The hippo is funny too, unless you get next to one on a bad day. Then the cute and cuddly-looking giant water pig can get nasty and murderous very quickly. It is large and lumbering but can swiftly overcome a man or other large animal and run up to 19 miles an hour on its stubby legs. So the peaceful hippo, grazing on water veggies, ironically turns into the animal that kills more people than any other animal in Africa, including lions and tigers.
The sloth, too, is a humorous looking creature. I wouldn’t want to get in the way of its long, curved claws, but it can’t move fast enough to do much damage with them. It moves in such exaggeratedly slow motion, most people have to smile when they see this. Yet, ironically, sloths have been around for a long time, since pre-history, when the giant ground sloths slowly crept through the Pliocene and Pleistocene jungles of South America. Their low-stress lifestyle may make people laugh at them, but it is working out for them because they are not extinct yet.
The fact that they are so slow has helped the six existing sloth species on the planet to survive today. They do very well exactly because their movements aren’t fast. Sloths have a very low-energy lifestyle because they eat leaves that are very low in nutrition. They stay out of the “rat race” of swift and desperate food procurement on the prowl. They also move slowly so they won’t be identified as prey. So while we are laughing at the sloth and its almost insanely hesitant movements, it has a proven survival strategy that makes us look like the butt of the joke.
These are just three of the many examples of the sense of humor of the Universe, which is on display all around us. From plants that get people to do things for them to the crazy dances of the New Guinea Bird of Paradise to playful kittens, puppies and otters, the world is full of joy, play, irony, humor, and laughter.