Funny Finalists of the 2023 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Lemur screaming

“Scream” by Sergey Savvi (Russian Federation). Animal: Black-and-white ruffed lemur. Location of shot: Madagascar.
“The lemur can't hold his emotions.”

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards has announced their 2023 finalists, giving us our feel-good fix for the day. This year's shortlist includes 41 standalone photos, three portfolios, and three videos that show off the silly side of wildlife. In addition, the People's Choice Award is now open for voting, which allows the public to have their say in who has the funniest animal photo this year.

From an overly expressive lemur to a kangaroo playing air guitar, this year's finalists have captured animals in all types of funny situations. Some of the photos, like a dragonfly perched on a happy turtle's nose, are simply adorable. Others, like a gray fox lounging with a piece of wood in its mouth, pose in ways that make their actions seem almost human. And some, like a batfish swimming in front of a diver, rely on the quick timing of the photographer to create a funny scene.

But no matter how the images were captured, they all share a common denominator—they make us laugh. And the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have been using laughter to shine a light on wildlife conservation for the past eight years. In fact, each year the organizers select a sustainable conservation organization to support. This year, they're working with Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN), a UK charity that supports conservation leaders working in their home countries across the Global South.

While we wait for the winners to be announced on November 23, we looked through the shortlist and select some of our favorites to enjoy. Scroll down to see them, and don't forget to vote for the People's Choice Award. Everyone who votes will also be entered in a draw for a chance to win a £500 (a little over US$600) cash prize.

Check out some of our favorite finalists from the 2023 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

Little owl staring at the camera

“Angry Bird” by Michael Erwin (United Kingdom). Animal: Little owl. Location of shot: Wales.
“A little owl stares as only they can.”

African wild dog in Kruger National Park

“What nice teeth you have” by Henry Keepin. Animal: African Wild Dog. Location of shot: Lion Sands Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, SA. “I photographed this Painted Wolf at Lion Sands Game Reserve, a protected reserve with open borders next to the Kruger National Park in South Africa. It is wearing a tracker because, sadly, this species is endangered and is therefore being closely monitored by scientists. There may only be 1400 left in the wild, and 300 left in this part of Africa with one of the main reasons for this being persecution from humans. We need to learn to love our beaming neighbors!”

Western Grey Kangaroo looking like it's playing the air guitar

“Air Guitar Roo” by Jason Moore (Australia). Animal: Western Grey Kangaroo. Location of shot: Perth, Australia
“I was driving past a mob of Western Grey Kangaroos feeding in an open field that was filled with attractive yellow flowers. I had my camera with me, so I stopped to grab a few photos. I suddenly noticed this individual adopt a humorous pose—to me, it looks like he's practicing strumming on his Air Guitar.”

Swamp turtle with dragonfly on its nose

“The Happy Turtle” by Tzahi Finkelstein (Israel). Animal: Swamp turtle. Location of shot: Jezreel Valley, Israel.
“The swamp turtle is surprised and smiles at the dragonfly resting on its nose.”

Bat fish in the Seychelles

“Part of Your World” by Danielle Goonan (United States). Animal: Bat Fish. Location of shot: Seychelles.
“This trip to the Seychelles was my first big trip after getting scuba certified. Caught this on one of the dives.

Lion lounging on a branch

“Hang Loose” by Christian Hargasser (Germany). Animal: Lion. Location of shot: Masai Mara.
“Masai Mara—it was already half past six in the evening and almost dark… I caught this very short moment when I did this funny sitting position in the middle of playing.”

Smooth-coated otter balancing

“Otter Ballerinas” by Otter Kwek (Singapore). Animal: Smooth-coated Otter. Location of shot: Singapore.
“Arabesque otter.”

All of the photos are also eligible for the People's Choice Award, which is now open to the public for voting.

Two stallions fighting

“Doing the Tango” by Danny Sullivan (United States). Animal: Wild Mustang. Location of shot: McCullagh Peaks, Wyoming.
“These two stallions show off their athletic abilities while fighting each other. No horses were hurt doing the Tango.”

Two grizzly bears at the Katmai National Park and Preserve

“Teddy Buddies” by Thomas Vijayan (Canada). Animal: Grizzly bears. Location of shot: Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA.
“At Katmai National Park, Grizzly bears are in abundance, and hence it is a photographer's paradise. However, the challenge here is clicking a unique frame. This image is full of expressions and proper eye contact by both the bears; hence it is a perfect frame of love and friendship. To get this image I laid down flat on the water and stayed there for a long waiting for the right moment to click.”

Grey fox lounging with piece of wood in his mouth

“Excuse me, sir but I think you're a little too young to be smoking” by Dakota Vaccaro (United States). Animal: Grey Fox. Location of shot: Virginia, USA.
“While I was working deep in the Virginian woods, a family of grey foxes took up residence under the deck of the abandoned cottage next to my work housing. One day while practicing their hunting skills on bits of moss and branches, one of the kits lunged at a small chunk of wood and started rolling around with his prize. Tired after his hunt, the kit lounged on his belly, still holding the wood in his mouth, which gave the strong resemblance of a cigar. I was very envious of the kit at this moment cause who wouldn't want to just lay around all day relaxing.”

Giraffes at a waterhole in the Onguma Game Reserve in Namibia, Africa

“Oh my, talk about poking your nose into someone else's business!” by Bill Gozansky (United States). Animal: Angolan Giraffe.
Location of shot: Onguma Game Reserve, Namibia, Africa.
“An unusual configuration of giraffes at a waterhole in the Onguma Game Reserve in Namibia, Africa.”

Ground squirrels nibbling on flowers

“The Floral Feast Chronicles” by Alex Pansier (Netherlands). Animal: Ground squirrels. Location of shot: Vienna.
“This charming collection of photographs captures a quartet of mischievous ground squirrels, each engaging in their own hilarious antics as they attempt to nibble on a colorful assortment of flowers. From the surprised expressions of the caught-in-the-act culprits to the determined munchers and the territorial nibblers, these candid moments offer a delightful glimpse into the playful and sometimes competitive world of these furry floral aficionados.”

Monkey in forest in Ubud, Bali

“The rainforest dandy” by Delphine Casimir (Belgium). Animal: Monkey. Location of shot: Bali.
“This picture was taken in the monkey forest in Ubud, Bali. This place is a crazy place where monkeys are king! sometimes they give a show, sometimes, they climb on you to look for fleas or steal the piece of biscuit you are trying to eat.”

This young chacma baboon is sitting on it's mother back playing the fool

“Just a kiss” by Brigitte Alcalay-Marcon (France). Animal: Chacma baboon. Location of shot: Kruger National Park. South Africa.
“This young chacma baboon is sitting on it's mother back playing the fool.

The winners of the photo contest will be announced on November 23, 2023.

Swan looking directly into the camera

“Now-thats-a-selfie” by Jaroslaw Kolacz (Poland). Animal: Swan. Location of shot: Gdańsk-Brzeźno beach, Poland.
“Swan on the beach was very interested in me.”

Greenfinches on a branch

“Dispute” by Jacek Stankiewicz (Poland). Animal: Greenfinch (Chloris chloris). Location of shot: Bialowieza forest
“I caught this scene while watching birds in the Bialowieza Forest. The young greenfinch was still being fed by its parents. However, from time to time, the birds looked like they were having an argument. My friends interpret this scene in two ways. One, a young naughty kid is arguing with a parent. Two, one kid is reporting to the parent that their brother did something wrong: look, he has broken the glass in the window.”

Sulawesi macaque looking at a leaf

“Fake news!” by Matti Rauvala (Finland). Animal: Sulawesi macaque. Location of shot: Sulawesi.
“Sulawesi macaque reading news.”

Beaver in the Grand Teton National Park

“Flossing Beaver” by Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven (United States). Animal: Beaver. Location of shot: Grand Teton National Park, WY, USA
“Even beavers floss before and after every meal!”

Ground squirrel jumping in the air

“I finally learned to fly…or not?!” by Tímea Ambrus (Hungary). Animal: Ground squirrel. Location of shot: Austria.
“The ground squirrel jumped as if he could fly. Unfortunately, he has no wings. To his surprise, he fell back to the ground.”

Ground squirrel landing on the ground

“I finally learned to fly…or not?!” by Tímea Ambrus (Hungary). Animal: Ground squirrel. Location of shot: Austria.
“The ground squirrel jumped as if he could fly. Unfortunately, he has no wings. To his surprise, he fell back to the ground.”

Two whiptail wallabies fighting

“The Two Step” by Wayne Sorensen (Australia). Animal: Whiptail Wallaby (known as Pretty Faced Wallaby). Location of shot: Cape Hillsborough, Australia.
“Heads back. Arms out. Now it's time for the two-step as these wallabies take their dance to the next level.”

Dragonfly sitting on a horsetail

“I don't know” by Jakub Wozny (Poland). Animal: Dragonfly.
“I took this photo during a beautiful sunrise. The dragonfly was sitting on a horsetail surrounded by dew, and cleaning itself.”

Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

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20 Funny Finalists of the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards

Cute Winning Photos from the 2023 Comedy Pet Photography Awards

Hilarious Early Entries From the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Winners of the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards Show the Silly Side of Nature

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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