In the human world, babies are snuggled close to their parents in the hours, days and months after they're born. They cannot walk, talk or feed themselves for many months and they can't protect themselves from even the most mundane injuries for years. But for many animals, life is not that easy. Some must learn to fend for themselves within moments of their birth, while for others, their very survival depends upon their bravery.
Here are seven examples of some of the bravest baby animals we've seen conquering their fears and fighting to live another day.
Talk about a leap of faith! That is one high jump for such little creatures. Don't worry, they don't get injured when they take those hard bounces on the ground; it's all part of the process.
If you thought those ducks were amazing, check out these 3-day-old barnacle goslings that launch themselves from a rocky ledge 400 feet in the air. You might think that such a fall would surely injure them, but thanks to their small size, light weight and feathery down, at least some of them are protected from harm.
From the moment they are born, baby iguanas are under a real and constant threat for survival. Mother iguanas lay their eggs and then walk away, providing no parental care or protection. Fortunately, iguanas have excellent vision, and this little guy definitely needed it to navigate through this mess. I know that the endings for iguanas aren't always happy, but this brave baby iguana's cool head and quick thinking kept him alive.
This baby raccoon
This little raccoon does not want to learn to climb trees today. But thanks to his mother's insistence and guidance (OK, she just about pushes him up that tree) he finally gets the hang of it. Baby raccoons generally start walking around the age of five weeks and by 10 weeks they accompany their mother wherever she goes. This little guy was probably somewhere between 2 to 4 months old as he is old enough to start learning the skills he needs to survive but still young enough for his mom to carry him in her mouth when necessary.
Bold baby bears
If that little raccoon was reluctant, these three little bears are anything but, venturing higher and higher up the tree without a care in the world. At one point, it does seem as though one of the bears is looking down at the ground and wondering how he got himself into such a mess. But then again, maybe he's just taunting his brother and daring him to climb even higher.
Brave baby bison
So let's say you are a baby bison who has been separated from your mother and the rest of your herd only to find yourself confronted by a hungry wolf looking for its dinner. For most bison calves, this story might not have ended happily, but this little fighter has no intention of going down easily. You just have to watch to see what happens.
This tiny kitten?
This little kitten may not be fighting for her survival, but you have to admit that it takes a lot of pluck to get saucy with a full-grown Rottweiler, especially when your entire body is about the size of that dog's mouth. Still, the little kitten stares that Rottie down until he knows who's boss. It won't be long before she's stealing his puppy treats and taking naps in his bed.