956
According to PDSA Vet Anna, our love of baby animals such as puppies and kittens may be rooted in our desire to take care of our own children. The similarities between their feature only enhance this instinct.
“Many of us love baby animals, and a lot of this is to do with our inbuilt urge to care for human babies. Puppies and kittens have a lot of features which are similar to human children, such as big eyes, short arms and legs, a round body, and adorable clumsy behavior. This ‘cuteness’ can remind us of our urge to care for human babies and can trigger an urge to protect and care for young pets as they grow,” she told Bored Panda.
Vet Anna revealed that puppies and kittens ought to be with their mother until they’re 8 weeks old. “They should be in a warm, cozy environment during this time. Although from around 4 weeks old, many young cats and dogs will start to explore their environment, they shouldn’t be out and about without their mother and litter mates when they’re young.”
So if you stumble across a puppy or kitten that’s outside all on its own, you should get lend it a helping paw, as it might be lost or abandoned. It’s especially dangerous now that the weather’s getting chilly. “Young pets are at a high risk of hypothermia, so it’s important to keep them warm and dry, and their energy levels can drop rapidly if they’re not eating regular meals, so it’s a good idea to get help from a local vet practice or a rescue charity like the RSPCA (in the UK) if you find an abandoned puppy or kitten.” Meanwhile, those living in the US can contact the ASPCA.
The moderators of r/TinyUnits describe the subreddit as “a chilled out place” that’s all about sharing photos and videos of teeny tiny animals, insects, and even “random objects.”
“You seen a cool tiny unit in the wild whether it be an animal or object? Then this is the place to share it!” they share.
The subreddit is pretty rules-light. You simply have to be a decent human being and the content you post has to include tiny units that you think are totally awesome. It’s as clear and focused as it gets on the internet, folks.
According to Know Your Meme, the term ‘absolute unit’ came into existence in late 2017 when someone uploaded a photo of British hotelier David Morgan-Hewitt alongside the Queen of England on Twitter. They captioned the photo, “In awe at the size of this lad. Absolute unit," and the meme spread from there.
Over time, people began referring to anyone and anything that seems larger than life as absolute units. Our guess is that, eventually, the r/TinyUnits team decided to go for the exact opposite while keeping the term ‘unit’ as part of the community’s name.
While there are plenty of tiny units to be found in our homes, odds are that you’ll come across quite a few of them outside and in nature, too. Back in September, I’d spoken about protecting critters that we find in the wild with a member of the British charity-run advice website, ‘Help Wildlife.’
According to the representative, when we’re out in nature, we have to learn to be careful so we don’t disturb any tiny creatures. “To avoid disturbing small animals when in nature, it's best to stick to established pathways where possible. If you see a nest or other animal habitat then only observe from a distance, never try to touch or interfere. If you have a dog friend walking with you, make sure they're kept under control and they're not allowed to disturb or harm wildlife," Sarah told Bored Panda.
Confident Tiny Bird Unit
Blessed Baby Possum
What’s more, traffic on roads also has “a very big impact” on wildlife. It affects animals of all sizes, small and large. "As well as the obvious accidents, roads also divide and reduce their natural territories," Sarah from ‘Help Wildlife’ said.
"Some forward-thinking countries create wildlife crossings when building new roads these days which can be helpful. Otherwise, the best way to prevent the loss of life is to drive carefully, especially in areas with lots of wildlife or where there is undergrowth at the side of the road which animals may dart out from. If an animal comes into contact with your car then always stop and check on them and try to find them help.”
My Heart Goes Out To All The Animals In Australia, Like This Baby Koala
Meanwhile, if we find ourselves overwhelmed with an animal’s cuteness out in the wild, we have to remember that we can’t let them become overly dependent on human beings for things like food, shelter, and attention.
‘Help Wildlife’ told Bored Panda that we shouldn’t overfeed animals, no matter if they’re small or large.
"Make sure it's something healthy, don't feed so much that they become dependent on people, always keeping in mind you won't be the only ones feeding them, and don't let them associate people with food. It's best for their survival that they remain independent and don't start approaching people for food.”