Animal lovers, prepare for cuteness overload! Several areas around the world are being overrun by animals. It's truly the stuff dreams are made of!
From furry foxes on an island in Japan to feral ponies on the American island of Assateague, there's no shortage of cute creatures around the world. You'll be overwhelmed with the amount fluff and fur at these travel destinations! However, some of the areas where the animals roam free are slightly less appealing, such as a lake in Palau that's home to over a million jellyfish or an island near Australia that's filled with more than 43 million crabs. (Yeah, I'm going to pass on traveling to Crab Island.) Thanks to MailOnline Travel, here are the various locations around the world where animals rule the roost.
Fox Village - Japan
[gallery size="large" columns="2" ids="1119,1118,1117,1116,1115"] For around $5 (700 Japanese Yen), you enter a fox sanctuary and be surrounded by the gorgeous creatures. In Japan, foxes are believed to have mystical powers and bring good luck. Fox Village is home to over 100 foxes – six different species – that are allowed to wander free in a giant forested area.
Rabbit Island - Japan
[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="1106,1105,1084,1082"] These bunnies may be wild, but they're extremely friendly and always approaching visitors to scavenge for food. Officially known as Okunoshima, there are hundreds upon hundreds of wild rabbits. In one instance, a tourist offered the bunnies some food, only to be chased down the road by an entire stampede of them!
Crab Island - Christmas Island (near Australia)
Over 43 million crabs inhabit the tiny Christmas Island near Australia. Read that number again, 43 million! That's a lot of crab legs! The tiny crabs make their presence known during breeding season when they head near the water's edge to reproduce. Due to the sheer number of crabs, the state government closes the roads on the island to make sure that the crabs have a safe journey.
Jellyfish Lake - Palau
[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="1100,1099,1098"] Located on Eil Malik island in Palau, over a million stingless golden jellyfish call this place home. It's been said that hundreds of years ago there was an outlet to the ocean from the lake, and when the sea level dropped the jellyfish population became isolated and began to thrive. This also meant that there were no predators, so the need to protect themselves by stinging became nonexistent. Now, divers can swim with the golden creatures without the fear of being stung.
Cat Island - Japan
[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="1087,1086,1088,1085"] On Cat Island, there are more cats than residents – the population is 100. The cats are seen by the locals who feed them as good luck. These cats are fairly useful for the local farm-raised silkworms industry, because they chase away mice and other animals who try to eat the silkworms.
Pony Island - Assateague
[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="1114,1113,1112"] More than 300 feral ponies live on the island of Assateague. Many folks have thought the ponies made their way to the island after surviving a shipwreck. Guests can see the ponies along the 37-mile island off Maryland and Virginia, and most prefer to look at them from afar.
Monkey Forest - Bali
[gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="1104,1103,1102,1101"] Be cautious when visiting Monkey Forest. More than 600 monkeys live here, and while tourists journey from all over the world to see and interact with the monkeys, many end up getting bitten. Not only are there monkeys, but guests can see a variety of ancient Hindu temples, some of which date back to 1350.
Pig Island - Bahamas
[gallery size="large" columns="2" ids="1107,1108,1109"] Once you reach the island by boat, you can feed and play with the wild pigs to your heart's content. Many of the pigs paddle freely, since they are some of the only inhabitants on the island. Legend states that the pigs were left there by sailors who had plans to return for a feast, but never did.
Deer Island - Japan
[gallery size="large" columns="2" ids="1097,1096,1095,1094"] The 1,200 deer are believed to be sacred by the locals on the large island of Honshu in Japan. Tourists can buy crackers to feed the deer, which have free reign over the streets. The deer typically walk in groups year-round.
Polar Bear Bay - Canada
[gallery size="large" columns="2" ids="1111,1110"] No surprise that there's such a place as Polar Bear Bay, when Canada is home to two-thirds of the world's polar bear population. Get up close and personal with the massive bears as you sit comfortably in specially-made Tundra Buggy vehicles.
Chicken Cove - Hawaii
The island of Kauai is being overrun by thousands of feral chickens. It's not known where the chickens came from, so their origin remains a mystery. The chickens are popular among locals because they prey on the venomous centipedes native to the island. What do you think of these adorable creatures? Have any of you been to these exotic places and visited with the animals? Share your stories with us! Featured photo courtesy of Tatsuro Shimono. All photos belong to their respective owners.