It’s true that humans can force animals to do amazing things in the circus and it’s impressive, yet sad. What’s more interesting are the animals that play with objects and other animals of their own accord. It speaks to the natural need to play for a healthy living style in animals and humans alike.

Bear with a stick

This is the most viral-flow video in the Flow Arts world. This bear amuses himself through the practice of play with his stick. I would say, for a bear, his tech is pretty good, but his flow is much better.

Double stone juggling otter

If you don’t have a prop to play with, there are a lot of things in the environment to create your own fun. This otter shows his determination to contact juggle these rocks. Someone give this otter a ball, and he’ll show us all up!

Dog obsessed with ball balance

My personal favorite, (due to his obvious OCCJD) this dog loooooves his ball.  His head balance is better than mine and he’s never going to stop practicing.

Slacklining Dog


Lion plays with soccer ball

Apparently, there is a guy who goes into the wild to play soccer with wild lions. It’s amazing how gentle they are with the ball considering their claws and teeth!

Hungry polar bear befriends dogs

These two last videos are better examples of the fact that animals do play outside of zoos, without human influence. It is a lot more difficult to catch it on camera, but this guy did it! This Canadian man has a wild polar bear come to his house for the last 20 years just to play with his dogs after a lonely and hungry winter, and he gets photos and videos of it every year.

The Institute of Play cites this interaction as an example of how all animals need play almost as much as we need food, water and sleep.

“Kids have society’s permission to play, and most adults don’t. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, most of us exchange play for work, and forget to play with the abandon and joy of childhood. Giving adults the “go ahead” and techniques to resume adult forms of play offers multiple benefits. Being capable of generating, recognizing and acting on the play signals of others establishes, or re-establishes trust, safety and adaptation to the unexpected or complex. Perhaps this truth has been buried in the usual win-lose contests that characterize most adult negotiations. “

Do you know of more animal ninjas? Add them to the Animals that are Secretly Ninjas playlist.