12/23/2012 01:02 pm ET

Animal Photos Of The Week: Reindeer, Orangutans And More Pictures From Around The World

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:

Animal Photos Of The Week 12/16-12/22