Heidi, the cross-eyed opossum, is the latest creature to rocket from Germany’s front pages to international recognition, capturing the world’s imagination with her bright, black eyes turned toward her pointed pink nose.
Since the first photos were published in December, the marsupial from Leipzig Zoo has attracted more Facebook fans than Chancellor Angela Merkel. By Wednesday more than 111,000 fans from as far away as Bangkok and Montreal and clear across Europe were exclaiming “so cute!!” and “so sweet.”
Experts say that like Knut, Berlin’s famous fluffy white polar cub who was abandoned by his mother, and Paul, the late octopus who correctly predicted the outcome of all of Germany’s 2010 World Cup games and Spain’s victory in the final, the hype surrounding Heidi is fed by a human weakness for cuddly looking critters and the ability of modern mass media to spread images around the globe instantly.
Bangkok resident Julie Queen-Vichitthanarurk said she heard about Heidi on the local radio station on the way to work, and raced home to find a picture on the internet and become a “fan” on Facebook.
“Right away when I saw her picture, I feel in love with her!” the 40-year-old told The Associated Press in an Facebook message. “There is just something so sweet about her that made my heart melt.”
It is exactly that feeling that humans crave, making such “cute” animal images so popular. I don’t’ find it cute but each hey who am I to judge?