Whether you love cats, admire horses or prefer the company of rabbits, we’ve found the fluffiest places on earth for you to visit. In these locations, it’s the animals who call the shots, while humans must sit back and watch. Because in these places, cats, rabbits, foxes, horses, monkeys and even pigs rule. So where should you go to enjoy this animal paradise? We’ve got the list right here.
Japan offers some of the coolest soft animal sanctuaries, including Zao Fox Village, comprising over 100 animals and 6 different species of foxes. The village is located in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture near Shiroishi, and for 1,000 yen (around $8.50) visitors can enter the reserve and feed the foxes. Visitors are welcome at the site, but are instructed to take caution and not hand-feed the animals since the foxes are not domesticated.
There’s another place in Japan that’s fun for fur fanatics: the island of Tashirojima. The population of the island’s small fishing community is 100, which is outnumbered by the feline population that earned the place its nickname, “Cat Island”. The island was originally populated by cats, used to drive mice away from the silkworm farms. However, when the industry left the island, and took much of the human population with it, the cats were left behind to take over.
Although it has a dark history, Okunoshima, otherwise known as “Rabbit Island”, is probably the cutest animal-inhabited island around. During World War II, this was where Japan produced its chemical weapons, but since then it has replaced the poisonous gasses with cute and fluffy rabbits. The island is now home to many rabbits – that have nothing to do with their ancestors who were being tested on during the war.
“Pig Island” or “Big Major Cay” is a heaven for wild pigs who love swimming. The island – uninhabited by humans – is located in Exuma, a district of the Bahamas, and offers visitors a rare opportunity to enjoy a cool swim with the swines and even feed them. One legend has it that they survived a shipwreck, while others believe that the pigs were left there by sailors preparing for a future meal, but never returned.
The inhabited island Cayo Santiago, located off the coast of Puerto Rico, is home to almost 1,000 Rhesus monkeys. The monkeys are the offspring of some 400 monkeys that were imported to the island from India in 1938 for scientific research. Today, the island serves as a research center for many universities. The researchers arrive at the island by a boat from Humacao and get out of there by the end of the day, leaving the local primates to get up to monkey business.
Wild Horse Island
If you love horses, you should definitely consider a visit to the rural Assateague Island, located between the American states of Maryland and Virginia. The feral horses there are known in Maryland as the Assateague horse and in Virginia as the Chincoteague Pony. Visitors are warned against petting or feeding the horses.