The walrus is the undisputed Tom Selleck of the ocean. Its whiskers are used to detect tasty shellfish in frigid Arctic waters (try doing that with your moustache and let us know how it goes), while the formidable tusks are mainly used to break through ice, establish dominance, fight predators, and accentuate that sweet 'stache.
While humans use facial hair for ironic fashion statements, catfish use theirs as a way to find dinner. Their whiskers, which are technically barbels (feelers loaded with tastebuds and sensors), help the catfish to smell and taste their way through murky water until they find an aquatic insect or smaller fish to guzzle up.
Everyone knows that goats have beards, but this goat is the beardiest of them all. Male markhors (a type of Asian mountain goat) are wizard-like in their beard growing ability, and their large, twisted horns make them look even more mystical. Unfortunately, their stench is reputedly unbearable, probably due to all the smelly bits of food that end up getting lost in that massive facial growth.
Hailing from the arid deserts and scrublands of Australia, bearded dragons are generally laid-back dudes that spend most of their time basking on rocks. But when their territory is threatened, the prehistoric-looking lizards live up to their name, puffing up their scaly “beards” and turning them black to intimidate their rivals.
A male lion’s mane shows that a cub has reached adolescence—a telltale sign that the beast is entering full-blown feline puberty. It’s also the cue for pride leader to kick him out of the club, sending him out to challenge other dominant males for a position as top cat. It seems a full, dark mane helps establish that dominance. In other words, (lion) beards equal power.
No other monkey rocks a mustache quite like the emperor tamarin. They were named after German Emperor Wilhelm II, who had similarly epic facial hair. There are two kinds of emperor tamarin: black chinned and bearded. The latter variety is capable of some impressive chin growth alongside its mighty white Fu Manchu.
Bornean bearded pig
This radical hog gets serious respect for its ability to grow a beard around its snout. They live in tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia, but also love the water and have been known to swim between oceanic islands. If you need further proof of how masculine the bearded pig is, their piglets begin to grow their beards just five weeks after being born.
A funky African bird with a large clump of bristles beneath its beak, the bearded barbet is commonly found in tropical West Africa, living in groups of between four and five individuals in areas with lots of fig trees. Male and female barbets alike can be spotted showing off their enviable beards.
These animals were flaunting beautiful beards and manicured moustaches way before it was cool—even the hippest of hipsters couldn’t hope to match the impeccable facial hair of the emperor tamarin or the majestic markhor. Check out our gallery for some serious beard envy.