Happy holidays, everybody!

If you are near the New York City area and want to bring in an extra dose of yuletide cheer, consider adopting one of these adorable pets from the New York Animal Care & Control.

On Friday, scientists announced a discovery in the evolution of human health through an analysis of bat DNA. While the flying mammal’s immunity to viruses like Ebola, SARS and Nipah has stumped researchers in the past, recent studies shed light on the phenomenon. "We have studied rats for 150 years to understand how to do better ... Now we have a system, the bat, that has done very well in evolution,” said Professor Lin-Fa Wang, an infectious disease expert at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. “With modern techniques, we can design new drugs to slow down the ageing process, treat cancer, fight infections."

Meanwhile, scientists recognized some alarming climate change clues during the annual Texas Gulf Coast Christmastime bird count. An initial report showed only 233 species have migrated so far to the Mad Island reserve, down from last year’s 244. "We've converted the landscape dramatically, and then you add climate change to the mix ... and the results are more alarming," said Gary Langham, vice president and chief scientist for the National Audubon Society.

A young boy narrowly escaped a harrowing situation this week when his collection of venomous snake eggs hatched. The three-year-old Australian found the eggs a few weeks ago, and, without knowing what animal would hatch, stashed them in his bedroom closet. Luckily, the youngster’s mother found the snake babies and called reptile control before they were able to inflict harm.

As the year wraps up, check out the best animal videos, the most heroic dogs and the weirdest animal discoveries of 2012.

Find some of the week's best animal photos below:

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  • Three week-old orangutan baby Sayang clings to its mother Rosa at the zoo in Frankfurt, central Germany, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. It is not yet determined if the cub is male or female. (AP Photo/dapd,Alex Domanski)

  • Three week-old orangutan baby Sayang clings to its mother Rosa at the zoo in Frankfurt, central Germany, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. It is not yet determined if the cub is male or female. (AP Photo/dapd,Alex Domanski)

  • A dog growls in the village of Rtanj on December 21, 2012. A pyramid-shaped mountain in Serbia, believed by some to be a source of unusual electromagnetic waves that could shield it from catastrophe, was attracting record numbers of visitors ahead of the predicted Mayan apocalypse today. ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images

  • Snow covered dog Peggy looks on during snowfall in Berlin on December 22 , 2012. Meteorologists forecast snow fall in northern and eastern parts of Germany. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

  • Yoko, a chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes), reacts after receiving a Christmas hamper, at Rio de Janeiro's zoo on December 18, 2012. VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

  • Yoko, a chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes), enjoys some panettone after receiving a Christmas hamper, at Rio de Janeiro's zoo on December 18, 2012. VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

  • Zac Brown Reindeer herder at the Cairgorm Herd feed the deer on December 22, 2012 in Aviemore, Scotland. Reindeer were introduced to Scotland in 1952 by Swedish Sami reindeer herder, Mikel Utsi.Starting with just a few reindeer, the herd has now grown in numbers over the years and is currently at about 130 by controlling the breeding. The herd rages on 2,500 hectares of hill ground between 450 and 1,309 meters and stay above the tree line all year round regardless of the weather conditions. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

  • Zac Brown, a reindeer herder at the Cairgorm Herd, helps members of the public feed the deer on December 22, 2012 in Aviemore, Scotland. Reindeer were introduced to Scotland in 1952 by Swedish Sami reindeer herder, Mikel Utsi. Starting with just a few reindeer; the herd has now grown in numbers over the years and is currently at about 130 by controlling the breeding. The herd rages on 2,500 hectares of hill ground between 450 and 1,309 meters and stay above the tree line all year round regardless of the weather conditions. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

  • Pigeons fly over the Liwa desert, 220 kms west of Abu Dhabi, on the sidelines of the Mazayin Dhafra Camel Festival on December 22, 2012. The festival, which attracts participants from around the Gulf region, includes a camel beauty contest, a display of UAE handcrafts and other activities aimed at promoting the country's folklore. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images

  • In this photo taken on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 and made available by the Independent Newspapers Limited South Africa, an Asian toad that was found inside a candlestick at a Cape Town South Africa store. They say cats have nine lives. Now a Chinese toad has joined that club of wily survivors. South Africans are marveling at the endurance of a toad that got trapped in a cargo shipment from China to Cape Town after jumping into a porcelain candlestick that was made there. South African officials reportedly planned to put down the creature, fearing it would cause harm as an invasive species if it were let go in the wild. But the toad got a last-minute reprieve. Mango Airlines, a South African airline, transported the toad on Friday to Johannesburg for delivery to an animal sanctuary after officials decided to find a way to let the globe-trotting toad live. The two-hour flight was a breeze compared to the trip from China, an odyssey of many weeks and thousands of kilometers (miles) across the Indian Ocean. (AP Photo/ Independent Newspapers Limited)

  • Camels walk in the Liwa desert, 220 kms west of Abu Dhabi, on the sidelines of the Mazayin Dhafra Camel Festival on December 22, 2012. The festival, which attracts participants from around the Gulf region, includes a camel beauty contest, a display of UAE handcrafts and other activities aimed at promoting the country's folklore. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images

  • Picture of a dolphin at the Marineland animal exhibition park on December 19, 2012 in Antibes, southeastern France. VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

  • Picture of a dolphin at the Marineland animal exhibition park on December 19, 2012 in Antibes, southeastern France. VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

  • Dolphins jump at the Marineland animal exhibition park on December 19, 2012 in Antibes, southeastern France. VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

  • In this photograph received on December 19, 2012, Dhrube, a rogue wild elephant suspected of killing several people across the southern plains of Nepal walks through a field. Nepalese officials said on December 19, 2012 a lovesick elephant which has trampled several people to death was captured a month ago -- but set free to kill again. Park rangers told AFP the male tusker, named Dhrube by locals, is targeting humans on a killing spree in southern Nepal after being kept from potential mates, including a female called Chanchalkali. STR/AFP/Getty Images

  • HOBART, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 17: Play is interrupted as a magpie and a seagull tussle during day four of the First Test match between Australia and Sri Lanka at Blundstone Arena on December 17, 2012 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

  • A pangolin sits at the Pangolin Rehabilitation Center of Phnom Tamao Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Center in Tra Pang Sap village, Takeo province, Cambodia, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. The Cambodian zoo staff on Friday held a Buddhist ceremony to open a new initiative to care for injured pangolins rescued from the growing wildlife trade in the country. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

  • An iguana sleeps on a branch of a tree at Phnom Tamao Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Center in Tra Pang Sap village, Takeo province, some 45 kilometers (28 miles) south of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

  • Big John the Tasmanian devil feed on chicken pieces as he makes his first appearance at the Wild Life Sydney Zoo in Sydney Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 after arriving in his new home. The Tasmanian devil is the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

  • A hand raised sooty owl called Phenix comes in for a landing at a free flight bird show at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. Sydney Opera House is seen in the background. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)