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Friday Poll: Which of these critters is the cutest?

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How about something pleasant as you head into the weekend?

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Blue ribbon winning breads and preserves at the State Fair. — Minnesota State Fair—Ribbon-winning preserves at the Minnesota State Fair displayed in the Creative Activities Building.(Photo By JOEY MCLEISTER/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

It’s been a bad week for Serie A, Fiorentina, and Viola Nation. The league is dealing with a terrifyingly high rate of coronavirus infection. The Viola seem to be coming apart at the seams. And former VN boss Lorenzo is dealing with tragedy. Everything, in short, feels awful right now.

That’s why this poll is going to be a bit different. Instead of asking questions about the team or the league or tactics or really anything, we’re going to highlight some of the cutest critters around. Because we all need something warm and fuzzy to take us into the weekend and bear us away from the pain for a bit.

1. Manul ready for a closeup

The manul, or Pallas’s cat, is a delightful looking wildcat native to central Asia, ranging from eastern Turkey to eastern Mongolia and from southern Siberia to Nepal. It’s about the size of a house cat, intensely fluffy, endearingly grouchy, and notable for its very silly and low-set ears. The one in this gif found a game camera set up outside its den and was, in typically feline fashion, very interested. I love it.

2. Quokka making a friend

The quokka is a marsupial native to southwestern Australia. Roughly the size of a cat, its default expression is the most therapeutically happy thing you’ll see in nature. Let’s get another one of those for good measure. Anyways, they’re often as friendly as they look, fearlessly approaching people in search of food (although there are a few dozen cases of quokka chomps every year, usually involving children feeding them). And c’mon, look at this dude make friends with some bros.

3. Capybara eating corn

The capybara is the world’s largest rodent (the largest recorded specimen topped out at 91 kg/201 lbs). They’re native to South America and spend much of their time in and around the water, as they’re excellent swimmers. Blessed with blunt snouts, round bodies, and a placid demeanor, these highly social herbivores get along really well with other animals, often allowing monkeys, birds, and even cats to literally hang out on them. And some of them make pretty good show dogs.

4. Northern Pygmy Owl falling in love

Although they’re often seen as psychopomps, magical entities, or at least very organized, owls are about as doofy as a bird of prey can be, highlighted by their willingness to be domesticated (I’ve known more than one person who had a pet owl growing up). If you don’t believe me, look deeply into this Northern Pygmy Owl’s eyes. You can’t without falling head over heels.

Poll

You can only vote for one critter, so which one is it?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    1. Manul
    (14 votes)
  • 32%
    2. Quokka
    (19 votes)
  • 6%
    3. Capybara
    (4 votes)
  • 36%
    4. Northern Pygmy Owl
    (21 votes)
58 votes total Vote Now

Here’s your weekend thread for whatever’s on your mind. Stay loose.