17 Most Friendly Wild Animals in the World

Photo of author

By Jonathan Trent

While there are a lot of animals that strike fear into the bravest of humans, there are plenty that are happy to approach you, roll over, and wait for you to give them attention. Read on to find out about 17 of the friendliest animals in the world.

Dolphins

Photo Credit: muratart/Shutterstock

Known for their warm approach toward humans, dolphins are sociable and playful mammals. It seems that their sociability knows no bounds, as in 2023, a ‘super pod’ made up of around 100,000 dolphins was spotted off the coast of San Diego according to Business Insider.

Elephants

Photo Credit: Johan W. Elzenga/Shutterstock

If you remain on their good side and don’t appear to be a threat to their young, elephants will remain docile and good-natured. They are highly intelligent creatures, able to display complex emotions such as grief and empathy. Elephants also develop strong bonds with the members of their herd.

Parrots

Photo Credit: PrakapenkaAlena/Shutterstock

Parrots are very intelligent creatures and will be friendly toward humans in more populated areas. Their intelligence makes them naturally curious, which can lead to their eventual bonding with humans, which is why many people choose to keep them as companion pets. 

Sheep

Photo Credit: Josie Zhang/Shutterstock

Female sheep and neutered male sheep are gentle toward humans, enjoying any attention you may give them once you have gained their trust. Much like dogs, they will wag their tails when they are happy, which will give you a good indication that they’re not about to display hostile behavior.

Capybaras

Photo Credit: Adrian Murphy/Shutterstock

Often described as giant guinea pigs, capybaras are the largest rodent in the world, measuring up to 4.2 feet in length, according to PBS. They are known for being sociable, living in groups of up to 40 in the wet months and up to 10 for the rest of the year.

Bonobos 

Photo Credit: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

Bonobos are commonly confused with chimpanzees, sharing a similar appearance and many of their behavioral traits. However, they are more peaceful, living their lives cooperatively, with female bonobos particularly capable of forming strong bonds with the other bonobos in the troop.

Manatees

Photo Credit: Animanish/Shutterstock

Known as sea cows for their herbivorous diets and large size, manatees are the gentle giants of the ocean, often swimming up to and warmly embracing divers. Unfortunately, the species’ trustworthiness in humans has partly led to decreased numbers due to poaching. 

Llamas

Photo Credit: Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

Humans and llamas have coexisted for years, with people living in the Andes regions of South America often using them to transport baggage over long distances. Their docile nature has also seen them being recruited for therapy programs at nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, as noted by The New York Times.

Capuchin Monkeys

Photo Credit: Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock

As with many monkey species, capuchins show traits similar to humans, including using tools to crack open their food. They are highly intelligent beings and generally display signs of curiosity and friendliness when they come into direct contact with humans.

Beluga Whales

Photo Credit: Luna Vandoorne/Shutterstock

Beluga whales are incredibly sociable toward humans, often approaching boats and showing genuine excitement when they see that there are people on board. One notable clip displaying this friendliness went viral, showing a beluga retrieving a phone that had been dropped into the water.   

Giraffes

Photo Credit: Heinz-Peter Schwerin/Shutterstock

They may tower over humans, but giraffes won’t use their size advantage to attack people. Instead, they are much more likely to lean over and lick humans, sometimes going as far as eating out of the palm of their hands. 

Giant Panda

Photo Credit: Animalgraphy/Shutterstock

Unlike most bears, giant pandas are solitary and peaceful, opting to exclusively eat bamboo, despite being carnivorous. They will avoid confrontation if they can, only fighting back if they feel their young are being threatened. Unfortunately, giant pandas have long been the victims of poaching and are classed as endangered.

Sloths

Photo Credit: Lukas Kovarik/Shutterstock

If you’re exploring the rainforest, you can be pretty confident that you won’t be attacked by any sloths, as they simply don’t have the energy. They eat a low-calorie diet, which is the reason for their ultra-slow movement, as they have to conserve energy in any way they can.

Quokkas

Photo Credit: Damian Lugowski/Shutterstock

Quokkas are known for their adorable smiling faces, but that’s not the extent of their friendliness. They are very receptive to humans, often initiating the interactions themselves. They’ve also been given the tag of ‘happiest animal on earth’ by the WWF.

Bearded Dragons

Photo Credit: Kurit afshen/Shutterstock

Unlike most wild reptile species, bearded dragons enjoy being handled by humans. They will display signs of curiosity and affection, often nuzzling the hand of whoever is holding them. They are very easy to tame, which is why they are often kept as pets. 

Emperor Penguins

Photo Credit: Altitude Visual/Shutterstock

They don’t tend to come into contact with humans all too often, but when they do, emperor penguins are generally friendly and unlikely to attack. Emperor penguins that have been raised in captivity will often seek out attention from their handlers.

Gray Whales

Photo Credit: Tharuka Photographer/Shutterstock

While having a whale approach your boat may have you thinking you’re going to be the subject of a Moby Dick sequel, gray whales won’t be launching any violent attacks. They are largely unbothered by the presence of humans and will usually swim by without incident.