Reflection photography is not as easy as some might imagine. It takes creativity and skill to both see the possibilities and then end up with a fantastic photograph – particularly if your subject is something that’s not likely to keep still and behave!
Then again, sometimes animals seem perfectly content to sit quietly in front of their reflections in water; in fact, if these images are anything to go by, they're as vain as the rest of us! They may not be looking into actual mirrors, but many have been caught apparently looking at their own mirror images. Is it a case of animal narcissism?
15. Cape Buffalo
Interestingly, in the mirror test – a measure of whether animals are able to recognize themselves in said reflective instrument – only a handful of species passed. These include gibbons, chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, elephants and European magpies. Oh, and us humans.
This turtle looks to have turned up its nose – as if to see itself better. Could it be preening itself in preparation for mating? Or maybe it just thinks it’s the bee's knees!
There are disadvantages to having such a long neck, and drinking definitely seems to be one of them. Interestingly, male giraffes use their necks to fight with rival males or in foreplay – not just to reach tall trees.
"A speckled spectacle of spring,
A fashion statement on the wing....
A miniature orange kite.
A tiny dot-to-dot delight." ~J. Patrick Lewis, "The Little Buggers"
The cheetah is the fastest land animal on Earth, but the perfectly formed beast here seems to be more interested in how beautiful it is than what to catch for dinner. (Really, of course, it’s just having a little drink! Cheetahs can’t see their own reflections.)
"Oh my, what big teeth you have!" The famous quote from Little Red Riding Hood is apt here as well. The reflective, inky water shows off this caiman’s pearly whites to perfection. Caimans are smaller crocodilians, a few meters in length.
This lioness seems to be looking at herself quizzically. If we didn’t know any better, we’d think she was inspecting her own image. In all likelihood, she's spotted something under the water – maybe a fish or some other potential snack.
One can just imagine a once-handsome prince looking in horror at his reflection! This stunning capture shows off the frog’s bright yellow throat marvelously.
7. Baby Elephant
It seems that baby elephants go through their gangly phase just like humans! Like most of us, it seems to be enjoying looking at itself too – and, as noted, elephants are one of the few animals that are able to identify themselves in reflections.
This gecko looks to be seeing double in this next photo. Either that or it's some kind of two-headed monster! A Siamese gecko, perhaps?
The tiger may be the largest of the big cats but, at resting, this particular specimen makes itself look like a big old pussycat. Yet, with its 4-inch canines and razor-sharp claws, it can turn itself from relaxed and apparently placid animal to lethal predator at any time!
The incredible symmetry of the zebra's stripes is super clear in this image. Zebras’ stripes are as unique as fingerprints.
3. Male House Sparrow
A male house sparrow is beautifying himself in front of the ‘mirror’. Perhaps for a date? Male sparrows have bolder colors than females for attracting members of the opposite sex.
If we didn’t know any better, we’d think this little fellow was admiring the lovely snail it sees reflected in the water. The colors stand out brilliantly against the darkened pool.
1. White-faced Whistling Duck
This duck seems rather interested in something on the piece of wood (and so does the other one in the water looking up at it!). A bug, perhaps? The white-faced whistling duck is known for a three-note whistle it emits.