Ten Largest Animals in the World

Published: Apr 29, 2017 20:09

There are millions of species of animals in this world from big to small and tall to short. Here is the list of largest animals in various categories.

Blue Whale - The Largest Animal Ever

The blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever existed. It can be up to 29.9 metres in length and maximum recorded weight is 173 tonnes which can probably reach over 181 tonnes. Long and slender, the blue whale's body can be various shades of bluish-grey dorsally and somewhat lighter underneath.

Blue whales feed almost exclusively on krill, though they also take small numbers of copepods. The species of this zooplankton eaten by blue whales varies from ocean to ocean. An adult blue whale can eat up to 40 million krill in a day. The whales always feed in the areas with the highest concentration of krill, sometimes eating up to 3,600 kilograms (7,900 lb) of krill in a single day. The daily energy requirement of an adult blue whale is in the region of 1.5 million kilocalories. Their feeding habits are seasonal.

Blue whales were abundant in nearly all the oceans on Earth until the beginning of the twentieth century. For over a century, they were hunted almost to extinction by whalers until protected by the international community in 1966. A 2002 report estimated there were 5,000 to 12,000 blue whales worldwide, in at least five groups. The IUCN estimates that there are probably between 10,000 and 25,000 blue whales worldwide today.

Blue Whale

 

African Bush Elephant - The Heaviest Land Animal in the World

The African bush elephant is the larger of the two species of African elephant. Both it and the African forest elephant have in the past been classified as a single species, known simply as the African elephant, but recent preliminary evidence has seen the forest elephant classified as a distinct species.

The African bush elephant is the largest and heaviest land animal on earth, being up to 3.96 m (13.0 ft) tall at the shoulder and 10.4 tonnes (22,930 lb) in weight. On average, males are 3.2 metres (10.5 ft) tall at the shoulder and 6 tonnes (13,230 lb) in weight, while females are much smaller at 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) tall at the shoulder and 3 tonnes (6,610 lb) in weight.

The African bush elephant is herbivorous. Its diet varies according to its habitat and can typically ingests an average of 225 kilograms (500 lb) of vegetable matter daily, which is defecated without being fully digested and also drink great quantities of water, over 190 liters per day.

African Bush Elephant

 

Giraffe - The Tallest Land Animal in the World

The giraffe is the tallest living terrestrial animals and the largest ruminants. Fully grown giraffes stand 4.3 m to 5.7 m (14.1–18.7 ft) tall, with males taller than females. The tallest recorded male was 5.88 m (19.3 ft) and the tallest recorded female was 5.17 m (17.0 ft) tall. The average weight is 1,192 kg (2,628 lb) for an adult male and 828 kg (1,825 lb) for an adult female.

Despite its long neck and legs, the giraffe's body is relatively short. Located at both sides of the head, the giraffe's large, bulging eyes give it good all-round vision from its great height. Giraffes see in colour and their senses of hearing and smell are also sharp. The animal can close its muscular nostrils to protect against sandstorms and ants. Its elongated neck can be up to 2–2.4 m (6.6–7.9 ft) in length, accounting for much of the animal's vertical height. A giraffe eats around 34 kg (75 lb) of foliage daily.

Giraffe

 

Southern Elephant Seal - The Largest Carnivora in the World

The southern elephant seal is one of the two extant species of elephant seals. It is both the largest pinniped and member of the order Carnivora living today, as well as the largest Antarctic seal. The seal gets its name from its great size and the large proboscis of the adult males, which is used to make extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating season. An average adult male southern elephant seal weighs six to seven times more than the largest terrestrial carnivorans, the polar bear and the kodiak bear.

While the female southern elephant seal typically weighs 400 to 900 kg (880 to 1,980 lb) and measures 2.6 to 3 m (8.5 to 9.8 ft) long, the bulls typically weigh 2,200 to 4,000 kg (4,900 to 8,800 lb) and measure from 4.2 to 5.8 m (14 to 19 ft) long.

The seals spend very little time on the surface, usually a few minutes for breathing. They dive repeatedly, each time for more than 20 minutes, to hunt their prey, squid and fish, at depths of 400 to 1,000 m (1,300 to 3,300 ft). They are the deepest diving air-breathing non-cetaceans and have been recorded at a maximum of 2,133 m (6,998 ft) in depth.

Southern Elephant Seal

 

Polar Bear and Kodiak Bear - The Largest Land Carnivores in the World

The polar bear and the kodiak bear are the largest land carnivores in the world.

The native range of polar bear lies largely within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. A boar (adult male) weighs around 350–700 kg (772–1,543 lb), while a sow (adult female) is about half that size. Although it is the sister species of the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrower ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice and open water, and for hunting seals, which make up most of its diet. Although most polar bears are born on land, they spend most of their time on the sea ice. Polar bears hunt their preferred food of seals from the edge of sea ice, often living off fat reserves when no sea ice is present. The Arctic is home to millions of seals, which become prey when they surface in holes in the ice in order to breathe, or when they haul out on the ice to rest.

The Kodiak bear, also known as the Kodiak brown bear, sometimes the Alaskan brown bear, inhabits the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago in southwest Alaska. The Kodiak bear commonly reaches sizes of 300 to 600 kg (660 to 1,320 lb), and has even been known to exceed weights of 680 kg (1,500 lb) on occasion. The largest recorded wild male weighed 751 kg (1,656 lb). An average adult male measures 244 cm (8 ft) in length and stands 133 cm (4 ft 4 in) tall at the shoulder.

Polar Bear

Kodiak Bear

 

Saltwater Crocodile - The Largest Reptile in the World

The saltwater crocodile, also known as the estuarine crocodile, Indo-Pacific crocodile, marine crocodile and sea crocodile, is the largest of all living reptiles, as well as the largest riparian predator in the world. An adult male saltwater crocodile, from young adults to older individuals, ranges 3.5 to 6 m (11 ft 6 in to 19 ft 8 in) in length, weighing 200 to 1,000 kg (440–2,200 lb). Females are much smaller and often do not surpass 3 m (9.8 ft). As its name implies, this species of crocodile can live in marine environments, but usually resides in saline and brackish mangrove swamps, estuaries, deltas, lagoons, and lower stretches of rivers. They have the broadest distribution of any modern crocodile, ranging from the eastern coast of India throughout most of Southeast Asia and northern Australia.

The saltwater crocodile is a formidable and opportunistic hypercarnivorous apex predator. Most prey are ambushed and then drowned or swallowed whole. It is capable of prevailing over almost any animal that enters its territory, including other apex predators such as sharks, varieties of freshwater and marine fish including pelagic species, invertebrates such as crustaceans, various reptiles, birds and mammals, including humans. Due to their size, aggression and distribution, saltwater crocodiles are regarded as the most dangerous extant crocodilian to humans.

Saltwater Crocodile

 

Green Anaconda - The Largest Snake in the World

The green anaconda, also known as the common anaconda and water boa, is a non-venomous boa species found in South America. The green anaconda is the world's heaviest and one of the world's longest snakes, reaching 5.21 m (17.1 ft) long. More typical mature specimens reportedly can range up to 5 m (16.4 ft), with the females, at around a mean length of 4.6 m (15.1 ft), being generally much larger in adulthood than the male, which averages around 3 m (9.8 ft). Weights are less well studied, though will reportedly range from 30 to 70 kg (66 to 154 lb) in an average-range adult. 

Primarily aquatic, they eat a wide variety of prey, almost anything they can manage to overpower, including fish, birds, a variety of mammals, and other reptiles. Particularly large anacondas may consume large prey such as tapirs, deer, capybaras, caimans, and even jaguars, but such large meals are not regularly consumed. The green anaconda's eyes and nose are located on the top of the head, allowing the snake to breathe and watch for prey while the vast majority of the body is hidden underwater.

Green Anaconda

 

Ostrich - The Largest Bird in the World

The ostrich is either one or two species of large flightless birds native to Africa, the only living member(s) of the genus Struthio, which is in the ratite family. In 2014, the Somali ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes) was recognized as a distinct species.

It has a long neck and legs, and can run at up to about 70 km/h (43 mph), the fastest land speed of any bird. The common ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest eggs of any living bird (extinct elephant birds of Madagascar and the giant moa of New Zealand laid larger eggs).

The common ostrich's diet consists mainly of plant matter, though it also eats invertebrates. It lives in nomadic groups of 5 to 50 birds. When threatened, the ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground, or run away. If cornered, it can attack with a kick of its powerful legs.

Common ostriches usually weigh from 63 to 145 kilograms (139–320 lb), or as much as two adult humans. At sexual maturity (two to four years), male common ostriches can be from 2.1 to 2.8 m (6 ft 11 in to 9 ft 2 in) in height, while female common ostriches range from 1.7 to 2.0 m (5 ft 7 in to 6 ft 7 in) tall. New chicks are fawn in colour, with dark brown spots. During the first year of life, chicks grow at about 25 cm (9.8 in) per month. At one year of age, common ostriches weigh approximately 45 kilograms (99 lb). Their lifespan is up to 40–45 years.

Ostrich

 

Dalmatian Pelican - The Heaviest Flying Bird in the World

The Dalmatian pelican is a massive member of the pelican family. It breeds from southeastern Europe to India and China in swamps and shallow lakes. The nest is a crude heap of vegetation.

This huge bird is by a slight margin the largest of the pelican species and one of the largest living bird species. It measures 160 to 183 cm (5 ft 3 in to 6 ft 0 in) in length, 7.25–15 kg (16.0–33.1 lb) in weight and 245 to 351 cm (8 ft 0 in to 11 ft 6 in) in wingspan. Its median weight is around 11.5 kg (25 lb), which makes it perhaps the world's heaviest flying bird species, although the largest individuals among male bustards and swans may be heavier than the largest individual Dalmatian pelican. More recently, six male Dalmatians were found to average 10.4 kg (23 lb) and four females 8.7 kg (19 lb).

This pelican feeds almost entirely on fish. Preferred prey species can include common carp, European perch, common rudd, eels, catfish, mullet and northern pike. The Dalmatian pelican requires around 1,200 g (2.6 lb) of fish per day and can take locally abundant smaller fish such as gobies, but usually ignore them in lieu of slightly larger fish.

Dalmatian Pelican

 

Ocean Sunfish - The Largest Bony Fish in the World

The ocean sunfish or common mola is the heaviest known bony fish in the world. Adults typically weigh between 247 and 1,000 kg (545–2,205 lb). The species is native to tropical and temperate waters around the globe. It resembles a fish head with a tail, and its main body is flattened laterally. Sunfish can be as tall as they are long when their dorsal and ventral fins are extended.

Sunfish live on a diet consisting mainly of jellyfish, but because this diet is nutritionally poor, they consume large amounts to develop and maintain their great bulk. Females of the species can produce more eggs than any other known vertebrate, up to 300,000,000 at a time. Sunfish fry resemble miniature pufferfish, with large pectoral fins, a tail fin, and body spines uncharacteristic of adult sunfish.

Adult sunfish are vulnerable to few natural predators, but sea lions, killer whales, and sharks will consume them. Among humans, sunfish are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, including Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. In the EU, regulations ban the sale of fish and fishery products derived from the family Molidae. Sunfish are frequently caught in gillnets.

Ocean Sunfish