Zoo Animals Paint Adorable Pictures

Turns out National Zoo animals have an untapped (and really, really cute) talent.

15 photos
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Getty Images
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Zoo animals are enriching themselves -- in the cutest way possible -- by creating works of art with non-toxic, water-based paints. How much do you want a picture painted by a Mei Xiang?
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Red panda cubs Pili and Shama make paw prints as part of their enrichment activities.
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Painting, says the zoo, "is one among many activities that fall under Animal Enrichment -- a program that provides physically and mentally stimulating activities and environments for the Zoo’s residents." Yes, even armadillos.
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
A Golden-Headed Lion Tamarin does pretty well with the whole "grasping a paintbrush" thing.
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Smithsonian's National Zoo
"Keepers and curators carefully study animal behavior and determine what kinds of enrichment are appropriate for each species and, occasionally, individual animals," said the zoo.
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
This Small Madagascar Hedgehog Tenrec paints ever so delicately.
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
You can actually help out the animals with their artwork, too. Bring in any size canvas, art paper, paintbrush or non-toxic, water-based paint to the Visitor Center. Keepers are also collecting gifts for the animals this holiday season. (See the list of needed items here.)
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Look, the panda painting is adorable. But when do we get around to hugs?
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
"[T]he subjects of the animals’ paintings remain mysterious," the zoo notes.
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Cricket the toucan isn't shy about his art.
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
However, this female Elegant Crested Tinamou doesn't seem all that enthused.
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
The toddler-aged Western Lowland gorilla Kibibi is, appropriately enough, finger-painting.
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Koa the Kiwi is quite prolific.
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Art produced by the animals will be available for purchase at the National Capital chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) Art Show in spring 2012.
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