One nice thing about small animals is that often they have large eyes that glisten in the sun and make you want to single-handedly nurture them to adulthood, scurrying up trees and through riverbeds to collect flora and fauna for them. Often, small animals are much, much smaller than you would expect, being able to be held in one hand or perhaps a teacup in a manner that is surprising and nice. Often, small animals seem to be sort of stupidly smiling, as if their overwhelming smallness had created a glow of docile well-being around them.

Thus, the fact that our great nation’s zoos have begun a competition on Twitter, posting images of their smallest and most shiny-eyed animals, is a nice thing. It began when the National Zoo posted a photo of a darn 4-day-old seal lolling by the water:

A Twitter user treated that as a gauntlet to then throw down at the feet of the Virginia Aquarium, which responded with this image of an otter and osprey becoming friends:

After this, the two zoos went back and forth for awhile, creating a swirling vortex of dewy eyes and unexpected smallness that eventually sucked in the almost problematically innocent animals of other zoos.

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It goes on for a very, very long time. There are jokes made of middling quality throughout—pay no heed to them. Pay attention only to the animals, all of which are extremely small and nice.

[via Mashable]