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Houston Zoo Cute-Off: A Competition For The Ages

The Houston Zoo is filled with animals so astoundingly cute that they're almost a danger to the public.

But only one can be The Cutest of All.

It has come time to determine who exactly should wear that noble title: Harry, the White-Faced Saki Monkey? Zuri, the African Pygmy Falcon? Some other contender?

We shall see. With your help.

We've set up March Madness-type brackets for this, with eight pairs of the most adorable animals facing off for the chance to get to the quarterfinals. It's up to you to vote who gets to advance, after close examination of the photos by our Christopher Patronella, Jr.

1. Zuno, the Golden Lion
Tamarin

Houston Zoo Cute-Off: A Competition For The Ages
Photos by Christopher Patronella, Jr.

vs.

2. Lou, the Tenrec

zoo 2 62610 - 169.JPG

Lou is 20 years old, by the way (and female). If you like color, though, Zuno's your man. Choose between the two in the comments.

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Our next match-up:

3. Nina, the Pygmy Marmoset

Houston Zoo Cute-Off: A Competition For The Ages


vs.

4. Bonnie Bell, the Guinea Pig

zoo1 62610 - 231.JPG

Bonnie Bell's a bit of a star, traveling on ZooMobile trips. Nina can hold her own, though.

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5. Unnamed Prairie Dog

zoo1 62610 - 073.JPG

vs.

6. Unnamed Congo Peafowl Chick

zoo 2 62610 - 446.JPG

A true battle of the unknowns!! The prairie dog is chillaxin' to an alarming degree. The chickpea fowl has actually....ummm...we're sorry to say....gone on to that Great Cute-Off in the sky since posing for us, but it's just too damn cute to keep out. They vote Oscars posthumously, don't they?

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7. Unnamed Slender-Tailed Meerkat

zoo 2 62610 - 556.JPG

vs.

8. Harry, the White-Faced Saki Monkey

Houston Zoo Cute-Off: A Competition For The Ages


Harry is certainly white-faced, you have to admit. We'll assume the meerkat is as slender-tailed as advertised. So here are two opponents, putting it all out there for you with no hidden agendas. Who advances?

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9. Zuri, the African Pygmy Falcon

Houston Zoo Cute-Off: A Competition For The Ages


vs.

10. Indah, female Orangutan

Houston Zoo Cute-Off: A Competition For The Ages


Another matchup of a twee little bird against a laidback coolio just letting things ride. Indah is enjoying a homemade ice pop here, and she obviously gives it at least one thumb up.

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11. Unnamed Flamingo Chick
Houston Zoo Cute-Off: A Competition For The Ages



vs.

12. Ernie, the North American Porcupine

zoo1 62610 - 210.JPG

Sure, the flamingo chick is vogueing it like it's 3 a.m. at Rich's, and our porcupine pal's face can be a little difficult to make out. But he has a very nice personality!!!

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13. Unnamed Shoebill Stork

Houston Zoo Cute-Off: A Competition For The Ages



vs.

14. Fiera, the Tamandua

Houston Zoo Cute-Off: A Competition For The Ages


Nature, to be sure, has not overly blessed either of these animals with becoming facial features. But behind their misshapen beaks and noses, there is cuteness, darnit.

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15. Hasani, the Masai Giraffe

Houston Zoo Cute-Off: A Competition For The Ages

vs.

16. Baylor, the Asian Elephant

Houston Zoo Cute-Off: A Competition For The Ages


A battle between two classics of the genre -- the eyelash-laden giraffe and the baby elephant. Think of it as the UH-Louisville of the tournament.

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So now it's up to you. Vote in the comments, or by e-mail to hairballscontest@houstonpress.com, with "Zoo Cute-Off" in the header. Get your kids to vote, they're experts on cute animals.

Remember, it's:

1. Zuno the Tamarin vs. 2. Lou the Tenrec -- choose one

3. Nina, the Pygmy Marmoset vs. 4. Bonnie Bell the Guinea Pig -- choose one

5. Unnamed Prairie Dog vs. 6. Unnamed Congo Peafowl Chick (R.I.P) -- choose one

7. Unnamed Slender-Tailed Meerkat vs. 8. Harry, the White-Faced Saki Monkey -- choose one

9. Zuri, the African Pygmy Falcon vs. 10. Indah, the female Orangutan -- choose one

11. Unnamed Flamingo Chick vs. 12. Ernie, the North American Porcupine -- choose one

13. Unnamed Shoebill Stork vs. 14. Fiera, the Tamandua -- choose one

15. Hasani, the Masai Giraffe vs. 16. Baylor, the Asian Elephant -- choose one

Soon we'll be announcing who was eliminated and the match-ups for the next round. Check back on the blog or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hairballsnews for updates.



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