In a world filled with meticulously curated novelty social media accounts and millions of desperate users willing to do anything for those likes, the thing that makes or breaks an enjoyable online presence comes down to one word: authenticity. That’s doubly true for animals, whose mere existence makes up a disturbing percentage of online content. Too often, famous internet pets (or, to be fair, their owners) get wrapped up in their own celebrity and post nothing but perfectly lit glamour shots complete with obvious product placement and a customized watermark. Thankfully there’s still one Instagram account out there doing it right. And by “doing it right” we mean posting nothing but chill-ass animals authentically not giving a fuck.
@chillwildlife is committed to not trying hard. That ethos is expressed not only in the relaxed faces of the various animals featured on the account, but also in the frequent lack of captioning or context and varying quality of the images, which can sometimes border on shit-posting. The man behind the account, Japanese-Canadian artist Jeff Hamada, spoke with The Ringer recently about why he started the account and what makes these animals so damn chill.
When asked what constitutes “chill” in his mind, Hamada referenced a recent video he posted of a cat “slapping a [French Bulldog’s] balls around like a speed bag,” adding that, “I think about those balls whenever I’m deciding if something is a fit or not.”
“Instagram can kinda be depressing when all you see are these glimpses of the most exciting parts of other people’s lives. I want to look at Instagram and feel good!” says Hamada. “I wanna see a squirrel eating a giant slice of pizza in a tree and keeping it real.” In these tumultuous times, wanting to see squirrels keeping it real is something we can all agree on.