Monday Morning Cute: Defining “Cute” in Human Terms

Some members of the animal kingdom never seem to earn the description of “cute.” I suspect that we tend to find cuteness in creatures that are more similar to us than dissimilar, although I’m too lazy to see if science backs me up on that. We would therefore be much more likely to find a mammal (e.g. a dog, cat, rabbit, sloth, or manatee) cute than, say, an amphibian or reptile (e.g. a tree frog, gecko, or chameleon). We would definitely find mammals and reptiles cuter than arthropods (e.g. spiders, lobsters, beetles, horseshoe crabs, or millipedes), at least as a general rule. Cephalopods seem to be an outlier (e.g. cuttlefish and octopi).

I do have a hypothesis as to why we feel this way about bugs and their close relatives: we tend to find small things cute when they are not ordinarily small, like puppies, kittens, and finger monkeys. Most bugs are already small, so while a baby hedgehog that can fit in the palm of your hand might be adorable, a bug that is the same size might actually be terrifying. The same goes for cephalopods, actually. A giant squid is not cute by any stretch of the imagination, but a tiny octopus might be adorable.

So what happens when an arthropod that we expect to be large is actually small? Can that be cute? Well, here’s a lobster that is about the size of some dude’s finger. You tell me if it’s cute:



Something that we normally expect to be about the size of our hand, like a crab, might become cute when it is small enough to perch on a finger:


Via reddit user ScopeOfTheFatedSky

By that standard, of course, this tiny crab ought to send us into spasms of cuteness overload:



But even regular-size crabs can be cute in their own way (if you focus on the eyes and ignore the claws and mandibles):


Kirill Kravchenko via: Via

Then again, almost anything is cuter if you just put a little top hat on it (trust me on this one):



That appears to be a real top hat, even!

When it comes to crabs, lobsters, and their kin, however, there is a fine line between “Awwwwwww” and “WHAT THE—KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!!!!”

Some people, for example, think this “googly-eyed lobster” is cute:



I, however, am more likely to look for a handy flamethrower if I ever saw this thing venture onto land.


I am also considering never going near a body of water again.

Finally, we have the hairy crab, which some people apparently call the “teddy bear of the crab world.”


Arthur Anker/ Via

Hmmmm…..where did I leave that thing?……Oh, here it is!


The end.


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