Everyone loves animals and that is exactly why I wanted to share them with you while giving them some really interesting facts at the same time. In this article, beautiful color photographs of several large animals are combined with little factoids to help you better understand these large beasts they share the Earth with.
23. Hercules Beetle
The Largest Beetle
One of the largest beetles in the world, they are also the strongest beetle of all. They can lift over 800 times their own weight -that would be almost the same as a human being able to lift a full sized house! Simply amazing!
Male Hercules Beetles are well known for their long horns too which they use in battle with other beetles. They can get up to almost 7 inches in length – which may not sound like a lot, but for a beetle this is huge! Remember, a dollar bill is just 6 inches long and this insect is longer than it! These beetles can be found in the rain forests of Central and South America.
22. Giant Huntsman Spider
Based on leg length alone, these are the largest spiders in the world. They were first found in a cave, which is where they live, in the country of Laos in 2001.
Their legs alone can be up to 12 inches long each – as long as a regular ruler! And remember, they have 8 of them! Wouldn’t you love to meet up with one of these?
21. Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing
The Largest Butterfly
They can only be found in the forests of Papua New Guinea and nowhere else on Earth. In fact, they are considered to be an endangered species due to habitat loss.
Typically, the females in this particular species are the largest – their wings can span over 12 inches in length – that is bigger than your average dinner plate!
20. Goliath Frog
The Largest Frog Species
These are the largest frog species in the world and live on the continent of Africa near Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Believe it or not, these frogs are vegetarians too – they prefer to eat only one type of aquatic plant which can only be found near waterfalls or other rapidly moving water.
The body alone of these frogs can be over 13 inches long (not counting the legs)- that is longer than your average ruler. Plus, they can live to be 14 to 20 years old – this is as old as many small dog breeds live to be.
19. Ocean Sunfish
The Largest Bony Fish
These are the heaviest bony fish in the world that you have probably never even heard of. They have a large flat body and swim in tropical and temperate waters all over the world. Adult Ocean Sunfish weigh on average about 2200 pounds (1000 kg) – that is about how much a small car weighs, like a MINI Cooper for example. Despite their large size they are very docile creatures.
They eat jellyfish primarily but wall also eat squid, crustaceans and other small fish – but they have to eat a lot of them to maintain their large size. In captivity they can live up to 10 years but no one knows for sure how long they can live in the wild. In places like Japan and Taiwan they are eaten for food too and are even considered a delicacy. Can you imagine catching one of these on your fishing line?
The Largest Rodents
These are the largest rodents in the world. They are related to guinea pigs and often live in groups of 10 to 20! They are native to South America and always live near water because they like to swim and eat aquatic plants.
Capybaras are about 3 ft. tall at the shoulder (taller than a large Mastiff dog) and can weigh up to 230 pounds (as much as a pro football quarterback). They are also the favorite food of pumas, anacondas and jaguars.
17. Flemish Giant
The Largest Rabbit (or Hare)
These docile animals are the largest rabbits in the world and can easily weigh over 22 pounds (10 kilos) or more – the weight of an average car tire and about the size of a Sheltie dog (maybe even bigger).
Because of their large size and grooming requirements these rabbits need much larger living quarters so they are not the best choice of pet for most homes. Their nicknames include “Gentle Giant” and “universal rabbit”. They eat the same thing as other rabbits, only in much larger quantities due to their large size.
16. English Mastiff
The Heaviest Dog Breed
Often just called the Mastiff for short, these massive dogs are the heaviest dog breed in the world. They can easily weigh up to 250 pounds for a male and 200 pounds for a female – that is more than what a lot of adult humans’ weigh! The biggest Mastiff on record weighed over 340 pounds and was about the size of a small donkey.
Despite their stern expression and massive size, these are really quite docile dogs and very gentle overall. They also have a very historic and ancient heritage, possibly dating back to the time of the Romans. Either way, modern Mastiffs are well known for their massive bulk, dark mask and sweet temperament.
15. Irish Wolfhound
The Tallest Dog Breed
Though Great Danes are very close in size, these giant dogs are often considered to be the tallest dog breed in the world. These easy going dogs were originally bred to hunt wolves in their native land of Ireland and this is a very, very old dog breed when compared to most others dog breeds with them being mentioned at least as early as 273 BC.
The minimum (not maximum, keep in mind) weight for these rough coated dogs is usually over 100 pounds for females and over 120 pounds for males and they are usually around 30 to 32 inches tall at their shoulder. That is as least as big as an average teenager, weight wise, and nearly as tall as a yardstick at their back.
The Tallest Land Animal
These are the tallest living land animal in the world – no one else even comes close. These incredible animals stand 16 to 20 feet tall and has an average weight of 3,500 pounds for males and 1,8oo lb for females – that is about the same weight as 1 to 2 Clydesdale horses.
They are best known for their super long necks which can be about 7 feet long all by themselves. That is almost as tall as the basketball player Shaquille O’Neal! Did you know that their tongues are almost 2 feet long too? Amazing! And how about this – newborn Giraffe babies are almost 6 feet tall immediately after being born!
12 & 13. Polar Bear & Kodiak Bear
The Largest Bears
These 2 contestants are tied as being the largest bears in the world and also as the largest land carnivores. Males can easily weigh up to 1500 pounds – that is about the same amount a mature Holstein cow weighs. Polar bears have adapted to live in arctic conditions while the Kodiak Bear lives primarily in southern Alaska.
The Kodiak Bear is a subspecies of brown bear while the Polar Bear is also related to the Brown Bear. The Kodiak will eat berries, insects, fish, garbage and just about anything they can get their paws on. Polar Bears are specialists and eat mainly seals though they will also eat other things too if given the opportunity.
11. Red Kangaroo
The Largest Marsupial, The Largest Pouched Animal, and the Largest Kangaroo in the World
These are the largest marsupial, pouched mammals, in the world and also the largest of all the kangaroo species. They eat grasses primarily, live in small groups and the newborn babies develop in their mothers pouch until they are ready to get out on their own.
Did you know that male red kangaroos can easily leap over 30 feet in one jump – that is nearly as long as a full sized school bus is long! The larger males can easily weigh up to 300 pounds or more. Not including their tails, males are usually about 5 feet tall – the same height as some adult women.
10. West Indian Manatee
The Largest Sea Cows
These are the largest members of the Sirenian, Sea Cow, order. These large animals are completely aquatic, living off of sea grasses and other aquatic plant life. Generally speaking, females are larger than the males and they are usually 8 to 15 feet long and can weigh anywhere from 1300 to 3600 pounds. That is almost the same as 1 to 3 cows might weigh.
Today, they are considered to be a Vulnerable species due to many things like a loss of habitat, fishing accidents, poaching, and increased boating accidents as well. Despite their large size they are very agile and can perform many athletic events such as swimming upside down， barrel rolls and even somersaults.
09. Dalmatian Pelican
The Largest Member of the Pelican Family
These birds are the heaviest flying bird in the world and also the largest member of the pelican family.
They are also one of the largest bird species with one of the largest wingspans of all living birds – almost as large as those of the great albatross. They feed almost entirely on fish and can weigh over 30 pounds in weight – that is about as much as the average 2 year old child weighs.
08. Japanese Spider Crab
The Largest Arthropod
The Japanese Spider Crab, also called the tall footed crab, are the largest of the arthropods (invertebrate animals that have an exoskeleton – like scorpions, spiders, horseshoe crabs and many, many others) in the world. This species of marine crab lives in the waters around Japan where they are sometimes used for food.
From claw to claw, their leg span can be up to 12 feet long and they can weigh over 40 pounds – that is more than a large bag of dog food weighs! They are so alien in how they appear that they almost look like they could be in a science fiction movie.
The Largest Bird
These are the largest birds in the world -plus they lay the largest eggs of any living bird species. The Ostrich are also flightless. Because they must run from place to place, this also makes them the fastest bird on land and the fastest two-legged animal in the world!
Their heads are about 9 feet tall above the ground and they can weigh from 150 to 300 pounds when completely mature – that is as much as a larger NFL lineman might weigh and taller than even the tallest NBA basketball stars.
06. Saltwater Crocodile
The Largest Living Reptile
These are the largest living reptile species in the world! These predators can reach up to 23 feet in length and over 2200 pounds – that’s about how much a small sports car weighs. Typically males are larger than females and Salties, as they are also called, have the strongest bite of any animal living today.
These large, territorial, apex predators begin their life, however, in a nest mound made of leaves, mud and other vegetation, fiercely guarded by their mother. These clutches of eggs can have from 40 to 60 eggs or so in them and take around 80 to 100 days to hatch.
Big tip: did you know that temperature can help decide the sex of the baby crocodiles? It’s true, if the temperature of the nest is high it will produce mostly males – if the temperature of the nest is lower it will produce mostly females.
05. Southern Elephant Seal
The Largest Antarctic Seal
These are the largest of the Antarctic seals and get their name in part because of their large size, but also because of the large proboscis (nose) of the mature males. Males are typically five to six times heavier than the females and can weigh up to 8800 pounds! That is about as much as a 4WD diesel F250 truck weighs! Females can weigh up to about 2200 pounds, the weight of many compact cars!
They do stay on land for longer periods of time than most species of seal. The Southern Elephant Seal is a fantastic swimmer and can dive for more than 20 minutes at a time. They love to eat lots of squid and fish.
04. Green Anaconda
The Heaviest Snake
The Green Anaconda is one of the world’s longest snakes and almost certainly the heaviest snake in the world. They can get up to 22 feet long and weigh over 200 pounds! They are even the main subject in several movies.
Typically, the Green Anaconda are excellent swimmers but they are sometimes also called the water boa. They kill their prey by constriction and typically eat anything they can over power which may include fish, reptiles and even small mammals.
03. The Whale Shark
The Largest Fish
The whale shark is the largest living fish in the world. This gentle giant is a filter feeding shark, meaning that it feeds on microscopic plants and animals, and they can gulp in Volkswagen Beetle sized gulps of water as they feed.
They live primarily in warm waters and can live for about 70 years or so. They can grow to be over 40 feet in length – this is as long as a school bus – and can weigh up to 47,000 pounds – this is about how much a Sherman Tank can weigh! Truly incredible when you think about it.
02. African Elephant
The Largest Living Land Animal
These are the largest living land animal today! The male African Elephant can stand as tall as 13 feet at the shoulder and weigh as much as 13,000 pounds – about the weight of a typical killer whale. Elephants are also herbivores, which means they are plant eaters, and can live up to around 70 years in the wild.
They have a large body, large ears, stumpy legs and a long trunk formed by both its nose and upper lip. This trunk acts almost like a 5th limb – it has about 150,000 muscles in it.
An Elephant’s trunk is strong enough to use in battle and can lift about 700 pounds but it can also be used for delicate maneuvers like picking up a leaf or cracking a nut shell. Elephants can also use the trunk for breathing, picking up things, sucking up water (often over 2 gallons), making sounds to communicate with others and for smelling too.
01. Blue Whale
The Largest Creature
This is the largest known creature ever to have existed. Compared to most whale species, the blue whale is long and thin reaching up to almost 100 feet in length – that is about as long as an NBA basketball court, or 2 and a half full sized school buses!
They have never been weighed as a whole but are estimated to weigh as much as 200 tons which is about how much the largest stones in the Sphinx in Egypt weigh. To give you a few more facts about its size, its tongue is about the size of an Asian Elephant and its heart, the largest in any animal, is about the size of a MINI Cooper car.