The largest animals in the world have always captured our imagination. Our planet is a fantastic place that houses creatures like out of a story; Animals take so many shapes, colors, and sizes! But…
How do you determine which are the largest animals in the world?
The truth is that putting together a quick list of the largest animals in the world is a bit complicated. Why? Because “big” is a very subjective term. This can refer to weight, length, height, body mass … it is impossible to take into account all these factors to make a completely accurate ranking from a scientific point of view.
Whether measured in terms of weight, height, or length, there is no denying that some animals are huge compared to others in their class. In this list we present those that stand out, according to scientific records.
Goliath beetle – the heaviest insect in the world
Ok, you’re probably thinking “what’s on this list a bug that can fit in the palm of your hand?” And it’s understandable, but this beetle is HUGE for an insect. There are other species of beetle with more elongated bodies, but these are lighter or weaker compared to the Goliath beetle.
Did you know… the Goliath beetle can lift a load 850 times heavier than its own weight.
For 300 million years, these creatures have lived in the tropical and subtropical forests of Africa, where they feed mainly on fruit and tree sap. Adult beetles can measure 11 cm and weigh up to 100 grams. The most surprising thing is that, in their larval stage, these insects grow up to 25 cm and more than 100 grams. In addition to their unusually large size, Goliath beetle larvae are noted for their high protein diet, unlike most larvae.
Giant Chinese salamander – the largest amphibian
The giant Chinese salamander is currently the largest amphibian in the world, reaching sizes up to 1.80 m and 64 kg. Unlike other species of salamander, this animal is completely aquatic and endemic to the rivers and mountain streams of China. They are mainly nocturnal creatures and have very poor vision, so they depend on sensory nodules that they have in their body to detect their prey.
Did you know…The Chinese Giant Salamander is known for its ability to vocalize. Some of its sounds bear an uncanny resemblance to the crying of a child, which is why its name in China literally means “baby fish”.
Unfortunately, this fascinating animal is in serious danger of extinction. Their numbers have dropped approximately 80% since 1960, due to the destruction and contamination of their habitat, and excessive hunting, since in China they are considered a delicacy.
Ostrich – largest bird
Although it cannot fly, the ostrich leaves other birds behind with its size. They can reach up to 2.7 meters in height and weigh 145 kg. Their eyes are the largest of all land animals, with a diameter of 5 cm. The eggs these birds lay are also the largest of all birds, measuring 15 cm long and weighing the same as two dozen chicken eggs. Despite being such large eggs, they are in fact the smallest of all birds when compared to the size of an adult ostrich.
It is well known that ostriches are excellent runners, but a little known fact is that one of the factors that help them run so fast is that they only have two toes, which resemble a hoof and make it easier for them to run; most birds have 3 or 4 toes.
Saltwater crocodile – largest reptile
Saltwater crocodiles, or estuary crocodiles, are huge creatures and the largest living reptiles in the world. The average male is 5m long and weighs around 500kg, while females are significantly smaller, with the average saltwater crocodile measuring just under 3m long and weighing less than 100kg.
The largest saltwater crocodile ever recorded was about 6.3 m long, but it is likely that in the past there have been individuals up to 7 m long. These large crocodiles may no longer exist due to extensive hunting of the larger specimens. These huge specimens are estimated to have weighed a staggering 1,500 to 2,000 kg.
Whale shark – largest fish
Speaking of the largest animals in the world that you can find in the sea, the one that takes the title of “the largest living fish” is the whale shark, approximately 12 m long, and weighing up to 22 tons! They have been known to live up to 100 years and move in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. Mexico in particular is a popular area for whale sharks on their migration route.
Did you know… Although a lot of information has been discovered about adult whale sharks, there is almost no knowledge at all about it. baby whale shark. The enormous distances these animals travel make it quite difficult to study their reproductive habits.
Despite its imposing size, one of the main whale shark characteristicsis that they are gentle giants that do not represent any danger to humans, since they feed on plankton. To feed on these tiny mollusks, the whale shark filters the water in its mouth, and it can filter more than 1,400 gallons of seawater per hour!
Polar bear – largest land predators
Polar bears are fierce hunters and are the largest carnivores among land animals. The height of bears is usually measured at the shoulders, when the animal is on all fours. On average, polar bears are between 1 and 1.5 meters tall, but when standing on their hind legs, an adult male polar bear can reach over 3 meters. Throughout, they measure between 2.2 and 2.5 m from head to rump. Its tail adds another 7.5 to 12.5 centimeters.
Did you know…bears are extraordinarily intelligent animals. They have navigation abilities far superior to those of humans; excellent memories; and they use tools in various contexts, from play to hunting.
Bears care deeply for their family members. They risk their lives and even fight to the death to save a puppy or sibling from danger. When they suffer loss, they suffer greatly for their loved ones; cubs have been known to whine and cry when separated from their mothers. This can go on for weeks if their mothers are killed by hunters.
Giraffe – the tallest animal
In the grasslands of East Africa you find giraffes, the tallest mammals in the world, with an average height of between 4.8 and 6 m tall. The neck itself measures 1.8 m. Babies are born after 15 months of gestation, and they are already 2 m tall! Giraffes have long tongues, reaching around 50-53 cm in length.
Did you know… Giraffes are one of the mammals that need the least sleep, and they only sleep about four hours a day, lying down with their necks resting on their bodies or standing up.
Their long legs and necks help them eat leaves in the canopy of tall trees that other animals cannot reach, using their long prehensile tongues to pluck young shoots and leaves from tree branches.
African elephant – largest land animal
Among all the largest animals in the world, the elephant wins on earth. The African elephant reaches a weight of up to 7 tons, length of 10.6 m from trunk to tail and average height of 4.2 m at shoulder. Being the largest land mammal, the elephant also has the longest pregnancy, at 22 months! Newborns weigh around 90 kg and are around a meter tall.
Did you know… It is believed that years ago there were more than 300 species of elephants, however, today only two remain: the Asian and the African.
Elephants live and travel in groups led by a matriarch; Elephants have been shown to show affection and their loving relationships with family and friends last a lifetime. This can be attributed in part to their brilliant memory, which allows them to remember the best places to drink water and eat.
Colossal squid – the mysterious titan of the sea
Coral reefs may be home to the most exotic colored animals, but if they are the largest animals in the world, these are found in deeper areas of the sea; proof of this is the colossal squid, not to be confused with the giant squid. The size of colossal squid is often exaggerated, with viral internet posts saying they can reach 18m or even 27m in length. However, the largest documented squid was “only” 14 m long. But yes, they have the largest eyes of all animals, reaching 25 cm in diameter!
Did you know…colossal squids live at depths of about 1000m, which makes it difficult to observe them in their natural habitat; this is why not much is known about them.
This animal is known to feed on large fish and weighs approximately 500 kg. Sperm whales are the only known predators of the colossal squid.
Blue whale – the queen of the largest animals in the world
The blue whale is the largest animal of all time, reaching a weight of about 180 tons and a length of 30 m. Only their tongues can weigh as much as an elephant and their hearts as much as a car, yet they survive by eating a diet rich in tiny plankton and krill.
Did you know…A single adult blue whale can consume 36,000 kg of krill per day! They capture their food mainly by submerging, and they descend to depths of approximately 500 m.
Blue whales have few predators, but they are known to be targeted by sharks and killer whales, and many are injured or killed each year from impacts with large ships.
Humans share this beautiful planet with fantastic creatures, and the world’s largest animals are no exception. Despite their enormous size, meeting any of these animals is so rare that it is almost a privilege; If you ever have the opportunity to live together or even admire one of these beings from afar, you will surely remember it for a lifetime.
Live the fantasy of swimming with one of the largest animals in the world: the whale shark!