The animals who achieved viral stardom in 2019

A puppy with a tail on its head, an oversized rescue cat and Liverpool-supporting parrot were among the animals who took social media by storm in 2019.

Here are six animals that achieved viral fame over the last 12 months.

1. Narwhal the unicorn puppy

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Narwhal’s extra tail will remain untouched unless it starts to hurt or irritate him (Mac’s Mission/PA)</figcaption>
Narwhal’s extra tail will remain untouched unless it starts to hurt or irritate him (Mac’s Mission/PA)

A rescue puppy became a global star in November thanks to a second tail growing out of its head.

The 10-week-old dog was taken in by Mac’s Mission – a rescue operation that specialises in helping dogs with special needs – after being found wandering the streets and given the name Narwhal, because the protuberance resembles a tusk.

“He’s literally the most magical thing you’ve ever seen, and so happy,” Rochelle Steffen, founder of the Missouri-based rescue centre, told the PA news agency. “He’s just this little anomaly that’s absolutely perfect.”

X-rays showed there were no bones in the “tail”, which does not wag and may have been the result of absorbing a twin in the womb.

2. Mr B the ‘chonk’

An enormous cat looking for a new home became such a big internet star that he crashed the website of the animal shelter where he was living.

Morris Animal Refuge, in Philadelphia, in the US, posted pictures of Beejay, also known as Mr B, on its Facebook and Twitter channels, with a link to their site back in August.

Unfortunately the cat, who weighed in at 26 pounds according to the refuge, proved so popular that the volume of traffic heading to find out more crashed the shelter’s website – but that did not stop them receiving more than 3,000 applications to adopt the two-year-old.

3. Wilbur, the king of Ruddington

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Handout photo from the Facebook page of Wilbur – King of Ruddington of the celebrity cat, Wilbur, who has become famous in the English village of Ruddington for making himself at home in local shops (Facebook/Wilbur – King of Ruddington)</figcaption>
Handout photo from the Facebook page of Wilbur – King of Ruddington of the celebrity cat, Wilbur, who has become famous in the English village of Ruddington for making himself at home in local shops (Facebook/Wilbur – King of Ruddington)

Wilbur – known as the King of Ruddington – is such a popular figure around his home village that hundreds of locals threw a party to celebrate his 10th birthday in July.

Sadly, Wilbur – famous in the Nottingham village for his visits to local shops – was a no show at the event, which featured a Wilbur cake to Wilbur masks, Wilbur biscuits to a special ginger ale brewed in his honour.

“We all knew that he probably wouldn’t (attend) but that’s kind of why we like him – he’s his own cat,” Sarah Godfrey, who organised the bash, told PA.

4. Charlie the celebrity duck

Jurassic Park star Sam Neill has built up a following on social media as much for videos of the animals on his farm as for his insights into the movie business.

But his video of a duck named Charlie taking flight over a barrier of ice proved particularly popular, with the manoeuvre leaving Neill astonished.

“Nobody knew you could fly,” Neill could be heard saying on the video. “You haven’t flown for years. Good girl.”

5. Kelo the singing parrot

A football-loving parrot went viral after squawking one of Liverpool fans’ favourite chants about Mohamed Salah.

Four-year-old African grey Kelo was filmed imitating the song, which is heard at Anfield to the tune of James’s 1990 song Sit Down.

“Mo Salah, Mo Salah, running down the wing, Salah-la-la-la, the Egyptian king,” Kelo can be heard singing.

6. Rab the chip-stealing dog

Rab, a three-year-old Labrador and cocker spaniel cross, was spotted by owners Ross And Anna Paget, snaekily stealing chips while they were out for dinner at the Safari Lounge in Edinburgh.

The video of Rab’s ninja-like theft has since been watched nearly five million times and his owners are perplexed.

“If I’m honest, I’m not sure why it has proven so popular,” Mr Paget, 28, told PA. “We found it hilarious at the time, so filmed him in the act. We shared it with family and friends and it soon after went viral.”

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