Looking at the animal kingdom solely through the prism of animated GIFs, you’d think that kittens reigned supreme. Which makes sense, because the format brings out the best in the beast, and vice versa–kittens do cute things, and GIFs let us view those cute things ad infinitum. It’s a perfectly symbiotic relationship.
But what about all those other creatures? The wild ones who can’t afford to sit around being cute all day? Who’s making GIFs of them? A Dutch artist named Marinus, as it turns out, over on his blog.
Marinus has been capturing bite-sized scenes of nature on his site, Head Like an Orange, for nearly two years. Most are culled from the slick, David Attenborough-narrated docs produced by the BBC, though Marinus occasionally finds source material on Vimeo and elsewhere around the web. “I have to say that watching those documentaries has become a bit less enjoyable for me,” he says, “because I’m always looking for moments that would make a nice GIF.”
But he does have an eye for those moments. Sometimes, his posts are just simple snapshots of the natural world, things like a bird bouncing endlessly on a branch or snow gathering on a tree. In other cases, the GIFs make up a sort of highlight reel, showing, say, a slo-mo replay of a lizard slurping up a fly for lunch–Mother Nature’s equivalent of a perfectly executed tackle on the gridiron.
Of course, in each of these cases, we have some intrepid photographer or documentarian to thank for the work. Marinus is just a curator. But his GIFs are a reminder that “cute” is but one small part of nature’s taxonomy.