These 10 orange animals reflect the tropic tints of summer sunsets, juicy carrots and warm campfires.
1) Orange Monarch Butterfly
Just a couple of years ago, news reports stated that Monarch Butterflies had suffered a devastating population decline due to human interaction and global warming.
The kings and queens aren't dead yet, however: recent reports forecast a big bounce back for the majestic migrating Monarchs with roughly 140% more butterflies reaching their overwintering rest sites in Mexico. (orange animal images at top via Natascha, above via Colleen Prieto)
2) Orange Restaurant Fish
This orange fish – probably an overgrown goldfish – appears to be suppressing a grin as it photobombs a thru-the-fish-tank view of a swanky restaurant.
It won't get the last laugh, though... has anyone checked the menu's seafood section yet? (orange animal image via Roland Tanglao)
3) Orange Baboon Tarantula
Pet owners prize the Orange Baboon Tarantula (Pterinochilus murinus) for its bright coloration (understandable) and confrontational personality. Measuring up to 6" (15cm) across, this particular tarantula is not to be taken lightly as its “extremely painful” bite is often delivered BEFORE the usual threat display.
Also known as OBT or "Orange Bitey Thing", the Orange Baboon Tarantula can be found in sub-Saharan Africa – remind us to cancel our safari and take a stay-cation instead. (orange animal image via Matt Reinbold)
4) Orange Japanese Spider Crab
The Orange Baboon Tarantula is a mere 6" wide. A full-grown Japanese Spider Crab, on the other hand, can straddle a small car... under no circumstances must they be allowed to mate! Thankfully that won't ever happen: spiders and crabs may be related but the latter dwell in the depths of the ocean and with any luck it'll stay there throughout its lifespan, which can be as long as a century.
The Japanese Spider Crab is the world's largest arthropod, with the all-time size champion being a 41-pound (18.6 kg) monster with an extended arm span of 19 feet (5.8 m). We're gonna need a ship-load of hot garlic butter, stat! (orange animal image via Perry G)
5) Orange Newt
It might look like an orange lizard but Red Efts like the example above are amphibians... Newts, to be exact, and this isn't even its final form! These bright orange, red-spotted creatures native to eastern American forests are the land-dwelling juvenile iteration of the Eastern Newt.
Born as gill-breathing larvae from eggs laid in freshwater, Red Efts lose most of their bright orange coloration when they return to an aquatic lifestyle for the balance of their unusually long – up to 15 year – lifespans. (orange animal image via Matt Pettengill)
6) Orange Cock-of-the-Rock
There are actually two Cock-of-the-Rocks (Cocks-of-the-Rock?): the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola peruvianus) which is the national bird of Peru, and the Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola rupicola). It's only the males of either species that boast such brilliantly orange feathers, by the way, and the Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock is more orange top to bottom.
The Cock-of-the-Rock inhabits rocky areas (no surprise there) in parts of western South America where the Amazon rainforest begins to give way to the foothills of the Andes mountains. The brilliantly orange males manipulate fan-like crests on their heads as they try to impress potential mates, who are blandly brown-feathered for the most part and should be impressed irregardless. (orange animal image via Nathan Rupert)
7) Orange Spiny-Tailed Lizard
The “Orange Dragon” lizard above was either “very nosy and curious about the camera,” as noted by the photographer, or maybe it just saw its reflection in the lens and thought “well, hello gorgeous!”
Several species of Agamid lizards are native to arid and desert areas of Africa and Asia though most are much more drab-looking. Not this particularly radiant reptile – its bright orange skin is right off the scale, er, chart! (orange animal image via Rolf Dietrich Brecher)
8) Orange Alligator
Orange gators? In MY pond? It's more likely than you think... that is, if you live in Bluffton, South Carolina. The trio (yep, there are three) of oddly-tinted crocs were spotted (OK, not “spotted” but “seen”) in and around the local pond, prompting local residents to worry some overzealous Clemson Tigers fans may have been pulling a prank.
That said, any fraternity that forces pledges to paint alligators is an “Animal House” in more ways than one. According to David Lucas of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, there's likely a more mundane explanation: the gators probably hibernated in drainage pipes and became coated in rust as a result. (orange animal image via WNCT9/Twitter)
9) Orange Tiger
Though orange is, along with black and white, just one of the tiger's three main colors, it's what makes the largest of the four recognized "big cats" extra special in our minds. Like hornets (and certain tarantulas we could name), tigers appear to display a typical "warning sign" color code. In the case of tigers, though, the purpose is purely one of camouflage as the beasts roam through sun-dappled forests and grasslands.
Tigers suffer from an unfortunate plight common to many orange creatures: they're a critically endangered species. Of the six recognized tiger subspecies, three are extinct and as a whole the tiger's historical range has shrunk to only 7 percent of what it used to be. It's estimated only 3,000 to 5,000 tigers remain in the wild with thousands of others kept in public zoos or in private captivity. (orange animal image via Srikaanth Sekar)
10) Orange Orangutan
It may be the world's orange-est ape but the name “orangutan” has no connection to the color orange – it's purely a fortuitous linguistic coincidence if you're an English-speaker. Instead, the often-pumpkin-hued “man of the forest” has a moniker originating in the Malay words for “man” (orang) and “forest” (utan). We have no idea where the name "Dr. Zaius" came from.
IUCN has designated orangutans as an Endangered Species with the total wild population standing at a mere 14 percent of what is was 10,000 years ago. Habitat loss and human activity are the main threats to orangutans, with additional pressure coming from the illegal pet trade. In recent years, dedicated rehabilitation centers have helped many rescued orangutans re-adapt to the wild. These centers also add to our knowledge of these very intelligent primates who have revealed remarkable behavior such as tool using and spear-fishing. (orange animal image via Restless mind)
Melissa Stewart has recently released Rainbow of Animals, a series of illustrated children's books featuring creatures of various colors including red, yellow, green, blue, purple and the title above, “Why Are Animals Orange?” Although they've evolved to best suit their particular ecological niches, one might say all of these colorful critters have got it made in the shade!