17 of the World’s Nicest Wild Animals

Written By Jill Taylor

We know all too well to avoid animals like lions, bears, and sharks. However, while encounters with these wild animals usually spell trouble, there are some creatures that don’t mind being petted. Today, we list 17 of the nicest animals you’ll come across in the wild.


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Highly intelligent and known for their playful behavior, dolphins are so friendly that many people forget they’re wild animals that should be treated with caution. It’s not uncommon to see dolphins approach humans in the wild, and they’ve also been observed to help other animals in distress.

Manta Rays

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Like manatees, manta rays are another large sea animal known to approach divers. They’re gentle swimmers with an appetite for plankton, which makes them completely harmless—without any aggressive behaviors or predatory tendencies. National Geographic says that they can form friendships, too.


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Manatees are gentle giants commonly referred to as sea cows because you’ll always find them calmly grazing on seagrass. They’re herbivorous and don’t pose any threat to other animals. They’re also curious creatures that approach swimmers and like a belly rub.

Giant Pandas

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Although they have strong arms and jaws, you’ll hardly see a giant panda involved in a fight. These animals have a mild temperament and a preference for solitude. They also feed specifically on bamboo, which helps them avoid conflicts with other animals.


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You’ll always find a quokka with a smiley face, as they are comfortable being approached by their human admirers. This marsupial is a friendly native of the small islands off the coast of southwestern Australia, and its demeanor is so warm (and unafraid of humans) that people forget about its undomesticated nature.

Humpback Whales

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BBC’s Wildlife Magazine explains to us how “humpback whales are by nature mostly gentle and non-aggressive animals, so it is very unlikely for them to do any harm to a human.” Out of curiosity, these intricately social animals will approach boats, and the only danger from them is their massive size


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Sloths are known for being extremely slow animals that spend most of their time hanging from trees. They rarely show aggression, and their calm behavior makes them appear friendly and approachable. However, when threatened, they may use their sharp nails to defend themselves.

Beluga Whales

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Beluga whales are the most vocal of whale species, and their chirps have earned them the name ‘carnaries of the sea.’ They’re social animals with a friendly, harmless demeanor toward other members of their species and humans. They’re also known to approach divers in both captivity and the wild.


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Elephants are social, intelligent animals known to build strong family bonds and be generally friendly towards humans. The University of Sterling reveals that they also understand the emotional state of others, to the point that some mourn and even bury their dead ones. This is a show of empathy that’s the most advanced among non-primate species.


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Bonobos (also called pygmy chimpanzees) are another group of wild animals that show great emotional intelligence and cooperation. They typically prefer to settle conflicts through intimacy, and unlike their close chimpanzee relatives, these primates are welcoming of other animals outside of their immediate social group.

Capuchin Monkeys

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Capuchin monkeys have been adopted as pets by many people around the world, and this is owed to their intelligence, sociability, and playful nature around humans. However, regardless of these personality traits, these monkeys are still wild animals that thrive best in jungles among members of their species.


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With rabbits, you have timid animals that are harmless and easy to approach, even when they aren’t domesticated. You’ll hardly ever find them behaving aggressively towards other rabbits, and the Washington Post mentions how you can even train one to use a litter box, making them great options as pets.

Sea Lions

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Sea lions’ size and weight make them dangerous in certain situations. But they’re friendly, gentle, and playful animals that cherish close interactions with divers and swimmers. You should know, however, that the Marine Mammal Protection Act protects sea lions from being approached by humans.

Sea Otters

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Sea otters are so caring that they’re known to hold hands while they sleep so that the group stays together. Many will allow you to get close before fleeing for safety, with some even approaching boats or docks where humans are. It’s also possible to befriend a family of sea otters when you live close to them.


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Anteaters are hardly a threat to humans, even if their sharp claws can injure us. As their name suggests, they’re gentle consumers of ants and termites. Spruce Pets says they also make good pets as long as you have the patience and temperament to care for them.


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Swans are commonly seen as symbols of beauty and grace. They also choose one partner for life, making them representations of love and loyalty, too! Swans are easily befriended, especially when you give them food, and some will even allow you to approach and stroke them.


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Giraffes are graceful in everything they do, whether it’s just walking or plucking leaves out of trees to eat. You probably wouldn’t be able to get too close to one in the wild, though, as they’re cautious of humans. You’ll typically only find that they’re aggressive towards other animals when they’re protecting their young.

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