Caption Contest Winners

View the featured photos and top entries in National Wildlife's monthly caption contests

12-16-2013 // NWF Staff

EVERY YEAR the editors of National Wildlife select unusual or funny images from our annual photography competition to feature in our monthly caption contests. We then invite readers to write captions for the photos. Here are the caption contest winners and runners-up, along with the images that inspired them.

December 2013

Animals are Ghost Crabs in Fort Desoto Park, Florida


“You scared the crab outta me!”
--Cheryl Nelson, Cave Junction, Oregon


“Everybody was kung-fu-fighting.”
--Charles Hardy, Granbury, Texas

“Bring It On!”
--Jacque Pearce, Bemidji, Minnesota

“Early mornings make me crabby!”
--Lisa Hardy, Granbury, Texas

“Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Crabs”
--Marla Sanders, East Alton, Illinois

“We just love dancing to Hootie and the Blowfish”
--Mary Neves, Dartmouth, Massachusetts

November 2013

Great Gray Owl


“Owl be watching you!”
--Cristina Scarpaci, Washington, D.C.


“I know what you're thinking. Does he fly 30 mph or 40 mph? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being these are some very sharp claws, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, skunk?”
--Todd Thomas, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania

“Do you feel lucky, mouse? Do you? Go ahead make my day!”
--Rob Goldberg, Fayetteville, New York

October 2013

Chipmunk with cheeks full


“How many ears could a chipmunk shuck if a chipmunk could shuck corn?”
--Kay Cota, Dubuque, Iowa


“How many bites does it take to get to the center of a corncob?”
--Brad Wakeman, Grafton, Ohio

“I came, I saw, I cornquered.”
--Kenneth Tredwell, Advance, North Carolina

“What? Smile for the camera?...NOW?!?!”
--Joy Ortiz, Kalispell, Montana

“Sometimes I just a-maize myself!”
--Kenneth Tredwell, Advance, North Carolina

I guess this is what they mean by “chipmunk cheeks.”
--Terrie Slaton, Atlanta, Georgia

September 2013

Slider turtle and alligator


"The gator recognized his old buddy from Camp Swampy because he had...turtle recall."
--Kenneth Tredwell, Advance, North Carolina


“I'd love to have you for dinner, but I'm just swamped.”
--Kenneth Tredwell, Advance, North Carolina

“And they said our friendship would never work.”
--Elizabeth Breach, Anaheim, California

"Mom said don't play with your food, but I kinda like this guy."
--Laurie Jameson, Norco, California

"Shell we dance?"
--Diana DiPietro, Pleasant Hill, California

“Just because I carry my house with me, I'm not your westinghouse.”
--Kay Cota, Dubuque, Iowa

August 2013



"The Nutcracker Suite"
--Kay Cota, Dubuque, Indiana


“I love this hotel. Now why would you want a mint on your pillow?”
--Jon Awl, Salt Lake City, Utah

“What? You don't get the munchies in the middle of the night?”
--Lynn Haydl, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

"And this bed is just right!"
--Michelle Weiner, Effort, Pennsylvania

"Home is where you lay your nuts."
--Erin Mattson, St. Louis, Missouri

“I’m nuts over my new bed”
--Rhonda Clevenger, Azle, Texas

“Hmmm still a bit too obvious, maybe I should try under the bed.”
--Naomi Monk, Tawonga South, Victoria, Australia

July 2013

crested black macaque


“Mother told him his face would freeze like that.”
--Terrie Slaton, Atlanta, Georgia


“Ooooooooooooh… That was a hot pepper!”
--Mary Baluta, Greer, South Carolina

“Pavarotti, eat your heart out.”
--Andrew Goldberg, Fayetteville, New York

“EE-I-EE-I-O....with a macaque here and a macaque there......”
--Nancy Biskovich, Mariposa, California

“You ate the last banana! ”
--Jon Biker, Wisconsin

“Ohhh, no you didn't. ”
--Todd Thomas, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania

June 2013

Chipmunk-June 2013 Caption Contest


“Now, from the downward dog position we go into an up dog/crescent moon combo.  It helps if you hold your tongue like this.”
--Ramona Schwengel, Rome, Georgia


“Chipmunk Yoga”
--Kim McCarthy, Malibu, California

“Tai Chi - what a way to start the day!”
--Myron Meisner, Las Vegas, Nevada

“Help! I'm stuck!!”
--Stepheny Powell, Omaha, Arkansas

“Need ... Nuts ... Now!”
--Swapna Shepherd, Driftwood, Texas

May 2013



“Perhaps you've heard of Count Meerkatula?“
--Rob Goldberg, Fayetteville, New York


“Ow! I don't think we're ready for Dancing with the Stars yet!”
--Mary Baluta, Greer, South Carolina

--Tom Christian, Fort Collins, Colorado

“Help! I only kissed her and she fainted!“
--Gareth Glover, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

“Uncle! I said UNCLE!“
--Nila Holmes, Kansas City, Missouri

--Allie Regalado, Illinois

April 2013



“And the fish I caught was THIS BIG!“
---Sara May, Asheville, North Carolina


“I can spread my wings—I’m oil-free!”
---Cici Bates, Piedmont, South Carolina

“To get down with me, you'll have to start dancing at the quack of dawn!”
---Kenneth Tredwell, Advance, North Carolina

March 2013

Barbary macaque is startled


“Piranha! Hah-hah-hah! Fooled you.“
---Theresa Shafer, Davenport, Florida


“Don't be a baby. It's not THAT cold!”
---Michelle Kenley, Columbia, Tennessee

“Our Congress in action.”
---Victoria Lytles, Tampa, Florida

“How many times do I have to tell you—no more monkeys jumping on the rocks!"”
---Alyssa Maki, Gainesville, Florida

“Quit monkeying around and get in the water! It's bath time!”
---Ramona Schwengel, Rome, Georgia

“Aarrghh! This green slippery jelly is disgusting.”
---Renate Strub, Mahwah, New Jersey

February 2013

Submit your caption!


“You know, I DO eat crow!“
---Peggy Currey, New Smyrna Beach, Florida


“Great. Another noisy neighbor.”
---Mariane Absolu, North Miami, Florida

“Clean coal is the same thing as a pleasant sounding crow—they don't exist!”
---Mark Boggs, Oakland, California

“Did you just call me bald?”
---Courtney D'Agostino, Haleiwa, Hawaii

“If I stay very still, maybe he won't see me!”
---Rita Holt, Ruckersville, Virginia

“One more peep out of you and I'll show you the real meaning of endangered species!”
---Myron Meisner, Las Vegas, Nevada

“I'll give you something to crow about!”
---Ramona Schwengel, Rome, Georgia

“Quit the 'quothing,' Raven! Or I'll show you 'nevermore' once and for all!”
---Jennifer Sundheim, Tacoma, Washington

January 2013

Polar Bears

“Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, eat your hearts out!”
---Michelle Fowler, Bethlehem, Georgia


“Listen, pal―next New Year’s, try not to show up for the plunge so hung over!”
---Dave Busch, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“There's nothing quite as magical as your first dance at the Polar Bear Prom.”
---Woody Haynes, Jacksonville, Florida

"Now keep your eyes closed. Not much further to the big surprise!"
---Ernie McLaney, Charlotte, North Carolina

“Don't give up hope. We got through 12/21/12, didn't we?”
---Myron Meisner, Las Vegas, Nevada

“Polar bears go Gangnam style.”
---Terri Saunders, Alexandria, Virginia

December 2012

Adelie Penguins

"You guys and your boring tuxedos. Brown cardigan is in now."
-- Nick Todd, Idyllwild, California


"It wasn’t until years later that Edgar realized he was adopted."
-- India Ashe, Roxbury, Massachusetts

"Eenie, Meanie, Miney, Mocha!"
-- Mary Barr, Reklaw, Texas

“What do you mean you're afraid of the water?”
-- Janet Boyanton, Midlothian, Texas

“For years afterward, Sandy would be mocked for his poor fashion choices.”
--Roni Breza, Sterling, Virginia

"Dang, I knew I shouldn't have put bleach in that dark load I washed."
--Mary Rike, Charlottesville, Virginia

"A penguin salute to Abbey Road."
--Ray Swart, Orlando, Florida

"Ever get the feeling the world was a grand gala and you were a brown tuxedo?"
--Kenneth Tredwell, Advance, North Carolina

November 2012

Burrowing owls

"Dad taught you how to fly, but you need to work on your landings."
-- Sue Detwiler, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


“Whooo is that standing on my head?”
-- Rhonda Clevenger, Azle, Texas

“I'm not falling for that old ‘There's a mouse on your head!’ trick again.”
-- Rob Goldberg, Fayetteville, New York

“When you said you needed a pick-me-up, I didn't realize that I would be involved.”
-- Kathleen Maroney, Long Beach, New York

“I said massage therapy, not acupuncture!”
--Ramona Schwengel, Rome, Georgia

The Flying Owlendas rehearse their next daredevil stunt.
--Kenneth Tredwell, Advance, North Carolina

October 2012

Harbor seal


"Signed, SEALed, delivered…I’m yours!”
-- Lisa Hardy, Granbury, Texas


"Ooh! I shouldn’t have eaten the whole thing…but it was so tasty."
-- Jon Caffery, Honolulu, Hawaii

“Tails up. Down. Up. Down.”
--Gail Gilbert, Blairsville, Georgia

“I hate the fish bloat.”
--Gerrie Karczynski, Orange, California

"Working hard on her posing, Sally hoped to be cast on the next season of Arctic’s Next Top Seal."
-- Alyssa Maki, Gainesville, Florida

"Centerfold for Playseal magazine."
--Ruth Quarles, Gum Spring, Virginia

September 2012

Bald Eagle


“I just learned a new yoga pose―the Twisted Eagle.”
-- Stephanie Clabaugh, Tacoma, Washington


"Ever since Baldy flew into the tree, he couldn't get the crick out of his neck."
-- Charlie Hardy, Granbury, Texas

“I hate it when people don't rotate their pictures the right way on Facebook!”
-- Annette Hartung, Lovettsville, Virginia

“Every election year the candidates have me looking sideways!”
-- Dan Smith, Evansville, Indiana

August 2012

Enter the Caption Contest and create a caption for this giraffe photo


"Have you met my side-kick?"
— Charlie Hardy, Granbury, Texas 


"Hey, you scratch my neck and I'll scratch yours!"
— Bonnie Kirchner, New Providence, Pennsylvania

"I learned this move watching Lethal Weapon."
— Robert Rossachacj, Glenolden, Pennsylvania.

"If we had our own dance studio, I wouldn't have to use you as a ballet bar!"
— Danita Smead, Sedro Woolley, Washington


July 2012

Black-tailed prairie dog


Gold Medal Winner at the Freeze Tag Olympics.
— Will Aguilar, Fort Detrick, Maryland



"Please, no pictures until the novocaine wears off!"
— William Williams, Benton, Pennsylvania

Elvira knew she'd win friends with her "trapped in a tasty glass box" mime routine.
— Olivia Ambrogio, Washington, D.C.

"One last lick and I'll have that window glass so clean it'll just disappear!"
— Manuel David, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Automatic Computer Screen Cleaner
— Rita Paulk, Oak Ridge, Tennessee


June 2012

Sandhill Crane chicks


"Do you think these feathers make my butt look fat?"
— Sue Veith, Hollywood, Maryland



"Your wings don't match!"
— Rose Armstrong, Martinsville, Indiana

"Watch and learn. Step, step, hop."
— Lisa Henley, Fremont, Michigan

"They went that way, officer! I saw the whole thing!"
— Phyllis Hunt, West Haven, Connecticut

"I'm tellin' ya, brother, the disco era is over!"
— Tiffany Miley, Avon, Minnesota

"Stand up tall, shoulders back. Now call us chickens."
— Janet Parker, Milford, Virginia

"I caught a fish this big!"
— Anne Williams, Newark, California


May 2012

Prairie Dogs


"I always said you could lean on me. But, really?!"
— Karen Dorsett, Memphis, Tennessee



"Don't worry―we have your back."
— Deb Buchanan, Liberty, Missouri

"We don't care if it's Daylight Saving Time. Please, just two more hours of sleep."
— Sue Detwiler, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

"If I move, will they topple over?"
— Lepha Midkiff

"I told you two NOT to stay up all night!"
— Glenda Van Wart, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

"Does that look like a hawk to you, guys? …Guys?"
— Aaron Young, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


April 2012

Enter the Photo Caption Contest


“Come on, Bud. Get off that cell phone and let's play!”
—Elaine J. Kelly, Brick, New Jersey



Dancing with the Stars didn't look THAT hard.
— Jennifer Bjerke-Mickle, Cheyenne, Wyoming

"It's not that hard, dude. You put your left foot in; you take your left foot out. It’s the LEFT foot!”
— Beth Rodgers, Elm Grove, Wisconsin

"You seriously need to cut down on the kung-fu movies."
— Kurt Tonjes, Lindenhurst, New York


March 2012

Sandhill crane chick


"I'm supposed to walk on these?"
— Gary O'Daniels, Creston, Iowa



"I can't seem to get off my butt."
— Doreen Montis, Great Falls, Virginia

"Aww, Man! I can't believe I just sat in that."
— Kurt Tonjes, Lindenhurst, New York


February 2012

Raccoon in trash can by Cara Litberg


"OK, what happened last night? I don't remember a thing after the fourth Twinkie."
— Kurt Tonjes, Lindenhurst, New York



"Coming out isn't the same as going in."
— Deb Buchanan, Liberty, Missouri

"That was way too close! That'll be the last time I sneak through the back door of a restaurant."
— Lisa Hardy, Granbury, Texas

"I didn't think I ate that much while I was in there."
— Paula Pruessner, New Haven, Missouri

"All this for one french fry!"
— Tammy Smith, Orange, Texas

"Pardon me, but would you have any Grey Poupon?"
— Josh Velten, Whitesboro, Texas

"Help, Ma! The dumpster truck is coming!"
— Dian Wood, Sauble Beach, Ontario


January 2012

Emperor penguins in Antarctica by Daniel J. Cox


"Why walk when you can slide!"
— Jason Ralston, Salt Lake City, Utah



"Penguin number two! You are cleared for takeoff!"
— Barbara Allibone, Bound Brook, New Jersey

"Mom said I can't play for 15 minutes. I'm in a timeout."
— Sue Detwiler, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

"Guys, are you sure this is safe?" "C'mon, Randy, it's fun!"
— Peter Funk, Levittown, Pennsylvania

"Hey, there's no chair lift to get you guys back up here!"
— Robert Kerchen, Metamora, Michigan

"I'll wait here; just bring me some fish."
— Nancy Olney, Tucson, Arizona

"Seriously, Mom and Dad? How embarrassing."
— Diana Schneider, Acworth, Georgia



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