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14 of the Most Playful Animals (Pictures)

There are many different kinds of animals in the world, and like humans, each has a distinct personality. Some animals are slow and quiet, while others are active and playful. Most playful animals have their own unique ways of entertaining themselves in groups or alone.

Playing exposes animals to learning about their surroundings and honing their natural instincts and skills. If you’re looking for an animal with these characteristics, this article will introduce you to some of them.

14 Most playful animals

1. Dolphins

Common dolphin breaching
Common dolphin breaching | image by Joe Decruyenaere via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Delphinus delphis

Dolphins are a type of marine mammal that lives in the ocean. They have a more developed brain than some other animals on Earth and can communicate with one another through the use of echolocation. These animals have very strong social bonds and frequently travel in groups known as pods.

Dolphins are also very playful animals. They enjoy jumping out of the water and playing with objects that float on the surface of their environment. However, it’s best to observe these animals from a safe distance, especially if they’re wild.

2. Rabbits

European Rabbit
European rabbit | image by Peter O’Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Oryctolagus cuniculus

Rabbits are small mammals that live underground in burrows. They’re social animals, which means they live in groups known as colonies.

Grass, herbs, and leafy greens make up a rabbit’s diet. They’ll also consume bark, twigs, and roots.

These adorable animals have long ears that help them detect danger and expel heat from their bodies. Rabbits are also playful animals that can be seen hopping around with other rabbits. As pets, it’s best to provide them with toys to keep them occupied.

3. Cats

Cat stares at the sky
Cat stares at the sky | Image by Susann Mielke from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Felis catus

Cats are solitary creatures who are also highly independent. These animals are excellent hunters with a keen sense of smell that helps them in locating prey.

And because of their playful nature, these creatures are among people’s most beloved pets. They enjoy chasing balls, climbing trees, and playing with toys that roll or bounce.

A cat’s diet is very diverse, but they’re mostly carnivorous, hunting animals that are smaller than them, such as rodents and birds.

4. Sheep

Flock of sheep
Flock of sheep

Scientific Name: Ovis aries

Sheep are herbivores that eat grass and hay. You’ll most commonly find them in grassland habitats, but they’re also seen on farms and are kept by humans.

They’re also very social animals and live in herds with other sheep, and also with other livestock, such as goats, horses, and donkeys. Sheep like to be around each other and are very playful animals. These animals have been observed bouncing around and displaying their playful traits by running around with other sheep or animals.

5. Cockatiel

Cockatiels perching
Cockatiels perching | Image by Katrin B. from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Nymphicus hollandicus

Cockatiels are small, friendly birds native to Australia. They’re the smallest member of the cockatoo family, with a round head, long tail, and orange cheek patch feathers.

These birds are social creatures who will become lonely if they don’t get enough attention. They thrive in an active home where they can interact with their humans and play.

These friendly animals are known for mimicking sounds such as whistles and car alarms, as well as climbing around furniture and even swinging inside their cages. Cockatiels eat pellets and seeds, but in the wild, they’ll also eat fruits and vegetation.

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6. Elephants

African bush elephants
African bush elephants

Scientific Name: Loxodonta africana

Elephants are large gray mammals with flexible trunks and tusks. They eat grass and other plants and are social animals, which means they live in groups and frequently communicate with one another. Elephants are strong and intelligent and live in groups of up to 100 people.

These intelligent mammals have their own way of amusing themselves. They have been observed doing this by playing in the water or mud, and males have also been observed wrestling with each other.

7. Pandas

Giant panda
Resting Giant panda | Image by Ilse Orsel from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Ailuropoda melanoleuca

Pandas are members of the bear family that live in the mountains of China. They spend the majority of their time consuming bamboo and other plants.

Despite being solitary creatures, these cute bears can communicate with other pandas. However, they only interact with others when during the mating season.

Pandas are very playful and inquisitive creatures, unlike other bear species. These cuddly animals have been observed playing with objects found in their environment as toys, and they also enjoy playing with balls in captivity. They also enjoy rolling and sliding in the snow when given the opportunity.

8. Capybaras

Group of capybara
Group of capybara

Scientific Name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris

Capybaras are large rodents found in South America. These animals live in marshy areas and vegetation near rivers and lakes, where they eat aquatic plants, bark, and sugar cane.

These rodents are social animals living in groups of 10–20. Capybaras are the world’s largest rodents, reaching up to 4 ft. in length and weighing 79 kg. They’re also playful and lovely animals who enjoy playing with other animals and responding to humans.

9. Dogs

Woman playing with dog
Woman playing with dog

Scientific Name: Canis lupus familiaris

Dogs are members of the wolf family and eat a variety of foods, including meat, vegetables, and even dead animals. They’re social animals that prefer to live in groups or families. These canines are also among the most playful animals, always in need of attention and playmates.

These animals are easy to train, which is why they’re so popular as pets. Dogs also have a keen sense of smell, which allows them to locate various objects, which is extremely useful for humans.

10. Guinea pigs

Guinea pig
Guinea pig looking at the camera | Image by Vantage Point Graphics from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Cavia porcellus

Guinea pigs are small, furry, and adorable creatures. They’re herbivores and social animals that live in groups in the wild.

These cuddly creatures can be entertaining on their own. Guinea pigs enjoy digging and running in the wild.

They’ll even climb rocks and jump from one branch to the next. These adorable species are frequently observed in captivity, playing with balls, grass tunnels, and chew toys.

11. Horses

Horse in the field
Horse in the field | Image by Inn from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Equus caballus

Horses are animals that are usually domesticated and used for transportation and work. There are many different types of horse breeds, which vary in size and color. The horses eat grasses, hay, and grain as part of their diet.

They’re social animals that live in herds and enjoy running at incredible speeds to escape predators when necessary. Horses are also playful animals because they enjoy running around and playing games with one another.

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12. Ravens

raven perched on a small trunk
Raven perched on a small trunk | image by yrjö jyske via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Corvus corax

The raven is a member of the corvid family, which also includes crows and jays. These birds are omnivores, eating anything they can get their hands on, including grubs, insects, small mammals, carrion (dead animals), berries, seeds, nuts, and even human food.

They’re usually solitary, but they have been observed hunting cooperatively with other ravens. Ravens are also playful animals that can be seen performing aerial stunts and playing with sticks found in their environment.

13. Foxes

Red fox on grass field
Red fox on grass field | Image by Andreas Neumann from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes

Foxes are social animals that live in groups but hunt alone. They live in grasslands and forests, where they dig dens to sleep and store their food. Foxes are well-known for their clever hunting abilities, which include stalking and pouncing on their prey.

These animals are very playful and can entertain themselves by playing with objects in their surroundings. They also enjoy playing games with other animals and even play fight with other foxes.

14. Parakeets

Shell parakeet on a tree trunk
Shell parakeet on a tree trunk | image by Florin Feneru via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Melopsittacus undulatus

Parakeets are birds in the parrot family. They’re found in tropical regions all over the world, usually in large flocks. In the wild, they have been observed living in groups of up to 300 individuals.

These birds are also known for being able to imitate human speech and other sounds. They enjoy playing with toys and spending time with their owners while in captivity. Parakeets even learn simple games like hide and seek, climbing, and swinging.